My Phoenix

(2008 – Noah is three years old.)

Before he was born, each moment
simmered down so simply
to: happy, sad. Now I am neither. Never
one nor the other. A haze
has settled, an eclipse cloaks
the light, and I rummage, blind,
through piles of emotions, sinkholes
of scraps, all notes on a broken heart,
searching for clues, an X on a map, a route, a way out.

The world turned grey for us. No
bright colors any more for us,
our lives whittled down with
Unmet expectations shaved off in wormlike
curls. Lost dreams drop
off behind us like so much
debris in ditches, piles of discard and disuse.

Now my back bends.
My belly scrapes the ground.
I am loaded like a beast
of burden. My weight is weighted with wants
I can no longer put to work
in the hopes of shaping a life
for myself, for him, that is measured
by capacity and not by limits.
And I am tired, tired
of sorting feelings
into orderly bins: hope love disappointment.

Yet, one day, long
after he should, he points
To an apple, red and round
on a white page. Recognition. Cognition.
And there. Oh there it is.
Like a mouse burrowing
beneath fall leaves, like a faint voice
whispering from beneath rubble, hope stirs.
And like a pale green sprout, slow
in its uncoiling, Noah unfolds.
And suddenly I believe again.

Some day he will learn
his letters, his numbers, his name.
And on those new-colt legs, he will
run with friends, run from me,
from my arms that have carried him far too long.
He will run, fly, and I will
be the first mother to cheer, to say, to plead:
Go, my son, grow up too fast.
Like they all said you would. Go.

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