Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Winter Poem

I have been working hard in trying to live in the present and not dissect the past or ponder the future of my life. So many people have their lives mapped out -- this is what I will do, when I will do it and when I will move onto the next stage of life. I have never been much of a planner but I wasn't prepared to have a child with a disability.

I had assumed that you marry (for me at 26) four years after that you have your first child and the second one 18 months after the first child. You love them and care for them. Take them to their practices and lessons and save for college.

But in our case, it didn't exactly work out like that. Coming to the realization that there was something amiss with our youngest child triggered the brakes and brought our lives to a screeching halt. We were stuck. What we had taken for granted was not to be. In order to move forward, to get through the day to day, we needed to focus on the present and not get lost in the past (grieving for the baby he once was) nor explore the future (what is going to happen to us?)

I tried to explore this with a poem. I don't know if I succeeded but I felt better after I wrote it.

Winter Sunshine
(nothing is forever)

Frail empty birch tree branches
Cradle a cold February sun

An offering of hope,
Like a warm child
Hugged in tired arms

Days run together too quickly,
My legs are sore from chasing
The day
When he comes back to me.
And he is the boy I once held.
Newborn head nuzzled into my shoulder
Ginger hair like fuzz on my neck
Lips puckering
A guppy
Waiting to be fed.

In my dreams
He comes back,
That baby
With the sleepy eyes
And pale cheeks.

I should’ve held him more,
Lingered in the bliss of not knowing.
But nobody knew.

I am unsteady at the precipice.
The volcano dormant
Calcified in ice
The bottom echoes like a hungry belly
Rocks rattle under my feet
Freefall into blackness.

I know better than this.
I need to turn around
And go back.

I carry clouds like gauze in my fingers,
And walk toward the sun.
To trust it.
To hold it.

To let worry
And heartache
Fall like snow
From overburdened clouds.

To spill over treetops,
And lawns,
And stoplights.

The sun hangs
Like a Florida orange
Against a backdrop of porcelain blue.

I will peel back the skin
And embrace the fire
If only for a moment
Until it softens
Like butter sizzling in a hot pan
Melting into
Western sky.

katie donohue 2010


Anonymous said...

Excellent poem - I read it twice and will come back to it again. What a beautiful treat, Mag

Gimky said...

You describe it so well, Katie. You are so talented and I am so glad that I found you. Keep writing. I always wait for your entries!

Cinda said...

Oh, wow, Katie. I know that this is so personal to you but I could also viscerally feel the precipice. A mother's fears. And, choosing to turn away the best that we can. This was wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

jsantaca said...