Reading, writing, and thinking about the world. All blogs filed here.
Postpartum, Week One
May 4, 2020 – Welcoming a new baby is a joyous but difficult time. And even when you expect the hardships, they can crush you. My toddler is breaking my heart in the most predictable ways as he grapples with the addition of a little brother.
This poem is an effort to cope with some of these feelings. I hope you enjoy it.
The Giving Take
April 29, 2020 – Five days ago, I gave birth. Great intimacy follows the birth of a baby. Much time is spent establishing a bond of closeness and breastfeeding regularity. The bodies of mother and child must find a new synchronization.
This poem – the first I’ve written since welcoming my new son into the world – is about that physical, emotional, and instinctual effort.
The Giving Take Bessie, Bossie, Bonnie Blue, Fussy, Flossie, Fannie Sue, I see you through the doily leaves along your mossy clean-picked path up around the hill to home. See me here? I walk below beside the road with baby wrapped against my chest so taut, my breasts, impacted from the milk his drowsy mouth neglects. Barnyard-bound, you low and file, udders swinging overfull. I am going that way, too, to see your farmer’s wife, the closest nurse and kindly mother hand who may offer her advice. ...
A Book By Its Cover
The cover image is a photograph I took at the top of a hiking trail in Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Read the story behind the photo here.
Every Day Is A Love Letter
April 4, 2020 – This morning I decided to read one poem out loud – simply recording on my phone – to see how it felt. The poem, titled “Every Day Is A Love Letter,” is adapted from a short essay by the same name I published on Medium in February. I hope you enjoy it.
Poetry Creeps In
March 31, 2020 – I write from the edge of March’s diving board. Tomorrow it will be April, and for many of us a second month of social distancing measures, unprecedented social uncertainty, and dark prospects.
Less than four weeks remains in my pregnancy and I watch the healthcare system wobbling from an uncomfortably close vantage. Before the next month is out, I will give birth. Unlike many patients whose conditions put them in repeated contact with our hospital doors, elevator buttons, and ventilation systems, I have a temporary condition. For the chronically ill, this turmoil is open-ended.
Because I love the world and because I am here.
March 22, 2020 — It is springtime in 2020 and the world feels like it’s rolling in a current. The rapids are approaching us here in the United States, in Central Appalachia, in West Virginia. I can see the white foam. It is called a pandemic.
We are in the midst of a paradigm-shifting world event. And it moves so fast it is hard to process. Our social infrastructure was not built for this. The supply chain cannot keep up. The public is uninformed and confused. Some people are in denial. Government officials have a conflict of interest between keeping the world from falling apart and maintaining the fiction that their leadership has kept us safe.
The speed of events, paradoxically, becomes a drag on our processing of them. We blink in disbelief. We are dazed by lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, the closures of businesses all over our towns.