December 2007


for all those shattered by 2007…the last two sections of H.D.’s “Eros.” May 2008 bring you all the love you could possibly want.

VI
I had thought myself frail,
a petal
with light equal
on leaf and under-leaf.

I had thought myself frail;
a lamp,
shell, ivory or crust of pearl,
about to fall shattered,
with flame spent.
I cried:

“I must perish,
I am deserted in this darkness,
an outcast, desperate,”
such fire rent me with Hesperus,

Then the day broke.

VII
What need of a lamp
when day lightens us,
what need to bind love
when love stands
with such radiant wings over us?

What need—
yet to sing love,
love must first shatter us.

every holiday season i buy a few new ornaments — usually but not always during the massive sales that start december 26. but in december 2005 i paid full price (a whopping $5) for a capital letter “e,” which s and i hung together in earl’s memory.

ears-e-xmas-2007.jpg

it didn’t occur to me this year until almost christmas day to go back to restoration hardware (so much for living green and shopping locally) to see if they had letters again. they did! and m and i picked out a nice capital letter “r.”

rubys-r-xmas-2007.jpg

instead of a tree — which was far more than i could wrap my arms around, what with falling needles and months of vacuuming and a very toddly toddler (made more so by the fluid in her ears, a special gift from her sinus infection) — we hung garland over the arch between our living room and dining room. we hung ornaments on the garland, and found that we even started to feel festive, not to mention relieved that the fragiles were out of reach of the grasping, smashing fingers of a 16-month old. we hung the r and the e first.

it turned out to be an ok christmas after all.

peace-garland-xmas-2007.jpg

male cuteness syndrome (māl kyoot’-nĕs sin’-drōm). noun. 1. collection of behaviors exhibited by the male species that are both unanticipated and endearing. 2. an apparently unavoidable display of eagerness and hopefulness shown by grieving and also possibly expectant fathers.

every morning s rolls over in bed and asks me if i can pee on a stick today. sure, i tell him. i can pee on a stick every day. but today (just like yesterday and just like tomorrow) that stick won’t tell me anything except that my pee is yellow.

now, he knows as well as i do when it will be reasonable for me to start peeing on sticks. he knows what day it is in my cycle and he knows the earliest that stick-peeing will actually maybe provide useful information. and he knows that it’s probably best for us to wait a few days beyond that as-soon-as-possible date, for sanity’s sake.

but he still has to ask.

he also knows as well as i do that it’s too early for me to have symptoms one way or the other. too early for sore breasts, too early for nausea, too early for bloating. too early to gag on my toothbrush, or to scream at him that the cumin he just threw into our dinner SMELLS LIKE B.O. and will he PLEASE GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE NOW. and we both know that when that all starts we will both be MISERABLE and will be counting the months/weeks/days/hours/minutes until it STOPS. but he still has to ask.

it’s so adorable that it takes every last ounce of self-control for me not to squeeze the stuffin’ out of him.

and yet…it also makes me so sad, because when it is finally time to pee on a stick i may be the one who has to give him the bad news.

i finally told him this yesterday — that it’s getting hard for me to know his excitement is building and to have him ask me if i have a gut feeling about this cycle (i don’t) or if i feel pregnant (i don’t) or if i think “we have a little zygote swimming around in there” (i’m willing to believe that we could) — because when it turns out that i’m not pregnant i’ll have to burst his bubble.

i told him all this and he put his arms around me. “honey, that won’t be bad news. it just means that we get to have sex again next month.”

i’d forgotten that when i’m puking and yelling and crying while being bloated and constipated and really really sore that i don’t like to be touched. but apparently he didn’t forget all that, and even so, he’s hoping for it.

see? mcs.

no, no, you drug-using euro-cyclists: i’m not talking to you. 

i’m using evening primrose oil for the first time this month and the shit really works. everything, everywhere, is all kinds of gooey. but much to my surprise, everything is gooey earlier than i expected it to be. so i started using opks to see if my ostensible date to ovulate — which, based on all historical evidence should be in three more days (and is always a few days past day 14) — is in fact, or will be in fact, my actual o date. so far the tests have been useless, but i’m pretty sure using them in a trough — too late to catch an o earlier than expected, but too early to catch an o at the right time. so my empty data set is not too surprising.

ANY WAY. i’ll keep peeing on sticks until i see the lh surge or until my expected date has passed. it’s likely i’ll know nothing, either way.

but to help me obsess process consider what might be happening, if you’ve used evening primrose oil and what i’m saying makes any sense to you, will you tell me? pretty please?

the timing on this is all wrong, since this is, by all rights, a february poem. but i find that the more i miss ruby this christmas the more i miss earl, and this poem was a gift to her from our dear friend and poet km. earl was delivered on the 21st of february, so today i remember her. my big girl. i miss you, sweet child, my first born.

Mid-Winter Grace

In February
the sky is brilliant blue and cold air,
sound travels faster: someone reports a chickadee calling from half a mile away.
Tress, undressed in this season, appear like the inside
of our lungs or a pocket of capillaries.
We belong to this place, our bodies modeled on earth,
or earth on body — who knows?

There is bodily loss and longing here
in the middle of winter,
the glory of a holiday worn off
and spring joy still too far ahead
to grasp: a hand always waving goodbye
but never actually leaving.

Consider, though, the cold air,
how it makes planes and birds rise faster
there’s more lift,
or less pull to earth.
And that sound of another calling out to you,
are you okay? take my hand.
It comes faster in February.

can’t top tash’s craptastic but can offer this gem of a x-mas card, seen two nights ago at target when i actually thought for a brief moment  (ha!) that i might get around to sending out holiday cards this year:

front: picture of cute little girl holding letter to santa and a puppy.

text:

jackie finally got the puppy she wanted. thank goodness santa didn’t screw up this year and bring her a baby brother.

 oooh, thank goodness.

the sad thing is if i’m left alone i think this is kinda funny, in a pathetic sorta way. but that feeling is fleeting, and i just get stuck on jackie’s good fortune, which should not be confused with the probably not-so-good fortune of her parents. and the real joke, the joke the writer likely did not even intend, the joke about the ease and simplicity of babies appearing.

neuroses exhaustion hormones grief:

today a colleague, walking down a set of stairs with me, said: “i bet i know a little girl who is about bursting with excitement at your house!”

now, i could have said “well, actually, she’s only 16 months old and she doesn’t really get it.”

or i could have lied said “oooh, she is! we are all feeling so festive and are counting the days ’til santa arrives!”

but no.

i told her that we don’t have a tree up. (even one in a cage.) or lights. (ok, s *did* hang one strand around our front window, which is quite lovely and i’m glad to have it up, but it isn’t the same as really decorating.) we have not shopped. there are no wrapped gifts anywhere in our house. i told her we are really grateful that m is so young because she doesn’t really know how seriously we are dropping the [hyped-consumerism] ball.

and she said, bless her heart, “oh, but you’ll make it a good day for her. i know you will.”

and i said “well, not really. none of us are very happy. we’re not looking forward to this holiday at all.”

the truths of the matter are this:

m will love simply being home with us for days on end. and she will enjoy spending time with her grandparents and her baby cousin e and her favorite aunt and uncle in the whole world. and she’s getting some great gifts from them, and they’ll create a festive atmosphere complete with the excitement of ripping open packages and gorging on holiday food and staying up late.

and we are very grateful that they are here and will do those things, because we can’t.

i should be big and fat and round and waddling and tired and hemorrhoidal and preparing to birth a beautiful baby who is supposed to come to us in the cold winter months and stay with us — living, breathing, playing, crying, pooping, biting, smiling — for a long, long time. instead, i am trying (and failing) to find a christmas ornament in her memory. because i don’t feel like i can commemorate her with a stupid decoration, i don’t want to decorate at all.  i am trying (and failing) not to be so, so angry at all the healthy living babies people around me people are gushing about. because i am angry i am tense and my head hurts and my mouth is dry and i want to curl in a ball and sleep until 2009 and i am afraid to talk to people because they want to show off pictures of their children and grandchildren with santa and it’s all i can do to say to them “hey, idiot, remember me? the woman whose infant daughter just died?”

i want to hold and treasure m, and i do: i spend every waking moment with her holding her in my lap or cuddling her. and she is ecstatic about this. but i do not want to celebrate. not a goddamned thing.

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