Thursday, October 27, 2005


I wrote this today, but it has been simmering for a while. Yes, unfortunately, it did really happen, I DID get lost in my own neighborhood. It was one of those rare moments when I rose to the heroic expectations that come with the job of being mother. Now she wants to go with walks with me all the time to have another "adventure."

Getting Lost in My Own Neighborhood
J.B. Rowell

We set out on a mother-daughter walk.
Feeling like I’m finally doing right by her
at the end of my hand with full smile
shining up at me, I smile back.
This is all she needs, I think, time with her mom,
not really me, but with the woman who
is infallible, towering, even beautiful,
especially when dressed like a mother should:
heels, lipstick, sparkly earrings.

Now it’s just the two of us in jeans,
walking shoes, down the trail
in our still new neighborhood
to the lake with strategically-placed boulders.
We sit on the one with the dip,
a cradle for our conversation,
listening to each other, to the ebb and flow
of bug sounds, not-so-distant highway,
geese flying overhead, naming colors
as the sun sinks beyond the static
of the lake surface.

Suddenly darker than expected
sooner than expected,
heading back in a hurry
the conversation changes
to reassurances
about the woods at night.
No there are no bears here, no lions,
definitely not monsters,
not the kind you’re thinking of anyway,
besides, here come the streetlights.
We’ll turn right, I’m sure it’s a shortcut,
now left, left again,
I had no idea the neighborhood
went on and on like this.
We actually end up
outside of it walking down a busy road
toward the entrance I hope
is just ahead, six-year-old daughter
in my aching arms, heavy head
on my shoulder, asleep but talking,
currents of speeding cars
almost pulling us under.

I become the mother I need
to be for her, hold her tight, whisper
I know just where we are,
we’re having an adventure,
we’re almost home,
it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay,
I convince myself.


Blogger reniebob said...

I love this poem! Such an interesting balance we must strike -- being the strong confident MOM and still being utterly human. At what point are they ready to know just how human we are?? At what point can we say, you know what, we're lost.
Good stuff....

8:46 PM, October 27, 2005  

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