Monday, October 24, 2005

In Search of Free Time

This poem appeared in my first chapbook entitled Now Playing in which all of the poems titles are also movie titles. I think most mothers share the same (often insane!) worries and also crave the same thing: a little free time every now and again!

The Silence of the Lambs

It was only a minute, I swear
it couldn’t have been more than five
and I awaken to nothing but static on the television
and late afternoon sunlight
slanting through the open blinds.
My first thoughts upon waking:
where are they, where have they gone, are they okay?
Then the mind pulls up every graphic image
of every horrible crime ever committed –
blood-spattered walls, a young girl dead
on the carpet, blonde hair a net
for all her dreams and her mother’s dreams
that now will never come true;
a baby boy, cold and hard and blue,
being pulled from a dumpster,
umbilical cord still attached;
a toddler they found floating face-up in the Cahaba River,
skin pasty and bloated, no dental records yet
so no way to make a positive identification,
and I cannot find them fast enough.
I call and call and call, my voice cracking,
run up the stairs, mind racing at warp speed,
they’re nowhere, they’ve gone, someone’s stolen them.
Then reason settles in, and I try hard not to panic,
knowing they’re probably just outside or hiding,
playing a game or a trick, just doing what boys do, but
where are they, where have they gone, are they okay?
Out the front door, I take the steps in one leap,
run around the corner of the house,
and that’s when I see them –
their blonde heads bobbing together and apart,
together and apart, a huddle of three
little Indians cross-legged and chanting,
lost in a world where magic beans
will grow a beanstalk straight to the sky.
I want to shout, I want to say goddammit,
I was looking for you, don’t you know
I was worried, answer me when I call.
Instead, I head back for the front door, careful
not to make any noise, careful,
because I don’t want them to see me.
Once inside, I close the blinds and change the channel.
Resume my position on the couch.
Moments like these are hard to come by.

4 Comments:

Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

reniebob,
Glad you joined as a team member/cohost - this poem is perfect and sums up many of the fears and failings I've faced. Love the heads bobbing with the beanstalk straight to the sky.
Very honest,
J.B.

5:40 PM, October 24, 2005  
Blogger reniebob said...

What's your biggest (perhaps most unreasonable) fear about the kids? I remember when mine were small I was psycho about them choking. I still wake up sometimes from dreams of someone choking. Why that, I wonder???

9:12 PM, October 24, 2005  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Don't have one specific, long-lasting fear, more like a myriad of fears that come and go. What stays is a nagging guilt about being a working mom, about not being there, ". . . when the questions and moments come that really matter, that can nudge their lives one way or another." This is from a poem I have in the works. If I stayed home full time, I'd probably have just as many issues on the flip side! By the way, did you get the plastic mesh food bag when the kids were babies? The anti-choking device invented by a dad? That's what we need to do, invent something ingeniously simple that capitalizes on our own fears!

9:57 PM, October 24, 2005  
Blogger reniebob said...

How 'bout a book of poetry for moms that's not afraid to say how we screw up?! Oh, yeah, we're working on that one, aren't we. :)

2:25 PM, October 25, 2005  

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