I wrote this poem two days ago–revised it a bit. Mostly to condense it down and work with line breaks. I know that literary journals won’t often publish poems that have been published online first (even self-published for that matter) but these are early drafts. And besides. The timing of these poems are important.
This poem led me to a series of questions about myself that I have yet to answer: How much can I change / adapt / alter myself/my knowledge/ my ways of being in the world in order to be the best parent I can be for Holden? It is even possible? Ideal?
Slow Wave and Spike As Metaphor
It happens like this: there’s an accumulation
of information, a wave that moves from your
unconsciousness to consciousness slowly.
Your preschooler turns away from Want to go
to Dairy Queen? without an answer. He mimics
dialogue from Monster’s Inc. and recites Yoshi’s
Feast after breakfast, in the car, as he falls
asleep. One morning you know something’s just
not right: blank stares, locked eyes, what is seen
evidence of what is unseen. Then, one day,
a spike. Your child drops a tall glass of water,
shards of sharp confetti on the kitchen floor.
He plunges his whole self toward into the pool
of sparkly ice, your body a wedge between
his screams and the glass his wants to eat.
As you sweep it up into a skillet with your bare
hands, he climbs over your back. No words
work. This is not just a preschooler’s meltdown.
But what? These slow waves and spikes happen,
over and over, not as many as those he experiences
in his sleep, but enough for the realization
to crystallize: What you know will no longer
suit you. What you know to be true about yourself
doesn’t fit this child. That broken paradigm
sparkles on the floor. Leave some cracked glass
to remind you: it’s not just your dreams that must
be revised, it’s the intellectual surface—learning,
writing, words—upon which you stand. Start
over. Muster energy to relearn. You can’t ask
your child to do what you cannot do yourself.