Monday, June 14, 2010

Most mornings now I eat my cereal on the front porch
Sitting on the stoop, barefoot
surrounded by green clover, weeds, spindly overgrown pansies
two cats (one not mine, but who claims me anyway)
and a dog.

Often called "quiet solitude" it is anything but that
Though I still recognize the hint and feel a nudge from my
surroundings that I am sitting in a new reality
And the world I inhabit is tilting in another direction
It is one without children

There were paintings in our house when I was young
Wildlife ones painted by an artist friend
who is still a friend
Two of them were placed on the wall above the sofa
side by side
one of a red fox,
the other, two squirrels
One afternoon my nephew, very young at the time,
pronounced them as,
"Two Skunks and a Dog!"

I often think of that when flanked by these
two cats and the beagle all vying and vying and vying
for the leftover milk
in my cereal bowl
Realizing that those paintings now
reside in another house on another wall
My memory of them an echo
And only projected upon these
unsuspecting creatures whose energy too
is fleeting through time

I was thinking yesterday and this is without
pride or gratitude, mind you, I wasn't even feeling
guilt about it when I recognized
that I was holding it, holding time
sitting in a perfect 'something'
On the front porch
I experienced something quite undone, unfettered
undressed, even unrequited
I just happened to be there with the animals
and they didn't know it, of course, because
they are always there
But I watched in quiet servitude to whatever
it is I serve
Acknowledging, simply, yes it is--
(Held and gone that quickly),
It is perfect.

Whatever perfect even means, I don't know
But it is the best description I have
Because earlier, or later, depending on perspective
I'd awoken at around 2.30, deeply troubled when
I heard the word "mom" spoken so clearly
by my oldest child who is no longer living with me

He wasn't there when
I opened my eyes
I got up to check on the smaller children
and wondered if I would find his shoes by the door
Where he used to leave them after coming in at night
In the past it was a certain sign of his safety
that he'd arrived home
But the space by the front door was
and is empty of his shoes

He is gone
And so I released my panic for his sake
I went back to bed with a soft heart
A mind eased
That his shoes are now sitting (or not sitting)
beside another door
at this late, or early, hour
for me to not worry over anymore


  1. deep breath and sigh. so beautiful, karen.

    this reminds me of a book i once read. a middle aged mother whose child has moved out into the world is walking along a busy street. as people pass and brush up against her shoulder, she wonders why older women seldom tell younger women about that day when their children will leave their shoes "beside another door."

    you've expressed it perfectly here.

  2. It's been too long, hoping all is well. I'll go catch up on your blog right now.

    So glad to have a reader and one like you, especially :)