everything is golden

The last two days have balanced the perfect amount of light and space and breath between autumn palms. I have felt very much like writing poetry, and like admiring forgotten things, and like drinking something spiced and sweet, and like doing nothing at all, too, in the best kind of way. Laced with contentment. The world breathes out and the leaves rain along the sidewalk and the morning sun takes its time. There is gold pouring over everything. The treetops sing in shades of red. We wake and we unfold another day and we sleep again at night, if we're lucky, and everything is going well, even when it's not.

In the evening, after Aspen has fallen asleep in the cot beside our bed, I light the last solid piece of a eucalyptus candle and fold myself into the sheets. He and I speak softly about the future - about how nice it will be to have a home of our own, sound walls and windows and doors that close. To be rooted again. To have enough to ease our worries. To watch our children grow. We toss about words and times like tomorrow, and this weekend, and next year.

But it's been hard to focus on anything but the moment. I write and I scheme and I pin pretty pictures and I write wide letters in the margins of my calendar. But my plans are often fogged over, like a whisper on morning glass. I am distracted by the present, and that's a fine problem to have, I think. There is too much that is fleeting, that is rushing, that will never be just as it is again. I hold the heat of my palm agains the cool of her cheek and wait, smiling.


to the bones

Today is the first of October, and I want to begin again.

All around me the world is molting, the colors melting, shaking free from old bones like leaves turning yellow and red and brown. They fall to nourish the soil, to heal the wear of the season from the husk of the tree. 

I welcome this transition. I think that we all deserve to die and cleanse and come back to life, too, the same as the tree.

There is a babe rolling lazily beneath my breast and another laying her head against my shoulder and a mother who haunts me and a husband who holds me and I don't want to write about them any longer. I don’t want to spread their life and their secrets like butter between my palms. I feel sick about the stories I’ve already shared. I didn’t ask you, I didn’t ask her, or him, and for that I am sorry. I feel the words that cannot be unpublished pressing against my lungs and knocking around my teeth each night as I try to sleep. 

They are louder than the sound
of my own breath. And I want
to silence them.

I am moving away from the external. I no longer want to tell loudly. I want to show - with gentle hands, with quiet truth, with honest stories. I no longer want to write about them. I want to write about the ones I don't know and cannot touch. About the hum. About the collective stories that surround us, quietly, gently, honestly. 

Without name. Without blame. 

At midnight last week, I woke consumed with a fever that felt like an urgent burning of the world from deep within my gut. It was the beginning. The first layer was flayed and as it fell to the ground before my feet I  heard it promise to nourish me. I turned gold and then orange and then crimson. Something set on fire. From the roots, to the crown. Breathing into me. Exhaling softly.

So, here I am. On the first of October. It’s cooler today than it was yesterday, and it will be cooler tomorrow still. The things that live and breathe loudly during the summertime are folding inward. And I am happy. And I am growing. And I want to grow quietly, softly, honestly, humbly.

I am inviting you back into my bones, differently this time. Uncurling my fingers. Reaching, reaching.

Welcome, sweet love. Thank you for being so kind to me.

+ weekly fiction, first and foremost
+ flash fiction, too. under 200 words
+ a day in photos
+ food stories & other musings
+ postpartum advice & stories
+ journal entires entirely about me, not relating to my family

I am not afraid.

After I'm sure that she is sleeping, she lifts her tired head and lays it on my belly. She traces circles in the hollow where the sides of my ribcage meet. "Baby brother," she says, and she kisses the stretching skin that rests temporarily between them. "Ni-Night, baby brother." Her hair still smells like campfire smoke and dusty pine. I inhale her. I am not afraid.

the blush

There is a woman at the cafe with a new baby, one that's still purple around the ears and sleepy. He's tucked against her breast, knees folded, fingers kneading, as if he is still in the honey-sweet sea of her womb. He's half here. An in-between place.

She looks beautiful, and she feels beautiful, though she is surely still bleeding, though she is surely still sore around the hips and painted with the kind of exhaustion that only comes with the arrival of needing new life. The happy haze of motherhood is lifting her tired eyes and turning her cheeks a tender pink. She has been well cared for, this mother. Someone held the slow breathing babe this morning while she washed, and pressed her hair, and painted her eyelashes a deep black. Someone heated oats on the stove and leaned into her and said, "You're doing well, I am proud of you." Maybe a husband, or a lover, or her own mother. Someone. Someone.

Her friends have joined her, one on either side. They sing like doves and place warm hands against the sleeping babe, against the tender skin of the mother, her hair, her face. One takes the child in her arms and rests his cheek against her shoulder. She rubs his back in slow, neat circles. The other fills cups with water and ice and pulls from a paper bag summer berries, thick cream, slices of bread and cheese.

How loved this child must feel, cradled against the shoulder of his mother's keeper. How loved this mother must feel with new fingers reaching, with new heart swelling, with soft and familiar hands to touch, to heal, to warm.

There is such a beautiful color that blushes the mothers who are not alone. I felt the way it spreads, thick like butter, from time to time. During the first months with Aspen. But there could have been more. I could have asked for more. I will ask for more, this time.

I wonder how we may all be privy to such care - how we may all become blessed with a mother's keeper. The kind of whole-being nourishment that is a right to all who birth, to all who carry beneath tired hearts and in the nook of tired arms.

In the cafe, watching this new mother like an old dove on a branch overhead, I am more inspired than I've ever been. This is a right. This is necessary. And to all mothers, somehow, I will make it so.