Lindsey Bellosa | Poems on parenting

When I love parenting

When we sit down to lunch and I watch my words going into your eyes,

when you say “my home” and I hear love in your voice, and marvel

that this is a house we have made “home” for you.  When you ride

your new bike with careful determination, when I watch you traverse

 

the world with enthusiasm but always come back to me, like your baby

brother learning to walk: face broad with pride; coming to me with all the

joyful certainty of love. When I read you books and remember being small,

and how my mother sang in the kitchen, exactly as I do now—

 

in these moments, tasks don’t seem meaningless, and you boys seem

fleeting. Parenting is not a well, where efforts disappear into unknown depths.

It is filling a glass with joy until it brims.  Our lives are the glass.

In these moments, my eyes drip with joy.

 

***

Together, we will lead the way to the moon

(Based on Maria Rizzo’s painting of the same title)

 

Parenting is like being trees in a forest:

Everyone is doing the same thing,

 

but no one knows how they’re doing it.

Like being trees in a forest at night,

 

we just keep pushing upwards—day to day,

moments growing their own shapes.

 

Once love was like birds: fluttering

heat, bits-and-pieces.

 

Now time circles around us—

shadows on a forest bed,

 

hard blue cries of night animals

issuing warnings and longings.

 

That’s because we are shelters now.

Love has roots.

 

It reaches into the hard places: cold ground,

depth of fear.

 

But it has direction too. Look up.

Together, we lead the way to the moon.

 

Life eddies around us, white

moonlight. Our little birds

 

nest in our arms.

 

***

 

Worry

There are times I am sure,

sure I am doing it right:

doing it the most thoughtful way,

truest to myself and to what

I want to give them—

 

padding around in the half-grey light

of morning with books and bowls

of freshly picked blueberries.

I sip my coffee and read aloud

as my older interrupts: What dat mean?

 

and there are times I’m sure I’m wrong—

they will tell their future partners or psychiatrist

or themselves: I am flawed because of my mother,

who never relaxed.  Whose hands were bird claws

gripping my shoulder.  Who should’ve just

 

let us watch some goddamn cartoons, and given us

the Lucky Charms cereal.  After all, childhood

is so brief— it can be sweet as marshmallows,

as freshly picked berries, as light touching

those whorls of blonde curls

 

and then, quickly, sticky and messy:

another spilled bowl, another flash

of angry words, another page ripped from a book—

but only a page.  Only one fragment

of the stories their lives will become.

 

 

Lindsey Bellosa

 

 

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