Blur

Driving down our old street today
I looked through the living room window
of our old house
to the sunny spot
where I nursed a newborn
eight years ago

I drove down the block
where she and I walked in the crisp
November mornings
to Great Harvest for a cinnamon roll
with icing
then later
where I alone would go
skirting around the corner
to sneak a cigarette
leaning against brick
incognito
and for a moment,
neither wife, friend nor mother

This, the block where we walked
the dog
every morning and every afternoon
to the little park
where she played pirate
on the dilapidated playground –
I noticed they’ve spruced it up since –
where she invented new names
for herself

Squirrel Girl
lived in one or those trees.
Then came a slew of sisters
Butterfly, VioletCandyland
and their little brother Eric

Orphaned by their parents
they lived under a bush around the corner
would appear
on the side porch
all casual and self-contained.
Wanna play?

Later a reluctance to swim
to the deep end
even when holding my hand
and the edge of the pool

Then whiplash-like
suddenly
diving and jumping
all cannonballs and marco polo
the old names retired
along with the swimmies
and the dollhouse
replaced by a sewing machine
dozens of little notebooks
captioned drawings that tell me more
about her feelings
some days
than her words or her silences

Now she yells from the car
Mama, It’s Lady Gaga

Now she yells from her room
Like I care!
still padding around in plush feet pajamas

At bedtime, when she asks
if I’ll snuggle with her
I crawl in, so relieved
when she wraps herself
around me
and gets that look of bliss on her face

replacing the angry one
that I try not to fear

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