Tuesday, May 16, 2006
The Real Mother's Day Poem
A Five-Year-Old to Her Mommy
In the tub behind a duck curtain
CJ narrates her poem and Lyle struggles
to pee. “I like her because she was born
before me and that’s very special, I think.”
Then Lyle hops into the tub and CJ sways
naked, sucking on a green wash cloth
“I like you because I love who you are.
You always give me a good breakfast.
You give me pop tarts I like. I like
about mommy that she’s really good
at teaching me how to do exercises.
And mommy don’t forget I love you
always.” How do you love her? I ask.
“I love her always. That’s it.
That’s the poem. I wanna see it.
Are we gonna cut the page out?”
she asks, reaching and dripping
bath water on my journal. I pull away
to protect our words but she protests,
“Daddy, let me see the poem again.”
I keep writing and she confesses,
“Daddy, I’m a mermaid. See how my tail is
criss-cross applesauce? But let me tell you
about Slimey.” She holds up the green washcloth.
“This is Slimey. Sometimes he likes to come up
to my mouth and argue with me,
so I have to bite him real gentle
like this.” Suck, suck, suck.
In her loft bed later she bounces
on her knees and says, “I love you,
Mommy, because we always play together.
Hide-and-go-seek, tag—do you know
that Where-is-Thumbkin game?—we play
that too when you’re at work, Daddy.
So you don’t get to see it.” She leans over
my journal asking as I write, “What’s that say?
Read it again from the beginning.
Read it! Read it! Don’t write it. Read!
So I do, starting with the last stanza.
She is all wiggly in bed, cuddling my arm,
her legs like scissors over the sheets, whispering
“Read it! Read it!” Then “Oh and Daddy did you know?
—you can write that on the paper, go ahead—
Did you know that I didn’t come up
with any ideas for a Mother’s Day gift?
Do you have any ideas?”
How about this poem, CJ?
“What poem?” This one that we’re writing
up here when you should be sleeping.
“Daddy,” she says, smiling, “I like that
you wrote about at the beginning how Lyle
struggles to pee.” She laughs. “That’s funny.
Ok. Read it from the beginning.
Read it! Read it! Don’t write it. Read!”
HillCountryWriter Category: Poetry
Technorati Tags: poetry writing verse
I asked Amy what she thought about the poem gift. She said, "What do you mean? What do I think about it? I loved it!"
She said she liked the other poem too, but she was glad I didn't give it to her as a gift. Too disturbing she said.
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