It’s strange to read this poem again, now that my sons are grown up. I wrote this eight years ago! More of my weather sonnets are in my chapbook Cloud Studies.
From here the tree looks like it’s hardly there,
half-formed and blurry in the shifting mist.
Like sleep, precipitation clouds the air
with fuzzy dreams and silence. I resist
the melancholy, choosing to believe
that clarity is understood, not seen.
Inside my son is playing games, one sleeve
pushed up, the other drooping in between
his fingers as I watch him laugh and frown.
The tv sprinkles light against his skin,
as indistinct as any fog while down
the hall his brother tunes his violin,
its notes as insubstantial as this day
when growing up still feels so far away.
Every two years my younger son must go to the hospital for tests. Today, we drove down to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and I am tired and happy, because he is fine. His echocardiogram, EKG, and stress test show that his repaired congenital heart defect is completely stable. All that’s left from the terror of his first few months is a minor heart murmur. Every other year I worry (so far, needlessly). And this year, when we came home, we discovered that one of the colleges to which he’d applied accepted him for autumn of 2015.
Everything feels strange.
Today’s high temperature was 70F—at the end of November. Spring has sprung at the tail end of autumn, but we know that there is snow coming for Wednesday. What does that mean? Probably nothing, but my brain keeps trying to create patterns from random events, like a broken clock still chiming the noon hour, long since past.
Several years ago I wrote a poem that feels exactly like today: Iridescence. It was published in my sonnet collection: Cloud Studies (you can read the entire collection for free, or listen to the delightful Nic Sebastian read them to you, right here).
You are not to blame. We separate.
We jump in the river, flailing, sink along
the slippery shore. Angels come too late.
Iridescence decorates the wrong
sky. I close my eyes against the sting
of antiseptic. Plastic tubing smells
forever. We pretend that everything
will be all right. His brother gathers shells
as though the sound of water matters. I
cry when no one knows. My darling son,
can you see the rainbows in the sky?
Perhaps. I know the morphine has not run
its course. The river beckons. I will keep
your dreams safe, my little boy. Just sleep.