A Child Skates, 6 AM Practice

The dark cold world 
still asleep

little brother, little sister
tucked in warm beds

you wake yourself,
shake off the easy dreams
and become your own dawn

A stuttering wake-up
it's tea for the two of us

a simple routine, we tick away
without many words

we know the wrong thing said
becomes our day

becomes the way
we carry ourselves
through this morning-night
through the drive ahead

In the car
sometimes we talk
two administrators
checking off the day's to-dos

sometimes we sit in silence
shocked to be upright and awake
and in motion

sometimes the radio
a distraction, a tempo, 
a pre-programmed mood 
for the hour to come
And sometimes when nothing is said
you interrupt
our mutual silent 
questions to ourselves

"Mom" you say

from the back seat
into the starless nothing between us
into the reverse twilight
trapped together in wondering
what comes next
"Mom" you say

and you say
and you say
and you say
and I don't have to wonder
what comes next

"Mom" you say
and you tell me
and I listen


And you tell me
that you are brave

And you tell me
that you are afraid

And you tell me of
 these crystal wings 
that rise or fall
with joy or fear

depending on
what comes next

But you never say
"It's hard to be alone"

You never tell me
"This solitude is too much"

this frozen moment 

I watch each morning
as fear and  fearlessness
beat together
lifting you over the ice

into beautiful flight

Together and always 
this same hour
though each day gets shorter

I wonder, someday
will all words run out
or the most of them

when you think back
will this magic hold for you
as it will for me -
purple, starless, 
the sun stopped 
below the horizon

until at last real dawn
comes rushing in

and you step outside
to math and science
to lockers and lunchrooms
into another version
of a girl I do not get to see


It's the ride home that's hardest
not the alarm clocks

it's the wondering where you are
this moment 

the wondering how you are
this day

the wondering where you will be
next week, next year

the early mornings
and the questions out loud
to myself

when the shimmering light
finally unbends itself 
into just another day

today, tomorrow... 
will she remember to tell herself
"I am afraid, 
but I am brave"

Will she remember the easy dream
she woke from each morning 

how I watched as she leapt and fell
and leapt and fell again

until she taught herself
to fly?


Magpie said...

That is breathtaking and lovely.

josetteplank.com said...

Thank you! I couldn't decide whether it was inspired or schmaltzy. I settled on a little of each.

Nothing like early morning and late evening to bring out life's poetry.

jess said...

I agree, beautiful!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Definitely lovely. The poem and the child, both.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Gorgeous J! I hope she gets a copy of this (someday if you don't share your blog now)---she will cherish it.

Mother Theresa said...

Fantastic! How can you write stuff like this so early in the morning? Come to think of it, it's quite a feat at any time of the day. Poetry, at least the non-corny kind, is completely beyond me. Lovely, both the poem and the photos!

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