NaBloPoMo 5

Mussels

As the afternoon converses
with the day’s dying light
at the beach near our house
my son and husband find a few mussels,
opened and empty,
shimmering along the shore.
They put some in their pockets
to add to his collection of big kid things:
feathers, uneaten acorns, rocks from the driveway—
currency for a toddler crossing into boyhood.
Meanwhile, my husband knocks on the door
of middle age, rubs his back that aches from bending.
His patience grows weary
from small talk with a small child.
They walk back to the house
in the summer heat
without speaking.

In this place they call silence,
away from my constant preening
and his sister’s machinations,
he takes his little sandy hand
across another country,
reaches for his father’s with all the strength
his four-year-old hand can muster.
Neither is willing to let go.

Comments

Catherine said…
Aah childhood - we had boxes and boxes of stones and bones in our house. Old sheep bones used to get collected when we were out in the country - I managed to pass the collection on to their school eventually, when they were studying bones!
I enjoyed the poem, but I think they are spelt "mussels"?
January said…
I like "boxes and boxes of stones and bones." Maybe you have enough for a poem?

And you're right, I did have the wrong spelling of mussels. Thanks!
chiefbiscuit said…
That's a wonderful poem about childhood and adulthood and where and how they intersect. The ending is perfect.
Jo said…
This sang to me.....I have two such boys!
Gorgeous poem, J. As always, you manage to create a complete scene: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Very well done.
Oh, January, this is so very good! I wonder what is happening with your manuscript? You should have a book out (with this in it)!
betty said…
This poem evoked memories of taking my daughter to the sea shore when she was very little.
I especially liked:
"he takes his little sandy hand
across another country,
reaches for his father’s with all the strength
his four-year-old hand can muster."
polka dot witch said…
aaahhh. bless nablopomo for drawing out the poet in poet mom. :)

i missed reading your work!
Jack said…
Love the immediacy there. Those are totally the sorts of things I had a box of when I was small. I also like how you seem to draw a circle around the two of them, and yet the lines about how you and his sister aren't there make the family feel complete as well.
Rethabile said…
"Currency for a toddler crossing into boyhood."

Great line. True line. My son's nine and it defines him just like that. How old's your son?
January said…
Thanks Rethabile. My son is 4 going on 44! But he's just at that age where he can really express himself, tell us his likes and dislikes. He truly is his own man.
January said…
Hi Jack, I think the poem says a lot about how males relate to each other. Sometimes there's a silence that men have to cross when women are not around.

Thanks for stopping by. Looking forward to visiting your blog today.
January said…
Oh, Carolee--NaBloPoMo also brings out the late nights and the constant pressure to write each day of the month.

I know it's silly but once I get into these projects I feel obligated to actually do the assignment and not fudge on how I do it. Of course I'll spend the next four months complaining about burnout!

:)
kimberley said…
This piece has such emotional resonance, a window into that silence and the volumes spoken in their hands tightly intertwined.
I especially responded to these lines:
They put some in their pockets
to add to his collection of big kid things:
feathers, uneaten acorns, rocks from the driveway—
currency for a toddler crossing into boyhood.
I also like the fact that the poem is expressly about the speakers son and husband- it gives the feeling of mom standing at the window watching.
January said…
Thanks for your comments, Kimberly. I really appreciate it.

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