Three years ago he is heralded by
a tidal wave, breaking like something
in Hollywood they shoot. The white girl
first feeds him with all her insides and
he eats her up, smiling at her smiling.
Two years ago and she makes a prayer:
never may he have an accident.
Shaped like an umbrella with his arms
outstretched he learns all at once
to step the chasm between chairs.
Naps are mastered and performed:
routines are like a comfort blanket
for kids and parents alike. They mark
the beast of sleep, prop up the days.
One year ago she glances across at
the red light and almost doesn’t stop.
He says in his little voice: ‘You okay?’
She shakes her head and hands shake.
Later, she says ‘My God, I was a long
way down.’ Her tears run over his face
when she remembers almost leaving.
No years ago and we are all of us flesh
and blood and more entropy than
the second law of thermodynamics has.
A rather different status for time exists
when dealing with a three year old:
he finds extra moments in little corners.
Where someone else’s bid for immortality
goes unnoticed, he can pick up time
and tuck it away like a pocketful
of gumnuts. Every hour spent watching
a line of ants won back with a skipped
nap. Every minute spent experimenting
with your favourite seasonal fruits and a
plastic hammer leaves a new lifetime
of stains on the carpet. Every second
ticks back to three years ago when we
first taught each other to swim to the surface.
Today's poem is based on suggestions from eight people:
@_boobook_: “Routines are like a comfort blanket for kids” (Nicole Avery , Planning With Kids)
@matchtrick: 'They shoot the white girl first' (Toni Morrison, Paradise)
@_camer0n: "experimenting with your favourite seasonal fruits" (The CSIRO total wellbeing diet)
@spikelynch: "May he have an accident shaped like an umbrella" (Primo Levi, The Periodic Table)
@hannibal_: "The second law of thermodynamics has a rather different status" (Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time)
@ernmalleyscat: "little corners where someone's bid for immortality goes unnoticed" (Edmund White, The Flâneur)
@timsterne: "My God, I was a long way down" (Knut Hamsun, Hunger)
@gretapunch: "She glances across the red light" (Joe Dunthorne, Submarine)
Today is my wee boy Luka's third birthday. Happy three years, blondie :)