28 February 2019

winter, here.

midweek, francis and i stroll to music classes and playgroups just steps from the hospital where he was born and it's become a meditation of sorts, for this winter's weekly rhythm to unfold a breath away from holy ground of winter last. we pulse past lincoln center, past columbus circle, along the very route we journeyed in a yellow taxi thirteen months and one lifetime ago, the moon that night a waxing crescent, my moon-belly fuller than full. his cheeks billow impossibly, jiggling as we roll over bumpy bits of pavement, and i think, oh, my dove, look how far we've come...

i cannot look at him and not see our first days together. i cannot give him a bath without thinking of his very first one, lavender oil and bubbles, a fluffy white towel draped over the kitchen cart, easing him into warm sink water, ever gently, careful-careful, making sure not to get his belly button...

living a second winter together with our boy with copper eyes has been a love song of moving slowly and paying attention, the magic of making a life, a home, a babyhood seeping right through the humblest daily movements. we do the family wash in lavender -- how he adores the laundromat, still -- and there are things we always have on hand: eggs, butter, berries, chives, parmesan, whole milk....the simples of our days. too: piles of books on the floor for getting lost in, and we do -- board books for baby, poetry for me, which is, of course, for him. quiet mornings: our sweet papa at home with us, milky coffee ("co-co!") sipped on the floor of the nursery, francis at the piano, on the drum, looking back at us every so often, a concerto. strolls across the village, jaunts to brooklyn, dream-talks of where to next. long sits in bright cafés. sunday suppers around a full table. records ever spinning. slow walks across central park in snow and sun to the european painting wing of the met to bow down to the ballerinas again and again and again. with each waking, francis rises to the top of his toes to gaze beyond the window. the fruit bowl, recycling bin, and mum's makeup are true marvels. he is generous of food and smiles. i sip café au laits innumerable, watching him wave and charm whole coffeehouses. i am the most charmed of all. i watch him hold and study and soul-deeply appreciate a lemon or a spoon. he is gentle, he is enchanted, he could do this for an hour, or eternity or longer, and i could watch him for the same. i watch him, and i am invited to pay attention, to understand reverence, to participate more fully in this life. i mother him, and i realize he is raising me.

nights, francis cries for me and i shimmy down our loft ladder and tiptoe across floorboards, my favorite journey, and i scoop him into my arms and ask him where he went in his dreams, but he does not answer, for he has yawned and docked himself on the island of my chest, cheeks painted with roses, breaths rising and falling with the tide. from there, we sleep heart-close, closer-than-close, baby curling into me for milk and cuddles across the small hours. these hours: the holiest i have known. 

papa travels often and sound of footsteps in the hall chased by rolling wheels and jingling keys will forever be the sound of peace. when he kisses me hello or goodbye or for no reason at all, a tiny boy perches at our feet, puckering his lips and smacking, and i think, this is important...

in the way i like to glance around the apartment and see my husband's sweater draped over a chair or his house shoes by the door, i like to scatter baby's things around like art, and aren't they? his bonnets, sweaters, woolen suspenders...a masterpiece. his happy spirit and apple cheeks...my own magnum opus. 

i've strung paper stars from francis' birthday across the nursery and one afternoon he reached up-up-up and tugged them downward, gathering paper stars in his palms, one by one. later, i was tidying the nursery and noticed he'd made his horse a mane of stars. my magnificent boy. purest poetry. 

a memory of delight: the red balloon ("boon!") i gathered for baby's valentine, and the duet of balloons papa sent to our door while he was away. uncoordinated. unbelievable. 

la vie en rose. 


  1. alexa, what a love letter to life itself.
    how glorious.

  2. Oh my. I think I will read this one over and over. This is bone marrow poetry, Alexa. I hope your love letters and songs will fold themselves into a book one day.