Tuesday, November 12, 2019

November, Eighth Birthday

This being the first day when the fluffy stuff falls
over the lawn and meadow, it’s too cold
to meditate in front of the open door.
Still, I carry my turquoise mug outside
and stand
in the whip of the wind.
Snowflakes fall into my coffee.


This is a day when there is nothing
pressing.
So I go very slowly. I bundle up and
take a walk.
Then back to the mat to do yoga.

In between I am visited by a
an image that scours out my heart.
It is November, 1960, and
I am seven years old. My birthday
is coming in a day or two.

But my family has just been
uprooted from Connecticut
to upstate New York
where my dad has a good job
with IBM. Health benefits.
A pension.

When we moved into the
brand new Cape Cod house
the upstairs where we three kids sleep
is just two-by-fours
and thick chunks of insulation
the color of pink flesh.

That was such a scary time.
I’m remembering my baby
sister crying and saying she
wanted to go back home to
her “real house.” I remember
my  mother, distracted.
I am pretty sure she
was deeply sad, so homesick,
and scared shitless being two hours
away from her beloved parents and
family.

Suddenly I am determined
to run away.
I leave by the back door in the garage.
I wander through the
neighborhood of white houses.
Snow is crusty on
the ground and ice is in
my chest.
I’m not sure but I think I
cried, feeling sorry for myself.
Because it was almost
my birthday and that was supposed
to be a happy time and
I am not happy at all.

At some point I
decided there was no
point in running away.

In my mind, I am still
so awfully sad. I am still poised
by the back door into the
garage. My hand is in a mitten
and my heart is empty.

Today I see that little girl
and she is still crying. I
hold her in my memory
and wrap my arms around
her tightly. I pray that she may
know how much she was
loved then and
now.


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