by Diana Ha
When I was just myself, not latched onto and not
stalking my own breath, I was not aware of how
much I could unfold and conform the male race
to my recesses, and what little I gave to hunger –
six pounds to a hundred sixty of it – would meet
with simple ferocious love. I became food,
grass, playground, air, altar,
my men forgive me when life is joy and joy is skin & sweat
bloodhounds circling the promises of woman. The way
my son set upon his drumstick last night, he deboned it,
Genghis Khan on mission, worked
the cartilage between molars waiting for the jaw
lines of a young man, eyes closed to conserve energy, wrapping
his senses around the pleasure in his mouth,
I wish life were so accessible for me.
I studied his tender oval chin, turning
the poetry of it, his rapturous aggression. My husband, my boy swoop
into the moment’s ascendency while I take longer,
look out from the seconds that make up the minute.
My body has to practice and permit.
Happiness doesn’t come
bearing me up so readily; I wait and wait
at the threshold and it lingers on the other side. My men
eat, chase, swelter, sleep, their day’s laughter
lucent in the night
sky of my contemplations
They met where the moon caught the sun’s
path, and in hope’s half-light, in his makeshift
tent, he now waits for twilight sun,
He – a soldier in love’s jungle; she – in the courtyard
of her days, terracotta, quotidian ceremonies, garden
stones at the feet of the persimmon tree.
Some dreams had a lifetime – brain, breath, and
rolled for room in the womb, but the day
comes, and air and joy are not hospitable
He was astonishing and fresh
out of my body, magical
out of the nothingness
that had been the world without him, just
six pounds ten ounces of will
I was awed – and quite gratified – when
some two months into the feeding he,
with his tongue, examined me against
the false teat of the bottle, and adjudged my breasts
more desirable. He sucked and turned
his cheek to press it upon my pillow, milk sticky
between us and suctioning his face slowly
into my skin before drying
on him like a watermark.
But my boy still loves my nipples and the round
rest of them. They form one vanishing
point into which all his mind pulls;
today, he laughed as his badminton
racquet slivered air, declaring:
staring at them will bring
me good luck.
I reached and missed the birdie.
See, Mommy? It worked!
Ten years old, he is funny, he is sick.
He runs between sea and sand, the song
and form of mermaids that await him
out deep, and the earthen floor where in younger
days he had sunk, milk-sopped and a little drunk
on his mother’s sweat. I watch the tide
sweep in, reaching to carry the M o M M y
inscribed in moist sand
out to sea.
But what has not been said of this, of
our voices meeting, our reflections hearing
each other in the river air
the nerves of our cerebellum alive
like wire, of this spiritual telepathy
like bared bodies agreeing,
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Diana Ha publishes in a variety of genres. Her articles, narratives, and poetry feature in magazines and anthologies, among them The Banner, New York’s Emerging Writers, California’s Best Emerging Poets, and with honorable mention in the Steve Kowit International Poetry Contest, The San Diego Poetry Annual. She teaches composition at California Baptist University and teaches writing at education conferences. Diana discusses culture, writing, and achievement with over 16,000 followers on her blog at holisticwayfarer.com. She details her professional development services at writexpressions.art.
Once upon a time, I imagined myself a poet, painter and musician, but that dream was lost when my family needed me. At least now I don’t feel I have sacrificed.