Melancholy Baby


I don’t know where I got the idea
I should be like a game show host,
happy all the time,
that my loved ones are contestants
and I am the harbinger of their fortunes,
that it is my job to assure
the audience ratings stay up.

This worrying about my woes,
it is a double bind.

Sadness comes suddenly,
a hairline fracture, a hairpin turn,
a hair trigger, a bad hair day.
Sometimes nothing at all,
but there it is, a boulder I roll
from shoulder to shoulder,
a hot potato I try and hoist
into someone else’s lap.

This could be a love poem
to my honey, who last night
after working a fourteen hour day,
who is still recovering from the flu,
came home to thrusting clavicles.
I trusted he wouldn’t don
satin shorts and boxing gloves
and he didn’t, not even when I mentioned
our lack of sex lately,
“I’ll remember not to get sick again”
he said, sweetly serious.

It could be a psalm to Spirit,
to whom I protested as I rode my bicycle,
pumping out please please please 
with each revolution of gear and pedal,
who responded with a sun break in dark clouds.
I scanned for a rainbow to no avail,
but realized for the first time,
I could make one myself
red mailbox, blue sky,
yellow line in the road,
green in wide swaths.

I could be testifying
to teatime with cookies or merely time
or my daughter who had
an organic chemistry test,
which after whining,
I remembered to ask her about it.
Each was employed like an ice pack,
and then frozen peas
when the ice was used up.

Recently my sister called in tears
and I, for once, didn’t get out my tool box.
Down into pelvis and femur, floor boards
and grass roots, I let my breath travel.
Through satellites and over a thousand miles
of cool and verdant January earth,
I placed my hand upon her heart.
Only now in mid-life, could I swaddle her,
only having been swaddled myself.