Posted in Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, My Poetry, OctPoWriMo Challenge

Husband Humanity – OctPoWriMo, Oct. 8

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Husband Humanity

It can be easy, in the living of hours days weeks

months years

To think of him only as he relates to me.

My husband.

My children’s father.

My best friend.

The man who scratches my back

Brings me coffee and dinner

Who provides and fixes and sometimes grumbles

About the noise we make and the money we spend.

The man whose smile touches me to the core

And whose voice still makes my heart thump

The way it did in those long-ago first days.

And who wants me always, and no one else

And touches me as though I am the rarest treasure.

Then, with the sickening jolt of reality

I am forced to see him as other, separate, himself –

Sitting in the NICU, holding our comatose newborn

Me watching the heart monitor, but him

Taking in every detail of our baby boy’s face

As he died in his Daddy’s big strong arms.

How he kept on holding that small body

He had not been able to keep safe

For more than an hour, not wanting to let go of a child

He would never be able to hold again

As our baby grew cold, and pale, and then waxen

Like a figure borrowed from a museum

I had to stop looking, focus elsewhere

But he did not.

He communed, father to son

His attention and love total and sacred

And he told me later that he had longed

To cradle Elijah up on his shoulder

The way he did Jeremiah

And a year later Annalise

But did not because

He was afraid he would never be able

To do that with another baby,

If he did.

Or the day we argued with hurled pointed rage

And, he, once again

Fled the scene of the crime of passion

By going off early to work, leaving me

A seething fury bereft of hug and kiss.

And when the phone rang, and I knew

It was him, I didn’t answer, teeth clenched

That he would dare to call,

Pretending there was no fight, no reason why

I would still be angry.

Too, too much time went by before

The sheriff knocked on the door,

And told me, over the dog’s alarmed barking

Your husband hit a deer on his motorcycle,

He’s OK, but being airlifted to

Albany Medical Center.”

And I hugged and clung a moment to

The two living children we made together

Bitterness drowned in anguish and clutching fear

Before I gathered us up to go to the Emergency Room

Still not knowing if he would live or die.

Through the dark, through two waiting rooms, and then

The young surgeon who spoke calmly of things

Like eight broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and a lacerated spleen

And ended with “minimal risk of mortality”

As my world heaved up and lurched into the paradox

Of terror and relief.

Finally to the tiny room filled with strangely huge machines

And a large man lying flat and unmoving

As fractured moans broke from his depths –

A man I did not even recognize at first

As the man who, exactly fifteen years before

I had first met, on his thirty-third birthday.

I have known him always as he is vertically, and well

His power apparent in size and frame and bearing I thought

Were permanent and unchanging facts of our lives.

Yet, here he lay, felled by a chance and ill-timed leap,

And a winter warm enough to ride to work and home again.

His body, so strong, no match at all for the pavement

One hundred feet further down that country road.

The pain made him unable to move or really talk, and later

He did not know if he had dreamed us, or if we were really there.

He had called me, he said, much later,

To say goodbye

Because it was late at night and he feared everyone had gone to bed

And so he had somehow found his phone, and gotten it up under his helmet

To call 911, and then me.

He told me too that before we arrived

The doctors had placed a chest tube, and done an MRI

Stretching his arms up over his head despite the broken ribs

Sealing him in the tube

While he screamed.

These moments, the illusion shatters

And I know that he lives

Not only though me or for me

But fully, alive and experiencing every

Breath of his own life.

Here, beside me on the couch watching Castle

Because I asked him to, and he loves me

Is the little boy who got lost in divorce and remarriage

And a female-filled house where the only other male

Had to see in him the reflection

Of his father’s face.

For whom school was a torment because his mind

Shifted constantly from one idea to another,

And  he too sharp and alive to bear being bored and shaped

Into something ‘acceptable’.

Whose soul could not be imprisoned within

Classroom walls, and, instead

Wandered out to the mossy, wet freedom

Of the Oregon rain forest.

I’m learning, at long last and just in time

To see him always this way, as a person

With life, integrity, thoughts and dreams of his own,

With a reality that doesn’t always include me.

To look into his eyes and look past the color

And my own reflection and perception

To the being within.

Jim, at a cemetery in Kingston, MA. Memorial Day 2010.

It’s a blog hop!


I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

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