Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Art of Memorization

I wrote this 14 years ago. The memory is still vivid......

The Art of Memorization

He is your last baby, I told myself,
Put this where you can find it again.
He was four months old. The hour was midnight.
The dogs were asleep. The baby nursed.

I held him in my left arm, cradling his head
with my right hand. Snow fell outside.
New milk trickled across my stomach.
He is my last baby, my last baby.

My son is seventeen now, and shaves.
He bench presses two hundred pounds and above.
His language flies from high-tech to hard-core.
His car roars, his guitar screams.

But I took that moment to impress forever
an hour of infancy into my brain.
Seventeen-year-old senses come alive,
smelling my nursling, hearing him swallow.

I feel the silk of his baby neck,
and my palm against his diapered back.
My kiss on his head is as real as the grin
I’ll be lucky to get in passing tonight.

To prepare for my quiet retirement, for the longing
for amplifiers turned up high and rumbling
dual exhausts in the drive, I practice
now the art of recording time.


Sabine said...

Thanks, Suze. I know you weren't thinking of me when you wrote this, but you could have been.

17 is so alarmingly close to flying the coop.

Susan said...

I was thinking of Bridgett, at least when I posted it, but I hope the poem speaks to loving mothers everywhere.

Yeah, 17......and they get there so quickly.

Bridgett said...

oh thank you for that. I've been thinking similar things of late.

crystal said...

Great poem. Did you post this before with a photo?

Susan said...

You're welcome, Bridgett. I'm happy that it resonates.

Crystal, I thought I'd posted it before, but it didn't show up when I searched. I can't think of a picture I would have put with it, though.

Dona said...

My last baby turned 17 in January. I didn't take the time to memorize. I think I thought I'd have more. Pity.

crystal said...

I was thinking of the photo of your husband and son.

Indigo Bunting said...

Wow. Fantastic.

Amanda said...

I remember printing this in my inagural issue of the "women's" newsletter I launched at university. It touched me then, but now that I've nursed my first baby, it actually makes me ache!