I must wear goggles

To enter his secret world

Blue-green and quiet

Where he dives down

Kicking, kicking

Like an abalone diver with bone knife

Surfacing only

When absolutely necessary


Silver legs

Sprout up from the bottom like seaweed

And old men

With enormous bellies

Paddle by like ancient sea turtles


We wave to each other

In the silence

Here he will kiss me

Shooting water

Like a tunicate

And I am loath

To break the surface

Tell me

Tell me

Have you ever found yourself

in the kids’ play room

at a holiday party

hosted by your sort-of neighbors in the large house

where you went with your toddler because your

(husband, wife) was out of town

and it seemed like a good thing to do.


Where you didn’t start (of course)

The small talk with the strangers and the wings and the vegetables

and the wine and the cheese and the crackers

occupied you for a small bit

but when he found his way to this room

with its myriad toys

there was no way he was leaving.


And it was a mixed blessing, really

because you were stalling out

because you don’t even know these people

although the food is out there

but you have this mulled wine here

that you can nurse

while your toddler makes ice cream cones

held together with magnets

so there’s that.


And you must try to make conversation with

the other mom

who is stuck in this room

who drove here from some far out suburbs

where the schools are terrific

and the houses are Tuscan villas lite


She know the hosts through work

and as the silence grows

you desperately think you must have something in common

and your eyes settle on her small kids

quietly examining different bins of toys

and all you can come up with is that

you’ve both procreated


there’s that.


And when the atmosphere of it all

starts to become too crushing

(and your mulled wine is gone anyway)

you cite your son’s bedtime

(he is useful for this)

and make your way

down the spiraling staircase

into the main crush of the party

and there are more people here now

that you still don’t know

and you start to wonder if you can just sneak out

(it’s not cowardly

it just allows the hosts to do their hosting

more excellently)


but then you realize your coat is in the coat closet


and now your son’s starting to fuss

so you silence him with crackers

and start working your way

through the merry crowd

to apologetically ask the host

for your coat


which he does graciously

so that you feel worse

that you might have just slipped out

but you thank him, now, earnestly,

and when he opens the door it’s raining out

and he expresses disappointment

but you assure him how very ok it is

and thanking    and thanking

and when the door closes

the night’s darkness

and the heavy raindrops

are sweet relief

Yoga moms

We yoga moms

speed away from preschool dropoff

in our stretchy pants

and athletic updos

orange cones and men in vests

be damned


We yoga moms

rage in white-knuckled standoffs

over parking spaces for our big cars

in the small lot


We yoga moms

stride in with purpose

but when we get inside

the light-filled studio

with its view of the tree branches

We are so sculpted

so flexible, so beautiful,

so God damned present.

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