Monday, September 17, 2007

The Woman Singing

Thrilling to an audience
of toddlers and dogs,
this is the woman singing

who has not written her mother,
who has not written a poem,
who has not written out the bills
or the letters to the editor.

She has made no calls today.
She is singing to insects, to tumbleweed.

This is the woman singing
intending a clear note shot to heaven
or the sound of petals falling.

The woman whose voice
falters full in the throat
in fear of an ear that might judge
the uncensored sound.

A walker among beeweed,
puller of burlweed, I am listening for
the cadence of my own true language.

Is that mother's trilling tremolo
suburban soprano, vibrating dust motes
as she dancing, dusts?

I can hear it in the womb walls.

In my everyday voice, the trembling threatens,
Breaks through, edges outward hopefully,
You sound just like your mother.

This is the summer my daughter is five.
She rides a bike, dives like a seal,
her teeth loosen, limbs lengthen, emotions

This summer a hummingbird
flew into our house, a sudden gift.

Iridescent voiceless wonder, stilled, scared,
we stare to share a moment, then release him
to a free sky.

He is gone in a whisper.

My son is gone in every instant,
returning, laughing, changed in some
essential way
each day.

In these curving walls alone, a silent miracle.
Tracking my dusty footsteps, keeper of the guard
our old retriever, follows me everywhere,
clicking nails scritch scritch the bricks.

No wet sandy feet run over rugs, no muffled screams
from closets, I am alone, alone
in concert.

What is that sound I hear arising--
I never could remember lyrics --
Is there a chance I could be getting better at this?

Housework is a song,
is the singing of one phrase
over and over

Dark plums of summer,
my children ripen and resist me.

Leatherfooted, bruised and brilliant,
crying bursts from them easily,
a spilling seed of woes and thorns,
freeing them to play, becoming sunlight.

Their hair turns white, vocabularies thicken,
voices multiply and multiply.

I squat in the hot sand,
puller of prickly stalks,
waterer of desert flowers.

This is the summer a new life takes root in me.
What is that sound I hear arising--
wakening the woman singing,
singing in her own true language.

What if I were to pull you out like a weed,
this seedling imploding within my life, within
our lives together? Shocking fertility,

I wish to become a garden, composted into yielding--
but I am dry, split apart like a seedpod
too soon before the ripening.

I cannot hear myself think,
I am listening for my own voice
to tell me beeweed from burlweed.

My husband's head is in horses.

He reaches out a hand, a healing pause;
we wryly contemplate our swelling future
in the pounding silence of our separate thoughts.

I wish to be like one thing with him; our eyes
meet across the kitchen table, desolate.

Is this what we were meant for?
Something else, beyond suburbia, the sand,
the stable flies...the sweat, the sun.

It is our hope we hear arising in the night,
that shivers between us, sleeping pinned together
by our dreaming offspring, all that remains
unspoken or unspeakable, out of our control.

It is the love and the gratefulness,
the love and the gratefulness
that is the song sung to insects,
to tumbleweed, to sleeping babes.

It is the song in the night
in the safety of arms
the small song arising from the heart

the large song exploding to the wilderness,
the one no one hears, the unspoken song

that the woman is singing.

Linda Weissinger Lupowitz
Corrales, New Mexico

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