One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

To A Fog Spirit On Halloween
Made up and masked, you stream into the night, your cape floating like gossamer behind you, the moon illuminating what you are and are not: a cool customer, slippery as quicksilver. I cannot fathom you exactly, though I try to. Lately, I've noticed you're all about change, change and silence. And you have properties: you expand and contract, filling whatever space you're in, or self-contained as a cat. Some mornings, impersonating one of us, you wake, dress, eat, then vanish out the door, the room suddenly too silent, the day clear as a bell.
I remember a May morning twelve years ago, before you were you, when I woke to a landscape wiped clean as a blackboard and knew you were hiding inside a stillness different from any I had ever known. And that night in January, after our long journey, when we were almost there, and the bridge to the island disappeared, and we pushed on anyway (did we have a choice?) into black foggy bottomless space and didn't fall--
O fog spirit, are you a magician? How did you do that?
Does fog beget fog? No, you have a mother and father. So creep back to this house and with a hand solid as my own rap hard! three times on the door,
and when it opens, as it will, step through the portal and change, change back into my daughter again.
--Elizabeth Spires halloween05 (click for larger version) Our subscription to The New Yorker ensures that I still read poetry on a regular basis. And thank goodness for that. I love that this poem stirs feelings and memories for me that are surely not the same as those of the author when she was writing this (unless, of course, the author also had a daughter facing a second transplant after the failure of the first in the cold month of January). And surely this poem was written with an older child in mind, just entering those unknowable teen years. But, even at just freshly five, I look at my girl and see a mystery sometimes. It feels like every passing minute marks her progress toward leaving. Tomorrow I will take her trick-or-treating. But she will, of course, insist that I stay on the sidewalk out of sight when she goes up to ring the doorbell.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

She looks so beautiful! Happy Halloween to you all ~ enjoy the day!


10/31/2005 6:47 AM  
Anonymous Becca - momofnataliebear said...

Just beautiful....the poem and the picture. Thinking of you today...

10/31/2005 8:01 AM  
Blogger Running2Ks said...

Oh Moreena, how poignant and beautiful. Anni is so lovely.

10/31/2005 9:01 AM  
Blogger Scrivener said...

Hey, I left a comment here a few hours ago but now it's gone. Grrrr.

That poem is beautiful and terrible--thank you for posting it, even if the last few stanzas left me gasping for breath. I haven't faced that kind of tangible fear for my child that you have, but I think any parent recognizes some sense of that poignancy. This poem conveys this dread in terms that aren't exactly specific but are nonetheless sharply focused.

10/31/2005 10:44 AM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

Haunting -- both the poem, and the picture of Anni.

10/31/2005 10:55 AM  
Blogger liz said...

She is so beautiful.

Thinking of you.

10/31/2005 11:03 AM  
Blogger Moreena said...

Scrivener - I do suspect something is up again with Blogger comments. I've not been getting any emails when comments are added. Also, my gmail account (also owned by google) has been unbearably slow. So perhaps something is up over there at the internet behemoth.

10/31/2005 11:07 AM  
Blogger Moreena said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/31/2005 11:13 AM  
Blogger Moreena said...

Oh, and I edited this post a bit to try to make my reaction a bit more clear. I suppose that it is tinged with that fear of losing Annika in the literal sense, but there is also just that Every Parent sadness at knowing that they are moving away from you inevitably as they grow older. I used to look at Annika the baby and think, "If only I knew what was going on in your head, little one! Talk to me!" Now she talks, prolifically and apparently unedited, and I am often even more bewildered than I was in those days of silence. (Although I should add that I am grateful for that communication. I read the journals of parents of mostly non-verbal children, and , and that struggle is heartbreakingly difficult).

10/31/2005 11:16 AM  
Blogger Moreena said...

That last comment was supposed to have Trisha and Rob listed as the two names for the links, but evidently Blogger is not fond of my html today. The two links work, though.

10/31/2005 11:17 AM  
Blogger Yankee T said...

I love this poem, Moreena, thank you for posting it. And I felt huge heart pangs for my own kids as I read it. The time goes too fast. They grow up while you're sleeping. Treasure each young moment with your girls, and rest assured-they can be wonderful as teenagers, too.

10/31/2005 12:06 PM  
Blogger trisha said...

Thanks for that, Morrena. That means so much to me. I feel understood. Thank you.

10/31/2005 9:09 PM  
Anonymous peripateticpolarbear said...

yay new yorker poems.

11/02/2005 8:04 AM  

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