fanning embers: a woman’s loss of control
When I write, I often have a great sense of losing control, and that, right now, isn’t as appealing as it used to be. Head down, waiting for words, my chest rests against a table, and I can feel my heart beating, the heaving there against my bones, against my will. Separate from my mind, this great muscle syphons and directs, the life blood.
I like to see my life measured, controlled, yes, in Prufrock’s coffee spoons, and also in pumps of lotions, in heaps of laundry detergent, in dirtied bowls, in keyboard clicks, expected smile lines next to my mouth, how many steps from the couch to the door, nights to bed with just-right pillows packed around, the feeling of safety with my gorgeous husband on the other side.
When I picture the photo strip of the mother with 4 small boys, it’s a comic. The colors flare out. Plumes of smoke backdrop the mother with many tiny blue birds circling her head. She’s beating something with a broom, and the boys dangle from light fixtures and wear sideways caps.
Fact is: yesterday I ran out barefoot onto the hard cold ground to save a boy from the high magnolia branch. He held on by fingernails, full 7 year-old body there like a flapping towel out to dry.
Last week, my Jude blew out the flame on the stove, and gas poured in. Only away for a minute, I walked into a cloud of gas, yelled for the boys to get out. Once out, Jude confessed that he put FIRE in the garbage can.
I threw the baby at the neighbor and ran in to retrieve the garbage can full of fire and molten trash – in a kitchen full of gas. The neighbor laughs and confesses he and his brothers used to see how close they could get to the stove with their fireworks. Laughing, he said his brother’s caught fire. It boomed and screamed in his Mama’s kitchen garbage can.
I stood there, blank and blinking.
HaHaHa. It’s so funny, my heart banging in my chest, this cold-splashed, gypsy-embered heart.
This gypsy heart can’t stop thinking of her next tattoo, how she can scheme to make it out some night to dance in blinking lights, and then it wakes fully embracing the desire to get on Land’s End and order a sweater set in every shade of cream.
Living in this skin, fearing God alone, means broken things, means release, letting some things burn, moving the pillows. It means trusting right measures in invisible realms, the heart held in pulsing palm, the peace of riding on eagle’s wing.