I’ve never felt Africa’s dust between my toes,
heard the night-call of hippos,
sipped mezcal in Mexico,
or shivered in the coastal winds of Ireland.
Yet I am filled with landscapes,
the changing terrain of my own body,
my relentless heartbeat,
I remember how, when I was pregnant, the strength of it
grew almost intolerably,
like Kilauea ready to blow,
I have traveled to those places a mother’s mind goes.
I have been to the baggage compartments underneath,
To the places where memories are kept,
where the duffel bags of pain are stored.
I have journeyed to my own secret places where doubts live,
Sometimes they squawk like crows – relentless croaking,
Those doubts have their own country. It’s bleak,
a little like the moors of England, complete with ravens.
I’ve plowed into the field of my own lethargy,
the wide open expanse of grass in the sun, that feeling of inertia.
I’ve plowed it and turned over fresh soil,
pushed seeds into it, got dirt under my fingernails,
And things began to grow.
Never saw Machu Picchu.
Never heard someone say G’day mate for real,
or smelled the pungency of India,
but I have danced with the ancients in my mind,
the gurus who know.
I haven’t been immobilized by Montezuma’s revenge,
but I have been blasted open, and excavated,
I have been sick from the transitions of my own body.
I have become a planet, orbited by my own little moon,
a child pulled by his mother’s gravity,
and I have shifted like tectonic plates,
Molten, shaped into new mountains.
I have not felt the luxury of first class,
or an eco-hut in the Caribbean,
or sipped Italian coffee in the piazza.
The cornfields and forests had to be enough,
And the memory of the high Colorado plateau,
the air at the summit of a fourteener when I was young.
I imagine all of these places,
while the sun plays through the canopy of leaves in my front yard.
I can hear the beat of drums and voices of other places,
and daydream about the taste of Moroccan kebabs
Now I fly over the craters left behind by the blast,
I survey the damage. I am older, eroded a little by time,
Like the slopes and rivulets of Mount Saint Helens,
I guide my child into the hills and valleys of humanhood,
And soon I will stand at the edge of the river, ready to help my father across.
Maybe Anthony Bourdain will be there at the gate to welcome him.
I stand between generations, half-way up the mountain.
Where will my son travel? Where is my father going?
All I can do is walk in the garden
and be comfortable with the in-between.