Tuesday, June 30, 2009

goodbye to friends

it was a love affair
that lasted nearly 5 years.

and i can't remember now
whether it was something
i intentionally caused
or if it was just a natural process
that took place.
but she fell in love
with her terry cloth burp cloths
in her first few months of life.

they have been with her through
thick and thin,
rain and shine,
happiness and sadness.
they have soothed and wiped
many a tear,
calmed many a fear,
and comforted her
at any necessary moment
for over four and a half years.
they became collectively
and affectionately known
as her "friend."

there have of course been
losses along the way--
we started out with four.
one disappeared at church in nyc;
one was left at a hotel
in dubrovnik, croatia last year. . .
but we clung to those last two.
they were not to leave the house,
except for trips--
for fear they would be left behind
somewhere, and gone forever. . .

we said goodbye forever
to the last two.

with the young one sleeping,
it was her quiet time,
and my time to busy myself
in the kitchen.
and when i couldn't figure out
just why i was smelling burning,
when there didn't seem to be anything
left on the burner
i was boiling water on . . .
my questions were quickly answered
when a hysterical little girl
ran out from my bedroom
with a cloud of smoke trailing behind her.

i entered the smoke-filled room
to find a lamp up in flames,
where two friends
had been lovingly and innocently placed.
a few minutes of panic
on my end
and hysterics on hers
ended with a wet
and charred mess.

and with that
we said a very traumatic goodbye
to our final two friends,
with hours of calming,
reassuring, and wiping tears--
this time by mama instead.
and with a generous little sister's "friend"
tucked under her chin last night
she finally fell asleep
on the 18th song
and the 16th minute
of my stroking her hair--
something i haven't enjoyed
in too long.

Monday, June 29, 2009


it was one of those things
that stops a mother's heart.

no, it wasn't a call
from the police,
a doctor asking me
to sit down to talk
a panicked cry from a sibling,
"mom, avi can't move!"

but my heart stopped
just the same
when she proudly called out to me,
"mom, i cut my hair!"

was my poor judgment
in letting her use her sister's
scissors going to come back
to haunt me for a year?
she was only a few feet from me--
it wasn't as if i walked off
and left her
alone with the scissors
for half an hour. . .
and when i looked over,
my heart resumed it's pumping
as i still recognized her
as the same girl i saw
just 5 minutes earlier.
damage was minimal.
in fact not even noticeable.

i thanked my lucky stars
she felt compelled to announce to me
her proud achievement
before disaster ensued.

and thus, her little clipping
will go into her baby book
a few years earlier
than we had planned,
as she felt it necessary
to take matters into her own hands.
but at least it won't be
accompanied by a hideous photo
"avi's handiwork"

Friday, June 26, 2009

ed emberley

i picked it up
at one of those
used book sales
on the streets of new york.
there was a lot of sifting to do,
but stumbling upon
ed emberley's thumbprint book
was a find.
visions of my own childhood
flashed through my mind--
with that red ink pad,
stacks of paper with thumbprint
animals, clowns, trains, etc.
and red thumbs
that lasted for days.

the book has been stashed
for years
since i bought it;
but just got pulled out
and put to use
for the first time.
mama's big fat thumb
was the thumbprint of choice,
but the real artwork
isn't really in the thumb work,
is it?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

under the weather

and it seemed to be a day
determined strictly
by the weather.
thick, gray clouds,
endless rain,
55 degrees.
after dragging myself
from one end of the city
to the other
from doctor
to visa pick-up
to bank, etc.
i impatiently awaited the moment
i could walk through
my front door,
get into dry clothes
and put my feet up.
coming home to find milla
actually under the weather
even warranted
such lassitude for all of us.
we read a book or two,
then did what happens
a few times a year
around here:
sat down behind a movie.
i caught a few zzzz's
to make up for
last night's insomnia
from 3:30-6:30 am,
then it was
scrambled eggs and fresh melon
for dinner.

better luck
overcoming tomorrow's
identical forecast.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


between here and there
and this and that--
strange as it seems--
but the final countdown
of our days in russia
(until january,
when we will be back!)
has begun.
and thus we have started
to go through the cupboards
quickly using up
all that expires in 2009.

the fate of those delicious pecans?
which we are still enjoying
once (or twice) daily.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

katie did

this isn't my gorgeous child
nor is it
my brilliant work.
but with katie did's
the wheels in my head
are already churning.
thoughts of amy butler
and joel dewberry
my mother's sewing machine
and long, leisurely days
this fall
in anticipation
of a baby birth
in my blessed homeland
are filling my mind.
scarves. . .
i will while away the hours.

Monday, June 22, 2009


аs she sits
in the other room
playing with her
leapfrog alphabet,
with it's
"every letter makes a sound. . .
A says 'ay' and 'ah' and 'a'"
i am starting to wonder
how will i ever teach her
to read english?
we are just beginning
with our scrawling
in the dirt
on the playground.
putting letters together,
sounds, words. . .
but of course
we are starting with russian.
if there's one easy thing
about russian,
it's reading it.
what you see
is what you get.
no phonics,
no leapfrog games,
no "A is for 'ah' and 'ay' and 'a.'"

i think i'll save
teaching her to read english
for another year.
or decade.

Friday, June 19, 2009

arbat street

i knew that he was going
to be on arbat street.
and i knew he had an appointment
at 1:30.

but i never went
thinking about details
or coincidences
or making connections.

and when i also ended up on arbat
at 1:30
lunching with the girls
i was caught by surprise
when lindsey looked up
and said,
well, look who's here!

and i looked up to see
a handsome young man
in his business attire
with his business face on
who gave me nothing more
than a quick smile
as he sat down
to his business meeting
two tables down.

i vaguely recognized him
as the brilliant man
that gave me a ring
some 7 years ago
that i still wear on my fourth finger
and whose company i get to enjoy
in my house
not often enough.

i was left to pretend
i didn't know him
as i went on chatting with the girls
and he went on
doing what he does all day
in his smart clothes
with his computers
and his papers.

and i was also compelled
to pass him a note
as i left,
leaving him to explain
what a pregnant girl
was doing
leaving love notes
on his table,
with a face
that was no longer
all business.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

evolution of a princess

mm-mmm.  off to a bad start already.
her head can't be lopsided.

and here those cheeks
just didn't leave enough room
for a mouth.
wait, is she lopsided again?

aha.  just right.
except. . .
how did she get two sets of eyes?

looking better and better,
she is.
but wait,
that mouth is just not
doing it for me. . .

with a chin
and a forehead
her face is finally just right.
time for beautiful dress
and legs.

but just not quite enough room
for a body.
from scratch again.
this time
we've created her.
worthy of color.
and worthy of 10 fingers
and 10 toes.
and a tongue sticking out.
i mean,
a princess got to keep
a sense of humor!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

blue things

around these parts,
upcoming babies
are given showers
no matter where they fall
in the family,
be it first, or third.
and in our case
we especially welcomed
such kindness,
beings that blue things
don't run rampant
in our house
(except our carpet).

so grateful
for the talent
and generosity
of so many friends,
and the collection of
blue things
has officially begun.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

happy underwear

it was on that third morning
in a row of stripping
both wet baby
and wet bed
and throwing all stripped
straight into the laundry
that i started to wonder
if we should be
pulling out
those diapers once again.
not to mention
all that regress
over the weekend
after thinking we were really
on a roll.

but don't worry,
we're holding strong--
one week already.
"clean and dry
is happy underwear. . ."

Monday, June 8, 2009

better use

and with his letter
telling me all about
how they were enjoying
the local strawberries in season,
and how she
(my idol of 32 years)
had been preparing him
strawberry pies
and tarts and the like. . .
well i started to feel
a bit self-conscious
about my thus far
lackadaisical use of our
strawberry season
and felt challenged
to produce something
that better measured up
to the path
that was laid out before me. . .

Friday, June 5, 2009


so can anyone tell me

anything about an. . .
pee pee teepee?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


and with that
spring thunder cloud
rolling over the top of me
all i can hear
is its threatening rumble,
the smacking of
millions of raindrops
on the other side of the panes,
and milla's singing
to calm avi's fears--
from one bed to another.

and all i can feel
is perfect serenity--
a stark reminder
i love to be at home.