Tidal Movements and How I Continue to Fail at Parenting

I've always said, with not much authority on the subject, that good poetry is poetry that makes me stop what I'm doing and write. Good poetry is action poetry. It changes something, digs up memory, gets us to act.

That said, I'm currently reading some good poetry for the literary journal Collateral (set to launch this fall!) and the Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, both of which have attracted some dynamite writing. The good news is, I keep stopping what I'm doing to write!

The bad news is, my to-do list. It's stupid, guys. Like really long. And it ain't getting shorter. So... THANKS A LOT, POETS OF THE WORLD.

Here's a poem I wrote on Sunday (I think?), in honor of Mae, her fascination with the moon, and all the ways grown ups overthink life's questions.

Tidal Movements and How I Continue to Fail at Parenting

Mae presses her hands
against the screen door
like a beggar outside
a bakery window
fingers spread wide
like I’ve asked her not to do
twenty times this week
and says Mom look up there
I can see the moon
and some pink clouds
which one do you like better
and I say what do you mean
and she says the moon
or the clouds
which one is better
and I say we need both
then unfurl the flag of reason
there are tidal movements
to consider and irrigation
and honeybees and miles
and miles of corn
and poetry
what about poetry
and the word cumulonimbus
without the moon
the oceans would stagnate
and did you know
a simple Google search
asking what would happen
if there was no moon
yields 9,880,000 results
in .41 seconds
and that means people
who know more than us
about hurricanes and gravity
have asked this question before
and without the moon
there’d be no clouds
and without clouds
we’d have nothing
to hide the earth when we flew
from here to New York
and this is why
we need the clouds and moon
and this is why
we can’t choose
one over the other
and Mae says yes yes
as if to agree
and I am so smug
I wait a whole week
to tell her I lied
and the moon is better
I’d choose the moon
over a smelly cloud any day
and she hasn’t pushed her weight
into the sagging screen once
and she looks at me
the way children look
at adults who can’t
make up their minds



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