From Arra Lynn Ross, a tender, generous, and generative extended poem centered on the experience of parenthood.
"What is learned? I'll return for my son; / at school, at three thirty-eight, bells will ring & run / days over years." Using unpredictable syllabics, rhyme, and syntax, Day of the Child
captures the sensation of altered time that accompanies a child's growth. Seasons come and go. A schoolboy becomes a dreaming infant becomes a five-year-old exploring metaphor for the first time becomes an ultrasound image, "a frieze on screen." A mother cycles through her own often dissonant identities: "soother, watcher, blame-taker." And both mother and child assume another, significant role: artistic collaborators.
For Day of the Child
is a poem co-created by child and mother, offering a space in which each's stories, thoughts, words--"unbound / by Time & time's delineations"--tangle together. In which apartness--"Oh indivisible divisible," the presence of another heart beating inside the mother's own body--is continually negotiated. And in which the mother considers her place as intermediary between the child and the world: her protection, her complicity, her joy. Its octave pairs ebb and flow, expand and contract, producing a portrait of raising another human as refracted as it is circular, just as a river "breaks into many suns, the sun." For, as the child asserts, "love is a circl e] round / as a Ball."
Challenging the notion that parenthood is not itself a poetic endeavor, Day of the Child
makes of childrearing "a refrain I reframed each day with new words.