Poems by Dave Jarecki
Talking Earth Anthology: Dave Jarecki
Dave Jarecki owns Breakerboy Communications, a writing firm that helps businesses, individuals and non-profit organizations communicate through story. He facilitates writing workshops throughout the Greater Portland area. His fiction, non-fiction and poetry have appeared in a number of journals and publications. He and his wife Courtney live in NE Portland with their baby daughter, Lazadae, and Dave has been writing a lot about parenthood.
I hope you think of me as that guy
with the warm chest you slept on for hours
your first night alive in room 2506
of Emanuel’s family wing, but I hope
I never remind you of that, Lazadae. When
you’re 16 and steal a knife from the mall
kiosk because your mother used to steal things
like that when she was 16 and you have
petty thrill-based theft in your genes,
I hope I don’t remind you about your birth,
how your mother labored three days at home
until your bowels began to empty inside her. We drove
in dark quiet to the hospital where she was
numbed then splayed open on the surgical slab,
her bladder pushed aside so two rubbered hands
could thumb you out and away from all you knew.
You were upside down from how you should have been,
breech, wanting to enter the world with your toes
in your mouth. I hope I don’t tell you that the surgeon
handed you off under white lights to a woman
who was not your mother who scrubbed the blue
from your skin as we gave you the name
your mother created one morning when you
were just a splitting cell after she dreamt
of lasagna. Lazadae. The name waited for you
in the OR, stained my lips red as I said it and you cried
first breaths. When people ask you about the name,
tell a story all your own. Flex your wild thumbs,
talk of unicorns, forest nymphs. If you shorten your name,
Lazadae, I hope you do better than some
text-generation keypunch, but I hope you don’t care
what I hope, and I hope I don’t care you don’t care.
I hope you bloom into a creature
beyond your mother and me, that your legs
grow long, your eyes speak poems, your mind is quick
to question. I hope your whole generation
of upside-down children bury the nails of war, burn
all currency until you achieve a clan of rarefied vision.
But don’t try to do any of that if you wish to blend.
Stick gum in your hair. Sleep with your batting gloves on.
Find love before you’re old enough to know it hurts.
Hear the songs in the sway of leaves and know
that the sound you make as you feed at your mother
is music, your mother’s voice melody, that I am merely
a flute, and that you, Lazadae, are the wind, the drum,
the rhythm of new hot blood.
For the Daughters
Your daughter rubs salve on her nipples raw
from feeding her daughter in the window ten hours
staring swept in calm. Her daughter
was inside you, tucked in one of your daughter’s eggs
when your daughter was tucked inside you. And you
are inside your daughter and her daughter’s
smile, their far away stares when eyes tilt off
from where they look. Your daughter’s mind lifts
to the tree line as her daughter
at the breast wonders if all that is made of light
is made for her or was it here before when the light
was still blue. And your daughter
seeing this light sees herself kneeling on knees
like yours, picking crawdads from the stream with you
behind the house where mother bears
nurse cubs. Remember you told your daughter once
to leave her bottle outside because the bears’ daughters
needed bottles? And she did. She switches breasts now,
shifts her daughter who takes what is sweet
and stares through the yard where the stream runs.
The path to the beach is too steep for my parents
to walk. We drive and park near a ramp.
My mother can’t find the buckle
under her hip to get free. She feels the weather in her hips,
says the north coast is too wet.
My father upfront winces at the fog, rubs his knees
against the dash. I ask if they’ll walk the ramp with me
to the sand. We’ll collect rocks and leave.
My mother wants to stay in the car.
She’s halfway through a Sudoku block and says
it’s too cold out there.
My father says a beach is a beach and besides,
if I want sand just put my ear to his knees.
They crackle like caked gears.
I bend toward his leg. He asks if I can hear the sand.