Too many months of working too hard —
we’re quite capable of driving ourselves
to the ragged edge, didn’t need
a pandemic to help us along.
Pandemics are scary and confusing
and frustrating and exhausting;
we retreated to our own electronic
worlds, a way of enduring too much
forced togetherness. And then there’s
teaching and children’s needs and service
to the community — we both kept trying
to save the world, at least a little bit of it.
(Maybe that’s part of approaching fifty;
a clock ticking on our capacity
to make big change, a growing awareness
of the mess we’ll be leaving behind.)
Leaving too little time for our own work,
the kind that feeds us; too little time
for rest, and for just enjoying each other.
The pressure builds until we are sending
angry texts, saying things that are true, but
only a tiny sharp slice of a larger landscape.
Last night, after the flurry of angry texts,
I took myself to the basement for hours,
because I was just so sick of him,
of everyone in this house.
Eventually, I came back up again;
we talked it out. Twenty-eight years in,
we know better than to go to bed angry.
Neither one of us would be able to sleep.
Though this pandemic
has gone on far too long,
longer than it should have,
(but that’s another poem),
you know there’s no one on the planet
I would rather be trapped with.
Happy 50th birthday, love.
This week, I’ll take care of family dinners.
I’ll make them delicious.
I might even do the dishes.
You rest. Do some math. I’ll meet you
after the kids are down, for Star Trek.
I miss talking to you.
Let’s do more of that.
(for Kevin, with apologies, and so much love)