He couldn’t hack it—the strain was too great.
Between my demand for a suitable place to nest
and the neediness of our eight—yes, eight—newborns,
one day he just cracked. Decided “he’d like to take a trip
to see what the rest of the river was like”—and that was that.
I watched his retreating back and wondered if maybe
this wasn’t simpler—after all, this way I could pour
every drop of energy into the task before me:
To train these young ones to move about in the world,
to heed the laws of nature and society.
But—by the time it was second nature
for them to follow me (no questions asked),
my satisfaction with their society was at its end:
I had to get off the island.
We marched down Charles Street
and the thought floated through my head
that he might not be there to meet us as he’d said—
and who would blame him? I had dismissed our need for rest.
I’d forgotten him in the flattery of their imprinting.
All of Boston’s traffic had backed up for our protection
while my mind was swimming with the question:
How will we survive—not the crossing of Beacon Street—
but this expansion from couple to family?
Rounding the corner, the drift of the issue
grew as clear as the mirrored surface of the pond
before the swan boats begin their slow loops:
I’m in over my head; I need a breather,
and I need my partner.
As we entered the garden, I held my breath:
Was there any way at all to sway his decision?
Then I turned to see him, standing there, waiting for us—
his old buoyant self, bolstered by his hiatus,
and relieved, with me, by our reunion.
© Sarah Dunning Park, 2012