Thursday, September 9, 2010

Meg Wood: Close

First came Alexander.
I met him an hour after he met the world,
Red-faced and wailing.
I’d seen his foot on an ultrasound once;
The same foot now fluttering against my palm,
A lively miracle.

I was pushing him on a swing when his brother was born.
A warm spring day.
The next morning, we met Matthew together.
I cupped his head in my hands, breathed in his breath.
Xander covered him in stickers,
A prized possession.

My sister’s first took me whole, no surprise.
I spent a week with Luke just after his birth.
I held him for days, hips rocking as to a metronome,
Heart wobbling like sea legs on land.
Atoms, energies exchanged, traded,
A permanent bond.

Then came Sydney, first girl, last.
I kissed her toes the day we met (one hundred times, I counted).
I love you, I whispered. I’ll be here, I’m here.
We girls stick together. We ladies, we stay.
Shared gender, shared blood,
An immutable connection.

People ask if it’s hard not having my own.
It’s hard sometimes, I say.
There’s a loss there of dreams, grief for a plan, a falter in moving on.

Then Syd curls up in my lap, calls me “Grandpa,” falls asleep;
Luke’s face lights up when he sees mine, so happy he claps as he laughs;
Matt listens rapt, sometimes skipping a breath, as I read him adventurous tales;
Xander teaches me football, tries not to laugh, high-fives as I finally score.

Some days it’s hard, the ones I’m alone.
My pockets emptied of toys.
Most days, though, I marvel I’ve earned such a life:
A lap full of nieces, piggy backs with the boys, the sound of “Aunt Meg!” through a door.

Desert body, oasis heart:
A closeness of close-enough.

Meg Wood usually ends her poems with knock-knock jokes. You can read her opinions about books, films, and TV at, as well as her internationally revered (or reviled, depending on what she's said about Christian Bale that day) Boyfriend of the Week essays at


  1. "Heart wobbling like sea legs on land."

    That's exactly what it feels like.

    Beautiful, Meg.

  2. That was so moving. I know that you were iffy about contributing a poem. I'm glad that you did.

  3. beautiful. i love you.
    my favorite "so happy he claps as he laughs"

  4. Uhg. Stunning. Beautiful. I want to be those babies. Lucky lucky babes. You're dreamy. I love this.

    And I can count the poems I've loved.

  5. This is SO GOOD. Last stanza, oh, baby. Perfection.

    Goddamn, those are some lucky niece/nephews. I'd flip if you were my aunt.

  6. My eyes are all sweaty. I love you and so do they.

  7. "My eyes are all sweaty" is a line I may have to steal for my NEXT poem, which will be entitled, "Crying Sweaty Bits." IT will end with a knock knock joke for sure, you watch. (Moo.)

    (p.s. Thank you to everyone -- I had a rough week waiting for this to be launched into the world and the response to it has been overwhelmingly wonderful and kind. It means a lot, truly.)

  8. It's wonderful for me to read all the posts in Josh's blog. You all are professional writers, and I'm just a guy who enjoys good stories. I read all the posts for the content/story and never for quality of the writing.

    That being said, your poem was very moving when I read it yesterday.

  9. "the closeness of close enough" is my favorite line by far. I need to call my brother now. Awesome.