Calculus

How are you feeling today?

A little off but ready to tackle the day.

Let’s work on problem solving. We need to exercise the mind.

Whatever you say.

Do you balance a checkbook at home? Take care of family finances?

Yes, I’ve done it for my entire married life and more.

I have a simulated checkbook balancing task.

Alright. Hand it over.

Does that look similar to what you might have at home…purchases and deposits?

Sure does. Piece of cake.

 

What do you want me to do?

Where do you think you could start?

Where do you want me to put the amount?

Take a look and see what you can come up with.

Where was this purchased?

Let’s find the original receipt.

Deposit. Does that go here?

How would you tell if it’s in the right place?

 

Just stop it. I won’t do this.

Okay. Can you tell me why?

You do your checkbook one way and I do it another but you think I’m wrong.

We all have different ways of doing our finances. Can you show me your way?

I just did but you keep correcting me. 

You did say earlier that this was similar to what you would use at home.

You think I can’t do this but I can.

I know you are capable but does this seem harder than it should be?

I’m doing calculus and you’re doing basic math.

 

 

*This poem is an account based on a real life therapy session with patient who had sustained a traumatic brain injury with resultant cognitive impairments. A name has not been provided and details altered to protect patient confidentiality. If details seem confusing it is on purpose and in order to reflect the frustration of cognitive impairments. It is my hope that it provide insight into the struggles and anguish of an individual with a brain injury.

Until Again

It was time to get dressed but this morning Nana lingered. Coffee cup full, uneaten breakfast. Without a word she pulled Granddaughter closer and lifted her to her lap. Sighs, hugs, I love you’s, kisses to cover a mountain. Neck, forehead, shoulder, toe.

Mother reminded Granddaughter it was time to go. Grandma and Granddaughter’s hands released, a magnetic force separated by a gentle tug. Grandson was next. Sighs, hugs, I love you’s, kisses to cover a valley. Cheek, elbow, nose, ankle.

Mother returned with a look of apologetic urgency. One last embrace of Grandson, this time a burst of bright red cherries. Buckled in car seats, Nana appeared at the doorway, bathrobe clenched in one hand and another outstretched.

A cheer squad of one, waving.

Engine on, down the driveway, waving, waving.

Nana in the driveway now, waving, waving, waving.

Gas pedal on, waving, waving, waving, waving,

as the car drove into the day.

Poetry, huh?

This last week I attended a writing class through The Cabin here in Boise, Idaho. The experience was different from anything I’ve ever done before and I feel a door has been opened which I did not know existed. I’m bursting with enthusiasm and feel a momentum mounting.

As part of the class, each writer is required to submit a poem to be published in the annual Idaho Writing Camps publication and then attend a public reading where they read their own poem. I have my poems narrowed down to two and was hoping you could help me choose. I also appreciate any honest feedback you have to offer. (Side note: I’m a little frustrated with the spacing of the second poem as WordPress would not allow me to space it as I would like.)

Just leave a comment in the space below. Thank you!

#1

Pictures Passed

1.

These are the days of freckles;

taut dry skin, limp on a blanket,

eyes open to universes

of sapphire.

2.

Lids closed;

drinking in the birds,

metronomic waves,

popping needles.

3.

The lake is a mirror;

until my sunburnt skin enters.

every muscle contracts,

involuntary inhalation.

4.

My boots are cracking,

the rubber a slave to the miles of travel,

switchbacks, unearthed roots,

beads drip down, salt on my lips.

5.

Around the bend,

climb, stretch, the final turn,

I squint at the white orb, focus,

before me the world is my picture frame.

#2

My Hats

At the peak of dawn, a startle of abrupt chirping,

it’s fleece lined, black as soot, a bill to shield my eyes.

Enter, four chubby legs and a choir of pots and pans,

now a fuzzy top, purple stripes, stacks of smiles.

Out the door, blue bag over my shoulder,

it’s a bit of wool, vocal fold fatigue, fingers cramping.

On the patio watching the sunset, conversation over ice cream,

now it’s a breeze of lilac, sweet rain, eucalyptus.

No need to hang

it on the post when I go

to bed.

Hanging In There

I feel my writing slipping away. How can something I never really nurtured slip away? I cleaned off my bulletin board at my desk yesterday. A small area maybe 18 inches by 12 inches. My New Year’s resolutions were posted from last year along with some ideas for a general schedule. Writing was on there. Not a resolution but something I wanted to work on. It’s been an entire year and I haven’t really done much with it. This makes me sad.

Until having children I never really yearned to write but now I think about it on a daily basis. Multiple times a day in fact. Hannah will say something (“It’s nine o’clock thirty”) or Simon will hit a milestone (not quite crawling but bouncing back on his back legs like he’s ready to start a race) and I want to run to my desk and write about it.  All these moments, faces, thoughts, experiences.  I don’t want them to slip away without documenting this time in my life. Good and bad.

I just finished Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott. This memoir of Anne’s first year with her son has been an inspiration in continuing to write down these moments. I related so much to her honest, raw, sometimes disturbing, but hilarious moments with her son. Especially the sleep deprivation as Simon continues to struggle with this. Okay, maybe I don’t relate so much to her past as an alcoholic and drug addict but in the end she’s just a mom trying to make it work. As I write this Simon is wailing in the next room. A second attempt at an afternoon nap today after waking up this morning around 3:45 AM. It’s so exhausting sometimes.

For now, all I can do is live in this moment and pray that I can get back to this desk and get some of this down. I haven’t disappeared and I thank all of you readers for following me in this journey.