In Tact: Poem


On “Mother’s Day”  a poem of mine appeared in the The Portland Press Herald.  I had submitted it in response to a call for a year long curated series of poems that address or grapple with the theme of “Deep Water” in some way. In my case the depth related to the grief connected to losing a child you are carrying.

This week is the anniversary of her leaving us, and moving on to other adventures, or so I like to think. I said goodbye to her on a little cove in late July with two dear friends while their daughter and Sammy were running and laughing in the sand at the water’s edge.

I remember holding myself through the shaking as I felt her spirit take off and race to the sea. At the last moment, I stood tall and tried to smile with one arm waving goodbye to her. I wanted her last image of me to be one of courage and joy for the gift her brief life was to me.

I was going in for my D & C (dilation and curettage) the next day.

She would be ten and a half today.  Marcel will be ten in October. I had found out I was pregnant on Mother’s Day, 2006 coincidentally. Marcel was miraculously conceived on her due date in January. We believe that her brief appearance on this earth was to make way for his soul somehow. In more ways then one, Marcel and his sister Dixie are connected.

That Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, the poet laureate of Portland chose it to run on Mother’s Day was courageous and deeply important to many (myself included) I learned in the days and weeks following the poem’s appearance in the paper. When a poem allows your friend and his wife to openly grieve their own miscarriage together, something they hadn’t known figured out how to before, you feel that on your knees in the ground kind of gratitude for so many things.

You can find the poem here.

You can learn more about the series, and The Maine Publishers and Writers Alilance here.

Thank you for reading it, and holding us all here.





celebrate, create, grieve, repeat: a poet returns

birthday montage
birthday montage

A few days ago another calendar year started for Mama C. Like your average bear I enjoy a little birthday love, some flowers, breakfast in bed. But, what I really love is the chance to reinvent myself, again. (January 1st, and Back to School also hold that possibility–or at least the excuse to start a new calendar and fill it with all the times I went to the gym this year. A week later, it’s amazing how much the old and the new calendar resemble the other…) This year Shrek and the boys helped me to craft a list of things I can feel fiercely fabulous about. Here are a few highlights in no particular order:

  • attending my first week long writers residency
  • crossing the country twice to visit my father and step mom with a different lad each time
  • a magnificent and robust urban garden in the summer and fall
  • several home improvements
  • transitioning to a part time job for one year
  • making ends meet on a part time income
  • volunteering in the boys’ classrooms once a week
  • co-organizing three epic cross cultural events at my sons’ school since last March
  • being invited to the “table” to discuss issues of race and equity in our school district
  • presenting on race and education to a graduate program in counseling,
  • parenting my big-in-the-world boys with some success
  • working it hard in the longest committed relationship I have ever been in
  • deepening relationships with five bonus children
  • planning a wedding
  • meditating and exercising regularly
  • noticing old patterns that no longer serve me, and attempting to change them Continue reading “celebrate, create, grieve, repeat: a poet returns”

In memory of my little Dixie Dale

Dixie Dale .45cm long at 6 weeks.

Four years ago this week, I miscarried a little zygote of a girl, who I had affectionately named Meryl Dixie Dale Junior Girl.  (An anonymous nurse informed me of her sex many weeks later.  I knew anyway, and it was oddly OK to learn that I was right.)  It wasn’t her time to be on this planet, and it wasn’t my time apparently to mama this little girl. There is much that I am still thankful for about her little life; like finding out about her on Mother’s Day, and the miracle of discovering my body could carry a baby, even if just temporarily.

The surge of hormones, combined with the ongoing conversation with my uterine tenant was like a dip in a big ole vat of pink girlie dust for me. I wore little dresses, and seemed to flounce about in a way I never had before. I was in love with this new layer of Mama Me and the little inside me-inside me.

At eleven weeks, my little pink fairy was nothing but a series of specks dancing across an ultrasound screen.

At twelve weeks I set her spirit free on a little cove not far from here, and saw it leap into the ocean as I shook with grief, within the lines of a labyrinth my friend Tom had drawn on the damp sand for me.

I stood tall and proud, and summoned a brave smile so she’d always have that as her lasting image of me.

The next day, I went for the DNC, knowing she was far, far from me.

Today Sammy and I will go there for a picnic, a swim and an ice cream. I’ll bring some little flowers from my garden to throw into the water in honor of her lasting beauty without and within me. I’ll wear the new little pink dress I bought for myself yesterday not fully aware of the connection to the date, even though my body remembered.

I conceived Marcel, on the day she was due to be born, January 6th,  2007.   So, I like to think, a little part of her is still here dancing inside his soft yellow curls, or looking out at me from a speck of blue in his hazel eyes.

To loss, and love, and all the gifts therein. To you little Dixie Dale, who I’ll always cherish, and thank for the gift of readiness you gave my body, and the color you put into the pink of summer.