Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Greenhouse

This morning the guys were in the neighbor's back yard working again very early, there when I got back from Early Bird Lap Swim, but only hammering, not using power saws, so I could calmly read The Greenhouse (Bull City Press, 2014), by Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet, with my morning coffee. Such a lovely book, winner of the Frost Place Chapbook Competition, it's about the mother-child relationship from infancy into early childhood--the peaceful, gentle, exhausted, fear-and-love-filled time of bonding, getting the child to eat and sleep--that slips away from memory, so much about the present moment, unless captured or recreated in language, "the mommy-memoirs" of baby notes or, here, poems. The little details stick out--"red pajama top with the train"--and remind me of my own baby notes.

Of course, this mother is a reader--desperate to read a book again--and a writer--patient with herself from necessity--and happy to read books to her boy. And, if she can't get enough sleep, she can enjoy Dorothy falling asleep in the poppies of The Wizard of Oz, and "popcorn all over the rug." One's life is taken over until a small moment to reflect: "I was a bubble, a greenhouse, a lens..." from "After Dropping My Son Off at Preschool," "self being a place encompassing a small boy." And "the greenhouse encompassing three things: a mother, a gingko tree, a boy." In this poem, she Googles something, maybe. The gingko tree. In "Baby/Honey," the Internet helps her understand why you don't give a honey to a child under one. And in my blog, we celebrate coincidence--how yesterday's idiot was a man, and today's was a woman, both of them wise in their folly. Stonestreet: "It is a luxury and a privilege to be such an idiot." And "Charge," the giant poem, will break your heart.

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