Saturday, October 26, 2013
writing about jim
My father-in-law passed away Thursday, October 17th. I've been writing about it quite a bit on our family blog here, and to say that this event has shifted my perspective of the world is an understatement. He is a core person to me, a member of a tribe of people I am deeply connected to.
I'd already written about his illness in a poem called "Post-Op." I wrote it the weekend after his brain surgery, which was successful, but brief in its glory, as the cancer had already wedged into his arms and pancreas and originated in his lung, where it was inoperable. "Post-Op" was written knowing this, but it was meant to be an early-day poem, something hopeful, as we grilled liver outside and watched my son expertly burn a hole in the rug he crawled across. The cancer was swifter and crueler than anyone expected.
I'm excited that this and another poem, "The Maple We Planted" are a part of Kindred. In fact, it came to me in the mail just in time for me to bring it with me to Green Bay, to give to my mother-in-law the night before the services.
I've already written more about him. And more will come. I've been thinking a lot about fathers and grandfathers and that endless cycle. About the good, the bad, the in-between. It's taken me a dozen years to finally write about the man who is my husband: we've always had such an even-keel, contented relationship, which makes a placid poem. This is fine--I love peacefulness and gentle observation. But adding Maya to the dynamic has shifted experiences and understanding dramatically in our lives. Watching him be a father is a complex pleasure. Writing about it is too.
"Post-Op" is the first of many in a sequence and I love the poem for many reasons. If you want a copy of it in its first publication, head on over to Kindred's shop and buy a copy. Their issues sell out quickly, so I'd advise not waiting, if you are so inclined.