How does lightning form?

Your father belongs to the sky.
He skims the bottom of clouds and keeps
a watchful eye on everything below.
Sometimes he spreads thin and you almost
cannot see him, or he dances just out of view
on the breath of the wind, but he’s always there.
Other days, he’s large, dark or bright,
and people can’t help but
lay in the grass and watch, imagining, guessing
at what he is, at how he takes the
insubstantial and makes it something

Your mother belongs to the ground. Roots and
Earth, solid and constant—but not immovable,
not invulnerable to tremors and collapse.
She has spent years looking up and imagining,
guessing at what life would be like without two feet
firmly planted. She has climbed mountains and trees,
skipped or jumped to taste a moment of flight.
She reached as high as she could stretch for the hint
of such excitement as the sky.
One day,
the sky (remarkably)
reached back.

And then there was you.

You are l i g h t n i n g,
born from the stretch between clouds and Earth.
A flash of bright in the middle of a storm.
You are electric, charged—a sudden boy with flashes
that people count down to.
You are the taste of static in the air and the feeling of
every hair standing on end. You are impossible odds and
chance, warmth so unbelievable it could be nothing less than
fire, racing through veins and leaving a shock of shining,
purple scars in your wake. Tracing them feels like a
memory of you.

Have you ever seen someone struck by lightning?
Just look at your parents and the buzz that hums through them,
every time you smile.

Pregnant During a Pandemic

I’ve never been great with timing, but man is this an interesting turn of events.

Today I am 30 weeks and five days pregnant. That’s still 65 days until my due date, or as my doctor reminded me the other day, at least 45 days until my going into labor wouldn’t be considered “preterm.”

Also today, the governor of Maryland shut down all restaurants, bars, movie theatres and gyms. Businesses and schools are closing their doors and turning to working remotely (honestly – something I’ve been preparing for my whole life; I thrive with virtual work). There is a part of me though, that small recess of my brain that still holds on very tightly to my old anxiety habits, that worries all this isolating will reawaken my hermit tendencies in an unhealthy way. Setting a reminder now: go outside. Go on a walk. Take deep breaths and remember your world exists outside of your house, too.

It’s strange to watch the news with this small baby boy kicking around in my stomach and see people at their best and their worst. To see volunteer nurses and doctors step up; to see people getting into fights in grocery stores over toilet paper and hand sanitizer. It’s weird to see people say that this is both a huge overreaction and an under-reaction.

I don’t like the most common phrase people have turned to in order to dismiss the chaos. “This will only really affect people 55+, I’ll take my chances.” It’s horrible to see there are those that would be okay with some people getting sick (perhaps to the point of being critically ill or fatally ill) as long as they don’t actually get that sick and can keep living their life. I’d like to say that’s not the majority of people, just the louder ones that always grab my attention in unfortunate ways. People, I hope, are mostly good and will make the small sacrifice of sitting on their couch watching Netflix instead of going out and proceeding with life, uninterrupted.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, and with any luck (no pun intended) everyone will stay home and stay safe. Social distancing is an excellent way to practice not drinking and driving or getting publicly intoxicated. I hope everyone takes it as serious as they should. Not for themselves but for their older relatives and neighbors and coworkers. For those with underlying health conditions or autoimmune diseases (HI CELIAC! THANKS! LOVE YOU!), or the pregnant stranger who still needs to run to the store and pick up toilet paper, not because she’s hoarding but because she’s actually starting to run low (GREAT JOB ERICA!).

I’ve never been great with timing, and if I had a choice, I would obviously choose not to be pregnant during a pandemic. But hey, that’s life. I will have to be cautious and hope others are as well. I will have to try to keep my eye on my health and try not to worry too much, though there’s a lot to worry about beyond the basic “we’re out of food.” I don’t want to have this small boy any earlier than necessary. I don’t want his first days in the world to be so bizarre and have our family potentially out of reach for health reasons. But if it comes to it, we’ll make do, we’ll adapt, we’ll push on. It’s what we’ve done before, and it’s what we’ll do now, no matter the strange circumstances we come up against.

So stay home and wash your hands. And if you can help it, try not to be pregnant during a pandemic.

You Feel like Poetry

You feel like poetry.
The spark of a half-formed sentence
—not incomplete, but better—that
makes sense because you were written for
me. Your rhythm,
rhyme, timing, pattern
Your stanza, my reminder to breathe and
sit in the silence
 of a     pause, comfortable. You are thought,
promise and prose
that leaves me full of music.

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