September 28, 2012
Years ago, when I first got my husband out of our home, I breathed a sigh of relief and imagined a life free from being afraid every day. He left somewhat willingly, after a night of chaos and terror that ended with police standing in our bedroom, asking him why his shirtsleeves were covered with blood and the children were hiding in their bedrooms, ended with me putting the children in the car and knocking on a neighbor’s door at midnight.
He got worse before he got better. Several hospitalizations, one week in rehab, and some months later, he began to woo me back. I’d like to say he was cunning, but I do not know that it was premeditated, the way he got us to trust him again. I was seeing a man I had never seen before, and I was filled with hope. I suspect that he even surprised himself, this person he had become, thoughtful and present and clearheaded and patient and kind. He asked if he could move back in. I told him it was too soon. He asked if he could move back in. I told him maybe. And then I wrote this poem.
With This Ring
September 25, 2012
My house has a name. I didn’t know it at the time that I bought it. I never noticed the weathered brass plate attached to the gate posts at the end of the driveway, not until I drove through those gates on closing day. “The Tree House,” the plate read. I suppose it is because it is surrounded by trees. There are cherry trees that dot the lawn, if you can call it a lawn. Maybe I should say “that dot the front weeds.” These trees are good for sitting in, as my cats and I have discovered. The house is surrounded by acres of woods and thus, acres of trees. It turns out that these trees, the “ornamental” ones, had never been pruned. Vines climbed up their trunks and broken branches posed awkwardly. And so a man came to help me with my trees. One tree, which sat on the edge of the weeds and woods, was covered with a blanket of vines. The tree man and I looked at it and he asked me if he should cut it down. So hidden was this tree that we could not even tell what kind of tree it was. “Let’s uncover it,” I told him, as if this was some great adventure, despite the fact that I would be doing none of the work. I left him with the tree, and returned to find a mountain of cut vines, almost as high as the tree’s lower branches. “It’s an oak tree,” said the tree man. “A weeping oak!” I exclaimed. “I’ve never heard of a weeping oak.” And so off to the internet I went, where I did indeed find that a weeping oak existed, but my tree is an ordinary oak. It is weeping because it was hurt. It was trapped and weighed down. Its branches are now free from vines and maybe someday, they will reach for the sky. My tree’s trunk has scars deep in its bark from the choking vines, and I wonder, is it too late? Will my tree grow into the tree it was meant to be… a mighty oak? My tree sits awkwardly on a hill, its roots not too firmly planted, barely holding on. I love my tree.