February 14th, 2019

by Abigail Rudibaugh

I don’t need dinner with steak,
more pearls to keep tucked away,
or a dozen red roses to know I’m loved.

Who decided on twelve anyway?
Why not a bundle of seven
to make it interesting
so I can ask what it means,
and you can say, “because I love you
all seven days of each week.”
Or how about a rose
for the number of times
you had to reach for my hand
just yesterday to reassure
me in my whirling
you are my safe place.

This morning there isn’t pressure
besides the tea party we throw
for our girls this breakfast.
You refill my coffee,
clear the dishes, and then
read our daughters’ valentines
while I write this love poem 
you don’t even know about yet.

I don’t need all the fancy
in all its bright loud lights
to scream what I hear in
calm whispers all morning.
This comfort we made
is loving me just right.

Awake and Dreaming

by Abigail Rudibaugh

My daughter creeps downstairs
without creaking a single board.
She knew it was way past bedtime.
Opening my door, I see her,
get out of my own bed to meet her,
and take her back upstairs.

But instead of her hand reaching
for mine, my outstretched hand
grabs her decorated paper.
“Mom, I made this for you!”
speaks out of a full smile shared
with both her lips and blue eyes.

The paper holds an ice cream cone
colored a bright rainbow flavor.
She must have turned the light on
(after I switched it off) and went
to work coloring at her table.

How could I be mad
with marker all over her hand
and an hour of missed sleep?
I’m holding her dreams
she still knows she can achieve
right on this colorful sheet.

“Let’s Talk about the Weather” Musing

by Abigail Rudibaugh

If you’re new here, hi and welcome! Usually after I post a poem, I write a little musing about it, in hopes of starting a coffee shop conversation in this little corner of the internet. So finish your coffee and pull up a chair. Here are some thoughts on yesterday’s poem, “Let’s Talk about the Weather” that was not about the weather and all about the impact of hate.

It’s so much easier to talk about how much we hate the cold (it is preeeetty cold!), but what makes it so much harder to talk about the coldness of hate?

What I do know is this: it snowballs. The snow storm starts in flurries… Aggravated driving because someone is driving too slow, so we give in to rage having its say. Impatient complaints bubble to the surface when the service is too slow. We let ourselves go down the spirals of “Why would she say that?” to each other, and not to her, spotlighting her ignorance, and our glorious rightness.

Maybe, maybe, we could wait for the answer next time, from the person who said it. Maybe take them out for tacos and hear where they’re coming from. Maybe they’ll ask how it sounded to us, too. We could still disagree, but maybe we’d still enjoy the company.

Honestly? I’m guilty of all this. But I’m determined to watch for the temperature dropping in my own heart, and apologizing when it does. There’s a lot of beauty waiting for us when we say out loud where we were wrong and in our humility, commit to do better next time.

I am pretty sure love and empathy and a huge warm front live right there. ❤️

Let’s Talk About the Weather

by Abigail Rudibaugh

What does the cold
have to say, throwing
a fit on a Wednesday.
Advisories and cancellations—
“Stay in, stay in,” he says
as he slaps our face
with one gust of wind.

He keeps the list extensive
of what needs prepared 
for his presence. Heavy 
things worn to keep 
the neck, the body, warm,
and stiff. It’s no coincidence.

Isn’t it interesting
little can protect
the eyes?

Eyes forced open to see
hate killing, freezing,
shutting us up indoors
making soup, pretending,
we didn’t do this, or
we can’t stop this.

I hope you know
we aren’t powerless.
Talk is just easier 
when it stays about
the weather.

On Feelings—A Less Welcomed One

Anxiety is coming
so there’s work to do.
Journal, pray, read—
stay busy, stay still,
breathe and don’t exhale
until your throat catches 
the air. Diffuse wintergreen.
Make chamomile tea, and
make yourself sweat, but
preferably not in that order.
Let yourself stand in line
at Chipotle. Say yes
to extra guacamole.
Call your friend
and talk about nothing
because you can’t really
name why your ribs
keep clawing so tight.

Tears come because
crumbs can’t stay
tucked long in corners
of the hardwood floor.
Exposed and tired—
you’re left confused
why your tricks aren’t
sticking to the script.

Please know, it’s okay.
You do what you can,
you cancel what you can’t,
you stay in child’s pose
long after everyone has left.

Peace will come again
like the sun and new days.
Birds will sing melodies.

For now, you wait
for Love’s outreached
hand dressed in
so many disguises.
Trust she’s there 
even when you’re scared.
Know it’s good to need her.

Found Inspiration

By Abigail Rudibaugh

Inspiration is really good
at playing hide and seek.
She asks you to count,
your face flat on leather,
cold and molding to you
as you count to ten.

You don’t tell her the truth
you don’t want to play
because you know well
Inspiration doesn’t
like the isolation.

Ready or not
you duck under beds
and peek behind doors
puzzled at how easy
you lost her.

You want to start dinner
or change the sheets,
accomplish some thing—
Any thing—
before the next day repeats.

Giggling seeps through
the pile of folded laundry.
Hysteria, celebration,
sheer joy at being found
in a space so ordinary.

You surprise yourself—
you’re laughing,
and now extending
an offer to play again.