By: CLS Sandoval
Christmas Lucky Ducks
I hadn’t heard much from my dad in years
Just a text here and there
Mostly my choice
He always sent strange gifts
Maybe they were only strange because he didn’t really know me
I never really let him
Then one Christmas my dad sent a gift to my daughter
One she plays all the time
Send the Note
Draining me dangerously low
I can only lose a pint
You’re not only a leech
But a vampire
Not the seductive young man
But the monster who sucks
Color draining from my world
My hands wide open
Desperate to let go
Your grip is so tight
I begged so long for you to hold me
But this is no tender embrace
Your knuckles whiten
As your hands dig into my flesh
Yet you keep haunting me
At the Park Today
Evelyn’s a little fussy in her stroller this morning. She’s gotten so mobile; she doesn’t want to sit anymore.
“I want out” clearly comes from her bow tie lips as she signs “out” with her right hand for emphasis.
She’s such a little person, I think to myself as I unstrap her and watch her run towrd the swing.
“Push, mama?” she hollers once she gets to it.
“I’m coming,” I respond and jog toward her.
Moments like this is what I imagine I will miss when she hits 15—probably even sooner. I now know that my mom really knew what she was talking about—even when I thought she was crazy.
Only three years ago—a year before Evelyn was born—a social worker told me that I would need to deal with my loss of not making a baby before I would be ready to adopt.
“But adoption is my plan A,” I insisted. “I only want to adopt because I had such a great experience being adopted.”
The social worker mumbled something about adoption trauma and how I would need therapy to deal with it. I rolled my eyes on the inside and talked my then husband’s ear off on the car ride home.
I wonder where that social worker is today—whether she’s still trying to talk people into pain, trauma, and loss—or maybe just out of adoption. And I wonder if she has yet healed.
Evelyn doesn’t want to get out of the swing, but her head starts nodding and her eyelids get heavy. I gently pull her out of the swing and on to my shoulder. I hear and feel her breath. As I walk toward my car with my sleeping baby in my arms, all I can feel is gratitude.
Avril Lavigne Complicated at the top of our lungs
in that brand new Honda you were so proud of
We were over exes, celebrating newfound freedom
and told each other those failures we were so deeply ashamed of
We would fight like siblings
I said some things I’m not proud of
I wasn’t perfect to your mother
and you thought I was more like you
I thought you were more of a sister
I may have complained that you weren’t more of a support
I may have been mad
and you keep calling me a whore
Watching too Many Forensic Files
I sure hope I’m never murder victim
I suppose there’s many reasons for this
not the least of which is
I don’t want everyone to know all of my secrets
Sure, I tend to write memoirs as confessionals
I tend to tell people more information than they want to know
but in these cases I am the author of my own history
I get to paint myself a little bit better than I was
I get to paint others a little bit darker
or perhaps a little bit more or less involved
I get to combine many people into one
I get to separate one into many
I get to ebb and weave perfected version of things that occurred
I am not bound to objective reality
CLS Sandoval, PhD is a pushcart nominated writer and communication professor with accolades in film, academia, and creative writing who speaks, signs, acts, publishes, sings, performs, writes, paints, teaches and rarely relaxes. She has presented over 50 times at communication conferences, published 15 academic articles, two academic books, three full-length collections, and three chapbooks. She is raising her daughter and dog with her husband in Alhambra, CA.