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VIVIAN LEARNS THE PRESENT PROGRESSIVE by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer


When a child is first born, it can sometimes provide a portal for living in the present…

All the new baby’s needs are immediate. Feed me now. Sleep now. Hold me now. Cry now. And for a precious, brief bubble of time, mothers are pulled into that “be here now” way of living. 

I was very aware, as my daughter grew, of her language  acquisition, and it seemed to me that as she learned words such as “mine” that I could see the ways in which her experience of world was also expanding. 

That was especially apparent with the introduction of the present progressive. It was, like any milestone, such a thrill! And at the same time, such a loss. 

Ah, mothering, how it teaches us again and again how to hold and let go at the same time.


Vivian Learns Present Progressive

Mama chasing me, she says,
and she runs with her small feet

tilt-syncopated and youth drunk
and for the first time she –ings

in her speech, and the moment
leaps out of the present and leans

into the thought that an object
in motion remains in motion

and life scampers on past
this frame

where she and I race around
the green countertop. And the present,

once all there was, grows wings. And it’s true,
I am chasing, have chased and will still

be chasing her long after her squeal
has left its sender to find the moon.

We push toward the future so soon and then
spend a whole lifetime trying to unlearn

the present progressive, to wholly embrace
what is now. I chase. I crave. I learn. We reach,

and I would make the seconds hover
if I could, and still all my longing and slow

the light as it leaves. But morning
slips its scaffolding and she’s lying in bed

tonight cooing the alphabet in gibberish, a verb
who is falling but has not yet quite fallen asleep.

~

(Poem originally published in 'The Less I Hold' available here

The author with her children


Poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer “is a chanteuse of the heart,” says poet Art Goodtimes. She served two terms as the first poet laureate for San Miguel County, Colorado, where she still leads monthly poetry readings, teaches in schools, leads writing workshops and leaves poems written on rocks around the town. Her most recent collection, The Less I Hold, comes out of her poem-a-day practice, which she has been doing for over seven years. Her work has also appeared on A Prairie Home Companion and in O Magazine, on tie-dyed scarves, alleyway fences and in her children’s lunchboxes. Visit her website here for ideas about writing, and to read her daily poems click here. 



~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 

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