Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Dear Manzil,

Your fevered body shivered in my arms
And yet my heart was fine with so much warmth
All for you
What I wouldn't give to make you feel better.

Your Mamma


Monday, January 29, 2018


Dear Manzil,

I messaged your Mashi today saying,
"Help! I'm stuck under a sleep-resistant but finally asleep child who's also pressing on my very full bladder!" This was after four abortive attempts at trying to get you to take a nap. I dream-peed, shifted my expectations, and enjoyed two hours of precious snuggles. This was also after hours of not eating and feeling bone tired, displaced in our own home thanks to bathroom repair work, and knowing a very long solo evening was waiting for me.

Even at the end of a day like this, you never fail to give me new perspectives, make me want to do better, be better...and look at the world differently.

Thanks for that gift!

I love you, always,


Sunday, January 28, 2018

So Good

There's a cycle there I don't know how to break
I don't even know where to begin to cause some dents
To birth a few cracks
To get to



Dear Manzil,

It should be more like, better?
Question mark
It's so tricky to know
But what's harder is to trust my instinct
Resist spiraling into questions
Worrying about questions
So many to be asked
Few with answers
Tomorrow, though, will be better.

Love you,


Friday, January 26, 2018


Dear Manzil,

My heart beats awkwardly
In anticipation of what may come
This not-knowing is what
Is stuck between my rows of teeth
Grinding my jaw to a fine paste
I feel around my mouth
Is it my bottom tooth rubbing against my top one
Or the other way around?
Just like my teeth
My worry doesn't have anywhere to go
Except to line itself up in untidy lines
And get ground up.

I know, you'll be okay. Still, I love you,


Thursday, January 25, 2018

To Larry

One hundred and fifty six
And that's not even close to the number of ways
You can break someone
Not like your favorite fallen cup
Shattered into a million little scars
This is like breaking the very letters that make
Why oh you
This is like shooting an automatic weapon
Through the flesh of the darkest densest sky
And still not seeing a single star shine through
This is like cutting your nails into millimeter sized pieces
While they're still attached to the bloody tips of your fingers
Fingers can move, touch, feel this way?
Fingers can break this way?
And then when you're done breaking
You realize there's nothing left inside of you to fix
You're the grimy leftover of forgotten glue
Incapable of holding anything together
Least of all, you


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

There are so many

Dear Manzil,

Today was your first time in the trolley
I wanted to show you that
There are so many
Ways to go from one place to the next
As we wandered in and stood about
I wanted to share with you that
There are so many
Different people in this world
When we walk on these paths
We have to learn how to look beyond seeing
Have to learn to listen past the point our ears know how
There are so many
Lenses and voices
I'm learning to do all these too
I'm terrified of all you're touching
But I know it's helping you reach new places
Leaving behind old boundaries of what you know
Which you know will shift, because
There are so many
Places to experience
There are so many
Lives to live
So even when it terrifies you
I hope you take the trolley

There are so many
Words I have to tell you that
I love you,


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Mistaken Identity

Dear Manzil

Many times, you will make mistakes. Some, you may even repeat. The question really comes down to:

Do you have the humility to admit your mistake?

I hope you always do,


Monday, January 22, 2018


If nothing can go wrong
Then is it really a risk?
Or is it just trying something
That flirts with the outer edge of
Your dreams
And the blankets you're tucked under when you see them?


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Up Above

The view from there is uncanny
I never felt more low
From up above


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Statistically Coincidental

Coincidences are statistical
And nothing really happens for a reason
Other than it was going to happen anyway
And it happened because
Of random chances
Coincidences came and went
Had their day
And now are conveniently
Out of fashion
Signs are happenstance
Of could be would've beens
And really nothing truly matters
Except of course
Random coincidences


Night Out

Dear Manzil,

Today, I went out
And getting out has never been this hard
Or this easy
All mixed up
At once
And together
Like coffee in milk
All the better

I missed you,


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Your Smile

Dear Manzil,

I want to capture your smile
I promise, I'd let it go soon after
A smile like yours doesn't deserve to be captive
You make me want to hold on to each moment
Like I've never seen it before
Like I won't see it ever again
But, like your smile,
I must let go
And set free
Every moment

With smiles,
Your Mamma


Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Dear Manzil,

So much to see
So many sounds to bounce to
Which one did you enjoy most today?
Which ones to make tomorrow?

Love you,


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I hear you

Dear Manzil,

Today, I woke up to only one functional ear
It made me sad to think
What it would be like
If I could only half-hear you
Then, I got thinking
What would it be like
If I could only half-smell to,
Half-hold you.
Somehow though
I realize how resilient we are
And if that were to happen,
If it is possible,
I would love you double

Love, always, doubly, truly, triply,


Monday, January 15, 2018


Dear Manzil,

It does get better
Not everyday
Not all the time
And not without effort
But it does get better
With each moment
The harder gets left behind
So does a stronger you
Believe that
Each moment



Sunday, January 14, 2018

Some Nights

Dear Manzil,

Some nights are a dense forest
Complex and colorful as they may be
Their new and old
Can be terrifying

Some nights
Even the familiar twigs on trees you swung from everyday
Become agonizing claws reaching for you

Some nights the rustling you hear
Between the babbles of teary streams
Are your own restless dreams
Waiting to be born

Some nights your own shadow
Catches up and beats you into
Forever darkness

On these nights
Gratitude may be hard to locate
On these nights
Fear may be thicker than the heaviest cloud
On these nights
It's more important than ever to
That dawn is just a few hours away

Love you, always, in light and at night,
Your Mamma


Saturday, January 13, 2018

I won't always get it right

Dear Manzil,

There's a little voice inside me
That needs to find its volume dial
And turn itself way up high
I wonder if it ever heard itself
What would my voice think?
There's so much it would have to say
Trust yourself
Forgive yourself
You're trying your best
And I just wish I could turn up the volume
So I wouldn't need to hear that from anyone else
I could just turn up the volume
And listen to what's been yelling itself hoarse all this while
I try lot of things
Crying it out to pick up instantly
On-the-go to scheduled to the minute
Sleep anywhere to controlled environment napping
Sippy cups to transition utensils
And there will be a million other things to choose from
And I won't always get it right
But it won't stop me from trying

I love you,


Thursday, January 11, 2018

My Relationship with Gravity

In the beginning.

It couldn't hold my down down
This gravitational pull had no competition

Falling with no help from gravity
Is a fall so deep
So steep
There's no point in trying to defy it



Floating would make more sense
If I could just stop myself from sinking

But my relationship
Won't allow it

But in the end.

Gravity wins.


Nectar is Juicy

I am not one to pluck things that grow
But today I reached up high and picked
The word

From the tallest branch

I turned it around in my hands
And looked at it from the underside and from the left

It almost appeared bigger from one side than the other

It smelled ripe
Maybe even overripe

Telltale signs of overuse and simultaneous neglect
Left it bloody and bruised

I can't decide
Do I want my straw
Or just go at it with my hands
Slurping all of its untidy insides on my outsides

It doesn't matter
It's so very very juicy


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

In My Bones

My fingertips protest in silence
The arch of my back bends quietly
My neck won't move in boycott
The weight of my arms falls further down
I feel my exhaustion
In my bones


Monday, January 8, 2018


You gave me that very last spark
The final strike

I thought I had gotten rid of all the parts of me
that were paper

If most of my insides are water
Why, then, did I burn so brightly?


Dream a Dream

I woke up this morning wanting to eat my dream for breakfast
It had that gingery warmth that lingers in your mouth long after you finish your meal
It had heavy tones of hope
And an overarching note of optimism
Those are not my favorite flavors
Those are not flavors that favor me
In my dream whispers of tomorrow
Became flashbacks from days past
And just now felt like kinetic sand
Every grain real and everlasting
In my dream I held my heart in my own hand
It beat to the rhythm of my most beloved song
And as long as the song played, I knew my heart would keep beating
In my dream my feet dug deeper into the earth
Sharing home with the roots of a banyan tree
And no one seemed to care
Which was the end and which the beginning
In my dream all my demons and skeletons
Dance together in ceremonial pomp
And at the end of the night take each other to bed
In my dream distant shores groan in the ache
To join their continental sisters
And leave behind little notes of longing hidden between rocky crevices
In my dream turtles take off their shells
Moving about with drunk whimsy glee
And no one tells them where to go
Or how long before the sun comes up again
In my dream I am only me
In a way that reaches every single molecule of every single cell
Walking in step, swinging hands between them
Knowing that they are what's keeping me going
Keeping me dreaming
It's so tangible now
I don't even have to close my eyes anymore
To taste this life
In my dream


Sunday, January 7, 2018


Some days more than others

Your finiteness storms through

My assumptions and habits

Arriving unannounced, unnecessarily

With the fury of fear-filled exhaustion

Breaking everything in its path

"I've got you," you whisper between my hair

But I looked, you weren't there where you said you would be.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Seven Months

Manzil our sweet baby is seven months old,
and he got bundled up to experience his first real cold.

He went from splashing in water and beach sand,
to holding powdery snow in his teeny tiny hands.

He journeyed through the airport on yet another flight,
to look in awe at all of the holiday lights.

He smiled when he saw his picture hanging on the Christmas tree,
and every morning he still wakes up with glee.

He's improving his grip and now we have witnessed,
him snatching Christmas ornaments like nobody's business.

He's sucking on his socks to soothe the pain in his teeth,
and the only way to stop him is to put shoes on his feet!

And now he's stealing Momma's toothbrush to put in his mouth,
wondering when the rest of his teeth will come out.

He's meeting so many new people, learning to play with other babies,
and practicing being brave when he only wants Mommy and Daddy.

He signs to ask for food, drinks from a sippy cup,
and if you give him cereal, peas, bananas, or sweet potatoes he'll slowly eat them up!

He's scooting so far, to explore explore explore,
and smacking the springy stopper of the door.

Climbing on vents, under tables, in the laundry baskets, and finding wall sockets,
he's got the Mommy-Daddy rescue-me-card in his back pocket.

He's standing up with help, pushing the laundry basket to walk,
investigating the stairs, and using his hands to talk.

He's rolling in both directions, and sometimes on piles of books,
and loves to show off those "only Manzil can get away with this" looks.

Climbing on Grandma and Grandpa, giggling when Daddy tickles him,
singing with Mamma, and sleeping through his fingernail trim.

He'll let you clean him up in the shower in a jiffy,
but he escapes diaper changes better than Houdini.

He loves live music performances from friends,
he is sucking his thumb less,
and teaching so much to his parents,

Manzil, he is definitely the best,
We are loving every single moment!


Friday, January 5, 2018

8 Years

Dear Dan,

Eight years since that sunny day
When we danced our way
To a beginning so new
You could smell the vernix off of it
Like these new born days
Those days were filled with
Forgotten expectations
Some degree of unpreparedness
Sleepless nights

Our baby marriage has grown into a
Sweet eight year old
So much that has been taught
And so much still to learn

I wish nothing more than to see our
marriage age into wisdom and grandness

I love you,


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Good Night, Baby

Dearest Manzil,

Every evening when it's just about time
when you start to get ready to
dream your precious breaths into the night
I feel the day becoming water
slipping through my hands
my fingers grasping at every drop
any drop of the day

There's nothing to hold on to though
the day ends
another day goes by

I'm left with that same yearning
at the end of a vacation

I play back the day in
Black Mirror style
Feel my mouth letting out a little smile
watching you try something for the first time
Sliding on the upturned laundry basket,
pulling yourself up
munching on bananas
playing hide-and-seek with the sun

I don't feel ready to say good night

Some other days
every muscle in me feels wrung
overdried like stale raisins

Those days I grasp at time
like it's the very slippery rock at the very slippery edge of a very slippery cliff
My tired body pulls me down faster than gravity can imagine
I pretend I'm under the surface of the ocean
in Manuel Antonio
with rainbow-colored fish ignoring me
and hugging me all at once

Every inch of me
is ready to say good night

I can't wait to see that barely-two-toothed
smile in the morning

Good night, my sweet baby.

I love you,


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

I wish I could

Dear Manzil,

I wish I could walk into a room of
people completely different from me and
not want to run and hide

Not want to wish I was white or a man
or skinny or tall or less freckled

Maybe they would mansplain, whitesplain, and body-shame me a little less?

Maybe they'll try to not proclaim how we live in a post-racist non-heteronormative world where fires that consume us are just smokey products of coincidence

Maybe they'll try to not tell me that I am walking on glass floors that used to be ceilings and that mothers want everything and can have it too

Maybe they'll listen when I anger and when I question without needing to tell me I'm
over-caring, over-thinking, over-feeling, over-being, over-asking

I am underwhelmed by their inability to step outside of their privilege
Perhaps it's overwhelming to see that my otherness is so utterly otherly

I wish they would know
I don't have excellent English speaking skills
They have a poor knowledge of history

When they don't know where Mali is
Or that India is in a different time zone
They don't get to tell me that we live in a post-racist not-ethnocentrist United States

If they decided to sit-out their right to vote
They don't have right to tell me global climate change is a hoax

But these dualities are not alone

The world is really very very grey
But that doesn't make mansplaining and gaslighting something that's in your head

And it doesn't make it so you won't do it yourself

Being partially white, assigned male at birth, and born into an educated, privileged family in this city
You don't control

But if you mansplain, whitewash, or choose to not question your privilege
Then, my dear, we need to talk

Because, Manzil,
I wish I could walk into a room of
People completely different from me and
Not want to run and hide

And I wish you never have to experience that

I love you,


Tuesday, January 2, 2018


Dear Manzil,

I wish I could capture just how
Powerful your mornings are

The moment before you flash
That barely-two-toothed smile at

When the stench of decaying hope keeps me awake or wakes me

Some days all it really takes is you looking at me
Like I have all the answers

I know that you know that I'm learning with you
Learning that all it really takes is unfiltered

To make it through the day

I love you,


Monday, January 1, 2018

Old Ways

Dear Manzil,

You smell new
Every inch of you
Every moment with you
Oozes newness
Pushing the old out of me
New clothes
New sounds
New perspectives
New mistakes
New challenges
Even as I get older
You make me feel new
And whole

A new year began today
But you woke up just like you did

You still feel new
Your little hand on my heart
Reminds me that it wasn't too long ago
Our hearts beat as one

You are new
Like the pages of a freshly published book
The first line of a poem being read for the first time
The first bite of a warm cookie
You are new

And I'm so new
At giving up my old ways

I love you,