Meditations for Queer Femmes – Contain

As I have mentioned here previously, I’m currently enrolled in a low-residency MFA program, Writing for Children and Young Adults. My advisor has been giving us optional poetry assignments, and it turns out, I really, really like the ones asking us to write haiku or etherees, but don’t like the ones where we’re just given a topic. In some magical way, having a form will suggest a topic to me and then it’s a delicious puzzle how to fit the topic into the form.

Kind of like being confined, I guess, the way so many of us are confined at home right now. I just heard from my mother’s assisted living facility that she’s not going to be allowed out of her room from now on, which is going to be rough on her, nature-loving girl that she is. She’s one of the few residents there who, up until now, was taking walks every day.

I think of my mother’s small studio apartment, with its ever-changing view of a quiet road banked by a beautiful outcrop, topped by lots of trees. With the window open, she can hear the busy spring song of birds. Inside, she has bookshelves filled with her own books – the ones she wrote during her long career as an archeologist – and many others, including all my father’s books – the ones he wrote, during his long career as a philosopher and novelist. She has stacks of professional journals. Files of letters written to her by friends, family and colleagues. She has a phone and I call her every day, usually more than once. The facility provides meals, and takes care of cleaning and giving her her meds. She and I both agree – she’s in a nice place.

Adorable darlings, effulgent spirits, I hope you are in nice places, as well. I hope you can look around at all the particulars that surround you — the books, the clothes, the souvenirs, the art – and say to yourselves, “There’s a lot to work with here!” I hope you can find sustenance and hope in the beautiful, delicious puzzle of our needing to be contained for the time being. Needs must, but we are not alone. We are all connected, in one great gorgeous tangle, and I am sending out a queer femme thread of joy and sparkle to you, in the midst of this frightening unknowing.

You are dear to me. You are contained in my heart.

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, kind, and wise and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.