Friday, July 11, 2008

Baby Gate

car at the gate

I did my job.
I kept them in
or you out;
whatever was needed.

That satisfying click
closing my latch
spelled safety gate.
I held their cries

on both sides
when you retreated
to the sanctuary
of cooking dinner.

You pushed crackers
through my bars
buying distance in
your over-heated kitchen.

I stood my place
on the border.
Now they climb me as
a stair to the cookies.

You trip over me.
You’re tired of dusting
behind my hinge.
You want to paint over my holes.

You’ve driven me away
to consignment,
hoping for loose change
in exchange for my service.

A pregnant woman
frowned at me today,
running her wondering fingers
over my stained rails.

I’m ready.
Whatever she’s carrying
I’ve got her covered.
Open or closed, I’m her gate.

.............-Andromeda Jazmon

I wrote this poem after taking down all our baby gates and sending them to the consignment shop. It's a bitter sweet time of relief and nostalgia for me. They are growing so fast in into more mischief than a gate can keep out these days.

This week Miss Rumphius challenged us in the Poetry Stretch to "write a poem in any form that includes the phrase "loose change." It seemed a natural fit. Today's Friday Poetry round up is over at under the covers. Enjoy your weekend!


writer2b said...

Love this poem. And even if I didn't already know you have boys, I'd guess it from the part about them using the gate as a stair. I have girls, and they never did that -- but the little boys who come over to play always scaled the gate!

I hope it likes its new mission.

Mary Lee said...

Isn't amazing how even the functional items in our lives become imbued with memory!

laurasalas said...

Oh, Andi! You know, I love your haiku, but I wish you'd share free verse poems more often. I especially love:

or you out;
whatever was needed.

buying distance in
your over-heated kitchen.

You’re tired of dusting
behind my hinge.
You want to paint over my holes.

Wow, this is just terrific!

Kelly Fineman said...

Love it, Andi. It reminds me a bit of Ted Kooser's poem about a well-used ironing board. So perfect.

jama said...

Love this! I like the gate's sense of duty -- even if you're nostalgic, the gate never indulges in sentimentality.

Elaine Magliaro said...


What a wonderful mask poem! I think we still have my daughter's "super coupe" stored in a box somewhere. It's often so hard to dispose of objects that hold tender memories of our children.

A Mitch said...

OKay, what a great idea! "A pregnant woman frowned at me today." was my favorite. We know that a gate is suppose to help guard our kiddos but it is kind of a sad thing to corral them too. Very clever!

M.F. Atkins said...

Wow! I have the same feeling at my house. We have a baby gate that I keep thinking I'll get rid of, because we keep tripping over it. But there are the holes. You said it so beautifully!


Ruth said...

I love it!

:: Suzanne :: said...

you are so talented - thanks for sharing your world and your word-crafting with us.

sister AE said...

So many truths in this piece! I can still remember how fast my younger brother could climb his gate, even though he hadn't yet mastered the stairs. That was a bad combination, though we all lived through it.

Lisa Chellman said...

This is so dear. We have a baby gate to corral our dog, but I don't think she will ever outgrow it (blessing/curse).

Tricia said...

We got rid of all the baby stuff in our attic this spring. It was bittersweet for me. My husband jokingly said he hoped we didn't suddenly find ourselves pregnant. For a moment, I almost wished it true. It's so hard to let go of these days. I wish they weren't going by so fast.

As for your gate, I hope it finds a good home. Great poem, btw.

John Mutford said...

What a great perspective.

Cloudscome said...

Thanks for all these great comments. It is bittersweet to pass on these baby things that meant so much excitement when we started out. I kind of miss the days when I could leave them in one spot and know they wouldn't get into trouble, but at the same time it's nice when they show they can handle more independent self-care things.

I really struggled over this poem and felt it was a mess all the time I was working on it. I've been doing stricter forms for the past year or more and going back to free verse felt awkward and loose. It means a lot to me to get positive feedback!

Lone Star Ma said...

Really wonderful.