Where the Words Come From: 03 - She Carries

Nora, with Ralphie. 

Nora, with Ralphie. 

We have been getting a lot of questions about the poetry within, specifically regarding the focus of each poem. Are these poems about each woman specifically? Why the Killdeer Mountains? Why lipstick? Why JFK? That's why we wanted to start a series where we talked about where the words came from for each woman and tell the deeper meaning of their story behind the poetry.

I want to talk about 'She Carries'. It came from our Wild Morning with Nora and her son Ralph. It was Nora and her son Ralph because he wouldn't much bother to leave her side; slung on her hip 90% of the time like a shy baby koala. A baby koala in his underwear with a construction light wrapped around his forehead. 

Nora's story has been pretty public to us, she's been generous enough to give it to us, wrapped in her words. Her husband, Ralph's father, died of brain cancer. Her father died of brain cancer. She had a miscarriage. All in one month. Her home held this carefully - with the sun, with how she carried Ralph through the house as she brushed her teeth, in her footsteps - how the wooden floor creaked under it all. It held it all but it didn't feel heavy. The silence and the soft patters of Ralph's little voice with hers didn't feel sad but things hurt somehow. 

I couldn't get over how she carried Ralph everywhere. The closeness and steadiness of this act felt hopeful and strong. The closeness and support felt intimate and therapeutic to me, for her. I couldn't begin to relate to what she had been through but she quietly had no judgements about it. That's just f*cking life. I felt her say that. She didn't say that. But how could I feel it?

I wanted desperately to write about this form of healing, a sense of normalcy that happened carefully in front of us in the morning light. When Ralph carried his bug house with dirt into the dining room. How Nora ate Cheerios with us, poured them into a stark white bowl. How beams of sunlight felt like they were long and all over, touching our legs. Although I felt unworthy of pulling out the heartache here and there, the strength everywhere - I wrote about how she carried her son. How her husband still lived everywhere. And she carried him too.

david puente