Today Christian and I celebrate our sixth (summer) wedding anniversary. Our little family is setting off this morning by ferry to Lopez Island, the first stop on our five week summer island hopping adventure. I met him nine summers ago. This poem is about that day and the sculpture Wake by Richard Serra, which our daughter Georgia is running amongst below.


“Each module is identical and comprised of two S-sections, which are inverted in relationship to each other…What’s important is you moving between them, through them, and around them as they undulate; it’s your body moving in relation to their surface that moves.”
 ~ Richard Serra, Wake, 2004 Weathering Steel

I walked straight up to you
kept going on instinct
into your surprised arms
the first time I met you
here in the Olympic Sculpture Park
nine years ago.
We strolled in the late afternoon sun
affected more by each other than the art.
It was July, the kind of summer evening
we dream about in December.
Then I showed you Wake,
the Richard Serra
sculpture I loved,
five hulking and elegant ellipses,
such proudly rusting
iron slabs.

A glass of champagne,
then on to dinner.
We inhaled each other,
pheromones registering
yes yes yes.
You lived in Canada.
Merely a detail.

Since that day,
we’ve searched out Serra’s work
in the Toronto airport,
the Walker in Minneapolis,
Storm King in the Catskills,
Guggenheim Bilbao,
an unexpected sighting
on Lopez Island.

I remember the wake
I’d criss-cross on a slalom ski
behind our little boat on Lake Okoboji,
the languorous wake of a Turkish gulet,
immense wake of an ice-breaker
beneath soaring Wandering Albatrosses.

I see what Serra was thinking, yes,
but the art itself murmured to me
Look at this man beside you.
Wake to your new life,


You Are Like Hearing Hip-Hop For The First Time

Happy Father's Day! I've been thinking about all the stages of fatherhood, from the moment when one can imagine being a parent, to finding out a baby is sparked, to prepping for the arrival, to the incomparable day one's child is born, to early intense parenthood which evolves and changes as kids grow older. There is then the shifting relationship fathers have with their adult children. And today, I also remember a few friends who have recently lost their fathers. Whew. Life.

Over a backyard BBQ, friends just told us the happy news they are pregnant with their second child. Our friend Chris is taking his eleven-week-old-daughter on their first father-daughter birding outing to celebrate his first Father's Day. Today, Xavier took his Daddy to see A Beautiful Planet, the IMAX film about astronauts, something they both love. My siblings and I are getting excited to gather with our dad this fall to celebrate his 70th birthday and later this month we celebrate Christian's father's 80th. 

With so much to celebrate with the dads in my life, I was quite disappointed at the dearth of good Father's Day cards on offer - they hardly grazed the complexity and beauty of fatherhood. But to remedy that, I want to share something wonderful from poet Kevin YoungI cut this poem out of the New Yorker when I first read it, before ever getting pregnant. When I recently took a writing workshop with him here in Seattle, I was able to tell him personally how much I love this poem (and he signed Book of Hours for me!) So much joy in the last lines:


Grave, my wife lies back, hands cross
her chest, while the doctor searches early
for your heartbeat, peach pit, unripe
plum–pulls out the world’s worst
boom box, a Mr. Microphone, to broadcast
your mother’s lifting belly.
The whoosh and bellows of mama’s body
and beneath it: nothing. Beneath
the slow stutter of her heart: nothing.
The doctor trying again to find you, fragile
fern, snowflake. Nothing.
After, my wife will say, in fear,
impatient, she went beyond her body,
this tiny room, into the ether–
for now, we spelunk for you one last time
lost canary, miner of coal
and chalk, lungs not yet black–
I hold my wife’s feet to keep her here–
and me–trying not to dive starboard
to seek you in the dark water. And there
it is: faint, an echo, faster and further
away than mother’s, all beat box
and fuzzy feedback. You are like hearing
hip-hop for the first time–power
hijacked from a lamppost–all promise.
You couldn’t sound better, break-
dancer, my favorite song bumping
from a passing car. You’ve snuck
into the club underage and stayed!
Only later, much, will your mother
begin to believe your drumming
in the distance–my Kansas City
and Congo Square, this jazz band
vamping on inside her.

~ Kevin Young


Cannon Beach

After a long weekend in Cannon Beach, it now really feels like summer. The 52nd Annual Sandcastle Contest was on with beach bonfire, music and s'mores for the kids. We went hiking and tidepooling in Ecola State Park, played on the beach near Haystack Rock and drank some favorite Oregon wines. We explored Lewis and Clark National Park and Fort Clatsop (and got Centennial stamps for our National Park Passport). Xavier directed play all weekend, "Ok Daddy, I'll be Lewis, you can be Clark. Mommy, you can be Sacagawea and Georgia, you can be her baby Jean-Baptiste." We watched some of the Euro Cup and Xavier then wanted to play soccer on the beach. "Ok I'm England, Daddy, you are France. I'll be Joe Hart. I'll be goalie. I'm a superstar." We visited a few lighthouses, thus ....."Let's play lighthouse keepers. I'm Xavier the lighthouse keeper, Daddy, you're Christian the lighthouse keeper. Mommy, you're Sarah the lighthouse keeper and Georgia, you are Georgia the lighthouse keeper." Such is our life right now. Never a dull moment.