©Cherie Chávez, 2010

In this one you are stretched out on your belly on the old wooden floor of the hallway. The light from the bathroom burnishes the stark gorgeousness of your naked body: the muscles of your buttocks and shoulders perfectly sculpted in gold.

Your right arm and leg are completely outstretched, hand reaching straight toward the camera, a claw against the floorboards. You lie flung on the floor as if you will never get up. Your left arm and leg are drawn up, your face half hidden in your elbow, but I can still see its rictus of despair. Tears streak your forearm and glitter in the light. You don’t want me to look at you, and yet have thrown your entire self into this display.

Why did I take this picture? I suppose I was captured by the utter beauty of your body, and wanted somehow to possess it forever: every line and finger expressing your indignation. I knew my camera would infuriate and alienate you; you needed me to be with you somehow, and instead I stepped back, snapped the shot.

What is it I hoped to remember with my camera? Perhaps I just didn’t know what else to do; I could not give you what you wanted in that moment. What I see now: the distance you so crave, and can never forgive me for having already.

©Michelle Hackel, 2011

As a full-time homemaker (and sometime YWC Co-Coordinator), Michelle Hackel writes obsessively (intelligently? insightfully? even sometimes humorously?) about the two current all-consuming occupations of her life: being married and being a mom. Readers are looking forward to an as-yet-unstarted incomplete novel, forthcoming in 2-15 years, tentatively titled Wipe it Somewhere Else.

3 Responses to “Untitled by Michelle Hackel”

  1. Marty Williams Says:

    Michelle, I am so thrilled to this powerful piece on the digital page here. That last line about the distance is powerful…what the little one craves and never forgives the bigger one for having already. Wow! I’m going to be thinking on that!

  2. Joyce Y. Says:

    The climactic last line is amazing – wow!

  3. Lily Kaplan Says:

    I truly believe that other mothers will find a great sense of relief when reading your words. You speak truths and paint pictures for us non-parents that are infinitely worthy as they create a sense of freedom from the cultural tyranny that says motherhood shall be only ‘this’ or ‘that’.

    Thanks for revealing your soul of love for your children all the while helping us laugh at the foibles of motherhood all the while.

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