bike: 24 minutes
bike stand, basement
run: 1.25 miles
Didn’t want to run too much today, so decided to go down to the basement. Of course, the -10/ feels like -25 also influenced my decision. But if I hadn’t already run twice yesterday, I might have tried going outside because I’m crazy that way. Finished the first episode of Cheer! that I started last week. From the teacher who was very committed to her right to bear arms, “hell yeah! I’m packing right now!”, to the 2 concussions suffered in one pyramid rehearsal–those sounds of loud smacks on the floor as the girls fell!–to the male cheerleader who was kneed in the face and had to put a tampon up his nose to stop the bleeding, this was an intense 20 minutes. Wow.
TEN YEARS LATER MY HUSBAND WALKS OUT OF THE WOODS/ Emily Pérez
after “Hans My Hedgehog”
In one version you remove your coat
of quills at dusk, drape it by the hearthside.
My father’s bravest men then burst
into our room and net the carapace, fling
it in the waiting blaze, burn the thorns
that stippled you. The hollow spires
in the fire sing like copper smelted,
the slag amassing on the flagstones
cooling to a twisted fist of all that had you
hinged. Unmasked at last you stand
before me, born anew: not a monster, not
a man, but a fledgling flayed. Oh husband,
what soulbrave bargain have you made
that leaves you so tender, and how
am I to salvage you?— just wife, not
witch, not doctor.
I’ve been obsessed with the Grimm’s fairy tale “Hans My Hedgehog” for years. In addition to featuring a hedgehog who plays bagpipes and rides a rooster, it provides some crazy inroads for thinking about parenting and marriage. As in many fairy tales, a father promises his daughter to the hero, who, in this case is a hedgehog. Later, the hedgehog decides to permanently take on human form for his wife’s sake, which involves shedding his coat of quills and having it burned by his wife’s father’s men. The rebirth chars him. In the years that I tinkered with this story as a source for poems, my husband made a major life change that felt both morally brave and (perhaps) personally foolish. As his partner, I felt compelled to be supportive but also inadequate to the task. This poem gets at my ambivalence.
I loved reading the explanation of this poem and then reading the poem again. Powerful. I also like the idea of taking a favorite fairytale and re-imaging it.