Sunday, January 19, 2014

sort it out

Her sturdy fingers move
the wooden blocks 
from bin to floor
and back to bin:
the industry of one
year olds, a crucial task.
It looks like play,

but watch her face:
intent. Intentional,
her focus broken
just for bursts
of brief delight:
The blue block fits
inside the red bin!
And she sees that
it is good.
This is her very work
and she will 
do it well
and long past
babyhood, this careful
sort. Good from
bad, in from out,
meaning from
nothing, created
from Creator.

So sort the bits now,
little sister,
sort it out.
Teach me again
to put things in
right order,
so to find 
the boundary lines,
like blocks and bins,
in all their
pleasant places.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


He was born
into the great silence -
nearly five hundred
years without a prophet,
but Simeon heard

the old voices.
Go to the temple,
they told him,
and the people laughed.
All but Anna, who
clasped her bony hand
around his wrist
when he passed by:
Today, she whispered.

Surely not them.
The road-weary carpenter
and his girlish bride,
tattered bundle clutched

tight to her chest.

His feet moved unbidden,
hands took the warm passel
of rags and flesh
from the unsuspecting mother.
Holding the Child,

he heard himself say
the words
to all the songs
the silence could hold no more.

Monday, November 4, 2013

For Logan, from your aunt on the occasion of your birth

The midwife took a photo
of your cord
where it hung,
attached at the furthest
edge by
a scant few

precious vessels.
Strands of life,
they tell your story:
a tale of enough,
a braided rope of
love, joy, and plenty

far right of reason,
and smack in the middle
of God's good grace.

Bless you, boy!

Be graced, good son,
to cast your steadfast line
to sea, and catch
all those who need a love
that won't let go,
and know:

Your mother's thread,
the Father's hand,
the Spirit's breath
will hold you still.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

to ethiopia with love

I rip the envelope
in the Walgreens parking lot,
flip through each photo
first quickly, then again
taking my time
while the van idles, until
the kids get restless
and it's time to move on.

I drive home distracted,
trying to see each image
through your eyes:
how will it feel to see
the child you lost at home
with me? He smiles.
Will you?

Tomorrow I will send them,
these frozen moments --
a birthday dinner,
his preschool portrait,
the first soccer game (he
scored three goals).
A month from now,
maybe two,
an old friend will walk
down a long red road,
greet you with three kisses,
and hand you a package.

You will see his face,
and yours, and ours.
I can't pretend to know
what you will feel;
I only pray you know
our love is for you too.

Monday, September 23, 2013

a pre-written retrospective on motherhood

She kept having children
perhaps because
they all began babies,
who lay down quietly in her lap.

Nestled skin to skin,
full satisfied by all
her body had to give,
she delighted to be
emptied into them.

And then they flew
too far to follow,
followed dreams and girls
down roads
she hadn't chosen.

Now the stairs and hallways
rattle memories,
silence louder than
their shouting ever was.

She sits by the un-smudged
window, hands in her
empty lap,
sad and satisfied
in all her fullness.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

to nurse

To tend,
or worry over,
in the case of wounds.
At a hospital,

to do a job,
a shift,
to lift and turn,
to measure, prod
and watch.

Here, in this darkened
room at dawn
it is love.
To give my
self, be emptied
and then filled

by the round
of her cheek, the
grasp of her tiny
her weight in my lap,

Friday, August 30, 2013

all downhill from there

They arrived by
the only home
they knew, a dark
without hunger,
without want,
without fear.
This very space
not only shrank but
ejected them
through a bath
of blood and water,
into a world of
harsh light,
brutal noise,
haunting hunger,
endless need.
Years later we
will fret over
a swat on the rear,
a scraped knee
the wrong soccer coach.
As if we had some
power to shield,
as if the bubble
ever stays intact,
as if the trauma
doesn't start with birth.