Monday, February 27, 2012

the whole truth

I read a story written
by a woman who decided to
tell the whole truth.
I thought I was an
over-sharer, but this
put me to shame.
It made me admire her --
in my eyes she was brave, and
beautiful, and important.

But then, I am a stranger.

I wonder what it feels like to
read the whole truth about
someone that you see at Sunday
dinner or sit next to at
an AYSO game.
I wonder what it feels like
to tell the whole truth, not to strangers
but to your people.
I wonder if she dressed it up
the way we all do.
It came off as unadorned,
but maybe she's just that good.

a year ago this evening, revisited

Nostalgia gives us permission
to forget some things,
or maybe just remember them
without the sharp edges
of recency.

Like this.

The real story is that
he screamed for hours on end.
He threw a whole bowl
of vegetable soup
on the floor
and when it splashed
on my pants I wanted to scream,
but but bit my tongue
(until days later
when we were in our own
home and out
of earshot).
He didn't so much fall asleep
as collapse
out of sheer exhaustion
and the undercurrent of fear
that lingered for weeks.

I can choose to say it was
beautiful now
(and it was)
but then it was so damn hard.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

laughing on ash wednesday

My printer was on the fritz,
as if that's a reason
to lash out at a
child --
even a child who is careening
wildly and making
a horrible racket while
you are trying to prepare for
a worship service.

Later I am sitting, penitent
in the pew,
confessing and obsessing.
Someone is reading scripture
but I am writing this poem in my head and it's about hurting
people we love-

He is writing too,
balancing the hymnal on
his lap and scrawling in the
margins of the bulletin;
it is a poem
for me. I am afraid it
will make me cry
because my guilt is still
fresh. But two hours
is a lifetime for a six-year-old

I love you I love you I love you divine,
Please give me some bubble gum,
You're sitting on mine.

Monday, February 20, 2012

righters block

I have genius-induced
writer's block:
Rilke's genius, of course,
not my own.
Is that not the ultimate sign
that I write for the wrong
Beauty inspires beauty,
but only in the confident.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

law // gospel

I'm taking a class
to learn how to remodel
a house that was long ago
burned to the ground.

I'm scouring a dish
that will never be clean
till it's shattered in pieces
beyond all repair.

I'm dressing my best
for a made-up audition
to cast for a part
I was given at birth.


Stand on the ashes
Don't pick up the pieces

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

do as I say

Mothering must be
intrinsically hypocritical,
I decided;
then made my apologies,
and asked his forgiveness,
feeling the weight
of the next sixteen years
in the space between
He cocked his head,
like he does,
tickled my arm,
and pretended not to hear
the question,
but today I will take
what I can get.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

holy seeing

Is obedience
and therefore the kingdom
(if our hope is still
--with him--
to bring it on)
as small and simple as
me seeing you?
My prayer is then
that you, seen,
see him.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I wrote a poem in my head
as I lay quietly in my bed
before the footsteps in the hall
before the baby's morning call
but then the day came stealing in
breakfast shoes and medicine
every stanza I had crafted
melted from my mind, undrafted
I wonder if they still exist
underneath the laundry lists
piles of words I never penned
waiting to be discovered again.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

grief relapse

I cried for Grampy again today, and then for Grammy too.

I read about someone's grandpa falling and breaking his hip; the writer was wondering how to bathe her little boys with their freshly-made bodies, while her grandfather lay in the hospital, broken and in pain. How to live without forgetting one in the presence of the other. I don't know.

Here I am in a noisy house tripping over these small, perfect people. Kissing my husband in the kitchen while I stir the food on the stove like its nothing. Forgetting.

But can we even remember without collapsing under the weight of it? I maxed out at five minutes, took a shuddery breath, ate a piece of chocolate and went on with my life. Why can I do that?

Because today I'm not listening to the clock tick off the seconds, wondering if they bring me closer to or further away from the part of me that is buried on a hilltop across town.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


For seven days I told my tales
and nobody was the wiser,
The question remains
if that was the main course
or merely the appetizer.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

good day, good night

I want to write a little poem
but my mind is
soft with
screaming boys
and clinking ice
(the latter helping me forget
the former),
so I can only
say it was a good day, but
good night
and hope for better words

Friday, February 3, 2012


A year ago the nannies
gave him two minute sponge baths
his only other water came in a cup
and held
unwelcome guests.

Today he puffs out his cheeks,
squeezes eyes shut
and sinks below the surface,
and unafraid;

Thursday, February 2, 2012


"...make allowance for each other's faults..." Colossians 3:13 NLT

There is a space between us,
that is not a separation
but a grace:
a space to fail and fall
and find ourselves,
our faults

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Is there anything that holds the memory
of a place
more completely than a smell?

He was so small the last time
corn sizzled and popped
over charcoal
while the coffee steeped --

and that nearly half a lifetime
ago in baby years.

Still today he stopped, remembered:
lifted his nose a bit with a deep breath,
and smelling the popping corn
asked for the coffee.