Wednesday, December 7, 2016


In spring you shared good news--
two babies! Due November --
like a plate of freshbaked cookies.
New life is sweet in the mouth,
brown sugar and vanilla.
A taste to savor--
God is good
Taste, unseen, eyes built,
fingers unfolding,
the knitting of new bodies with new souls

Summer brought figs and wasps.
Untwinned, too, one twin
One sister, to be born
half of a pair--
What memory of sister cells long melted?
What redseamed and burning loss
sewn up in every stitch of joy?
May I beside you drop my tears
for these dear twins
Purl tears, still, for that pearl
that little lump of cells
they took--
unfingered still, and unfarewelled--
in glass

The birthday--Ruby Mae!
Born in November
in a cold far place,
a white gray winter
To know you hold, at last, the small bright crown
to nine months' long ring of grief and hope
Touch her fingers.
Hold her curled into your shoulder--
We unwrap your news like early Christmas
bright with red ribbons.
Is God not good? 
The tears we paid seem guarantee
of days and years thick with sweet memories--

Till an imperfect heart's small raveling
surgeon stitched, still opens
and opens, and opens
its unstoppable switch: breath
to emptiness.
We watch ribbons spin and shred in a black sea.
Was one not enough?
Something beside you--faroff
in my own gray home
I share the indignities:
mucus, tears, acid
puncturing the days with its
unbearable taste--
Dear friend,
Let me sit down with you
at this bitter plate.
To weep
and hope
and pray.
God is good --
To believe, together,
that promise,
that unshakeable one day.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Tell you a story

It was a long time winter when you were born,
redfaced and reaching
squawking--sure of clutching
some sweet something--

it's still long winter.
Burrow down. Hide in your caves
from the long dry drowning,
snow on snow on

a bleak midwinter--
The world's long winter bites
our bones grown weak with cold
grown weak with grief

Beneath, earth cracked
seems a myth--
no more-- we told
to strike a sputterhope into this cold--

Sputter hope--shiver
like muscles, jerk and tremble
teeth chatter
inside your ears aches,
deep inside your brain
and lips crack like riverbeds.
To breathe this cold,
you know,
is pain.

Tell you a story:
green trees. Peaches.
Halo sweat slicking your skin.
Squash thick.
Mosquito rich.
laden with tomatoes
tender beans
sweet milky corn.

You came out widemouthed,
made for thriving.
Learn surviving:
Set your teeth hard.
Set your shoulders.
Bow down like long winter
sits burden on your back
The weight of years--

Been waiting years.
Keep your guts clenched warm
around that memory/

You might see (some days) redbud fuzz:
too hopeful trees--

Tell you a story:
Summer. One day.
One of these days,
come and upsprung.
The whole globe goldened
Black dirt,
green promises unfolded.
Tell you: Peaches
drip sweet juices
down your chin.

Friday, November 4, 2016

in jerusalem

Beneath cracked skin i feel the slow itch
the creep and prickle
in bones grown thin and brittle--
unseen, marrowdeep, dividing
a new, glad blood

it is humming to itself
it will be singing

This dampened buzz, this
bonedeep itch,
is this flourishing?

Does empty earth, drummed up and soaked by rain,
crawl so minutely
into a new, glad green?

Is this the itch of unfamiliar joy?
I have seen marvels.

What new astonishments appear
when bones (my bones) unfold
and rise like grass--

arderet et non conbureretur

My skin's intact -- the fire
burns in my bones
licks out the marrowshells
curls tongues of
poured out through channels
thick and fierce
My blood is changed for fire
the vessels scream with it
too small to hold such holy
(unbearable, unraveler) desire --
I: consumed, consumed, and still consumed
O I will burn
this revelation
I will change my tongue
and speak in fire

Friday, October 21, 2016

autumn posy

My daughter beams, presenting her bouquet:
dead leaves--a damp, bunched fistful
sisters fallen from one tree, brown and big as my mommy palm
and vaguely stinking: leafmust, bitter-medicinal,
curious wet dog.
They are not all the same:
their veins, teacup-crack fractals, branch uniquely,
black beetle pockmarks unbeautify them like fingerprints,
one only flushes still with queasy green.
You can hold them all mommy, she cries
thrusts their flexible damp stems into my hands.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


does God sort people into boxes,
saving them--

I guess He would need a whole room full of
boxes just for the States of
american christians

the patriotic ones, for sure, go mostly in this box
waving their flags and their constitutions and their godly heritage
their ikons of pigtailed founding fathers

these ones are wearing bluejeans, they will lift up their hands,
they have free and beloved tattooed on their wrists and their shoulders
their box is blinking blueviolet
bass throbbing
over the praise chorus phrases
the phrases and phrases and phrases
that box contains a real worship experience,
they agree
some of them aren't solid on Who
does it matter

a box for the working class whites
much worn down around the corners
warped and speckled with grease stains and sweat stains
prickling, resentful
(what happens to the anomalies
who decide to go for doctrine
do they get a new box
or do they get thrown in with the middle class Presbyterians
and the wealthy Baptists,
with their skirts and their suits and their $400 youth camps and their
church schools)

you would think the liberal box would be pretty big
with ample space for thinking
but mostly they just fill the room up with
pinkhearted sobs and hugs
in between their
(can we say it in God's room?)
social justice work

Boxes for the white ones
the brown ones 
the black ones
a few for the ones who want to be mixed up

the psalm singers
the amen shouters
the babblers and fainters

i feel like maybe i should slip into the box He keeps
shoved under the bed
the one with all the broken pieces--

Our stories get us most of us tangled
so maybe He (metaphorically) asks us
where we want to go do this whole
"one another" thing,
which other we feel will be the least

in heaven do we get to switch churches if we
get that "outsider" feeling?

suburban faery (unfinished)

Do giants find the world of Faerie trivial
dollhouse-twee, all pastel let's-pretend?
Their eyes too high-air-buffeted to see
tender eyestalks or close-curled damp shells--
all they know is the crunch of anonymous
dull brown stones and twigs, 
all shapes the same breaking
beneath thick soles...

October glamours even the pocket lawn
behind our tidy house
Centered in the clipped brown yard, a fairytale tree
holds out handsful of heartshaped, gilded leaves
and in its branches a feathered princeling sings
warbles of spells and loss and splendid-tragic things
I can no longer hear
(It is years now since i lost my fairytale ears,
I have crushed too many toiling ants)

Its dropped sticks become swords, and wands;
its squirrels bring messages, brave tasks and tests

And the brown skink, fingerlong shadow
on the lattice,
perched in each eternity
before he spies, twitches, slithers, disappears--
he is an ancient, wise, dragoneyed thing

Cruel hunters with diamond wings
hover and dive
for morsels that creep and scuttle through brown grass

Geneva is hoarding acorns,
fistfuls of acorns,
piling them into the secret box under her tricycle seat
Is she storing up fairy seeds
smooth around so many wishes to wish--
Or nuts of gold, to bribe a bigeyed princess with--
Or maybe she wants only to treasure them,
that heap of treepromises
roundbellied with intention toward the earth--
It is enough: it is Fall, and there are these acorns
glossy brown in her cupped hands