I picture her each night
Her hair, the yarn unravel
All the work of a single day
Woven and unwoven
Like the even exchange
Of breath in and out

Her days are split
Between unwelcome suitors
And reflexively scanning the horizon
For the husband of her youth

Holding the wolves at bay
Unspooling the skein of her work
Making it invisible
To save the idea of a man,


Folk songs

We used to sing
someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah

So long ago I did not
Know she was a train
Or that the kitchen was the vaulted place
Where someone might
Fix her

I always see
My grandfather’s kitchen
Coffee brewing
And a momentary sense of safety
In old stories

People he once knew
The threaded string of memory

working on the railroad
All the live-long day

I rise to a quiet kitchen
No signs of Dinah
Or any other train come crashing through
I worry about Dinah
All alone


The exact wording eludes me–
A search for words
About an eclipse of the sun
Something like
If you want to look directly into the eclipse
Seek professional help

Psychiatric or astronomical?
I wonder
It sticks
As I stagger about
Sunblind like Jocasta
Because I looked directly
At the monstrous darkness
Ringed by blinding light

The burned down house

A friend posted a picture of her former house, razed to the ground. It is a stark picture of the power of fire and destruction. So sad because it represented the lives lived within it.

Still. No one was hurt. No one lost their lives. It could have been worse?

I wrote for Yahoo! Contributor Network because I wanted to keep children safe. As the mother of rape victims I was aware of the devastating aftermath of sexual assault. I was also aware of how pervasive images of sex and pornography in our culture hurt our children.

So you can imagine how devastating it was to find out that Yahoo video searches render explicit images of pornography on ordinary searches.

I have contacted Yahoo repeatedly about this problem and the lack of a functioning filter. They have sent me automatic responses but have not fixed the problem.

How sad that a company with such power for good would not make efforts to keep children–and all of us, safe from the dehumanizing effects of human exploitation.

I write this here because they declined to publish my words on YCN.

Mastering Play Therapy

My children are play therapists. They have a thriving community of small people who live and work together and hammer out the tough issues of life in community. These people are wiser and more together than most full-sized humans and I attribute this to my daughters’ wisdom and unfortunately, to the things they have endured in their young lives.

A short time after we found out they had been abused by their adopted brother, a story surfaced from their play world.

It is still very hard for me to face–Charles groomed the children by using their toys. He made some of them have sex. This idea was so awful to face or talk about that it took me awhile to get what the kids were telling me.

Two innocent little toys were robbed of their innocence. We had to do something. I staged a healing ceremony. We talked about the non-consensual nature of what had been done to them. I hoped it would help.

Now, years later, I have to say it helped the girl more than the boy. The girl has struggled to overcome what was done to her. She went from being a victim to a survivor. The boy, however, became a villain. I won’t go into all his crimes but he has done a lot of bad things. He can’t seem to change and he has left brokenness in his path.

My older daughter speaks of these things with both sadness and wisdom. She says that although she is not happy that F. has never turned things around, she knows he too was a victim of abuse.

I don’t have an answer for what F or any of us could do to change his villainy. Maybe when I do I will have mastered play therapy.

Love me, love my sheep

Love has become one of the most abused words in America. It seems to mean a lot of things to a lot of people–sex, pride, ceremony, donuts, but rarely does it resemble the human picture God gave us for love–Jesus, whose name means “God saves.”

How? Poor life, misunderstanding, hunger, humility, some blazing sermons a few resurrections and then the most brutal execution in the history of the universe.

Read that again and think about what it means–Love.

Then He rises from the dead.

Love. Again.

Love is well and thoroughly defined by Jesus but then he lets Paul, James and John define it as well.

Wanna know if you really love?
Ask yourself if you would endure what Jesus endured for someone.

Then for the love of God, protect that person from the dogs–coyotes–wolves of this world.

Because if you won’t it’s not love.

John 21:15-19

Hey! Cowboy!

You gonna tell me how this is done? I became a parent when I was 26. And I did it because of guys like you. Guys who have no trouble having sex with a teenager and getting them pregnant and no trouble walking away

You pregnant? You getting a big round belly? You gonna give birth?

Don’t think so. Right now all you can think about is your own sex drive.

So yeh, you wanna prove to me you are going to be a good single parent you are gonna have to pony up and “parent” the kid you already have.

You heard me right. If I could be a good mom to a stranger’s kids then you can start practicing being a good dad to my kid right now.

You be decent and truthful and kind to her for the next year or so and you will have good practice being a dad instead of a guy who thinks with his gonads.

Don’t talk smack
Don’t live smack
And you show me how it’s done cowboy.

Your baby’s Mother’s mother

How to heal sexual abuse

Imagine your child is the most beautiful baby in the world. Now imagine they are a beautiful toddler, then preschooler and then kindergartner.

(yes, I know your child is the most beautiful of all these things–this is why I wrote it that way– so you could empathize)

Imagine you homeschool because you enjoy time with your child so much. Imagine your child is both smart and good, charming and graceful and funny.

Now imagine you discover that your child has been sexually abused by someone they trusted. Someone you let be around your child. You trusted the abuser too.

When you find out that all this has happened before your child is 6, how will you feel? What will you do?

I can only tell you what I did. The first thing I did was grieve. I cried for at least a month. I cried for three years. I cried yesterday.

The next thing I did was ask how could I have missed it? The abuser was highly deceptive. Most are.

Then I stared right into the face of an awful list. On it were:

Acting out sexually
Academic problems
Anger issues
Small cutting
Suicidal behavior
Poor hygiene
Gender identity crisis
Eating disorder
Low self esteem

Imagine you are the mother of the most beautiful child in the world and you do not want your child to struggle with the things on that list. You want healing.

I prayed and the answer I got was remarkably simple: the truth will set you free.

I had a hard time at first because of the list. I hated the idea that people would judge my child because of what had been done to her instead of seeing she was not those things.
She was just another 5 year old crime victim. Five year old rape victim.

You don’t get your head around that right away. Hurts too much.

But I began to tell our story. I used the language of the criminal code because what had been done was a crime.

As I told the story I found out one thing for sure: the list is wrong, really wrong.

How do I know? Because the vast majority of rape and child sexual abuse survivors never show up on the list, never reveal their stories.

They live quiet, normal, functioning lives with no predetermined set of symptoms from the list except the terrible loneliness and pain that comes with the betrayal of their innocence and the added weight of attempting to heal alone.

Why would they need to heal alone?
The list.
Who wants to have to deal with terrible pain of sexual abuse AND the stigma of that list?

Not me. I wouldn’t. But I have chosen to let the truth set me free and it has.

My beautiful child is no more at risk of the things on that list than any other child. In fact she is far less so.

Because she has me and I would swallow a world of pain, humiliation and prejudice before I would let her walk the road into adulthood alone.

In fact. I want to get rid of the list. It a terrible fiction.