you deserve

Truth clenched in both hands

For years I have puzzled

How would she know 

“The real story?”

The only “mother” she ever knew kept her locked in a tower

Named her after stolen

Salad greens

Tell your twin 

Running to Canada was the

line I could not, would not

Cross for love

Unlike a man we both know

Who crossed lines of  law and love 

Abandoned wife and children

Hid his treasure 

Said he could not pay

No fairytale love-

Story for his first wife

Little ones

there are records of these things

The faces of the abandoned are familiar to you now

Unlike your own mother’s

Who they kept from you 

Fear and sin will make an ordinary

Monster out of us all.

Sadie’s foster mother told me once-

They are Christians, you know!

Christians do not steal babies

Live lies

Or put their assets in their girlfriends’ names

But how would Rapunzel know that?

She would have to borrow her sisters’

Plaited hair

A ladder to

Set all three free

Then look for the small stones

Of Truth

Scattered along 

the long road 


Memorial Day

It has been almost a decade since my father died after his helicopter crashed on descent.

I still feel flashes of pain when I am reminded of that pain.

Ordinary haunting is a longterm normal for we who grieve.

The death of one man changes the world.  

Evoking Jesus.

He took every crash, every act of misery and self-destruction.  Drained the cup of history to the dregs of genocide, exploitation, war, famine, epidemic, deadly contagion.

Hell to pay for us. The wrath of holy Love, the grief of God poured out. 

For us.

To atone for the transgressions of a single garden-variety human would be unwatchable, unlivable, unthinkable, unbearable– awful.

The ransom for all our billions is so beyond reckoning, we do not try.

But we should.  

We should at least reckon the cost and the pain, fear, horror and brutality it took to redeem our ordinary wrongs-gluttony, lust, prejudice, and greed.

We should; we shall.  

We will either be defined now by our debt to this Eternal Savior or we will be defined forever by the life we squandered at his great cost.

Out of body 

the car crash in slow motion

The snake coiled to strike the child

The mother seeing bad news

In the doctor’s eyes

Some moments are so unforgettably awful 

The spirit rises out

Of the body, off to one side

Hovers over the disaster

Snapping shots of all the carnage

A heart just beginning to break

Operates differently than

One far gone into the cave of grief

the last evening you were mine

Was the first time you met

Your new mommy, new daddy

Strangers then

You were delivered back to me

Sleeping I sat with you in my arms

Time folded around us

Everything paused

For our unlikely pieta

I had just enough sense 

to stop everything

just to be with you

A little longer

The hole in the center 

forgive me for that day in September when I wrapped you in a Mao-green papoose

Indescribable light 

I understand we are only metaphors



For feral mother love 

Howl at the moon

Stalk the night forest

Accost the brothers Grimm

With the spindle-pierced grief 

Through sinew and heart

I held on as long as I could

Then looked for you on each horizon

She-wolf helpless

Caught in the trap

Of human law


I am familiar with stolen

Children stolen names

Borrowed children stolen names

Borrowed stolen beautiful

Girl metonymy

Is when you

Become a face in a crowd

The crowd then becoming

You in every face

I have looked 

You in every 




Can’t do that or you will lose

Her you never truly


Only a name

Crumpled broken paper fluttering down from the blown-apart skyscrapers which once defined our empire 

Mushroom clouded elephantine weight falls to its knees

Compressed neutron star mother

Heart the size of a sugar cube 

Weight of 300 million


On my chest

As I walk through the dark

Singing off-key these borrowed breakup songs

Fierce to the teeth 

Lost until I know

You will be


The Girl in the picture

haunts me with her gray

Soul, robbed of light

Too young to ever choose this 

She is a ghost

Who in all other aspects

Resembles me–

Breastplate taken in battle.

Which is why I see your face before 

Me always

The iron bars invisible to all but

We two

Jailed by men with carved out hearts

I carry you, darling

Close to my own

Beg the God of air and light 

To teach us how

To fly

Away from the shadows

Where ordinary humans claw and devour 

All but unaware 

They have bartered their own

Nearly extinguished 

Eternal selves

For shreds of ashen dung


I told you

This was a two-part answer

Ironically framed

By the disembodied voice 

Selling cars in the next room

It’s like calling

A cathedral 

A room with four walls

And a ceiling


I think as I finish

Stuffing variegated laundry

Into the high efficiency machine

That is true

You my darling 

Are no mere room

With four walls and a ceiling 

You are a cathedral 

And should be treated as such

Tear down this temple

And I will raise it again in three 


He said

Evoking all

The foundations in the womb

Baby pictures and toothy grins

Girls whose smiles light up the room

Do not be content to be

Measured the way a man will

Span an ordinary room

Know instead 

It takes a lifetime and a fortune

To raise the extraordinary 


Flying buttresses

Stained glass windows

Columns and impossible


All to the altar

Rising incense

Gaze of the Infinite



lately I have begun to speculate

About the geographical location of

Peter in the hours of the crucifixion

Because I am a coward too

I want to say I would be 

At the foot of the cross

But my feeble heart 

Suggests otherwise 

Snacking perhaps

On ancient Aramaic Oreos 

In some forgotten corner of 

The praetorium 

During the inexplicable hours of 


I would slide my helpless hands

Along this cavernous darkness/

The wound in his exposed chest

Grief an animal

Grasping for crumbs

In the dark heart of the world