the lines we draw in the sand 

between alive and not as blurred

by these arbitrary atoms

configured into blood or bone

iterations of shell

crushed and altered by

lunar whim

the two abuelas lift la vieja

Under her

Right and left pits

she, swallowed up whole by the big

white shirt 

all three women lay on hands,

Lean in 

As we shield our eyes 

Look up 

Beneath the sun

the kite snaking ceaselessly over our heads

Paper-thin, it whips back and forth

Surely alive?

“Kite” is just 

A name 

Predatory bird with a haunting call

No more than a child’s toy

Perhaps we are all kites, then

The wind moves where it wills, but…

The old woman rises suddenly

Twine hastily tied to her waist

As the wind pulls her up

Those she loves

Upturn their faces 

Squint to make her out


Unspooling toward the sun



would be a 

Beautiful name for a child

The kind of child 

You must imagine with

Ringlet curls,

Head bent over a book 

Or just the small legs dangling

From an open-armed tree

We forget that the word itself means


Like fiction or the epic 

Story of lost children

We created, engendered, if you will

Then destroyed 

Through shear absence

Of imagination 

The Real Girl

You always used to say I was not 

Your “real mom”

And I say,


What you really need to study are tropes.

For instance–

all the insinuating places

Fairy godmothers turn up:

  • Mitigating curses
  • Magically changing  the appearance of the most ordinary pumpkins
  • Mending what has torn and broken
  • Saving a girl from “steps” of one sort or the other

(…Or in your case just your own lost-girl soul)

  • Changing epithets into flowers 
  • Or mirrors into enchanted doorways  for the…

The forever, the divine, the set-free, the 

Real girl you 

Should recognize in the faces now of your own

Bewildered children.

(Wake up, sleeping beauty…wake up)

Berlin Heart

Only the best are chosen

to man this ship 


with its nuclear core

whether it is true or not 

I picture the submarine, home in the deep

sea inexplicably punctuated by

Bits of blinking light 

Windows, a wrap-around porch, 

(entirely decorative) men

Tiny inside

Atoms knit of blood and bone

All the oceans of the world reduced

To a thimble full of water amidst the stars

This metal vessel,

This Berlin heart,

Resuscitate us, sinking fast 

without You.

Among the Dead

just moments before the blast

There were only living

Breathing children, women, men including

one who knew the truth about the vest,  the explosives

wrapped around the heart

of time about to turn

A wedding into a bouquet of broken 

Body parts everywhere the survivors said

The ones who could still talk

remember the calamitous before and after

But few will acknowledge the lie at the heart 

of the chest-wired-to-slaughter 

-grim wedding of deadly injunctions-

You, child, whatever they promised you they had no

right to say these empty things

Imposters all scorch, blood, and bone

Before the implacable throne of the hereafter

Trauma Litany

I have swaddled my hands, wrapping the knuckles and the wrists, the wrists, palms, and knuckles again until they are bound.  Then I have pushed these bound, mummified fists into gloves curved, padded, slightly weighted.

I don’t swing at people.  I have, I can, but when I do I hold back, talk too much through my mouthguard, obsess about trauma.

Agent-causing-trauma.  I-am-the-agent-causing-trauma.

On the bag I do not hold back.  I aim for speed then alternate with power punches, slugging at the heavy, impassive face of a leather bag filled with sand or rags.  Its resolute, anthropomorphized gut, its impassive reserve.

I do not worry unduly about traumatizing the bag.  I can–am allowed to–wail on it in repeated, staccato acts of catharsis.

Because of trauma.

Because when you live long enough you have stories.

Stories linked to the pain of a very broken world.

The puzzle of trauma is the why and the injustice.

So I will call the why the jab and I will call the injustice the cross.

You see where I am going with this–the cross.  The strong-right-arm move of a superhero God.

Whose go-to power punch so far was allowing the trauma to wash over him.

The trauma of the trial.

The trauma of the desertion.

The trauma of the betrayal.

The trauma of the kangaroo court.

The trauma of the beating.

The trauma of the spitting, the mocking, the shame.

The trauma of power in the hands of bad men.

The trauma of the broken-hearted God.

The trauma of the family.

The trauma of the thorns.

The trauma of the nakedness.

The trauma of the carried weight.

The trauma of the pierced extremities.

The trauma of the hours.

The trauma of each breath.

The trauma of blood loss.

The trauma of being forsaken.

The trauma of out-poured wrath.

The trauma of the grave.

The trauma of hell entire.

The prophet Zechariah gives us a picture of how we will respond to this trauma–

They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child

This litany of blows.  This way that we must walk through the swaddling, the trauma, the raw lonely pain.

Because when He said it is finished, He meant it.  In the oddest k-o win ever, the victor takes the blows, both jab and cross and appears to lose it all only to give each of us the power to 

Fight trauma



A Word for Mountains

I am always uncomfortable with the things that J says which are elastic-impossible.

So You are telling me if I have a little bit of faith I can ask mountains to fall into the sea?


This would be galvanizing if I had never tried it.  If there had never been a mountain I really needed, really wanted, really believe could be…moved.

The heartbreak of the unmoving mountains.

So first, an inventory–

Mountains are so big, so high, so holy 

Why should they move for me?

Today my daughter said the thing that did not staunch all the grief of unmoved mountains, but did let me see how the unanswered questions have long been answered.

She said the mountain is a metaphor for God.  

The relief of it was palpable.  God.  I know God moves for me.  Moves toward the Cross.  Moves the boundaries of eternity. Moves toward the prodigal son.  Runs, actually.

Suddenly I see.

It was never the unmovable mountains, it was inexplicable stones moved away from terrible places to make room for the God of resurrection.

Nothing too hard for J.


The Speed of Darkness

you ask me these absolute questions–/No matter what? No matter what.  /Or–What is the speed of darkness? /I look it up–either:  /Darkness is just the complete absence of light ….so it travels at the speed of light  /Or the more dire–As soon as the light is gone, darkness returns, so you could say that darkness travels faster than the speed of light /the light just a flicker in the doorway of the world  /The darkness a cat ready to pounce  /a sea of trouble, waiting just waiting for the light to tire or wander off /so that it (the darkness)

Can overwhelm, flood in,