Largely Neglected Spaceman

He stands on the margin between the alley, and the volleyball court, next to the forest green electrical box, his very own robot buddy. After all these years I am shocked to notice him there, poised for intergalactic exploration, his left-most meter either an appendage or alien oculus, the rusting rectangular metal box on his back full of wires, maybe space snacks as well, photos of the wife he left a long time ago and the kids who have all grown so much as all around him–light, either from some alien star or our own, winter light, middle clime, splendor, in this ordinary place.

Who is my neighbor?

This morning, 40 minutes before an exam in his class!!!!!!!! my son silenced his alarm, thought he had turned his phone on, then went back to sleep…with his cellphone still on airplane mode… his landline casually unplugged.

And his mom was in a frickin’ panic.

I had spent some time studying with him over the weekend so I happened to know how much the quiz was going to impact his grade and that he was not going to be allowed to switch sections to take it with a later class.

So I prayed.

I prayed to God, but I also prayed to neighbors.

I prayed to two neighbors on the first floor who then prayed to a third neighbor on the floor above Sleeping Beauty.

Thank God for good neighbors, and for the reminder that I need to be

A good neighbor.

Luke 10:29 and 15:6

Signs of Famine and Pain

Like most people I was appalled and distraught to read about what the Turpin siblings had to endure for nearly three decades. I will continue to grieve for them and pray for healing, justice, and recovery.

But I am angry as well. I am angry because despite (perhaps partially justified) calls to lay this abuse at the doorstep of homeschooling, there were so many people who interacted with the Turpin family, who saw at least some of the signs of abuse and yet no one ever reported anything.

At least two of the children went to public schools….

no one reported anything.

Neighbors saw odd behavior…

no one reported anything.

The children went to a doctor or two at some point in their lives…

no one reported anything.

Former neighbors found hard evidence of abuse and animal cruelty…

No one reported anything.

This is not the first time terrible crimes have been perpetrated by caregivers, ostensibly behind closed doors, but it is remarkable that the abuse intensified in severity and lasted so long because

No one reported anything.

Yet we hear them all now.

Note: if you suspect abuse or neglect you can make anonymous reports either by withholding your name or by relying that when you give your name to authorities your identity will not be shared in an investigation. Not one person who lived in proximity to the Turpins risked anything by making an anonymous report about signs of neglect or abuse.

If you suspect abuse, report

Thing One and Thing Two

There have always been problems with The Cat in the Hat-

  • Why the heck does the mom leave two young children home unattended?
  • Why doesn’t anyone heed the fish?
  • Why does the Cat come off as jovial instead of super creepy?
  • Which leads me to this:

One day he reads the story with his older sister. When he gets to the part about Thing One and Thing Two he has a few horrified questions. Who are they? Why do they live in a box? Do they ever get to see their mother? Why does the Cat/protagonist/ersatz guardian keep them in a box?!

His questions are so good and true and terrible and she cannot really answer them adequately. When she tries he says, in grief and anguish–but they are children, little children!

In the picture they took of you we strain to see your numbers, strain to see your faces. Look for something, someone to tell us it will all be ok.

As the last few lines of this children’s story

Indict us all.

Eldest Child

Something about Elvis impersonators, well-fed dogs, and raffles for them rattles around my head–keep asking myself what what can I give them? What can I do? When you were born I was still in college, George HW was president, both Princess Diana and Mother Theresa were still alive.

So many years of hunger.

I wish I could make it all better, like one of those chubby, diminutive fairy godmothers–change the immutable curse into a deep slumber, when you wake up

Wipe away all the tears from your eyes

Prepare a table just for you,

Things any decent mom would do…

Psalm 146:7 NIV

[7] He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free,

She Storms

She storms in the kitchen finding bits of things to stop her mouth, wish it could stop the words spilling out. How could so many well-dressed people have their heads so firmly wedged up their

Freezing asses?

Fists should swing toward imaginary foes while the real ones all live among us, work at Walmart, never liked that effing little dog.


Everyday drawn to the water where the white birds fly so low they seem to touch the silk-spun current which wants a body to believe it is blue-constant even though we both know this is just a trick of light, just-reflect-the-sky-vigilance, the clouds, the trees, occasional sun hold still across the surface until the wind kicks up little waves, waves above the deep, deep color of something technically translucent if you were to cup it in your hands, if you could cup it in your hands, if hands could hold the sea.

This Boat

In the dying light a boy nurtures wild cats, feeding them, watching them, pouring water out for them.

You and I just watch him. As usual your words anchor me, which feels a little unfair for you, seeing that I am the old one. I love your strong voice shared by all the women from your tribe, and just as when you were a little girl I want to call them to assembly, muster them for us, say, see these kids? The ones you have loved all these years? Be there for them, please,

No matter what.

Number Girl One

A parsec* is a unit of length used to measure astronomical objects outside the Solar System equal to about 3.26 light-years. What, you ask, is a light-year?

Good question.

A light-year is the distance traveled by light (in a vacuum) in one Julian year (365.25 days), not a unit of time, but of distance. Abbreviated as “ly,” you could say it is love you. Love you for light-years…lyfly, forever.