The Ring Structure

I walk with the girl back across the highway in the dark, snow blankets everything, including the future, the loss of hope, the acquisition of children, the tiny individual snowflakes not unlike irreplaceable genetic components of life

She clears the windows of snow so the boy can drive to class in the morning…

What she doesn’t know won’t kill her, although fragments of conversations with oddly placed strangers are still defining

After all these years

The night is still cold, but cloudless this time, the moon looks on

Through the denuded branches of the tree the mourning doves have claimed

Leaving something besides snow to wipe aside, best I can, in the night

Your Eyes

If I had a magic mirror I would hand it to you

To see all those looks of repudiation

I don’t know her

I don’t want people to think she belongs with me

I don’t

See things the way you do

Matthew 26:70 NIV

[70] But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

All the cities of the world

When you were my baby you were always amazing, beautiful, lovable. So much so that I would spontaneously think you had all the cities of the world in your eyes, or put another way– I would give all the cities of the world for you.

I remember when I found out that the people who were taking you from me had a story pock-marked by leaving the laws of love behind.

I worried. I grieved. How would they be there always for you? How could they be picked over me?!? Crazy, messy, overextended, underprepared me?

I got the phrase all the cities of the world from Matthew 4–two heavyweights bargaining over the fate of the world. One aims to buy back his lost love the hard way, the other is trying to get him to take a shortcut.

He doesn’t.

There are no shortcuts to love.

Hold on my dear heart, Rapunzel. Love has always been on your side, even when all this feels so broken.

The rightful King of the world loves you so very much.

The Limitations Story

[20] The bed is too short to stretch out on, the blanket too narrow to wrap around you.

–Isaiah 28:20 NIV

She was attempting shop therapy on the last warm day before both a cold front and a major holiday. The first part went better-than-expected, but the second part went wildly amiss.

The two competing voices in her head urged different paths. The more sensible one argued for the one stop shopping and efficiency of a big box store and the other said you want something quirky, old, with a story and a past.

So she turned left into the driveway of the German-themed antique co-op. A lot of things in this town were German themed–coffeehouses, bars, restaurants, “fests” of one sort or another.

This antique concession always fascinated her because the majority of its offerings were strewn about the lawn. She wondered if they worried about thieves making off with retro baby cribs, baker’s shelves, and attic fans in the middle of the night?

From the beginning she made precipitously bad decisions, ignoring no-return signs, not pre-measuring the hulking canoe rack which she purchased then realized would neither disassemble nor fit into her car.

She convinced the owner to let her exchange out the canoe rack for a forlorn but stately utility shelf… which then also did not quite fit the car.


Not physics despair, metaphysics despair, the kind that washes over a softly aging, fully middle aged woman when she realizes she wishes she had listened to the sensible voice, that she needs the sensible hands and feet of others, that these sensible beings are not here now and she doesn’t want to get into it with them.

The asking of help: a mitzvah of humiliation.

She stuffs the shelf in the car, wedges it in so tightly, ties it and the door with makeshift things, drives home down unfamiliar roads, hazard lights on, fully mindful of the precariousness of her itinerate position.

She has told no one but God what the real problem is. So much heavier and unwieldy than a shelf protruding from a minivan.

At home her daughter meets her, helps her dislodge the stately shelf–with its past and history, talks about the terrible thing that happens when a person confronts yet again the ornamentality of 911.

But the shelf is home, safe for now, so easily anthropomorphic.

A Normal Day

There have been other days when the sturm und drang of life has tipped the little ship, washing the sweet little sailors nearly overboard. But hopefully not today. Maybe a little–but only in the bottle where the boat stays now, carefully taken apart bit by bit, each then pushed one by one gingerly through only to be (who knows how) reassembled inside the bottle, so serene now, so still

All bottled up like that.

You clean the kitchen

I have this internal dialogue where “working dishwasher” stands in for anniversary, birthday, and Christmas gifts for years and years and years.

Never never let a thing supplant an I love you.

I know you have such good reasons to judge me. And probably some which will not hold the test of time, and I feel myself losing you.

When you were right about leaving notes. Or pictures. Like the one where you are just two or three and you have this tumult of curly hair.

You lean against me, looking contented.

And I know it was Christmas because I remember how much

Somethings hurt

Moving Mountains

I have a hunch that when we get to Heaven we will realize that no matter how big, how wild, how impossible our prayers have been, we could have prayed for more.

Let me be clear: God does not answer prayers for evil. He does not reward our sin, cowardice, or avarice. He rewards the just, but if we pray along the lines of love, mountains do move.

Have you ever seen a mountain move? Have ever seen it lumber to the sea and toss itself in?

I have not. And as with these oh-so-solid mountains, many of the big-ticket items I have prayed for have been stolidly immobile for years.

Impossible things.

But I do worship the God of impossible things. His wry sense of humor, His unflagging love, His ridiculous, tenacious prophets, and His remarkable creation all suggest

Moving mountains ain’t no thing

For Him.