When you and I were unborn

An image has been taken, carefully constructed–a smiling woman with her small child, a pink placard, and a message of support for the categorical destruction of babies remarkably similar to her own.

When I was younger the rhetoric surrounding the clinical extermination of humans before the age of birth was careful, reluctant, almost sheepish or apologetic. Famous among these voices was Hillary Clinton who said that the aim of promoting legal abortion was to make it, “…rare”

When I was younger “the unborn” were called babies by those on both sides of the argument.

When I was unborn, abortion was illegal.

Not now.

Now there is a veritable cacophony of irate institutions and voices–democratic presidential hopefuls, movie streaming services, (ironically) the Disney company, a long list of celebrities, and that smiling lady with her baby on the grass

All bent upon promoting and facilitating medical murder.

And with each carefully posed picture, each premeditated exclamation of outrage they push down the simple facts–we have laws in this country which promote and facilitate the brutal, violent, dehumanizing murder of millions of people.

People who would one day watch Disney movies

People who might subscribe to Netflix

People who would argue unequivocally for their own right to life

If they were allowed to live long enough to

Sing

where have all the flowers gone?

Our children all

Gone.

Dear Lisa, Anne, Travis*, Dr.,

I read this morning that Sasha Obama may have made a decision about where she is going to college. I am happy for her. Happy she knows. Happy she is happy.

When I found out my daughters had been sexually abused by their adopted brother I was immediately aware of the similarities and differences between my children and Sasha and Malia.

Both sets of sisters are:

Are multiracial

About the same age

Have well-educated parents

They even share the same initials

Years ago I asked myself, “what would the world do if the Obama girls had been the victims of felonies?”

Surely we would mourn and pour out support for them.

I would hope we would, at least.

My daughters were the victims of abuse during the Obama administration. The way they were treated by the criminal justice system was a function of the Bush and Obama administrations, as well as the specific decisions of the elected officials of all three of the branches of the state government of Texas.

My partner and I argue about why they have and are being treated a certain way when they apply to universities in Texas and elsewhere.

He says it is because they do not attend a public school and that is all.

I maintain that while that has been a point of obvious discrimination against one, the other seems to have encountered additional roadblocks because she has written openly about her status as the victim of a crime.

Crimes.

Committed against her all before her eighth birthday.

She had the courage to write about being a sexual assault survivor and is now experiencing what I call bureaucratic limbo.

I rejoice for the Obama girls, but I cannot help but wish my daughters had the same rights they have.

The right to education and the right to be heard.

Due process. I am still waiting for due process.

Sincerely,

E.

*Some names have been changed because I don’t always edit as carefully as I should.

Jennifer the Beautiful

I miss you girl

Miss your sister

Your nieces, nephews, cousins, children

Used to sing

Break-up songs for lullabies

Wish I could write you and me

A happy kind of story instead

No lost loves, no broken promises

Hope changed into

The steady gaze of a man who can build with his own two hands

Homecoming tabernacle

For all us, broken

One

Matthew 1:1 NIV

[1] This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Matthew seems pretty confident that Jesus is the Messiah, a word with so much power to reckon with us and all that has captured us that I am not sure how big or long or loud our explanations of Messiah could be and still be only an approximation of the real.

Some synonyms: King, Anointed, Savior, Redeemer, Ransomer, Hero, Deliverer, Protector

The Reckoner.

Sunshine

having lost the ancient word for fire, underestimate it into neat concentric squares folded, shelved and forgotten next to ugly Christmas sweaters, baby pictures, and odd clay art projects of now-adult progeny

Neglect means nothing to it, coiled, implacable, unfazed by short and mortal attention spans

Let the last leaf fall but…

Do not neglect the sun

Content for now to burn

At a safe distance

Until the day it will unhinge from invisible moorings and float

Balloon-like Beauty towards us

Suddenly, immaculately attentive

To this nakedness before impending fire.


Everyday Christmas

Crowded city, lonely manger

Tired little mama so close 

to the house of bread

You tell me the story of

tokens we substitute for transubstantiation 

Exchanging trinkets for the

Stuff of life (everlasting)

or looking for the little clues-

“The ones who still hold on”

So very far from home

He knows you

try to pull a fast one

Child with the big words

In his eyes

Calls your bluff

I know you love Christmas!

Light is no ordinary word when spoken 

In the dark

Commanding songs of rescue from the sleep-deprived

Who ponder why

Gold…frankincense…myrrh

gifts for the

Master-builder

Who makes a transom from a cross.

Crayoned Heaven

think of the worst book

Each page, each word, each sentence 

Awful for a long time until

They are re-written

With the simple line drawings of a child

Obscuring words and pictures of 

darkness, evil, or moldy and stained 

garden-varietal venality

With the loveliest trees

Birds in flight /charcoaled nimbi

Outlined halos

Their feathery heads tilted

Ever-so-slightly-quizzical

Asking why are you sad?

Each page of darkness 

Transformed by this

Ferociously tender

Child-

Light, where there used to be all those

Terrible monsters

Crayoned over/ into heaven

By this poet-redeemer

word spoke to life.

Splitting the difference 

According to His most ardent biographers, when Jesus was born he got a star, an angel choir, multiple prophetic and celestial intros, a visit from some prominent foreign astronomers, and an animal feed tray for a bed.

It seems like the divine side of the birth announcement for this kid was legit–angel choirs and all.  But the human side was sub-par.  The innkeeper could have let the pregnant girl use his digs.  But he did not.

Easy, I suppose, to judge the inhospitable of Bethlehem for their general indifference to an infant King.  Harder to face our own.

The question for each so-called believer in this tiny bundle of Infinite Light is–do you see Him?  At the breakfast table or the DMV?  In the bad driver or the white-collar criminal?

It is hard to see Jesus in us. We are often a selfish, short-sighted, venal bunch of sheep.

Sheep on a hill somewhere in the night.

Beneath a star.

In the presence of angels, so close to our King.