Apparently you can buy anything on Amazon I think as once again I am in a club I don’t want to belong to
He says what do I do now without her? And I tell him, she is not there. That is not where she is
Echoing the conversations between angels and other Marys
I tell him what I would tell you, or me or anyone–a dog on the street if I had to–
She is eternal and the pain we feel is that verification that we must seek eternity
Seek the one who can
Past our terrible selves
Mary was born on January 1, 1993. She was born to ________ and _______and is survived by _____________________________________. She had kids with__________, who preceded her in death by a handful of months, days, minutes, hours.
Her children are bright little lights, and I want to gather all of them to me, sing with them, raise them onto strong shoulders, proceed with them in a march more wedding than funeral, acknowledge that no life is actually just a handful of years, months, days, hours, minutes, things smaller than that, things that can only be measured by Hands torn for
For her, for me
He precedes us in life, in death, in life again
Walk out of that grave, girl, walk into life
All because of Him
What if there was no other choice? Or if the pain were even more protracted than this? This, after all, is mild
The woman in the windowless room notes there are no children in the pictures from the Kabul airport–where are all the children?
And in my attempt to swim off my fear and grief and anger, the lightning storm descends
So close to water, no rain
I have friend who is an aficionado of romance. I am too old for that stuff myself, but I tell her that
Jesus is like the nerdy guy who likes you at the lunchroom table you should sit at but what will the cool kids think?
Yep. I am way past cool kids and would argue that if that were a thing, the guy who pays it all for us would have to be the coolest one of us all
But he is ok being
The nerdy guy who
Sends us love songs
All the time
It is scary not being able to breath properly. It looks like you have Covid lung the doctor said, congestive heart failure…
My husband told my daughters what pills to give me and when, bypassing me entirely because the lack of oxygen meant fatigue and fuzzy thinking
I had put my soul at the center of this. Dying was just a space in my peripheral vision, something that was going to be inevitable at the rate I was going.
I tried to sing these songs. Eventually I had to just sit in their presence while others sang.
I talked to Jesus about the pain and paper sack lungs. He told me he took the true agony of a pair of dying lungs so that I could be given
More time, heaven after
When I began to think I would actually live a little longer, I was still afraid to take it for granted
I had to talk myself into the river. Tell myself I could ease in, keep your head above water
When I could go under
Hold my breath
I told Jesus I would never tell the story without full acknowledgement
He healed me. He gave me back my life at his own deep expense
His lungs for mine
Now I can sing
The river hunter is
Swooping down and
Hitting the water with ballistic force
Often to rise empty-taloned
This time though
It catches a silvery fish
Glinting in its grip, in a dying sun
The first lap the osprey skims just above the water
As though the weight of the fish is too much
Then back and forth
Back and forth in high parabolic circles
Almost as though this were something other than
The dying fish’s first and last
Long before her son’s whirling and untimely demise, my paternal grandmother believed in her traction with elected officials. I remembered this belief upon my first campaign, which was, parenthetically, about the loss of a single child and an unjust judge.
Who save me
would draw a line between Mamaw and the rise and fall of Hasmonean kings?
Amidst all this talk of unjust judges and rising kings
I tell myself there must be
sycamores in Jerichos still
Awaiting His return
The old woman and the older woman sit down across a flimsy folding table. Between them there is a plexiglass barrier, the kind you might encounter now at a doctor’s office or the checkout line at the grocery store.
This time we all know we are contagious, right?
They type into complementary machines–one English to Korean and the other Korean to English
Do not forgive these Korean letters, forgive something else if you will.
The devastating depths men may plunge to
If the womenfolk fail to speak.
Waited in the animal clinic
(It was touch and go those days)
looked up at the plastic picture fitted
over the flat fluorescent light
A joyful tangle
of cats, dogs, suitcases, lamps, unicycles
Bowler hats and other ephemera
as though a world populated entirely by domestic animals had
Lost its purchase on gravity
Things rise in a riotous jumble
Rapture, I think
One day we will
Rise and float
Balloons in blue sky
I told myself I would
Swim the coldest days
Knowing the river runs
Warmer than the air making it
Rise in Holy Ghost waves
I turn to watch the tide
Tell me you remember
Every day you stayed with me
When all the cool kids