Eternal Sea

When I wrote the slim, hasty, typo-ridden memoir Just, I used pseudonyms.

I chose to link my adopted children’s pseudonyms to their first initials C became Sea,

Sea like the color of his eyes

Sea like the cold ocean we stood in together

Sea like the depths, the hidden things both beautiful and terrible, the bigness of it all

Sea, placeholder for the God who makes seas then makes them evanesce

C is lost to me for now. He has disowned both me and the God who made me

But I can still remember

The time you hit your mouth on the hard metal of the seesaw and we had to rush you to the dentist

The way we would wait until you were sleeping to exclaim over your cuteness because

Most times when you were awake there was both sturm und drang

The time we went to the shore and I carried you on my back and you pummeled my head all the way back to the car

If I had a dollar for every time you hurt me or someone else I love dearly

It would not begin to be as much as you are worth

Of your eternal value

Of the Light you can become forever

If you just

Turn and face the Sea.

Flight 752

They boarded the plane. Put their bags in overhead compartments. Scanned the list of drinks and snacks on what they thought would be a long flight. Buckled in the children. Watched the international pantomime for safety on an airplane. Assured flight attendants they were old enough for exit seats.

None of us are

Ready for the impact

The percussion, the fire, the fall

As though the story we had been always told about Icarus was a slanderous lie

He did not fly too close to the sun at all

No warning, no premonition, no string long enough to thread them free of

The labyrinth, the

Friendly fire

The Vigilant Ones

If I were to write a book of fiction for my children I would construct people for them, community, a family, let’s say, a big, sprawling, messy family

Maybe they would live next to some kind of river

Maybe the dogs would talk or the fish would taste like brightly colored jello confections.

Or maybe these fictional people, these purely hypothetical people, would just be back up

The silhouetted figures you might see on the crest of the hill above the sycamore tree as the sun sets

After the dam breaks

When they-you-we

Might need the vigilant ones

The most.

Dear Heart,

I keep thinking about the video of you when you were wee, all dumpling, sass, and wild curls. You were getting ready for something, and judging by your cute little dress, something liturgical. Your dad told you to say goodbye to the camera, but you misunderstood him and thought it was me.

You protested, but she’s my mommy!

Seems like both yesterday and three lives ago.

There are no words for how much you mean to me.

No words for how hard it is to close the book on the always with you chapter of your life.

I love you

All you have been to me

All the joy you are to me.

Poured out perfume which fills the room

Forever.

Love,

But-she’s-my-mommy

The parable of the retold

I remember you

I remember when you ran into the waiting room with your sister

I remember all the warnings and admonitions I got from Martha-the-caseworker and your recently relieved first foster mom

And your blue-as-the-sea implacable gaze across a very misguided table

I remember your speech therapist and her fairy godmother-like delight in seeing you make eye contact and in watching your self-inflicted facial wounds

Heal and not return

Storms all over the place

Storms in you swirled all around us, even when I tried to contain them.

God Calls Us to Pursue

I break the second commandment all the time, sow dragon’s teeth in this suburban front yard, draw the greenest leaves down and through my fingers loosing embryo acorns and the shifting compass of the setting sun. It is the girls who say these most beautiful things, white linen things pinned to a line and lifted by the wind beneath a slivery moon

“It looks like a stone rolled away

Like a stone in the very act of being

Rolled away

Matthew 2:1,2 and 28:1,2

I want

I want rudimentary shelving in the wild backyard for the Walmart canoes

I want an art table

And an extra large button-down shirt with flecks of paint already on it

I want a shelter for the sun and shelter for the darkness

I want the trees to grow up around us, ramparts

And the tiny praying mantis to have a disproportionate number of siblings

Rain, so the river can rise above the exposed and naked roots of the

Already. Dying.

Eulogizing Joe

Methuselah lived 969 years, which means that at just over 100, my grandfather was a spring chicken, as lifespans go. That notwithstanding he got a lot done. Married, participated in at least three wars, fathered children, buried some. Lost a wife, found another, called me his oldest unmarried granddaughter for as long as it applied.

I loved him in all his iterations, in all his familiar imperfections, but I know Someone who loves him more.

The One who is the Road

The All and Only

Road Home.

Psalm 116