Paper Crowns

Last spring I sheared my own crown, playing both the sheep and the shepherd in a one-woman show about redemption.

The thing is:

You can’t redeem yourself, no matter what lovely poetic last

Name you have been given.

I see the boy you used to be

I see the lost in your eyes

Playing both sheep and shepherd in your own one-man show about…

I will always love you.

Who says that and means it?

Not me.  I am a coward who cannot handle her always

Ten years since he died

And I stand in the dollar store conjuring up themes for a party girl

Bikini contestant party girl

Written in permanent marker

The lost in their eyes, the voice in my head

Man who played both the sheep and the

Shepherd in his own one-man redemption show

Thorns for crowns/ Paper crowns/diadems, tiaras 

For the children we will be

At the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Leave Notes

My young son is bored on a quiet Sunday. He decides to play in his father’s (the coolest) car.

I stand by monitoring him. Just a safety precaution.

I look down at the passenger’s seat and see an appointment card.

Unfamiliar doctor.

I squint at the details and realize the date of the appointment was on my father’s birthday. Eight years ago.

He died before his next flight physical.

I cleaned out his personal papers when we bought the car from my mother the week after his crash. Each object a reminder of catastrophic loss.

His Gideon Bibles. The gospel cd in the dash. I kept the faded stickers from his job.

But I have never seen this card before.

I want to call the number on the card. I want to ask the doctor if he remembers my dad. Just reminisce, you know…Does HIPAA apply to the dead?

I don’t believe in death that way. I don’t believe it is final. And this card seems to prove it.

One or both of my dads just dropping a note to his little girl–

I am here. I am still here.

Hebrews 12:1
All of our Palm Sundays…

Rodents (I have loved and feared)

Dearest A,

I have already told you the nutria story. I think about my dad and his inspirational message of stoic courage whenever we see nutria at the river.

They come quite close and are reasonably lovable–orange teeth and all.

But I have other rodents in my past. For instance Mouse–red, worn, lovable, constant. Stuffed, so no plague risks.

When I was in Thailand our bungalows were infested with rats. They were so noisy I thought they were monkeys on the roof. Until the night one swung over the rafters onto the mosquito netting sending us all to the boys’ cabin. Five Americans in a double bed. I slept at the foot. Feet.

The next day the man pulled desiccated rat carcasses from the eaves. Like we had unsettled an ancient burial ground.

Then there was the boat to Yang Shuo. Kay said she saw a rat. Said she was moving to another cabin. I swapped bunks with her. At 4:30 in the morning I wake up to the curious gaze of a rat sitting on his haunches–squirrel-like and contemplative. No more sleep for me.

And then there was the year the rats were bad on the coast. They starved out the neighbor’s birds. They ransacked feed beds. They gnawed fruit left on the kitchen counter.

We told ourselves–mice. Silly us.

Until the night of the great racket. A rat shimmied down the wall in the bathroom. J checked but saw nothing. I opened the door and it scurried into the darkened bedroom were the children slept. J was not concerned.

He has a cat allergy. I have a rat phobia. As he slept I ruminated–it is me or it, I am bringing in the cat!

Zippy–always intrepid, stalked the rat throughout the room speaking words of predatory intent. Finally satisfied she curled next to my daughter’s head on the pillow. We slept till morning.

At which point dear J bought traps and caught the entire rodent clan living in our attic.

My dear soft-hearted love–

Do you miss him?

In the midst of a morning of futility (guarantees are often NOT guaranteed) my young son asks me if I miss my father–a man who died before he was born.

I say yes
Infinite sadness
I tell him yes. I do.

I tell him that he looks a bit like his grandfather and that helps. He asks if his grandfather likes the athletic wear he favors.

He is so good at connecting himself
To the identities of ghosts
This fully living child
I love.