Shibboleth

When Mary talks now on the Fisher-Price phone of loss, she speaks with a five year old’s falsetto. She is breezy, upbeat even, and we exchange pleasantries through the medium of her daughter’s voice.

Mary, the girls have your laugh, I try to tell her before the line cuts off. Mary, I always wanted to be your real mom, I tell her before the line clicks off. Mary, that last day haunts me. The girls talk as though you still have the giant carnival unicorn, as though you tucked it under your arm and carried it right through

The earth will soon dissolve like snow/The sun forebear to shine/But God who called me here below/will be forever mine

How do I thank her?

Last week I flew to Pittsburgh, got a rental car to Ohio, picked up my adopted granddaughters, and flew home.

Overall they both did remarkably well traveling cross-country with a stranger, but in the Nashville airport Em lost it. She just did not want to go from gate C whatever to gate A whatever, so she wailed and squirmed as I carried her.

By the time we got to A whatever I was reddened and drenched with sweat, utterly convinced that cardio-resistance workouts do not “go with” masking

And she remained in high dudgeon, as Jane Austen would say.

I was genuinely concerned she would not calm down and I would not be allowed to board a plane with a screaming, squirming child and I would be stranded, far from home, with an inconsolable child.

An amazing woman came to my rescue. She bought the girls coloring books, a bottle of water, tic tacs, She talked us through, back to normal and calm enough to board a plane.

I did not ask her name or get her address, but I wish I had

Knowing, as I do, that I could never thank her enough.

When the heartbeat in question means the whole world

I don’t have time to write this blog. My house is chaos, I am behind in my “day job,” and my adopted granddaughters live with us now.

Both girls have been through fires, literally and figuratively.

As I see headlines about the Texas heartbeat law, I cannot stop thinking about what an appalling loss to me and the world entire it would be if they were not here.

They, like all my kids, light up my world. If one were missing, the loss would be unbearable.

That is what the rhetoric hides–each child saved from abortion is a

Little girl twirling in a princess dress

A little boy looking for spiny lizards

A child who knows grownup words long before they should

An irreplaceable light in the darkness.

Songs from the Nerdy Guy

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

Tethered

In the end, I picture you

Crossing paths unexpectedly with someone much like me only nicer

Between trains in a crowded station

She is going one way, you the other

And she knows there is only one minute left

Amidst the noise, the crowd, the excruciating sound of braking

To say something

To change the course of your endless

Destination

There is no end of the line?

Who will meet you at the station?

Jesus, the ticket pressed into your hand

The only way home

H. Turcicus

Oh howl, my intemperate soul–

Until it was too late

I did not realize who it was

Singing on the porch each night.

Thought it was a frog or a night bird

Not this perfect little cup-sized creature

I have no place to go to speak my grief

Only the knowledge that it is me and my kind who have

Ritualized the extraction

out, out

of each small, indelible singer

Leaving us to mother

Regret instead.

The damsel who kept the door

Come, girl, let us pause and make sandcastles in the dust where once there were courts of stone, because kings may come to tear down both walls and doors, regard or disregard our little lives, take stones one from another and make each a witness

what door will you keep then, when the one true King has passed us by and taking in his wake all love, leaving us without our voices to praise him or call out? Let stones cry out if we do not

Let the doors we have kept keep us instead

John 18 KJV

All hat, no cattle

I once did a series of poems called the calvarium poems. I called them that. They remain in a kind of womblike obscurity, you could say the poems were like children

If only an ordinary person like me could

Cast a spell with words

Hocus pocus–live!

Abracadabra–live!

I alternate between believing

That the dry bones are the children tossed away from their mothers, their doctors, their strangers holding signs and vigil across the street from the alien clinics, iron bars on windows, misleading titles, security guards and not enough imminently visible heartbreak over this or

The people, the-all-of-us, too craven to save their little, perfect, amazing

Calvariums.