Chimera Sunshine

you were always


A place I longed to be

A harbor in the storm

Heck–flowers and chocolate!

Go no distance to describe

The way these stem cells of each

Her babies carry her

As she and they 

Grow up

Her eldest may lodge 

In her vision 

Her youngest in her chest

And each in between

Find places in her blood and bone to

Insinuate their eternal

DNA into hers

You might call them sneaky

But she will call them all


Dear to stay

When each day she fears

This child will be too soon

“A grown-assed man, Mom!”


And she will compress and fold

Each memory of her babies

In the laugh lines

Around her eyes.

Pirate House

Donning her eye patch 

From the foyer

Of this quiet

suburban domicile

mother spies the place 

Where she will hoist 

The skull-and-crossed bones


of her new-found pirate

Heart.  She shimmies the gutter pipe

Hangs the flag from the gabled roof

Bids the children–

Swab the deck!  Hoist the sail! Board the stern!

Bemused, they do their level best

This ship once an ordinary…


Until Papa returns

Salutes his lawless mate (sailcloth on her makeshift mast

suspiciously similar to 

laundry on the line)

The Jolly Roger, eh? He asks

Surprising unfazed.

Come down, my Pirate Queen
And tell all

Your loyal crew

What hast tha’ plundered for our dinner?

Who is your mama?

I was not just taught to respect my elders, I was the kind of kid who desperately needed to do the right thing to gain their love and approval. I loved my mom. Fought for her. Needed her.

So now that I am an adult and a parent it is painful for me to realize how terribly off-kilter my relationship with my mother was. I did not see clearly how frayed and diminished her feelings for me were but I did live in fear of her temper. The kind of fear you might have if you were the guy hit by lightning five or six times. Always looking over your shoulder. Always afraid of the storms.

So Mother’s Day is a bit ambivalent to me. Not just because I am too stubborn to just look at the bright side. I also have some interesting experiences as a fostering mother, an adopting mother, and a losing mother.

But one thing is clear: God is my mom. His voice was there before I knew what to call Him. He nurtured me, loved me openly without reserve, and sent people to me who loved me voluntarily so that I would know that I could be loved. That I was lovable.

I use the past tense because now I know.. Growing up I constantly doubted. How could I be lovable in light of my mother’s warped mirror?

She sees me a monster. He sees me his little girl. I have learned to cling to that, To run to Him in grief and in joy. To acknowledge the treasure of His surpassing love.

And gather the evidence of His boundless love–all His little ones scattered abroad.

Each one of us…