Sometimes we drive in the dark

Every once upon a time I take the girls

Driving in the dark

We look for places to call home–ramshackle garage, vape shop, dry cleaner with its window smashed

In the apocalypse there is still no

Room left in the inns of the world they ask

Why did she have to stick the needle in her arm? Why did she stick the needle in her arm? What was it about the needle that

Caused us to lose her?

The little one has poured her anger out over her minders all afternoon

Unwilling to face what it costs them

So I try to de Bergerac her through the necessary obsequities

I tell her I will whisper the words and she will shout–

I’m sorry

I’m sorry!

I’m sorry I was mean before

I’m sorry I was mean before

I was working out my grief

I was working out my grief

And sometimes there is anger in grief

And sometimes there is anger in grief

She has such a comical little girl voice

But when she says these things I know what God means

When He whispers in my ear

Altos De Betania

John 1:26-28 NIV

[26] “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. [27] He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” [28] This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

I was once set free in Bethany, so far from Jerusalem the rainy season fills the streets into rivers and the dry season ignites the hills, black ash a veil, a shroud over all

Who are you?

In the house of figs and sadness, blessed are the poor in spirit who

Know they cannot raise themselves to life

Let all the other signifiers change for us

To Lazarus to life

Across the vault of the sky

The white birds appear as points of light in the river until they can be heard

They obey parliamentary procedures for the most part until ordinary words are not enough

Then they either

Fly

Across the vault of the sky lights rise and fall, signaling splendor

Morning and evening

And it was so.

Genesis 1:20 NIV

[20] And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”

Lanterns to release in air

She wore a soft, pink sweater (her sister bought) as though the cool chill of October could touch her anymore and the small group of people gathered at her ad hoc memorial are floating up as the sky darkens

The ashes and the pink sweater and the flash of inexplicable light get me again and again

I have to conjure some litany for this–

Sprite, fly

Luminesce

Alight upon yonder shore

Mermaid

Grief been here before–Target was closed and we drove

In my presbyopia I could not identify the man or his freaked out dog

Who can tell between Sirens and mermaids? They are both capable of artifice and the old-fashioned waterborne howl in

Such dark waters

I swim back to the day

The park

Beauty all around

And fast food wedding feast

Pregnant bride vomiting while

Someone took money from the medic’s bag

How did we drive back across that precipitous bridge?

All I can do is elide the best of you with

What will be

What must and shall

Be.

John 2:5 KJV

[5] His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it .

Beat Yins to the House!

When we met Mary and Charles they had some vocabulary specific to the western Pennsylvania region. They used the word yins for the second person plural, the way a Texan would say y’all or a Parisian would say vous.

I’m-gonna-beat-yins-to-the-house! She would yell joyfully, running up the small hill to the porch.

Eventually she lost the yins

But I am praying that she did

Beat us to the House

The soul again

Genesis 12:13 KJV

[13] Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

Modern translation–I would rather live without you than die for you

It is as though Abram knew he must treat his soul like a kidnapped child–my soul must live, sister, let my soul live.

It feels like chattel to me, the moment Abram exchanges his wife for his alleged soul. We are all cowards sometimes, I know this, but it is amazing that this guy is the guy by which all redemption covenants are measured and paid.

For what good does it do for a man to

Gain the whole world and lose his own

Soul?

God gets her back

Because God never breaks a promise

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

Awake, Oh Sleeper

Little One says

Is mommy sleeping in heaven?

No, I say

She is wide awake

Dancing and singing

I wish I were in heaven

Little One says

No, not yet dear

Let us sing and dance together as though this were the porch and the lights from the house were burning bright

Stay with me here on the porch for awhile

We will dance and sing out

grief and hope together until

These ancient gates open wide