I can’t sleep
every thing he said

swirls around
in a foamy mess
like clouds

looks like rain

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awake
the birds are early
they must know something
besides the dark
how peaceful to listen
to know God hears
every lonely chirp
from my heart

Kinder

I am in the kitchen writing out my life
Chopin is in the living room, urging me not to quit
the sadness (over breakfast) and a hurried car ride
heavy and burdensome

I don’t care (I said) because of course
I care more than life itself
but if I have to give up my life
in the process (I don’t care)

Then what is the purpose of living
this strangling, overarching plot
that no one would buy
is dancing in my last nerve

So it is like this. That you will
treat me kindly in the future
and I will continue to write my life
both wonderful and terrible, and
this is the contract I bid you sign

Mama

Sing me to sleep
Mama
The night is hard
press’d to give up
its joy
you went too soon
I want to hear you
tell stories
you used to tell

I knew you were happiest
Mama
when you were a little girl
traveling state to state
in a time when
girls didn’t give up dolls
so young
as now

For you I would have tea
Mama
so we could share
iced, with chips
laughs again over
silly thoughts
he never understood
but I always laughed

Laughs come at a premium now
Mama
like gasoline
and forgiveness
your unbounded joy
something I got for free
and tonight
I remember
and laugh

Come now and rest

trees and sky

The trees are welcoming me back
and the dust from which I was created
my flesh, failing me from too many nights
no sleep, too many words, not kept
and my lack of care has brought me here

The dirt says–come now, be still
rest here where no one will harm
I am soft and forgiving; I will not push back
when you lay over me seeking rest
your heart stilled by serial killers–

The ones we know, we all know
take your soul and they won’t let go
moving on to others, despite my best effort
to hold them here, but I tired, got so tired
leaves surround me, weaving a blanket

The sky watches, the clouds in their misty wisdom
call upon the Father to bless. I know
He sees all, he sees me, when I long for home
and home’s not best. Don’t fail me now
warm hay, soft fur. Take me back

where I came from, take me back
where I was born, this pure, safe place
bring me back to forest,
and dust and dirt
and home

*

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

*

endurance

the speed bumps were hell–every movement forward a vertical climb–each sodden word meant to comfort and encourage pulling her down hard–magnets in her shoes, sticking her feet solid to the road

tripping on cookie crumbles and gravy-laden track, she would never be Secretariat and not turn back, but hell if the memo-rees didn’t sprain her right ankle just as she was pulling ahead of the others

she saw the impact on their faces–after 2 decades of tsunami and degradation–lipstick and powder trying to pull it off–oh, the meanness–how they looked away, then back, then away

God’s provision, the hope in her pockets, kept her looking straight ahead, never at her feet, where even the mice were against her, the skunks conspiring, the rattlesnakes ever loud and insistent–she was not alone