The parable of the retold

I remember you

I remember when you ran into the waiting room with your sister

I remember all the warnings and admonitions I got from Martha-the-caseworker and your recently relieved first foster mom

And your blue-as-the-sea implacable gaze across a very misguided table

I remember your speech therapist and her fairy godmother-like delight in seeing you make eye contact and in watching your self-inflicted facial wounds

Heal and not return

Storms all over the place

Storms in you swirled all around us, even when I tried to contain them.


This kind of grief

For weeks now I have watched the tree thirst to death, unable to tell it that there is very little hope. Its auburn hair has cascaded around us, weeping, and I have felt both inadequate and way too nonchalant.

So I crafted a fictional me who did all the desperate things the real one should–buy yards and yards of burlap, soak the naked roots with water scooped from the river, gather the seedlings, cut careful branches and apply growth hormone to them, explain all this to the dying tree

The real tree gestures up to the mother tree, deeper into the soil, the manicured lawn, sources of man-made hydration.

And then down to the clay and rocks, blanketed now in the reddish needles, strange nourishment

sufficient to grow


once she has gone

The Angry Biddy

She flaps her (flightless) wings and flutters about

Because surely birds can’t cry and this world is full of sorrow

She is almost human, fully sentient with the wary eyes of someone who knows what it is to not have opposable thumbs

So I tell her, do your graceless angry dance and I will translate for you

About how eternal we are in this brutal place

Where the stars tell us things in the darkness

About hope

Dammed hope

Which will one day soon

Break free

Shout their voicelessness

Children are notoriously voiceless, which is why Lindy West’s crusade to “shout your abortion” is so very tone deaf.

In this country and in many countries all over the world, women of childbearing age may have the right to kill their own small daughters and sons, but once that procedure has resulted in the death of a child, it no longer belongs to the mother to shout.

Mother–see how ironic that sounds.

We have to shout for…

…the voiceless girls

Who have lost their lives, their right to shout

For daughters

For sons

Forever missing

Their voices.