Big Box Stories

I bet when 

You thought

of the Day of Judgment

You did not realize

It would come upon you 

In the Walmart checkout line

Or some place like that–

Long lines

Tired employees

Lurid magazines 

Shouting things like

“The terrible death of cheesecake”


“Vegan chili cheats on Cher”

But I am here to tell you

I have seen it


The Day of Ultimate Truth

Right there in the checkout line

At any big box 


How bad do you want

That case of diet soda?

Bad enough to lose your cool?

Or are you the 

Mother and father

So focused

On this beautiful child

Between you 

This is family

He never said it wouldn’t be

A pop quiz.


The Keepsake HeartbeatĀ 

I research two sides

Of the exact same

Human story–

Old men’s eyes

injected with 

The stem cells

Of children 

(To ward off a besetting blindness)

So small they call them


Because it is easier to

To tear

Someone apart if

We call them


Not the same

As the Doppler 

Searches across the mother’s


For a tiny

Keepsake heartbeat 


Always loves

These little ones

No matter what we might

See or not choose 

To see 

about their

Fragile legal status

Or translucent eternal


Discard these words

That bad dream you have when you try to scream–

hollow howl

No words 

For the kitchen, the children, the overturned life

Child abandonment does not do this justice 

For the kind of hell we can ignore

In the smokestacks of Auschwitz

Or the death of a child

Turn away

Because the kind

Of empathy

This would require 

Is unbearable

A handful of people

Sometimes we can see the direct harm a person or a few people can do to others–a murder, a kidnapping, a traitor…terrorists…

Can do damage.  Change lives from life to death or light to the night of grief.

I acknowledge this.

But it makes me wonder about the people who bring life from death, light in the dark.

We all have a choice–be the handful, one way or the other–bring light, bring life.


November 13th…

it was clear and cool that day

The kids from church came over

We dressed you in your favorite clothes 

A police car sat (ominously) 


The caseworker (not your own)

Came to the lawyer’s rental house

Our messy home

To take you away

I believed in miracles

Moses in the bullrushes

But your dad (foster, of course)

Did not

So when she took you from his arms

He wailed.

He doesn’t cry

But that day he did

The day I last saw you through

The tinted glass

Of the woman’s beat

Up old SUV

You were my angel baby

Gone, without a trace

It was a clear blue day that day

There was a police car

Sitting  (ominously) down the block

Each print eidetic 

Etched in the raw chemistry of grief

No words,

Only me the ghost, howling out mother-love

While your new parents went out

For a celebratory dinner.

Home, Sweet Jesus

Since I was a child

(So far from here)

I have been homesick

Lost in the sea of this wide world

So broken

It comes over me now

This longing for home

There is a reason we long for safety

Best I can do is run for Jesus

Man across the street

Standing waiting for me to see Him

The shadow of the Cross, the memory of the whip

All our lonely yesterdays

And so-bright tomorrows

In Your matchless words


Carbon in our bones

A woman writes

Pictures in black and  shades of gray

On these dim prison walls 

Ephemeral graphite

So soft we are

Bits of stardust

Made incarnadine 

Diamonds, a multitudinous sea

you and I

Will never

shake our carbon 


Of the Divine

God breaths life into dust 

There is a map 

Somewhere in the traces of granite

An ancient story 

The bones of dragons

Sewn in this field

Come to life