Time

image from istock

Time broke,
And you were there,
Black and white upon a screen,
Seeming to tumble
In time to the thump, thump
From a machine.

Time split in half,
And you were there,
Barely a teen,
Trying on a mountain of jeweled dresses
Frowning and sighing.
Finally smiling
After reluctantly putting on a dress
I asked, “Just try it, please?”

Time shattered,
And there you were,
Clattering down the hall,
Your tiny toddler feet
In my size nine heels.

Time wrecked,
And there you were,
An adolescent sleeping,
Lips parted,
A fist clutching a beloved stuffed bunny,
So grown, yet so tiny still.

Time crumbled,
And you were there
In your toddler car seat,
Sobbing, fat toddler tears
For we had no food
To give the homeless man on the corner.
So, we drove through McDonald’s and bought a meal for him.
Your tears stopped. You smiled as I handed him the meal.
But the incongruity of your toddler voice admonished,
“Next Sunday, after church, we need to buy a healthy meal
And bring it to him. McDonald’s isn’t healthy to eat all the time.”

Time exploded,
And there you were,
Sitting in a swing, hands reaching for the sky;
Crying in my arms, heart breaking for the first time;
Laughing on Saturday morning, maple syrup running down your chin;
Praying the Lord’s prayer in church, brow furrowed in toddler earnestness.


Time coalesced,
Healing its broken,
Shattered,
Split,
Wrecked,
Crumbled,
Exploded
Self.

Time mended,
Leaving us broken
In its wake
To find ourselves—
Mother, aged
And daughter, grown
To know each other
Again.

Laughter and Dust

Laughter departed,
Or died a slow death.
We weren’t sure which.

You asked why we didn’t dance
When we dusted anymore,
As we did when I taught you to do
The washing machine.

But we were told it was “nasty”
And I “ought not” teach you that.
Plus, we played “that
Jungle and Mexican music too loud.”
So, our hips and feet stilled.

Then you dusted no more,
And I couldn’t blame you.
Fun stopped breathing.
No paramedics needed.
We survived.
Forgetting the joy
of everyday.

Golden Sky

My lost child
Time runs away from us.
Wandering in darkness,
Stumbling over hidden things,
We cannot find our way.

So it will be
That we stand,
Grieving each other
In this darkness.

Sunshine and hope
Filled us
When I pushed your
Swing in the park.
Laughing we touched
A golden sky.

Then, I thought we’d
Never know this darkness.
But it crept around the edges,
Blotting out the golden sky,
Fading to a distant memory
Until you, my child, doubt it ever real.

The Other Day

mother child

While watching a mother and her child at play
Wrapped in the delight of each other
She gives her boy a gentle toss
His tiny arms wide, wing-like
As if in flight
She’s a safety net
As he lands lightly in her hands
They laugh
Their eyes lock, sparkling
Wrapped in the miracle of each other
His arms wind about her neck
His glistening golden head rests upon her shoulder

And this hole, this longing inside remembers
The rapture between a mother and child

Splinters and Ash

 

Splinters these things:
A Cherrywood vanity
Of fine detail,
Queen Anne legs
And dovetailed drawers,
A square ring left in the surface of the finish,
Where perfume dripped down the sides
Of a stoppered crystal bottle;
A dull walnut jewelry box
With red velvet lined drawers,
An attached mirror
Makes it too large,
Ungainly, for today.

These things, leavings,
Leftovers of a life lived,
For remembrance, for reverence,
Symbols of the intangible
As spring greenery
Is glimpsed and seen
Through a sunlit dusty screen
On a late afternoon,
Containing a muted gold softness
One can never touch.

Lackluster as they are,
They are her, her leavings,
The leftovers of the grinding times
She spent between
Rocks and hard places.

You will have her splinters
And my dusty ashes:
A picture or two, photo albums,
Old fashioned things to look through,
No links to clouds but to history, yours;
Some pencil scratching and ink splatters,
Words hurled, tattooed, etched, brushed
Upon page after page,
Notebook after notebook,
Drive after drive;
Yet you will never know or guess
How many were destroyed,
Burned, ripped, broken,
All trashed over my years.

And if you should read my leftovers?
Press your lips together,
Drawing them thin?
Sigh and raise an eyebrow?
Roll your eyes then burn it all?
Or simply, send it all to the trash
In green plastic bags?
Or
Find one old photo,
one written line
Worth the keeping,
For remembrance sake?
Perhaps, perhaps

You will find something
Among my dust and ash leavings
Of the grinding times I spent
Between rocks and hard places
And view it
As spring greenery is seen
Though a sunlit pollen dusty screen,
Void of vibrancy,
But containing a muted gold softness
One can feel yet never touch
Then know my damning sin,
Like Jonson’s, “was too much hope of thee”
Then find your heart softened and free.

Disowned 

More delicate than our dying Earth,

The fragile blood of our children dries,

Blistering in a baking sun

While we watch 

Our babies gasping 

Like hooked fish.

Our humanity broken,

We are wooden pawns 

In the game of masters,

Men who would be kings

Posturing outrage 

Over plans known

By them alone

Made in black secret rooms,

Selling us all to Mephistopheles,

Trading on the fragility of our attention 

With the lives of our children,

Who made us human. 

Nothing is left to wonder at,

But if this is the day 

Humanity made

God tearless. 

Creation

child.jpg

I carved you
from the stone of me
chiseled out your edges,
inside and out,
freed you from the depths
of my abyss,
while my ears
felt the sting
of the hammer pounding,
my bones felt the crunch
of the chisel chipping,
my skin felt the ripping slice
of stone shards flying
tearing through all
flesh and bone of me
until
there was you
sculpted better than
the worth of me
cast off from you
I absorb in finality
what it is
in the truth of God
and pray.