Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Shock of curly hair, braided, 
hangs into tears. 
All gall and fury, the baby
scrambles over her mother, leans in close
to the vacant face 
and picks at the closed eyes.

Curled into typhoid,
Mama lies on dirt and meager grass,
the woman barely breathes.
Feel her fever.

Yanking limp arms, Baby bawls
and searches her blouse for a breast.
The husband sits stoically by, staring. 

Baby never looks to him or lifts hands

 to her father. He has never seen
this universal gesture of upraised arms
that she, that they, 
might be suddenly gathered
into his blindness and comforted.


Addendum:  The mother was taken to a hospital (in Ethiopia) and cared for. The blind father and Baby were brought along. Who took them into their arms after that, Lord knows.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hole and Heart

Black skinned Margaret, calls me Susie
as if I am family, takes me to her field. Rake and hoe,
she’s pried open the earth with hands and sweat,
taken the magic of seeds and  planted half an acre.
I step through her verdant garden,
mud weighing down my shoes, while Margaret
whispers secrets about a stick, dry wood
slid in next to the seedling, poked deep  into red dirt,
how a hole like that gathers water, a direct line
to the heart of the cabbage.
I laugh because I call myself Wooden Woman,
reaching out’s stiff and awkward,  I glance over clean
white socks, mud gripped, filth seeping
 into my bright orange shoes.  And still
she grabs my elbow, ushers me into her home.
I smell her humanness as she shows me her skills,
school uniforms she sews—a business
treadled between sun and clay
of the garden. I wash my hands every day

how many times with sanitizer, combating
dirt and bacteria, parasites and illness, yes, I am
immunized, passport and ticket home around my waist.
Margaret is not afraid. She squeezes my hand,
roasts ground nuts and serves porridge, she
looks straight into my eyes, despite the drought.

Margaret searches warm soda bottles and fishes out
a Fanta to match my shoes. For Susie, she calls again
the childhood name reserved  for my closest relatives—
as if all my knowledge and money were not pauper’s gifts;
as if the hole in her HIV positive life,
were completely filled to brimming
with my whispered thank you.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Half Way Around the World

The tenor begins in the garden,
climbs the vine
to the birds,
And follows the hollow bones
of flight.

We call:
Higher! Go Higher!

Tomorrow morning I leave for Africa. We work with Spring of Hope International (www.springhope.org ) providing holistic community development.  Spring of Hope International's goal is to empower our Kenyan brothers and sisters to lift themselves out of the discouraging and demoralizing shackles of spiritual and economic poverty. A privilege. A responsibility. Those two lovers holding hands again. 

If you know my heavenly Father please remind Him of us as the spirit prompts.

Kenya and then Ethiopia (for a look at how others are helping). Gone for a month. 

I will be back......


Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15th. Four days worth of words.


Words Switch Sides all the Time

Close your eyes and imagine a simple term
like water. Isn’t water good—after a thaw,

stunning, a rushing baptism of beauty—
but wait, doesn’t good signify a spar with the eternal 

summer heat, when, as one-sided as the word thirsty,
redemption finally falls from the sky?


  When I think of it, it is amazing we communicate
at all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26--More words than I intended.


Dreamily floating,

on an updraft,
a grocery bag catches

the car antennae, crumpling instantly,
then furiously flailing,

bicker and thrash, flogging itself
all panic against glass,

but it calms when I slow,
glide into the garage

it releases a sigh,
as if caught on a breeze

the gentle scent
of home.

Shhh…quiet, tiptoe


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 6. Six Couplets

I learned snow:
a soft fall that builds up.

I learned dirt:
calling your hair ribbon mine.

I learned sun:
a beating down that makes things grow.

I grasp the tremble of beauty:
sitting palm to palm through months of cancer.

Giving came easy:
when everything had been taken away.

I learned love:
because you forgave me.



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 30. Thirty words.


Child arise,
stir the glitter of motes
till sun turns red,
but gather the grey,
under your arm,

that amazing weight
measures pain and slows time.

It defines hope.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26. Twenty-six Words.

is a glass angel
directing the soul,
a glint of fire,
when the heel comes down...

small tinks scattered on the pavement…

so you stop.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 22. Twenty-Two Fleshy Words

covers us with feeling,

a soft gauze to hold us in and

hold back small leakages:

both comforter and comforted.


Monday, June 20, 2011

June 21. Twenty-One Words.

The heart 
has it’s own nervous system,

developed before the brain's 
nervous system

a few weeks after conception, 
heart cells beat.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 19. Nineteen Words

Imagine the river of the aorta as pristine, 
a heartland, inside the swamp of body, 
unpolluted enough for God…



Thursday, June 16, 2011

June18. Eighteen words.

We don’t have that many words for fire—
the hand and heart of light—


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 28. Twenty-eight words.

Not just a license plate,
but how it shields the grinding wheel,
a father standing over his son,
the shadow of authority,

a bystander,

unable to prevent accidents.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 24. Twenty-four Words.

So perhaps love is this way: high pressure
then afternoon rain, the fresh smell of arrival,

forgiveness, like regret,

staying face up through the cloudy


(link to Monkey. )