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Introductions

Surprise! Your body made a baby.

You’re a god-blest god-damn 3-D printer

With no instruction manual.

This is the oldest profession,

This motherhood thing,

So we’re all experts.

We assume you know what’s coming for you:

What is digging into your shoulders already:

The taste of the helpless mortality you face,

Near-death to bring forth life,

The confusion of fine lashes and soft nails

That come into the light screaming angry;

And then the screams that haunt you,

As the breaths stick close to your neck;

How your brain is lost in your body

And your self is lost without sleep

And your heart is bottled up with terror

And love. Oh love. Selfish love, to keep moving your feet,

Else you’ll crumble into ash.

Selfless love, roaring up and burning when you hear a name,

See a moment, speak a sorrow.

How love hurts.

They say it heals, they say time heals –

But we’re all scrambling just to catch up, fondly

“Savoring each moment” in our rosy rear view mirror

As the next wave bears down, bears down,

Crushing and stinging,

Always churning away your footing,

And surprise!

You’re pregnant again.

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John 8:1-11

Despite the boredom of daily chores,

she enjoyed fetching the water. 

Reaching down in the cool abyss

grew sweeter as the morning grew hotter. 

The well breathed a peaceful chill

that begged a soul to stay, 

so she gladly drank long and deep

to relieve the heat of the day.

.
She was completely unprepared 

for the hands that seized her arms.

The dipper of water burst on the sand

as her neighbors shouted alarm.

She barely heard the irate command

to come and admit her sin,

and dread flooded her racing heart

as she heard the accusation.

.
They didn’t give her voice a chance;

a man had confessed it all.

The other men dragging her knew the truth

and the Law demanded she fall.

They were right – she just hadn’t thought 

she would ever be found out. 

She wondered remotely why he confessed

and what had brought it about.

.
She fell to her knees on dusty stones,

numb with fear and dread.

She cringed at the thought of a stoning death,

not daring to lift her head.

“This woman is a disgrace!” they cried

and she wept that they were not wrong.

The temple around her fell silent,

but the voice of the Law was strong.

.
The silence stretched, and she looked up,

unsure of what she saw. 

The man before her had drawn in the dust

as accusers proclaimed the Law. 

He quietly stood, and firmly said,

“Let those who are pure throw stones.”

One by one, by age they dispersed,

till she and the man were alone.


He left his wonderings in the dust,

meeting her eyes as a friend.

“The old and young have lost their flame; 

do any still call you condemned?”

“No one, Lord,” she replied with tears,

unsure what he would allow. 

His gentle reply was a balm to her fears: 

“My grace is enough even now.”

.

.

.

.

– 7/10/2017

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Joy

Scorched earth splits to let

one fragile stem breathe.

It pushes frail into the sun, yet

stands against the teeth

of heat and wind as if

it has lived a thousand years. 

Such an unexpected gift

could hardly flourish here – 

but it sustains,

and bit by bit it lifts

a leaf into the mourning rain. 

Patient, careful as it sifts

the tired earth for more, 

another blooms beside. 

For joy, the slow and silent war

is won, though it had died. 

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Faith

I live in the dusk,

A half-shadow embracing me

With grey fingers.

I walk in the evening, 

A dim twilight barely showing

The shape of things. 

Stillness swallows tears,

Blunting them like falling snow 

In a mantle over me.

My words stop at my lips,

Hushed before I hear them,

Stagnant on my tongue.

.

God of light, 

Creator of day and night,

Ordering existence, hear me:

Do not abandon your work in me.

Remember for what you have made me. 

I plead for you to breathe life

Into my bones

Sound into my words 

Light into my darkness.

I contend with you to replace

My sluggish blood with light 

And fill me to blazing. 

.

1 Corinthians 13:12 – For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 

.

.

.

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11/11/2016

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Breathe In

“My soul finds rest in God alone-”

But you’ve given me a yearning

that fills my chest with heated stones 

and sets my lungs to burning

.

In

Out

Each breath adding to the flame

And when I call upon your name

you answer with more doubt

.

Why does faith require blindness?

I try, I fail, I turn away

demanding you show kindness

while I refuse to pray

.

In

Out

I leap as if to fly

But anchored to the earth, I die

and choke on my own shout

.

I bargain, weep, deny, accept

your silence to my desire.

Old promises that you have kept

still breathe into the fire.

.

.

.

.

9/23/2015

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Weary

Mirrors make the best walls.

This rot will spread:

My bones will lie bleached before you

and your sorrow will pay my debt.

.
This is why I’m gone:

To owe nothing to anyone.

I am weary,

let me rest. 

.
It’s you or me, 

and I love you

and hate myself,

so the choice is clear.

I am weary, 

let me rest. 

.
Amputate the gangrene,

cut away the rot.

I am helpless in the dark. 

All I owe is more than all I am – 

your sorrow will pay my debts,

and I thank you for the love that pays

and keeps on paying. 

………………………………………………..

This is dated 3/30/2015. That was a tough year particularly in terms of the depth and severity of my depression. It was squeezing the life out of me and this poem barely even touched the surface, but it helped a little to write it. Please know that if you’re facing this, you’re not alone, and you’re worth every breath and cell and ounce of soul that makes up your being. And stay with us. 

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Depression from inside

I am only smiling at you
because my cheeks are locked
in this habit of baring my teeth,
and it would take more energy
than I possess to drop the wall
that’s holding me together.

Behind the smile I am an absence:
Not darkness, just an absence of light.
Darkness can be fought;
Absence doesn’t even exist.
Trying to find the edges
is a dull and desperate terror.

Don’t come here and tell me
“what works for you when you’re feeling blue” –
that pressure is crushing, paralyzing, deadly.
Each little word of encouragement
is a condemnation and a sentence,
mocking me with “just keep trying.”