The Dishwasher’s Prayer

shortstory3She bent low, being tall

Light touched her face from the window, touched the bubbles

She was careful with the water

Don’t let it flow, don’t let it waste itself unheeded down the drain

She was careful with the soap

Dilution, always, mostly water

Shaken in the worn bottle, coaxing out suds

Your eye can see all this and then

Come, come around to the side and watch

Her lips which betray the words

Her heart is whispering to God

Have you seen eyes like that?

Seeing dishes and Heaven, at once?

Come away now

Here is every goodness at once

And we too must begin.

 

Singularity

Singularity

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It is beyond my ever-obvious limits

Lay it down, here, on the floor

Your heavy expectations- I cannot hold them

I’ve been learning, see, what my arms can hold

And what they cannot.

 

I am not you

There’s delight there, see?  Only one you, only one me

Are you not glad to be singular?

I know, I know you see all my flaws

Who doesn’t?  Yet, some are tied

And knotted, and woven, into the good, the gold.

 

He knew what a busted pot He’d chosen for His kitchen

Madam, aren’t your arms tired?

Hold your goodness; it is yours, perhaps

Discard these stones, mixed in- they are not good for you either.

There.  Good.  We can embrace now, see?

You, being you, me being me.

“Moses”

 

You, cast upon this resting water
Held by bowing reeds, attending
Steady nursemaids, heads bowed
They peer at their charge, basket-borne
Searching mouth and fists tightening
The air is emptied of her-smell, touch, voice, and the reeds know no lullabies
You cry–of course you do and
The water stirs and perfumed hands
Find you, reeds parting, nursemaids swaying, watching.

 

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But I Have It

 

51540122_10157396442668352_632964388566859776_oI have this little

But I have it

The polar vortex has passed

And the aching, sore earth is sighing and misting

My boot finds every kind of frozen

Ice, slush, snow, hard snow, light snow

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51059162_10157396442963352_8314855530262691840_o51064526_10157396443113352_7210241253705777152_o51068864_10157396443403352_4129828157110878208_oIt doesn’t escape notice

The way the green plants dance in the stream

The way of the red branches among the dry grass

Silent sentinels of vibrant color.

I have this little

But I have it

51593466_10157396443693352_2698223013693751296_o51387579_10157396443243352_4749509088004538368_oThe way of water in winter scenes

Obsidian moving, gleaming, slicing through the white

Expired plants extend their dried up hands

And offer their seeds to the wind

Live again

When snow has been drunk back into the earth

I have this little

But I have it.

 

 

Cast Down

Damp paper pots, seedlings standing resolutely within,

Nestled into deeper dirt, room therein to sink their reaching white roots.

Sixty degrees under overcast skies; gray in the greenhouse.

Agitation, or just plain grumpiness, anyways

“Lord, help me find You, sense You, see You”

Watering can heavy against my palm, tilting and pouring

Currants, lemon, peppers, onions, radishes, lettuces, promise.

Into the house where the vacuum is humming and the mop is swishing across the floors

Johnny Cash on the record player and a board game spread out on the table

And my spirit a bit lighter, the day remaining gray.

Sometimes the soul casts about, feeling a want, a thirst, feeling bereft of a something, or a Someone.

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, Who is the help of my countenance, and my God.   Psalm 43:5

They’ve said that God never distances Himself from us, but that we distance ourselves from Him

Which may be true or perhaps

He withdraws to teach us to miss Him, to thirst aright, to feel the chill of gathering dark, when the Light recedes

As a parent pauses, the children struggling at this thing or that, not rushing in as heroes

Allowing roots to press deeper and for faith to find an answering

Can I trust the One on the other side of my hopes

Are You there and unabashedly loving, closer than my breath, every atom of me held together because You are?

The day continues gray but outside the birds are singing.

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This Is Love, Here.

I want to see it the way it is

And push the sunglasses up, resting them like skylights on my parted hair.

I’ll take these colors, these ones, unfiltered, un-pink and un-amber.

This is love, here.  I will face colors un-borrowed.  Murky blue of dusk, grays laying over oranges.

With that, this voice, this synthesized, smooth coiling of sound?

The singer

Never sounded that way, not two inches away, not three.

There is no breath, only vocal cords made of shiny vinyl; tidy, precise, liquid, limber.

Mom says it like a truism, I can’t sing

But her breath-born songs lifted me gently into sleep

With the rhythmic creak of the rocking chair and her warm arms encircling

I am so safe here.  This is love, here.

I carry it yet, the warmth and the quiet safety; it’s a slow burn inside.

This is love, here.  Realest mother and realest voice singing and the soul alight with fire.

Now and then I rage at myself, my stupidest self that cringes when

Every way I fail is thrust, clattering, onto the stage, an awkward pile

A silent audience.  A heckler calls out:  Missed appointment!  Lost library book!  Overgrown lawn!  FAIL!  FAIL!  FAIL!

Face flat upon the floor, my words echoing back in tight syllables, lips moving feverishly against the wood, wet with words-become-vapor.

My explanations rise and fall back around my head, too heavy to fly.  I try, I try, I try.

I turn my head, rolling it on that hard floor, my cheek resting in the dampness of my words.

His eyes meet mine, where he lays beside me like a twin starfish, limbs akimbo, eyes waiting.

You try, I see you.

His eyes crinkle at the corners; his eyes smile.  The warmth flares and I feel higher than the floor.

This is love, here.  Seeing me, down here with me, lifting.

Let me step out of this, this ever-tidy shell and farce

If I am loved I can unmask

I can un-cringe and un-explain

I can fail without despair.

This is love, here.  Naked and poor.  Smiling.

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Once, Twice

Pushing swings

One, two

My sons grinning and

The light falls spotty.

A lump rising in my throat

At the beauty and the swift passing

Of time, which always plunges ahead

Undisturbed by our own scrambling

Our yearning for it to slow a while

So we can breathe that flower in

Once, twice, once more.

We could rip the hands off of the clocks

All the clocks stripped bare of their ticking arms

And yet, still time would march

Undeterred

Seasons obeying, dropping leaves, dropping snow, dropping rain, throwing flowers up and out of the ground, inexorably forward.

I take my child’s face in my aging hands

I claim this moment before it hurries away

And kiss it once, twice

And once more.  IMG_4065