You Send, I See

You send the September breeze
When my heart aches at seeing summer end.
The breeze ripples through the maple boughs,
Still bendable in the early fall heat,
So that I hear the trees whisper
Of beginnings in the endings.
Of going underground to work the magic of growth.
You send what You know I will see.

Years ago, that Arizona noon hour,
You sent a white dove for me to see
As I wandered, crushed, defeated,
On the crowded sidewalk in that mountain town.
Your dove strolled ahead of me,
With her feathered head bobbing,
Past the best burger joint in town,
Flipping through discarded potato chips
And dodging hurried footsteps
Of people on their lunch breaks.

I was grateful that You sent
That impossibly white dove
On that impossibly discouraging day,
To remind me of Your provision.
Of course it was You,
Holy Spirit,
Helper,

Or maybe the dove was a daily visitor on that street,
And You simply shifted my gaze
Toward her bobbing head,
As she nibbled on crumbs, blissfully unaware
That we see You in her.

My Voice, Our Voice

In Your eyes, it was good,
It was very good.
We were good.
I am good.

You spoke our voices into being
And hoped that we would speak
The same goodness that You had seen
On that seventh day.

I had forgotten my voice
Until I heard it in a mountain stream,
Yearning to run free of debris and defilement.

I heard it when a grey squirrel
Looked me in the eye
As he feasted on black walnuts
In the towering tree.

I heard it in the dandelion,
Who lives to nourish and heal,
Whose brilliant yellow blossoms spring up
Again and again,
And who refuses to die
Because she knows we need her.

I heard it in the ponderosa forest,
High in the peaks,
Standing against icy runoff
And monsoon floods,
Whose seeds need fire to wake from their sleep.

And when I looked for You,
I realized we are all Your voice.
We are that voice that spoke us into existence
And that had hoped we would love Your world
As much as You loved her.

The Day I Stopped Apologizing

The first change was my weight.
Not pounds on a scale,
Not the circumference of my waist.
I just decided to take up more space
The day I stopped apologizing.

And my words? They changed next.
They too carried more weight
And tumbled, clumsy and unabated
Unwelcome and too much
Or too little, depending on whom you asked
The day I stopped apologizing.

No longer sorry about the me in myself,
I stopped asking and doing and just started being.
At home in my skin,
No longer cursing my hormones,
I made friends with my parts
(Especially the ones that had been the subject
of boys’ jokes years ago).

The day I took up more space,
I stopped apologizing
For laughing too loud or speaking too low,
For buying too much yarn or too little bread,
For wasting an afternoon waiting for a glimpse of hummingbirds,
For changing my clothes
Or my mind
Or my profile picture
Or my career plans
Or my favorite color, coffee or movie.

“I am sorry,” I said to myself,
The day I stopped apologizing.

When We Had First Begun

I wondered if I’d pass this way again.
Stained glass shimmers in the morning sun;
Worship service ends at half past ten.

“I miss them,” was my thinking now and then;
My soul’s rest in God had just begun.
I wondered if I’d pass this way again.

Bible studies met an idle pen
And contemplation formed a church of one.
Worship service ends at half past ten.

This morning, though, I remembered when
They welcomed me in late October’s sun.
I wondered if I’d pass this way again.

Emerging from the womb of my den,
I join old friends to praise the risen Son.
Worship service ends at half past ten.

Voices soar in praise and sweetly blend,
Recalling days “when we had first begun.”
Grateful that I’ve passed this way again;
Worship need not end at half past ten.

How Quickly Time Flies

Speaking volumes only with her eyes
The patient says along with dozens more,
“Please don’t say how quickly time flies.”

She’d rather lie beneath the clear blue skies,
But learns to live with smells she could abhor,
Speaking volumes only with her eyes.

Twisted fingers merely a disguise,
Her hands once steered a kayak back to shore.
Please don’t say how quickly time flies.

This one-time river runner waits and sighs.
She sees her breakfast tray come through the door
And speaks volumes only with her eyes.

CNAs and RNs could be spies.
They’re seen, you know, on every single floor.
Please don’t say how quickly time flies.

This morning passed more quickly than before.
She could not know she’d breathe her last by four.
Still speaking volumes only with her eyes.
Please don’t say how quickly time flies.

Bud Break

Bud break raises hope amid the freeze,
But early spring betrays the tender shoot
As March winds carry dry leaves where they please.

Sailing home from winter’s distant seas,
Dandelions rise from robust roots.
Bud break raises hope amid the freeze.

We fold our arms in much-too-short sleeves
And scour branches for their springtime loot,
As March winds carry dry leaves where they please.

Daylight hours cure our dark disease.
April beckons with her far-off flute,
And bud break raises hope amid the freeze.

Braver still, the sunlight begs to please
As dust collects on long forgotten boots
And March winds carry dry leaves where they please.

Too late! Not now! We sigh as flurries fly.
So sure we were that spring was drawing nigh!
Bud break raises hope amid the freeze,
But March winds carry dry leaves where they please.

Making Everything Good Possible

I sit on our Idaho patio listening to the summer breeze,
Listening to the black walnut leaves rustle softly.
Middle age transforms into sixth grade vacation,
When New Hampshire summers stretched beyond the horizon.

Listening to the black walnut leaves rustle softly
Reminds me of cool breezes through Nana’s porch.
New Hampshire summers, stretching beyond the horizon,
Made everything good possible.

Cool breezes through Nana’s porch
Lulled me into daydreams,
Making everything good possible
As we planned an afternoon at Hampton Beach.

Lulled into daydreams,
I picture my footprints disappearing in wet sand
And remember afternoons at Hampton Beach
As I sit on our Idaho patio listening to the summer breeze.

Outpatient

Heavy steps through the clinic door.
Scores of faces, waiting room eyes
Follow my feet to the check-in desk.
Finally, a space for my face near the water cooler.

18 minutes of freedom, wishing our dog were here.
I dream, screaming silently till I hear my name.

Dead down the hall: sterile chairs, swabs, lidocaine,
Blood draw, raw nerves, tsk tsk near the back of my head.
Are you in pain? As if I were deaf.
No space for my face any more.

Meanwhile, it’s snowing.
Will this freeze cease?

Ease my arms through warm fleece sleeves.
Thoughts race, raw,
Pause as our reserved ride pulls up.
Better late than never.

I hear my name.
Going home? A smile for me.

Snowflakes breeze by blurred trees.
I bet our dog is deep asleep.

I look out the car window.
Somewhere between I-84 and our front yard,
My face becomes my own again.

Evenings Like This

Blond fluff stretches out on the living room rug.

Our dog? It’s hard to tell.

In our Idaho bedroom and study,

A tall Texas bookcase towers against the wall.

Five red book spines accent rows of

White, gray, brown and darker brown volumes.

I set the clocks ahead one hour,

Amused by snow flurries amid the red maple buds.

Vintage Julia Child on PBS

Competes with our sloshing dishwasher.

Asleep in bed, you breathe smoothly.

Evenings like this, I write.