Author Archives: huldustrider

Desert Children

They raise up their walls around me

Thick and high and silent

A monastery so remote,

So removed from the world.

 

The Desert Children’s rule is strict.

The day is long and hard

There is nothing here not simple,

Nothing here that’s easy.

 

The day begins before the sun,

Ends after its setting.

Every minute in between is

A rough and holy thing.

 

They teach things I do not know

How to need, how to ask

How to accept, how to enjoy

How to receive a gift.

 

It is a long and lonely way

That some nights I can’t walk

So while the Desert Children sleep

I slip over the wall,

 

A stranger to the world outside,

Speak strangely of strange things

Speaking nursery rhymes to power.

Occupied with smallness.

 

But long before the sun comes up

I’m longing to return

To seek their sacred littleness,

The littleness I’d learn.

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Supported Vacation

“I know myself” he says to me
Every time I try to guide him
He cannot think of any need
For anyone beside him.

I can think of hundreds,
Thousands, given time:
Murder, theft and multitudes
That can’t be made to rhyme.

For he may know himself, but not
The city, state or nation
Mostly blind and mostly deaf,
Hence “Supported Vacation”.

He could be made a victim
In a dozen different ways
But of us two in Central Park
I am the one afraid.

But I saw Times Square divide for him
And 30 Rock bow down
Before his perfect liberty
The Statue cast her crown.

“I know myself,” he says again
And we are silenced by his claim.
For neither I nor New York City
Would dare to say the same.


A Secret

Down by the county road

Playing little boy games

Waiting for the school bus

My son looks up and says,

 

“I want to tell you something,”

I lean down so he can

whisper it in my ear:

Then, “I hate you, Daddy.”

 

Just to taste the words come out

Just to watch the knife go in

Just to watch my face change

As I feel it.

 

So don’t tell me that we

Can make it if we try

Because he’s just like his daddy

And his daddy’s just like his.


Snow Day

I am given silence,

For a moment.

snow comes down this morning

Steady, heavy enough

 

To mute the trucks on the County Road

To stop the bus from coming

To wake and whirl the kids away

And so they are sleeping still.

 

I sit here and soak it in

The silence I so often seek

But soon enough is soured

By the empty noise within me.

 

Up the stairs I hear begin

The music of their wakefulness

They are coming to transfigure

The silence, and the snow outside.

 

I was given silence

And it was good and blessed

But now I am given sound

And I am grateful for it.


Potty Training

The boy has wet himself again

And he thinks that I can’t tell

But it is very evident

From his bearing and his smell.

 

He doesn’t seem uncomfortable

He doesn’t seem to mind

It’s nice and warm, a little while,

After all, it’s his behind.

 

But pretty soon I’ll chase him down

Pretty soon I’ll scrub him clean

Pretty soon I’ll wash his bits, and

Everywhere his hands have been.

 

And then the boy will howl at me

And then how the boy will weep

And then the boy will gnash his teeth

As I my foul harvest reap.

 

Being clean means nothing to him

For naught he knows of diaper rash

Freedom is all he wants of me

So those little teeth, he gnash.

 

And I would let him run and play

I would leave him to his mess

I would let him have his way if

I only loved a little less.


Sharps

When I was young I asked to be
A spear in the hand of the Lord
And if I couldn’t be a spear
I asked that I would be His sword.

I’m older now and I have seen
Exactly what a spear can do
And what becomes of those live
By the swords they say are You.

So make of me a warm wet rag
To wipe the blood and shit away
And make of me a tourniquet
To keep the rush of death at bay.

If I must tear my brother’s flesh
If I must make my sister bleed
Make me a needle in your hand
When You the surgeon intercede.


Thanksgiving 2018

For the shape that things have taken
For the bending of our days
From the place we were forsaken
To the place our heads are laid

For what all the ravens brought
For the bread that wouldn’t last
For the water from the rock
For the wandering that’s passed

For the scroll that tasted sweet
Then turned to sour halfway down
For how we are made complete
By being buried, burnt, or drowned

For a tale we couldn’t write
The verse we can’t compose
For a love we couldn’t fight
For however this thing goes,

We give you thanks, oh Lord.