First Day Of School

Four years is not a long long time

But it’s all the life you’ve had so far

And so far I have got to be there

For all the life you’ve lived.

 

Seeing each new thing you saw

With you as you saw it

Hearing each new sound you heard

With you as you heard it.

 

When you were born

I could hold you in one hand.

But you grew and grew until

No strength of mine could keep you here.

 

Now your long strong legs

Will carry you, out the door to where

Red lights flash on a yellow bus

And the glass door comes between us.

 

Now you’ll live, and I won’t see it

You’ll see and I won’t share

You’ll sing and I won’t hear it

But you were never just for me.

 

Four years is not a long long time

But I got to be there

For all the life you’ve had till now

And so I will be grateful.


Institutions

This is a house for the haunting

Full of silence, full of groaning

Of cries that can’t be understood.

And questions that can’t be answered

 

This is a house for the leaving

A door the neighbors hurry past

Where the letters do not arrive

And the telephones are silent.

 

This is the house of wasted time

Of aimless days and weeks and years

Of lives robbed of their purposes

And stories that have no meaning.

 

Here in the room no home contains

Defended by my protocols

I patrol the paperwork wall

‘Tween me and them, and beg You be

 

The light sent unto her blindness

To be the song his deafness hears

The firmness ‘neath her trembling limbs

The loudest voice his madness brings.

 

Oh God if You are here tonight

You came in quiet as a ghost.

But if this is not a haunted house

Then Your temples too are empty.

 


Martyrs

When the Facebook bell starts ringing

To tell of more lives taken

By men with names that are not like ours

You always say the same thing.

You say it every time,

 

That they are monsters and

Inhuman and cannot

Be comprehended

For they are not like us

No brother, not at all.

 

But I say, brother, you’re a liar

And maybe sister, you forgot

The things we used to say in high school

The songs we sang when we were young.

A little too in love with easeful death.

 

And I say how fortunate were we

And the heretics we hated

And the infidels we feared

And I say thank Christ He made it clear

Which end of the gun we are to stand on.


Palliative Care

Dying is a cold white room

Where we sit and wait,

Undisturbed by life,

While every voice falls silent

And every movement becomes still.

 

I leave the room because I can,

And the person lying there.

To walk down the fluorescent hall,

Open the door I am allowed

And find that it is June outside.

 

The evening there is soft and warm

The air pregnant with thunderstorms,

Alive with the voices of spring,

The peepers and red-winged blackbirds,

And the scent of the lilac trees.

 

I return to the cold white room

And find the room is empty now.

But if there’s one thing that I know

It’s that wherever you have gone

It’s on the June-side of the door.

 


Weapons Test

Good morning little Fury

Won’t you show me what you made?

Last night in the labs and test beds

Of your steel-and-flannel heart.

 

Let me be your barren desert

And your blasted half-moon atoll

Where you loose your tiny ragings

And unleash your infant hells.

 

This is the place to test them all

So empty out your silos here

There’s nothing here that can be lost

No one who can help but love you.

 

And when the light and roar and heat have faded

And all your weapons have been spent

You’ll have seen what they can do

And reach, perhaps, for different tools.


The Book Is Here!

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“Cormorant Lord and Other Poems” is now available! Fifteen poems about babies and burnout and debt and disability and getting broken and getting built and the Jesus in all these things (and some other things too). Made of trees and smelling of ink and available to buy right here. Also available as an e-book.


Good Friday 2017

 

Who can bear to read

The story of the humans?

Written as it is

In the bodies of their children.

Chlorine-choked

Ball-bearing broken

Wrapped in dust and laid

In the broken heart of the earth.

 

He made it his own,

The story of the humans

And let them write an ending

Upon his body there,

With fist and foot and implement

Son-and-daughter slain and rising

Up to bear their children out

Of the broken heart of the earth.