our parents

giver, painter, companion, guide
our center stone, our palmful light
swirled in grays and blue, the lake
sit with me, my heart awake
with ankles crossed and satin feet
your mind the miner of worthy keep-
sakes, rose mom, citron, fleured lapel
the toller of the Good News bell
your keystrokes, gleam, and joyful brush
your chocolate sauce and flaky crust
rememberer and modern line
each surface dear a silvered time
when you were near enough, the most
loved, most real, most faithful host
of all our good, our flaws, our cares
with you our honest selves we bared
intentionally you did the same
so we could know your inside frame-
work, and it was bright and calm and true
with solid ground and open views
imperfect here, now perfect greets
our Sue who crossed the shining creek.

and on her heels, her partner ever
our precious dad, and passion center
connection, voice, a giant man
practitioner of unplanned plans
weather, sports, the hero boy
an oystered world of simple joys
greet us still on green lanais
patios and memory drives
in our corner when burden bends
our steel, be there to recommend
this too shall pass, and strain subsides
you, our constant life ally
Mississippi, and Big Lake reach
clementines on white sand beach
water’s edge was near enough
for you to heaven’s hill and bluff
salesman, speaker, executive
sometimes hard in word to give
but never less relationship
or faithful love, or stewardship
of hearts, a man who waits for us
our Mel who swam the river rush.

oh, when we’re weary from tempered joy
an unfilled breath, a ‘now what’ voice
we lay another stone around
the grief we carry and can’t put down
building up a different living
one without your bodies giving
what we came to know as you
instead we seek your spirits through
wave and color, in wisdom stored
holding dear what you adored
a cooler breeze, a birch wood stand
the company of fellow man
movies, steak, compelling prose
kinship, humor, british shows
whole selves we earthed and etched until
your parting tore our sums, and still
the space that’s left from what’s not here
is flooded with your atmosphere
of love and mirth, assuredness
our priceless promise inheritance
we miss you, we miss you, and feel your light
our parents pooled in paradise.

Psalm 23

John 14: 1-4

Romans 15:13

John 1:14 & 16

Psalm 121

Isaiah 51:11 Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.


it’s better, I’m better
time collecting for me
is calmer and clearer
than pretending to be
more steady on wobbly
legs frequently shifting
their plant and their tallness
and in between drifting
miles off balance
and inward, too inward
yes, a bit older
allays more that hinders
to see all the silver
coins once in the glare
now more in focus
to savor and care
for, and grateful I am
for the favors and pits
the riches of living
the guilts I can quit
scores to my age
grow grace in my eyes
flatter my figure
and court compromise
it’s better, I’m better
and I see that I was
always an heiress
to what matters because
I’m loved and have been
since before I could breathe
and buckets of gladness
are granted to me.

Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. Isaiah 46:4

You have put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound.  Psalm 4:7

Image: (a Birthday!) Blueberry Cheesecake, painting by Beverly Shipko


it stings
when out of view
pangs the heart
and wells the eyes
when nearer
though it sings
cools the sleep
clears the skies
or quiets
bitter query
what to do
and why is this
pity, self-ward turned
mercy missed
its wings
are threaded verse
feathered vow
for all you need
to dwindle
what is darkened
what is deafened
what impedes
to know
the flyer flits
just up ahead
just as before
would wholly
set you free
awaken thee
to love much more


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all  ~ Emily Dickinson

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  Hebrews 1:11

image: drawing by Susie Blythe Anderson

fix it

we fixed up the kids’ room
with bunk beds raised up
for drawers underneath
and purchased duvets
in aqua and teal
which look quite appealing
in that fresh laundry way
and we set the grey desk
with black hairpin legs
across from the bunks
and next to the cart
and moved the blonde bookshelf
with books and small bins
for jewels and for figures
and scraps and supposes
to the far window wall
so the middle is open
for rolling and growing
and the space is successful
and the children are happy
and we are productive
and it’s good, it feels good
and down the hall is my closet
and so my closet is next
and I will be ruthless
and banish what’s idle
and all that’s unneeded
and feel more productive
in my simplified space
and then after that
and a thing after that
my head will be clear
to see what is broken
the root unobscured
and fix it

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  1 Corinthians 5:7

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians  4:18

image: Messy Bed Room by Amer Dhahir


I’ve been working on doing the splits
both ways
side splits and scissor splits
I started Friday and now it’s Wednesday
and I think I’m making progress
I’m sore, but not pulled muscle sore
and I might even be longer than last Thursday
I’ve been hearing about cognitive enhancers too
in powder for your coffee
and I think they make a good companion
to splits training: stretching, thinking, reaching
and fasting
16 hours fasting, 8 hours not fasting
and the 8 hours are of course the best part
not because you get to eat,
but because you deserve to eat
and this is all to say I’m improving myself
maybe for once or like always
and the spiritual piece is important or everything
and wellness is important or more than you think
I mean Jackie had a stroke
and Don Gjevre died
and we got another notice of strep and influenza
in Mrs. Lemon’s kindergarten class
and I can’t prevent any of that any more than the next woman
but I can be more flexible
and drink nootropic infused coffee
and listen to awakening podcasts
and none of it is a waste of effort or hope
and none of it is mumbo jumbo or delusional expectation
or some of it is
and even if most of it falls away in another time
and I feel again a bit like I did before I was longer
part of it lasts
in my muscles my reflexes my shape my thoughts
and the thoughts are not vain or cruel but love
because if I’m gonna be more cognitive about anything
it better be love.

Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.  Isaiah 54:2

image: Blue Nude II by Henri Matisse

hold fast

hold fast to me and we will be one flesh
and set a precious orbit round this vow
of jewels and thorns we’ve yet to know or seek
and roads to where His wondrous grace allows

concessions for another’s sake, and love
that’s tender in the face of pain or strife
bolstering the ribs we share like beams
that frame a strong and sweeter sunlit life

commit with me to prize and tend our core
it’s halves, a flawed and hopeful pair of souls
replacing corners meant to trap or cut
with curves that mend and eagerly restore

and in this starry sweep of early pledge
with moonless nights still hard to be conceived
let us seal ourselves to him in truth
to guide us in tomorrow’s joys and griefs

and many waters will not drown this day
or break what binds beneath His holy sight
for we will be the partners of our youth
and spur each other onward towards the light

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

images: Wed, painting by Ben Keys, and Newlyweds Ted & Erin Becker xo


my quads are strong
to upward drive
and forward move
my back and thighs
into the wind
I press and steer
and spring in waking
or dogged sun
my gasping breath
won’t fill my chest
and still I go
to limit quest
boundary swell
and border stretch
the purpose beats
in tracks I trek
to upward climb
and path correct
crisper temps
propel me quicker
my figure swift
within it flickers
and pumping blood
a brimming song
strung and hummed
into a vision
of form and speed
my legs are light
my heart the lead
into the winter
calm and cold
quiet crunching
peace unfolds
around my body
unearthly done
with sweat and grace
and joy
I run


Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes. Isaiah 54:2

image: “Paris Runner in the Rain II” by Warren Keating

bear song dream

bear brown big
shuffle to my hand
I press upon your brow
familiarly receive me
bear arms round
cradle close my size
sit upon your hips
favorably perceive me
bear bear my
disquiet and misgiving
allay away the anxious
tenderly relieve me
bear back ride
I will catch your fish
and tell you secret things
let go the parts that grieve me
bear song dream
raise me to my feet
push me on my way
for so you have increased me


The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. Isaiah 11:6-7

image: painting by Diane Whitehead


I hope I planted
goodness seeds
and featherheart
and giving reeds
and can-do rows
selfless bulbs
and ebb-and-flows
I hope the roots
of humbleleaf
have taken hold
in soil deep
and robust stems
of brave-and-brights
to serve and soar
were sown just right
and when the rains
and storms flood beds
of lovingbells
and keep-our-heads
or drought denies
the tender roots
of self esteem
and fortitude
I pray that grace
is given me
who sowed the seeds
and greater light
redeems and grows
the field with faith
and ever-hopes.


I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 1 Corinthians 3:6

For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. Isaiah 61:11

Image: Illustration by Walter Crane


from place to place I move my things
door to door I bear and bring
mementos, dishes, toys and bins
ceramic, glassware, plastic, tin
pictures hung in these new rooms
traveled too from former views
and all possessions loved and liked
or merely useful now or might
be later came with me and mine
and now we’re here for unknown time
surrounded by these things we brought
ferried, carried, corner fought
I wonder so the cost of stuff
and if belongings mean enough
to me or can I let more go
and lighter be to ebb and flow

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Isaiah 58:6

There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, And there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. Proverbs 11:24

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9


images: left to right, paintings by Isabella El-Hasan, Nathan Abels, John Falter, and Kenneth Koskela