Saturday, November 16, 2013


i remember
waiting for you
so foreign
so emotional
for my joy
to be their loss

and then they handed
you to me
and i was lost
to loving you

you fill
my days with laughter
you keep
me running, always
you are
my son, forever

Friday, June 7, 2013


How many? they ask
and I hold you in my mind
like a dream, like a secret prize
In the shadows of my heart
you age
through a veil, through a glass
you are alive
my daydreams keep time
losing teeth, climbing trees, sweaty sleeping blonde heads
always with me
in the shadows of my heart
And I am so rich
with my arms overflowing
laughter all around me
laughter in me
but always 
the laughter beyond me

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

weeping room

every room is a weeping room
where we fight
to hope, to surrender

every room is a weeping room
even we we laugh

every room is a weeping room
shadows and angels
dreams and eternity

every room is a waiting room
for the room where there's no more weeping

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


is where the heart is, they say
but my heart is in too many places
and I want to go home
but home
is broken

and here is home
here, with mine
but not wholly, not like it should be

and I know if I went
it wouldn't be the same
they wouldn't be the same
and I'd want to be home

is a moment I remember
a ghostly yesterday
that I think I want back
but I can't have it

is here, and I will be content
home is where the ache is

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

wait a little

it's just a breath
I know

and the scene will change
from this, with the squealing and the running
and the laughing and the sloppy baby kisses

and the never-ending dishes and the toy chaos
and the settling into bed, content to know
everyone is gathered in and asleep, mismatched pajamas and wild hair

and the sibling wars and the crying
and the closeness
and me always in the middle
the center of your little worlds

it will shift as you grow
and I will remember who I was before you
but I will miss you
crazy babies

Monday, April 30, 2012


he's so much like you
with his books
and his apples
crossing his feet, his stinky feet

"all of them"
he says, when asked which book is his favorite
and it's not your voice
but it is

I remember
you seeing me
celebrating me
knowing me

I'm so glad I got a boy like you

Sunday, April 8, 2012

for kelly

i miss my babies, you say
memories of a sterile room
and the tearing away
and i know

we got here differently
but in the end
we are mothers without our children
aching for restoration

i'm standing beside you
as the grief rolls down our faces
we are the same

and someday
i will stand beside you
for the reunion

Monday, December 19, 2011

only girl

she's wearing a polka-dotted swimsuit
plastic pants
pink tights
a purple shirt
and a Santa Claus hat

she goes from laughing hysterically
to sobbing in the corner, humiliated
over something none of us remember

and though we try to hide it
the world revolves around her
lash-fringed eyes and pouty pink lips

oh baby, how did you get to be the queen? 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

adopting 2

also written 5/26/10, waiting for our first adoption match

You’re moving
From a dream in my heart
To a person in my hands

From an idea
To a baby
Arms and legs and twinkling eyes

I’m starting to believe
I will love you
Even more than the hope of you

And as I lift you
From your basket
We become a family

adopting 1

written 5/26/10, waiting for our first adoption match

You are safe, nestled in your mother’s womb
She will give you life
Because of love

You are a survivor
Your generation is decimated
An empty crib, an empty crib, and then you

As she lets you go
You’re falling, falling
Into the hands
Of family

You will stand
A sign in your generation
A voice for life and love

Saturday, July 30, 2011


You think
We can give you our hearts, our spleens, our blood
And somehow it won’t affect us
So you’re fine
And we’re bleeding out

And we can’t stop loving you
We try and we try
And you’re running and falling
Every day could be your last
We’re lying in bed, staring at the ceiling
Unable to sleep, wondering where you are
Hearts shattering a million times
While you smoke the rent and laugh and laugh

And you never see, you never see, you never see
The fallout
The tears that keep your boat from sinking
Are not the ones you cried

And when you’re through
And you’re cold and hungry and tired
You want a safe place to rest your head
But our shoulders are tired
From carrying the weight of your sin
Your life, your death and your pride

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"People say he has my ears," I tell you,
and we all laugh
because he has your ears
and your eyes and your blood

the cord that holds us together
is him 
and whether he knows or not, yet
his family is deep and wide and beautiful

for a moment 
I am looking in two sets of crystal blue eyes
two dimpled chins
the same rosebud mouth I see every day, today I see on you
because he is part of you

he holds my hand
he holds all our hearts
we will always be connected

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

evan, rees, seven

i remember being seven
in heaven, is it a little the same?

I'm okay, you know
not whole, because part of me is you
but okay

somedays, though, it is agony
to know just a veil separates us
brothers, blonde and strong, tumbling
just on the other side of the screen
between me and you

when I close my eyes 
I can see you, almost
my sons, my babies, my boys
flesh of my flesh, spirit

I love you

Monday, April 4, 2011


They want to know
And you want them to understand
But they can’t, not really
And you find yourself, time and time again
In the center, explaining while they cry

And you’re mad
Because it didn’t have to be this way
And it’s worth it, every minute
But it didn’t HAVE to be this way

Your heart, your eyes, your arms ache
He is rich, and alive, and so much more
And you want them to understand
But they can’t, not really
They stand on the outside, pity and admiration and fear

And you’re lonely, I know
I wish I could help
But I’m here too

I want to say
That hope doesn’t die
And love makes it worth it
And you will live through this, and grow
That every crisis will make you love him more
That there will be easy days, full of laughter
And that I understand, even if I can’t think of anything to say

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


in between
today and tomorrow
I'm not who I am, or who I was, or who I'm becoming
in the middle

and I'm happy and I'm sad
and stagnant and growing
lonely and surrounded

I will miss today, when it's yesterday

so how, now, to breathe this breath?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rain is beautiful. I love sunshiny days, with no clouds and birds and what-not, but rainy days might be my favorite. Every rain is different. Today, it's just a little gray with a light rain, just enough to surround me here in my house of windows. 

The air is cloaked in an easy melancholy, like listening to a violin play while your heart aches, just a little. Sometimes sunlight is so brash, so intrusive and overly cheerful, and you just need a break. So the sky weeps and you feel at home, just for a little while. 

So I sit, still and quiet for a change, and welcome the ache. It's part of who I am, who I am made to be, and so often I chase it away with silliness. I was made for another world, for another reality. 

in the dim
I see Your hand
tracing shapes in the water
dreaming for me

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Just the sound of walking
Shoes scraping against asphalt
Strollers whisking past, full of life
Overhead, behind and before us, angels sing Holy.

We are silent, because we can hear children screaming
We are silent, because their voice is denied
We are silent, because broken hearts make no sound
Hear our silent screams, you kings.
You will answer for every drop of blood.

Around us, trucks and helicopters and why, why, why, blaring from screens
“You should be ashamed” they say.
No, you should be ashamed.
Your hands are stained, and you have forgotten how to blush.

God, end abortion and send revival to America.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

radiant chapters (read top to bottom, bottom to top)

It’s a beginning

It’s an ending and

I don’t want to turn the page

Even though I know it will be beautiful

Friday, August 21, 2009

Oh, my friend

the world has shifted

nothing is right, and yet

it's better than I expected

I sat on the couch and waited

you bled out the pain and the guilt

I sat on the couch and waited

king's hearts were moved

I sat on the couch and waited

you walked away alone

I will sit on the couch and wait

to see you again

my precious friend

Friday, July 10, 2009

ode to the maus

oh little mouse

how happy you would be

in my trash can

full of corn dog remnants

and soggy peanut butter crackers

but you, you see nothing

smell nothing

taste nothing

nothing but the crunching death of a mousetrap

Friday, May 22, 2009

Womanhood, again

I am like Eve
and still blessed, somehow

I am like Sarai

I am like Rachel

I am like you
and accepted

This breath I take has been breathed before
Nothing new under the sun
The continual groaning of humanity
to be loved 
to be whole


Hey history,
don't hold your breath
We probably won't 
get it right, either

The keys are in our hands
but we're hungry, and tired
and bored

Another generation, sleeping away greatness

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


how you shine
a star alone in the moonlight
beauty wearing thin in the late hour

how i wish
you were inside
with your heart at rest

find peace, glimmering one
please, please find peace

brynn is changing

Saying goodbye to you
but not really
goodbye to who you are now, to me

the beauty is, I get to say hello
right away
to who you are becoming

Monday, February 16, 2009

Brynn is two

tiny fairy
little imp
you are all that is sweet and beautiful
and fire and spark

you issue your commands
collapse on the floor in tears
scream in amazement
captivate us all

oh the daintiness
and the elegance
you are the princess
and the jewel

Happy Birthday, baby!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

waiting room

a frozen moment
when i know you are falling

and i am running, running to catch you
as you hit the ground

and i am waiting, waiting, waiting
to see if you are the same
or irreversibly broken

and i am wondering
could i have stopped you?
if my arms were longer
or if i were different....

and i am waiting, waiting
with the beeping and the blood
waiting for you to be you again

Friday, November 7, 2008


to think
that only moments ago

i was bereft
weeping into empty hands

to think 
that i am so rich

only minutes ago
i cried at the hope
of ever laughing again

i ached for the touch
of a child

and now
i ache with the joy
arms overflowing
and wide open

Monday, November 3, 2008

the Call California

i am standing in the sea
we are the waves
You are the wind
when You breathe
we move as one

wave upon wave upon wave
and the shore is eroding
we win, because You win

there's a shift in the sand
something changed
and i was a part

Saturday, September 6, 2008


you weep into your pillow
i hold your hand, across the miles

fingers clasped over the ocean
the agony of shared suffering
i know i know i know

my heart is so knit
i can feel the breaking from here
the sharp longing of what should have been

Thursday, August 21, 2008


and you just keep looking
you give away and sell and sell

and he's not the answer
and neither was he
or he or he

and my heart is breaking
when you call me in tears
because he didn't fix you either

and you poison your blood
to forget, to remember
to kill the truth

and you call me, terrified
because death follows you
and my heart is breaking

and still you run, baby girl
in sick, bloody circles
from the only Daddy who knows

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Long matted ponytail
Khakis and loafers
Chains and black fingernails
Buttons and zippers
Leather bound Bibles
and broken down satchels

Can you see them?
They’re an army of contradictions
Marching in formation
A parade of opposites

We all love the same Man
It’s a beautiful impossibility

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Daddy's hands

I used to take my little hand and put in on your palm if you closed your fingers my hand disappeared
I used to fold your fingers down one after another strong and worn biggest hands in the world
This morning it was raining and a tiny hand held mine opening, closing
Thanks for teaching me how

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


the thing about grace is
it's amazing
and sufficient

what kind of God
offers absolution?
what kind of God
buys back captives?

it's enough to make
a sinner a lover
captured forever

Thursday, July 17, 2008

March to DC

Weary steps
plodding, dragging
Alone with a cause
pressing toward the Mark

Two now
a little stronger
United in purpose
We are here! We are here!

A group
Weak and valiant
Voices raised
So they can hear us

An army
Weeping warriors
Broken with Your dreams
We march in cadence

A multitude
fatherless yet Fathered
watching the tide turn
as we pray


approaching You
so much wilder than I knew
fire and light and blazing eyes
I wanted You to be cuddly

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Beyond the veil
you run and play
childish laughter fills the air

You are caught up
by scarred arms
and embraced, beaming

Your eyes sparkle
as you nestle deep
the safest place in the universe

You live, Livi
Just beyond the curtain
You are hidden to me
But you live

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

for my friend

or pin or stitch
a word aptly spoken
a gentle nudge
an alarmed cry
a shouted warning

this time I can't stop you
and I can't fix it

bigger hands than mine
will have to put the pieces together
not how they were, never again
but new

Monday, April 7, 2008

the Call Alabama

There's thousands of us here
and nobody really knows why
except maybe if we join together and ask
You will come
and remove the curse from this nation

We're all badly broken
and flawed, so flawed
but maybe, if we lift You up
You'll draw us near

The sound is deafening
a multitude of hearts breaking
with Yours, for Yours

And maybe we've got it right
maybe we've got it wrong
but we can't stop asking
that much we know

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I said, You said

Condemn it, I said.
Just tear the whole thing down.
It's been wrecked beyond repair, I said.

No, no. You said.
There's beauty in these ruins.
Wait a little, You said.

The pain is too great, I said.
It will swallow me whole.
I can't see for the smoke, I said.

Look here, You said.
There's diamonds from the coals,
You will shine again, You said.

I'm beginning to see, I said.
Afraid to hope but hoping.
Maybe You can rebuild me, I said.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

brynn's 1st birthday

smiles and blue eyes

brynn means hopeful, you know
you remind me every day

my heart aches over you
tiny one, my baby girl

you bring joy
in countless ways
and you aren't even trying

you are beauty and song
we celebrate you
with kisses and nicknames
and the ocassional piledrive from a brother

your rosebud lips and dainty charm
tiny fingers and fingernails always reaching

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


i need to have
this moment here
to see that everything has not changed

i need to know
that you, and I
are strong and happy and close

i need to hear
you laugh and laugh
and see it all the way to your eyes

i know the truth
sometimes the tears
are close behind the joy

but if we can laugh together
we'll be okay

Friday, November 9, 2007


but increasingly complicated
loving someone
and hating what they do

the wounds of a friend

Forgetting the possibility
that all at once
the dagger could strike again

the wounds of a friend

Monday, April 30, 2007

7 years

There was this Red Supra that sped by... it only had 3 hubcaps. And the hood was burnt a little. The windows were down, but it was a lady with gray hair.
There was this denim shirt that went by. It was stretched to the maximum on the shoulders, and wrinkled where it was tucked in, one time long ago. It was some guy at the gas station.
I heard some cowboy boots and turned to look. Worn black snakeskin... massive feet. Somebody else.
A flash of silver hair, the crunch of an apple. The smell of computers. Somebody else.
And every time my heart skips a beat and I think- you! But it's somebody else.
And I guess you aren't coming back. Heaven must be pretty good.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Brynn (in utero)

Bide a wee, lass, bide a wee
In your mother safe and warm
Though angels be spinnin their glorious tales
Bide a wee, lass, with me

I've two arms a'waitn
And a home full o' love
So bide a wee, lass, with me

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Shadow boys

Is this motherhood, this fleeting sense of ownership...
this reaching out to grip, just as it becomes a memory
this holding and releasing
This blinking, and finding
change happening before your eyes

And even when I try to hold too tightly,
they evade my grasp
shadow boys

Monday, June 5, 2006

Happy Birthday

a wee cry
and then beeping
and then more crying
and then you awe holy....
Oh ki gosh!
and singing
and singing
and singing
and praying
and laughing
and telling Buzz what's up
on the phone
banging loudly on the piano
and singing, hands flapping
the sounds of you
what joy

Happy Birthday, Richy.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

what if

what if
I call for You
and You don't come

what if
I'm waiting
and You're busy

what if
You do come
and You don't like me

what if
You change everything
and I don't like it

what if
I try really hard
and I still can't find You

what if
everybody asks me where You are
and I don't know what to say

what if?

Sunday, April 30, 2006

6 years

When you left.... I said I didn't think I would ever laugh again.
But I roared and guffawed at your memorial.
You made me this way, you bad man.
I can't sit through a wedding or a funeral
Without a wicked little dialogue in my head,
Telling me what is so funny.

I thought I would never have
That strength and stability
Home, family ever again
But there was Mama.

I thought it was over
This comedy called
Parenting adults
Seeing how rich and how funny and how strange
But Georgia

I thought no one would charm the waitress
The cashier
The guy at the drive through
And do crazy things in public
But there was Bobby

I thought I would never
Catch someone's eye in church, or a meeting
And have to look away because something is so funny
I lost my friend, I thought
But Leah

I thought we had lost
The black and silver fire
Mystery and grace
Wrapped in hilarity
But.... Calvin

I thought the shoulders were gone
Those broad shoulders to ride on
And all the tricks and teasing
But then I found my kids up there
And there was me

It's not that I don't miss you
It's just that you left so much behind
For us to enjoy

Happy homecoming, Daddy
I hope you have a G5

Monday, April 3, 2006


I guess
this is the joy that comes in the morning

And maybe I can see again
I hope

I think
It's safe to open my arms
And welcome in the prodigals

Maybe I am somehow becoming
Whole again
I am

I find
That I can laugh again
And cry from more than grief

This ending
is a beginning
the sun is out
I see

Thursday, March 30, 2006


from a liquid room
eyes shut, body curled
I saw You
warm, surrounding

I saw You
sun-dappled days
grass and swingsets and books
embracing, accepting

I saw You
brave and scared
strong and safe

I saw You
strings and percussion
big yet close

from a dark room
eyes shut, body curled
I saw You
fierce and unprotective

I saw You
angry but hoping
wild and unsafe

I see You
warm and surrounding
embracing, accepting
strong and safe
big yet close
fierce and unprotective
wild and unsafe

Friday, January 27, 2006


there’s a somber sweetness about childhood.
i remember walking barefoot. half painted toenails carefully navigating over white broken rocks. finding treasures: a red leaf, a stream running through woods. a trail through trees to my friends house.
i remember anticipation. always, something coming.
i remember running to the ice cream truck, waiting in line. getting something, usually red. trying to keep it from running down my arms by holding it out. tangy cold sweetness. red is the color of childhood.
i remember friendship. closer than sisters for days on end. then the bitter acrimony of switching sisters. secrets on the playground. songs sung with what seemed to be great skill.
i remember running. whatever it was, i couldn’t get there fast enough. running, arms spread out to be a pegasus. running, arms tucked to make it to base. running, spinning, laughing, falling.
i remember knowing. i’ve forgotten now.
i remember being a daughter. the safety of home.
i remember cats. lazy furry curly cats.
i remember barbie. long blonde hair and carefully painted eyes. ken was always dutiful and captivated.
i remember boys. the smell of sweat always mixed with crayons and the sawdust from pencil sharpeners. knowing they were looking and finding myself talking too loud.
i remember lunches. crisp crackly brown paper bags. peanut butter sandwiches on white bread.
i remember innocence. believing in a world where evil was only in the movies, and bad guys always came clean at the end.
i remember thinking that i was the only real thing and everything else was a dream.
i remember beautiful days, grass and sunshine and puddles.

i remember thinking that in the end, everything would work out fine. i was right.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Waiting for Toby, 3 days before he was born

I am sleepwalking
I'm hoping that maybe
if I tiptoe softly enough
then you will come
And not just be another
sweet dream faded too soon

Maybe if I don't wake up
You will come
and be the substance
of this hope

Maybe if I don't want you too much... maybe if I close my eyes... maybe
if I sleep
Then you can come and fill my arms
and I can be at peace

Sunday, November 20, 2005

ode to ctk

Today I will go to Christ the King

and sit in a hard plastic chair

I will lift my voice and sing

And admire Lindsey's hair

You may ask, would it say

My bum, if it could speak

NO! Not the hardened chairs of gray

For they will bruise the cheek!

It's true enough, I can't deny

The seats are awfully hard

So I will answer in reply

A pillow I'll bring my bum to guard

the end

Friday, April 15, 2005

trash can

at a youth camp in Va Beach

tonight I played my keyboard
on top of a trash can
there’s something there
maybe I don’t want to know

I ate lukewarm pizza
out of a cardboard box
listened to Randy Travis
thought about myself

then the kids came
pimply laughing afraid small
trying so hard to look whole
and I remembered
why I do this

Wednesday, April 6, 2005


it’s quiet
for a moment
and I wonder
if maybe I’ll be ok.

if maybe the madness is past
or it never happened
and really I can handle this

last night
it stormed
and I cried
and I asked
will it ever change

will I ever be free
will I ever have joy
will I ever know what it is
I need but can’t seem to find

I don’t know
but for tonight
I can rest

Sunday, April 3, 2005


After Evan and Rees died

in the middle of the lilies
there’s a broken body
and I realize
all is not well

I try to skip but the pavement
was destroyed in the explosion

and all the Barbies melted

I know that there is a whole place
just over there
And over there, there’s something right
But I seem stuck
all these babies are holding my feet down

where’s my flashlight?
I had it minutes ago.
I could see way down the path
I could see all the flowers
all the children
no one was sick
no one was dying

Was it a dream?
That place I lived for so long
has fragmented into a very claustrophobic cavern
I’m stuck in the universe
and nothing is quite as I thought

Thursday, November 1, 2001


written during a Night Watch... overnight prayer with the youth group

I want to revel in brokenness
to dance in brokenness
to laugh at my tears
because it feels so good
to be near to You
feels like so long
since I’ve been near You

I want to sing in brokenness
to weep tears of joy
to not be afraid
to wash Your feet with my tears
and love every minute
To be so close to You
to taste Your tears

I want to dance with You in brokenness
to hold Your hands
and dance the fear away
every step is life

Thursday, May 4, 2000


after my dad died

When your heart
was glad
my heart
lived for your joy
my eyes
shone like the light in your eyes
when your heart
was grieving
my heart
plunged to your depth
my eyes
searched for the light in your eyes
when your heart
was sleeping
my heart was awake
my eyes
begged for a light in your eyes
when your heart stopped
my heart did too
my eyes
carry the light from your eyes