Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Showdown with Kevin

Kevin fights a case of the wiggles,
stands-up on the pew, looks back
at me—still towering over him.
We stare each other down—
like it’s high noon. The flannelled toddler laughs
like a maniac, leans into his father, flashes
his miniature teeth in a wry grin, and pokes me
in the stomach: “Big belly! Big belly! Big belly!”

Kevin jumps off and crawls under the bench.
His sister stands on her dad’s lap,
points to patches of white
in his thinning hair and giggles.

I offer a prayer of thanksgiving:
I am only their Sunday school teacher.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow and Insomnia

I did not sleep last night. The rat was scurrying up and down walls, laughing. Thoughts were chasing their tails. Conversations were on repeat. 2:45 in morning smiled cocky. 4:30 didn’t give me a second glance. The night was not humble in victory, and I was not magnanimous in defeat.

The morning was a snow-globe, a light dusting concealed frozen sidewalks: every step precarious. Slips triggered tantrums—impotent rage swinging to self-pity. Ice was evidence of a cosmic sadist who chuckled at the lack of security knit into the human condition.

The treachery of snow on ice put me on my ass where I surveyed the day with a shiver.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

For Anthony

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
-John 11

In Portland it rained
On Mt. Hood snow fell quiet
Dusk came too early

Anthony never came down from Mt. Hood. Two years ago, a few days before Christmas, calls came screaming from every phone that knew him. Pray for Anthony. Did you hear about Anthony? Any updates? Have they found him yet? Advent was spent waiting for the weather to clear, waiting for an affirming answer.

The slopes were silent
Night greeted more snow and fog

They found him six months later. After search and rescue shook hands with Anthony’s parents, fighting back tears. After an awkward memorial. After pitcher after pitcher was split with his best friends. After drunk tears turned to hysteric laughs then back again. After the ice that trapped him melted into rivers glutted with spring. They found Anthony six months too late.

Long nights spent waiting,
Cold mornings scraping windshields:
Spring always comes slow

At the service the preacher spoke from John 11: Christ was late. Lazarus was dead. Jesus wept. At the grave Christ spoke: “Lazarus, come out.” Two years after Anthony didn’t come back, we’re waiting for Jesus to repeat himself.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Toddler's Hangover

Toddlers sipped cappuccino,
discussed hazy memories:
a night that started with good intentions,
but ended with their mothers’
blouses stained and stinking
of baby formula, sour-mix, and at least
four distinct flavors of Absolute vodka.

The dog was looking
holier than thou,
even though it wasn’t even a month
since the living room sofa had to be trashed
after Spot’s night of bingeing
on crayons and magic-markers.

Tiny sausage fingers
indicated what the toddlers thought
of Spot’s judging puppy-dog eyes.