But You

The sun went down in March
and winter settled in.
As buds sprouted,
the days got longer
but darker
and harder.

We hunkered,
hibernated,
sheltered,
isolated.

We withered.

We thought,
it’s just a season.
But one
became two,
then more.

And some will say
this year is
rubbish,
unforgiving,
thankless,
deficient,
defective
unholy.

Some will say
no good has come
from this year.

But—

You.

The first thump
of your heart.
The first kicks
to my heart.
The first cry
that ripped
my heart
wide open.

There was you
and your warm,
solid weight
in my arms.
Your first smile.
Your first laugh.
The comfort of knowing,
not all is lost
if there is you.

The year was cold,
but—

You.

The year was empty,
but—

You.

You
shined a light
into the corners,
lifted the darkness,
eased the ache,
calmed the waters
that rocked
my soul.

It was an ugly year,
a long winter,
but I felt the sun,
because—

You.

#spinepoetry

I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE:
IF THIS WERE A STORY,
AN EXACT REPLICA
OF A FIGMENT OF MY IMAGINATION,
SHE’S COME UNDONE.

GOOD GRIEF
has settled into
THE LOVELY BONES.
She’s an AMERICAN WIFE,
living A HOMEMADE LIFE.
It’s not THE AGE OF MIRACLES.

She needs ROOM to feel
AT HOME IN THE WORLD.
EAT, PRAY, LOVE
is THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING
right now,
but she’s CHOOSING HOPE.

“WONDER,
STAY WITH ME,”
she says.

A BIG LITTLE LIFE
is WHERE THE HEART IS.

HAPPINESS SOLD SEPARATELY.

The Anchor

My baby,

In this world
where we hoard,
we hunker,
we hide away,

where the news
tips us towards
panic
and we can’t
hug and hold
our friends
or our neighbors,

where drive thru coffee
and takeout meals
are the best
we can do,
and feel like
a blessing
and a gift
when so much else
is being taken away
from us,

You are my anchor.

I feel you kick,
and I know
life will go on.
Life continues
even as time
seems to stand
still.

I feel you wiggle,
and I know I’m not
alone.

I hear the quick
thump thump thump
of your heartbeat,
and I know
God is good,
God is here,
in me,
in you,
in all of us.

We are not
forsaken
or forgotten.
Only forgiven
and loved.

Baby,
as the world
falls apart
and we cling
to hope,
you are the
reminder
that I need.

It is you
who is
holding me
together.

A Glorious Mother’s Noel

O, glorious mother,
strong and everlasting,
weary but ever loving
warrior that you are,
I see you.

You bake the cookies with love,
letting little hands
add sprinkles and red hots,
never mind the mess
left in their wake.

You watch the kids
decorate the tree with glee,
cleaning up broken glass and glitter,
quietly rearranging
the unbroken ornaments
after the little ones are in bed.

You shop for
the love of your life,
the kids who rule your life,
the family who gave you life,
the teachers, the coaches,
the neighbors, the babysitter,
the dog,
and you wrap it all
in pretty paper and sparkly bows
that catch the twinkly lights
of the Christmas tree.

You tuck magic into packages,
and every corner of the house,
and every free hour of the week.
You want those little eyes
to sparkle
with the joy and wonder
of this holiday,
for they are only this small
once.

You attend concerts and craft fairs.
You schedule photos with Santa.
You take them to see
the tree lighting,
the parade,
the lights at the zoo
and around the neighborhood,
sometimes against your will,
but always with a smile.

And on Christmas Eve,
you know there is no calm and bright.
There is no silent night.
You will hardly sleep
as you try to quiet the chatter
of excited children,
wrap gifts from the jolly one
and sneak them out to the tree,
rock the baby to sleep as you sing
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,”
and then do it again
three more times in the night,
only to fall asleep in the glow of the
Christmas lights
and be awoken at 4:30am
by a 9-year-old
who is peeking to see if
Santa has come.

I see you.

You,
glorious mother,
weary warrior,
whose work is never done,
work harder than ever
at this time of year.

You do it knowing
they don’t understand
the effort,
the time,
the tears,
the love
behind any of it.
Behind all of it.

And yet,
you do it anyways,
with the love,
and grace,
and tenderness
that makes you
a mother.

And next year,
you will do it again,
o glorious mother.
You will gladly
do it again.

Brand New

In birth,

I was brought to the brink.

Of my vulnerability.

Of my power.

I felt weak.

I felt strong.

I roared into the night as

I was split wide open,

turned inside out,

and made anew.

A tiny, warm, wet being,

a stranger,

was placed on my chest

and I was changed.

Born again.

My baby opened eyes,

saw the world

for the first time,

and so did I.