every common bush

earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; but only he who sees, takes off his shoes – the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries. elizabeth barrett browning

Moments Named Forever

“Everyday has something in it whose name is Forever”

Like drinking hot cocoa with real whipped cream foam

and squeezing twenty family members into a room,

which both happened today


I remember as a girl

when the storms would come in

We would all huddle in the basement with a candle

And I would whisper to the storm to stay

To take the roof off of our house

Just to keep us together like this


* the first line of this poem is from Mary Oliver’s “Everything That was Broken”, from her new book Felicity.  I got it today huddled in that room stuffed with family. I accidentally read the whole thing and am reeling.  The amazing thing about poetry is how you can’t predict what it unearths in you.  Like out of the whole thing what remained for me  was the feeling of storms in elvaston IL, the coziness of family around a single candle?  It was a moment whose name is Forever, is all I can guess.





From A Mountain Top In Maine

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The earth is a metaphor

We live in a reflection

and hear mere echoes down here

But here on the top…

The wind is Spirit

Holy breath on my face

The towering pine trees bow their heads as He passes

And I’m a witness to grace

I look out on the horizon and see the fingers of God

reaching down to tickle the palm of man

Down in the valley a deep wrinkled saint

stretches out his weathered hand

to feel the rain

***in maine, i had a chance to be at the top of a mountain with just our dog.  i felt very alive, like i was getting The Real Thing, not just reflections. i resisted coming down but it was getting dark.  i walked down during golden hour. The golden air matched the golden leaves which matched my golden dog, whose wagging bum looked like a leaf being blown down the lane.  i felt like a guest, a witness to something other, like i did at the top. it’s been a week since I came down from that mountain and i am tucked into the valley again.  back into the world of metaphors and echoes. i am both satisfied and thirsty in the same moment and suppose I will be until I return to the mountains again.

The Year My Children Were A Ghost and a “Little Moose” For Halloween

I don’t take many pictures of our life

i already can’t remember what the kids were last year for halloween

I worry about this

How will they know what a happy childhood they lived?

How will they see what I see

The look of chocolate smeared satisfaction on their faces

while they sleep

i inhale their exhales in the dark

and scribble poems of love for them

in my mind on the ceiling

may this moment unconscious

true but unproven

become a passing thought on the crowded subway

going “home” to expired food and turned down heaters

that whispers “you walk on this earth beloved”

** a note on halloween 2015.  atticus had it in his head to be a ghost.  i wondered briefly about whether we should allow for such evil, but then figured out the price of a white shirt and face paint and remembered casper’s friendliness. so we let him on the grounds that he smile and say thank you. solomon was out of sorts when he woke up from his nap and the only thing that pleased him were the words “little moose”, one word per cheek.  we walked down main street of Greenville Maine with pillow cases for candy and solomon singing “trick or treat” in his own little tune.  it was so cute we tried to sing along but that didn’t please him either.


Lately I have been thinking about the otherness of others. As a child I grew up naively thinking that everybody was the same. i never thought of food tasting different to them or color having different hues in their eyes. my childhood was very safe to me and i think its largely because of this.

i do not see the world with such simplicity anymore and it is both fascinating and terrifying. whether i get out of my pajamas or not, each day is a trip to another’s world. and yet too much travel and i long for home, the one dimension of childhood, the unaware self. this is an exercise of going home, literally and figuratively.


I am from the sound of crickets and frogs in the dark, from 50 cent toothpaste and the S in the country road that made me late for curfew. Every. Time.

I am from the smell of sheets dried in the sun.

I am from cornstalks taller than me in the summer, miles of blinding white in the winter, and a sky that shrinks the earth with its expanse.

I am from peter paul and mary around the campfire and kindness, from goldie and dorothy and a woman named victoria who I am 99% like, so the dna says.

I am from the tender and the timid

the unknowable ones

From “love you annie” on the way to bed and “blessed are the flexible” and the murmuring of reading maps.

I am from the pulpit with a celtic cross my daddy stood behind. From the God from whom all blessings flow, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and the longest amen.

I am from the land of eternal spring and from women called paisas. From empanadas and instant coffee with milk and sugar over saturday morning cartoons.

I am from the time my brother’s layup was on the news and my mom cried like he died.  The spring days with molly rollerblading down the church driveway and making up dances to summer lovin in the basement. Drinking pop from boots, memorizing kenney chesney instead of geometry.

I am from plastic tubs in the bottom of the hutch, pictures lined with dates on the back. From the one word prayers written in my dad’s mead notebook, tucked in his front pocket with a pen. The pewter bell my mom treasured for the way it didn’t shine, whose muted ring was more beautiful to her than the sharp sound of silver. I am from the dents in my sister’s fingers after playing guitar and her daisy wedding ring.

I am from the love and gratitude that  tackle hugs mom on christmas morn. And her tears that rolled into my hair.

The Day You Were Born

dear Solomon,

i sit here eating ice cream and pie, thinking about you.  when you are older i will crawl in your bed and tell you the story of your birth day, counting the years since then.  but right now you are still little and mommy wouldn’t dare interrupt your sleep because you don’t do it too often.  so tonight the thought of you will keep me company. and i will write out the story to tell you in the years that come.

it was a sunny day outside and i had it all to myself.  Atticus was at nana’s house so that I could get the house ready for you.  Daddy was at work.  It was a Friday.  I woke up at 7:30 am and didn’t sit down until 11 that night.  When I did, it was with Daddy, admiring the new play room I had worked on all day.  We sat in the soft glow of the paper lanterns I had hung and talked about how our life was changing in a few short weeks.  In that moment, I felt myself turn towards welcoming you to the world, every detail preparing for you. I would wash your clothes, pile the burp cloths and make changing stations for you throughout the house. Little did I know that we were on the doorstep of your arrival and the next detail was YOU!

Daddy and I settled into bed around midnight that night and I looked and looked for a comfortable spot.  My whole body ached from the day and my throat was achey too.  Daddy was kind and made me some tea and toast and then fell asleep on the couch.  At 1 am He woke up to my poking.  I was having contractions.

We lay in bed timing them, daddy a bit angry that I pushed myself too hard and me worried I had done something that day to hurt myself or you.  You were three weeks away, we thought, so we couldn’t imagine you were on your way!

We lay still, awake, daddy’s back to my side, whispering into the night.  I would tell him when each contraction would start while he pushed the button on his iphone timer and google “false labor or real labor”.  the feeling of each contraction pointed to real while the progress pointed to false.  we kept this debate going back and forth till, oh, about ten minutes before you arrived.

Your brother was home now and woke up at 7:30 am.  Daddy and he went about their day while I soaked in the bath.  The smell of bacon and the sound of the vacuum told me that today was just another day.  Convinced of this, I decided to turn my bath into a shower and get ready for work.  That’s when the pain came strong, doubled me over.  I crawled to the bed, wet and shaking, willing myself to keep going.  This ended in me shouting for Daddy.  He sat in the chair while I ate bacon and eggs on my side and groaned about breaking my bottom in yesterday’s hustle.

Back to the bath, where my body was weightless and focused.

The mind is a powerful thing, my sweet boy.  I STILL didn’t think that you were knocking on the door, about to come through.  I do remember one thought that if this was true labor, I was doing it alone.  Daddy was with Atticus, unaware of the miracle happening inside me.  I felt sad to not have him with me but then realized that I was not alone because I had you.  You were right there, working as hard as me, aware of the importance of your new life.  You were my birth partner and that was enough.

And with that, I was at peace if you were coming today.  All I needed to be ready for you I already had. My chest to hold you, my arms to protect you, my lips to kiss and cry and laugh, and my heart to fall in love all over again.

Sensing this was the time, I called daddy to come.  It was 9:45 am and we sat there in the morning sun, somehow still waiting to see how this would enfold.  Daddy sat on the toilet and called the doctor, who also thought we should wait.  About two minutes after her call the next contraction was undeniably different.  It was a push.

Blurry action. Shoes on, Calls made, Clothes found, and Out the Door.  I simply had to make it to the car after the next contraction.  Or not so simply.

I had one foot on the stair and the other outside when I knew you were coming right then.  I heard a pop as loud as a firework which was silent to Daddy inches away, water everywhere, and then YOU.

You were small, bluish, and curled like a shrimp.  You felt the cool April morning and seemed rather shocked to exist.  I just stood there, equally perplexed.  But, as you will learn over and over again, Daddy is great in the clutch.

He caught you, held you, told me to sit down inside, and wrapped you in a blanket.  I thought he was so clever to guess you were cold.

We spent the ambulance ride holding onto each other like two children hiding in war.  It wasn’t until we were settled in the hospital that we turned to each other.  You nursed and I became a mother again.

The rest of the story is your childhood, my love.  It is one that we are writing together, every day.

I want you to know, dear Solomon, that you were loved from the beginning, that you were welcomed into the world in a unique and remarkable way, and that April 6th is marked by you.  April 6th is special because it gave us you and you? You are incredibly special.

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With tears in my eyes,