Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Am From

I am from bacon grease on the back of the stove
and dog bowls at the back door
and champagne bottles that toasted births
all lined up in a row

I am from the yellow house with pink shingles
and creaky wood floors
and one full bath
for seven people

I am from a family that didn't expect me because it was already full up with teenagers
and long haired boys on motor bikes and girls almost grown up and leaving
but it was also full up on love
so I am from babysitters and ice cream buyers and we love you so much

I am from the kitchen
with the worn wooden table and ash trays full to the brim
and coffee cups strewn about half full and kissed with lipstick

I am from Tree City USA full of stately elms
that grew so tall and wide they pushed sidewalks aside
and shaded generation after generation
until a disease infected them all and they slowly disappeared forever

I am from playing under water locusts and china berries and blue spruce
and climbing that one ginko all the way to the top
knowing that heaven was that much closer
because I dared
I remember that tree's
long gone limbs
as if they were my own

I am from Ghost in the Graveyard and Kick the Can
I am from Truth or Dare and lightning bugs

I am from church on Sunday and everything in order
I am from Mama and Daddy and "Aint" Alice and Uncle Roger

I am from damaged bread and honey buns and bear claws left for trash
but rescued by a hard working man who knew treasure when he saw it

I am from "Give me some sugar!" and "stand up straight"
and "You are my sunshine" sung in two part harmony

I am from The Gateway to the West and baseball and frozen custard and thin crust pizza
I am from Atlanta and Emory and Chick-Fil-A and Jimmy Carter and pot liquor
But I am also from Germany and England and Scotland and Prussia

I am from black-eyed peas and turnip greens and fried corn bread and peach cobbler
I am from apple pies and sauerkraut and fresh honey dew
and a cup of hot water first thing in the morning

I am from Meme and a house that always smelled of creamed corn
and bacon and Dove soap and Brach's candy

I am from Grandma whose short legs and generous jowls
now look at back at me in the mirror

I am from the Jim Crow South
and Whites and Coloreds

I am from rural Ohio
and soybeans and corn

And now I am from three boys and a man
and a dog whom we call Stinkerpants all crammed into an ancient house built of stone
I am from writing down the stories with my eyes wide open trying to drink in all of the glory
before I fall asleep


One of the many reasons that I love being a part of SheLoves Magazine? Synchroblogs like this, in honor of Heritage Day in South Africa. This is my offering for the "I Am From" prompt, an opportunity for folks around the world to share more about who they are and what has shaped them. We would love for you to join us. You can link up your own poem here. And while you're linking up, be sure to read from the amazing collection of stories already gathered there.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Calling

I whisper to you as the water runs down
in rivulets
over my belly
flowing from above
spreading out
like a river delta

and it is true
there is a rich deposit
just below the surface
left days and weeks before
by love's flow

But I long for you
sweet one
I want to know you in the flesh
not just as a rising and swelling
like the ocean's tide
But by your ruddy wrappings
your holler

I want to put my nose to your head
the one that still carries the scent of heaven
and hang
by the cord that binds us all
to the other side

I want you
little one
full up with love
and need
and joy unbound

For your crossing over
will usher in new landscapes
and I've opened up the window
with the morning sun
hoping to catch a glimpse of you

Picture credit: Aidan Grantham
Bracelets: the blue beaded one was made by Aidan and the brown beaded one is from ViBella Jewelry, gifted to me by Kelli at the Jumping Tandem Retreat last April.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Great Weaving

I remember the very moment I first lay eyes upon my second son, wet and bright-eyed and so fresh from God.

In that instant, when new life breathes fire into tired bones, I saw her in his face. 
Grandma Phyllis. 
Although she had left this world to join God and all the saints six years before that moment, she graced us with her presence in that holy moment. Her nose sloped across my son’s face and that little chin of his? It was all her.

Just like that, she was there, among us, smiling beams of glory right into that holy space.

How can one not laugh, like Sarah, at the mystery of it all, captured in such a moment?

That in the twisting and the stretching, in the pushing and the pulling, in the rising and the falling of every day, strung one upon the other, God is weaving legacy into us. 

When we burst forth this side of heaven, we come wrapped in mystery. Our very skin and bone is pieced with story from those who have lived before us.


You can read the rest of this post over here at SheLoves Magazine.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

SheLoves Magazine: a global community of women who love

Monday, September 2, 2013

In which I begin the great unwinding

I suppose it has been a bit obvious, has it not?

The fewer blog posts.
Not as many comments at the end of others' pieces, if they manage to get read at all.
A diminishing Klout score.

Less of a presence.

On line, that is.

But, really, it has just been the beginning of a great unwinding. And as these days melt, one into another, and as I approach the day when life turns upside down, once again, I find my heart and mind being drawn elsewhere.

I am very much at home these days.


Ann Voskamp wrote once about how mother ducks "pick feathers from their chests to line their nests" and now I understand.

How else did you think nests were lined?”
With leftovers.
That’s what I thought.
With feathers discarded, the molted, the not-so-necessary feathers.
I thought mother ducks picked feathers up from what was laying about, scraps, lining nests with what simply could be mustered after the fact.
But no. No, a mother duck plucks each feather out from the heart of her bosom.
She lines the nest with bits of herself — the best of herself.  
A mother cups her brood not with leftovers — but with her own sacrifice.

As I have begun preparing for a new baby to enter into my, and my family's, life I am having to let go of some things that I have been holding close.

I need to begin the sacrifice of my online presence.

Saying that out loud is like sounding the death knell to a modern writer. Stop blogging? No more tweets? No more platform building?

But at the end of that line of questioning and after a small but monumental silence, I stand resolute.

When I wash clothes and then hang them on the line to dry, it is a process that takes time. Each piece must be snapped free of wrinkles, clipped on with clothespins and arranged just so. When the task is completed it makes for an impressive sight, colors flapping in the wind, displayed for all to see. Work has been done and now the sun works her magic.
But if I don't hang my clothes on the line and, instead, choose to place them in the dryer, inside of my house, the work is still being done.
It just isn't seen by the whole neighborhood.

That is how things are needing to shift around these parts.

I am slowly bringing the work inside.

My sweet baby has been leading the way already. With each passing day he has been growing and stretching into the space within which he finds himself. And he has been doing it most beautifully.

But soon, his space will spill over into our space and we want to be ready.

So we are moving things from here to there. We are relieving ourselves of things no longer needed. We are welcoming, with open arms, the generosity of family and friends.

We are making room.


This slow unwinding has made me aware in ways that I haven't been, for quite some time...

Aware of the way the sun light moves across the floor and walls of my living room, highlighting corners and gilding rough edges and generally making all things beautiful.

Aware of the ticking that comes from the small desk clock upon the shelf, reminding me of every.single.moment.

Aware of how conversations, connected throughout a day, can build bridges of thought and understanding and revelation to everyone involved.

Aware of the power of touch and eye contact and how melting into both provides a balm for heart space that you didn't even realize was rough and hardened.

And, most importantly, aware that every day is full of gifts to unwrap and in order to fully receive that multitude, one must not be looking askance.

So, friends, I am beginning the great unwinding.  I am letting the yarn unravel as it will. It will probably look quite untidy for a bit. Perhaps there will be tangles. But, together, my family and I are letting the colored strands fall into our open hands and, together, we will knit together new garments.

I believe I already like the fit of them.


Photo credit: Ben Hosking via Flickr