Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tsarnaev's Blood

I wonder
Who would Jesus kill
If he were the judge today?
It seems Tsarnaev’s life
While worthy enough for
Jesus' sacrifice
Isn’t worthy enough for
Us to preserve

The more I think on it--
Picturing my savior with
Nails pierced through
His hands and his ankles
Allowing his death willingly
For people named Tsarnaev

The more confused I feel
Because by using the death-
Penalty, aren’t we in effect
Saying, Jesus’ death was insufficient

We want not only our Lord’s blood
on our hands, but also the blood

Of Tsarnaev’s? 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Whale Song

There is a whale out there in the ocean who sings at a different pitch than all other whales. No other whales can hear him. Here's my luc bat in honor of the lonely whale.

Whale Song

Let the lonely whale swim
Out on a wave; his hymn, too high
For others to hear. Cry,
Lonely whale. No reply can bounce
Back to you, nor pronounce
Your mating call. No ounce of sound,
Not one whisper, has found
Your heart’s desire. Drowned, your voice,
Is dead. It’s Hobson’s choice.
There will be no rejoicing, no
Fete, no whale-bride to plough
Through the seas so let go and swim.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


My bedroom is the same,
as one year ago--  
darkness mixed with night light
casting static on the walls,
snow-clouds lowering the ceiling,
jets roaring overhead,
delivering night-riders to warm beds.

And I’m lying here next to my son who is one
year older now.  I’ve aged a century.
He nestles his head
into the hollow of my armpit. 

My husband’s voice drifts from down the hallway
reading The Velveteen Rabbit, our daughter’s favorite.
I catch the blurry words, Fairy she had gone--
then silence.  

My baby sucks his thumb,
fast,     slow,
at last, rhythmically.
A sigh escapes into blackness.
Squeaking away from the mattress,
tears trace down
my temples, tickling my neck.

One year ago,
she lay in her bed,
not hearing the rain. 
Head throbbing, purple
pain pounding out of her skull,
lightning taking a snapshot of misery.

One year ago
we did not know 
the forecast—
Even now, it is not clear.
Why our family,
why her?

She was forty-three.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Brain Science

Sunday afternoon at the Minnesota Science Museum
Claire holds up a four-pound plasticized human brain
pointing out the parietal and frontal lobes,
turning it over to indicate where the medulla once
connected to the spinal cord.
She balances his brain like a ripe cantaloupe.
This once pearly, now clay-gray wad
of tissue held a million thoughts,
both conscious and involuntary,
of a man--now dead.

When Claire turns her attention,
I poke my finger between
the flowerets of cerebral cortex,
dig up the memory of
his first dog, Ginger,
tease out the forgotten scent
of a Norway pine where
he sat in a deer stand,
waiting like a rabbit with a gun.

Claire glances at me
and I hide my hands,
knowing my transgression
of reading, like braille,
another man's mind.

I whisper into my
muddied palms
"How did you die?
Do you regret what
you've become?"

The lid squeaks as
Claire closes the temperature-
controlled mock-mausoleum
clicks the padlock shut,
punches out for the day,
drives home whistling
"Let’s Go to Hunting"
as if by magic.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hard Scrabble

kneading under umber moon
this torpid eve-dusk

morning, sharp and spry
we chew our fruited baked rusk


This is a Coin poem I wrote a year or two ago. 

A coin poem comprises: 

  • a rhyme pattern of a-b c-b or a-a b-b
  • two stanzas of two lines each stanza
  • syllable count of 7 & 5 per stanza
  • the content should be a like coin, opposing ideas juxtaposed against one another

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Twenty Questions for Ego

1. Who gave you your nickname? 2. Does it still fit? 3. How has your identity evolved over the past five years? 4. Do you feel you belong to an identifiable community or do you fly solo? 5. Which caresses your ego more: flattery or affirmation?  6. When was the last time you took a bath? 7. Have you ever foraged for mushrooms? 8. Did you find a Destroying Angel? 9. Did you taste it? 10. In your theology, does grace have meaning? 11. Should it? 12. Why didn’t your parents name you Chris? 13. If your name is Chris, wouldn’t you rather be Gene? 14. How old were you when you spied your first gray hair? 15. If no gray hair yet, when do you anticipate going bald? 16. Do you find life is one impossible question after another? 17. Have you ever free-associated with the word “hinge?” 18. What about free-based? 19. On a jejune note, do your socks match? 20. Why is that?

--a prompt from Jim Moore

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


This is how death looks:
on Earth, a beginning and
an end.
But from the top of the sky,
it's a circle.