29 March 2011


Jacob wrestling with God.
Common concept.
But maybe we get it wrong.
Do we see the trembling fiber, in arm and thigh,
as in one who has too long held
a heavy child?
The sweat drip, the unending night.
No sleep.
I do not try to conjure thought of sport.
Think of the man who sold all possessions
for a field and pearl.
He would have wrestled the man of God for blessing.

We have chosen ease.
If the dollars do not sum
the difference between have and need,
do not call me your messenger.

Too costly.
A forever drooping limb would be too much reminder
of my weakness.

21 March 2011

The 2010 Homicide-Loss Survivors' Walk

The other night, I was told to remember. To pull as one would a tooth the memories of good in a loved one’s eyes, Christmas morning, Saturday’s yard work, hands.

Pulling a tooth. You are one of two kinds of people.

Yank it, or wriggle for a week.

I yank. Give me sharp pain, fierce tears, hard grief. For the time it takes tos ay

One Mississippi.

This week, I could not avoid. This was the longest Mississippi I’ve ever said.

Remember your loved one. Not the courtroom. Not the faces of the jury. Not the day it happened.

I am not a homicide-loss survivor, but I am a victim of memories.


I was sitting in the wooden desk with the little groove for a pencil worn into it. That orange-flower scented candle on the computer desk to my right, school book in front of me. The phone rang. I was eleven and home alone. My neighbor cried into the phone not to leave the house.

…I still don’t understand why men would kill themselves to kill thousands in a tower, city far from home and that it should put fear in an eleven-year-old.


I was waking to my phone ringing before the sun had risen. A friend I’ve never seen cry was crying in the dark on the other side of the phone line. His dad had, not hours before, died of a heart attack.


I was working on a paper about “Good Love” and how weak we are to portray it rightly. I received a text from a friend I’d not seen in four years.

“I’ve changed,” he said.

“I smoke everything, now. I do acid. I drink like it was nothing”


How strong, these people-survivors- are.

To see the moment framed by horror and yet choose the room, that’s full of good. Maybe if you were to wriggle a tooth, you would begin to appreciate all teeth a bit more. Appreciate its tenacity. Understand its reluctance.

from "Letters to Malcolm" by C.S. Lewis

"If the imagination were obedient, the appetites would give us very little trouble."


"I know my blessings by their cost"-W. Berry

What does he mean?


(Old Man Jayber Crow)

Many I loved as man and boy
Are gone beyond all that I know,
Fallen leaves under falling rain,
Except Christ raise them up again.
I know my blessings by their cost,
Thus is the pride of man made low.
To ease the sorrow of my thought
Though I'm too weary now and slow,
I'd need to dance all night for joy.

I do not know what the poet says. It seems an Ecclesiastes thought,
that our blessings
have such costs that cause us to know them.
But perhaps the cost is needed to point us

to the blessing. Hm.