keep me safe

“Keep me safe, Mama,” she says, grabbing my hand as we go down the stairs.

“Keep me safe, Mama,” she says, wrapping her arms around my neck in a death grip as she uses a public restroom.

“Keep me safe, Mama,” she says, gripping my arm as she crosses the jointed bridge at the playground.

“I’m keeping you safe, Mama,” she says, throwing her arms around my waist as I lean up and out to help the hubby wash the second story windows.

And I cry.

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>home from church
first I’ve been to in a while
(understatement)
feeling advent
feeling care in my soul
peace
love
for a dear friend
for my family
for the fragility of us all
see my husband
baby girl
cuddled up, asleep

in my room
changing from skirt to jeans
padding down the hall
door opens
little cherub in pink pajamas
eyes wide in anticipation
smile dancing on her face
for me

this
is my Christmas

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>Where I’m From

>

I am from afternoon tea and gnoshies, from Stella d’Oro and salami on fresh Italian bread.

I am from the yellow house with the breezeway, the house with the wrought iron fence, the one with a library and the long driveway. I am from six moves before sixth grade and vacations spent with grandparents in Sullivan and on Long Island, exploring and practicing accents.

I am from the snake plant, the lily of the valley, from the absolutely necessary “dessout” before bed. I am from dinner at 6:30pm sharp and bad knees, from Adams and Manzo and DeLuca, from Momma and siblings all wiggling over good food and from Daddy picking lint up from the floor.

I am from no elbows on the table and save the doo-dahs, from movies and pizza on Christmas Eve. I am from palm fronds folded into crosses, from baby Jesus placed into the manger Christmas morning after a month of advent calendar anticipation.

I’m from Missouri and New York, from California, from forays into Texas and Minnesota. I’m from strofuli and pastina and pumpkin donuts, spaghetti sauce simmering all day long.

I am from those who think spiders can’t find their way back out of vacuums due to darkness, from Crazy 8 players, from those who think cranberries grow in the shape of the can, who can’t spell squirrel, who need naps after half a wine cooler.

I am from loud masses all talking at once, finishing each other’s sentences, from home all over the country and anywhere there’s family. I’m from long distance phone calls on holidays and passing the phone around, from divorce and arguing and laughing and loving. I am from broken and mended, hurt and healed, from life lived fully and embraced wholly.

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>Last night as I was sleeping
I dreamt – marvelous error! –
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

~Antonio Machado

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>They tell you
in the hospital
not to sleep with them
to let them reside in the plastic tub
on wheels
but i couldn’t –
kept her close
curled into myself
though she hadn’t had a bath,
still smelled

and still, now
i would sleep each night
as one
if i could.

who knew
that i would have
a little being
love me so fiercely
so one, she and i
that every synapse fire
speaks her name

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>eleven

>

Beside my bed reside tomes of my self, spilled out in graphite and ink.

One whole shelf houses me, the smaller skins I shed as I’ve gone on.

And there are more, left other places… my purse, at work, on the bookshelf.

They call my name, these books, they yearningly cry out to be held, marked upon, loved, inhabited. I oblige, hear more calling at Borders and Barnes & Noble, hunger to fill them, too.

And they pile, and they sit, and I want to write in them all – all that ever existed, in fact.

Eleven sit in my home, still empty and waiting. More call.

But when will I write?

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>Okay, okay

>It must not have been the right fit, or the right timing.
Grumble grumble.
God must have something else in store for you.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
If that door closed, another will open.
Thanks for the cliche.
The right thing will come along. This just wasn’t it.
Uh-huh. Okay. When, exactly?

The skies opened, and the hint of a ray of sunshine broke. Something new, and just right.

So okay, you were all right. Darn you.

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