Friday, November 13, 2015


I didn't bother to forbid the babysitter to leave my two-year-old son alone in the house while she went to hunt for her phone charger in the car, because I trusted it would never occur to her to do so.

I didn't bother to check the criminal record of the woman I (almost!) hired to clean my house, because I trusted burglars wouldn't bother with the long con, preferring the quick and sweet.

I didn't bother to worry about all tree falling on my moving car, because I trusted trees stayed rooted in the dirt, and that even if they didn't, even if their roots failed, they'd crush something else, someone else, when they fell. 

I am appalled, this week, by trust.   I've been wading in it.  I've been lathering with it.  I've been shoving it aside in sticky curtains.  When it's been ripped off of me, I've gathered it back to myself in soft folds.

I'm an addict and a fool. 

Yet, trust is all that keeps us hurtling through this world.  We know we will die, but we trust that death is a few inches off.  We understand horrible things will happen, but not to us, we trust.  The sun will come up, tomorrow-

And it does and it does until it doesn't.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Six Words

Won't you be quiet, Krista Tippett?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Six Words

I don't know.  I don't know.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Letter of Complaint

It has become a grave concern of mine: How to stop time.

I imagine lassoing it and dragging it to the ground- it's too heavy, and I know it, and you know it, but I can't resist the snag of the image.  Also I imagine throwing myself in front of it, as if it's a train, but we all know how that ends.  I imagine myself prostrate clutching its feet as it walks away.  It's a deaf mute, time, or a robot- or simply hard-hearted.

But my project: Make it stop.   There's drink, which works sometimes, but only in shot-glass-worths, intermittent hiccups.  There are photographs, which are nothing but tattoos of regret, and videos, which are snuff films.  Gritting your teeth does not work, nor does a habit of sustained, maniacal attention to the moment -it passes and passes and passes, indifferent to your efforts.   Meditate and you're nothing but a Greek chorus, a bedside witness, late to the reception with your hands full of funeral casserole.

Writing is your best bet.  You knew that.  But it's a fools errand.  You twist things, by writing them.  You wring their necks.

I strangle anyway.  Damp heat.  Small hands scrabbling at model trains.  The hush, thick and awful and exquisite, after a toddler has passed.  We wake early, drink too much coffee, try to scare up joy where we can - a train's passage and the whine of its brakes, a plan for dinner and tickle chase, again.

It's a no-joke enterprise, the permanent retarding of today: failing and failing and shouting the whole damn time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Bluer sky; limestone.
Oaks again: tall ones, pin, white-
but why this red dirt?

Sunday, August 9, 2015


My son has a smattering of words.  It's a strictly curated, though steadily increasing, collection; he amasses and disburses his words carefully, like currency.  His vocabulary takes him places (up, down); it describes his desires (mommy, wawa) or sparksa smile (hi, bye).

To an even greater extent, his words limn what looms large in his world -a glimpse into the otherwise opaque toddler brain.   My son has 40 words, maybe more, maybe less- and because the set is circumscribed, each individual word takes on greater importance.   Some speak to proximity- Mommy, Daddy, Kitty.  Others to perceptual salience- Ambulance! Airplane!   And some are unfathomable- Button, Elmo.

And coffee. "Coffee, coffee!" my toddler cries, jabbing at the burr grinder, the cups, the beans.  He serves me pretend coffee in a plastic cup, and laughs when I slurp it down.  "Coffee!" he screams, correctly, at church; "coffee" to the travel mug in the car.

I am charmed by this.   I am also sobered.  Our children are ever and irrevocably themselves.  But sometimes, too, they are mirrors-  small, slobbery, fractured reflections of our bean-stained days.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

New new new

The process of settling into a new home is made more complicated when you know you'll leave. After four years of homeowning in Virginia, we're renting for a year in St. Louis- so we'll be here 12 months, maybe less, before having to haul and pack and reacclimate once more.

And so the place-learning process -the divining of the best route from the dresser to the closet, the acclimation to the new angle of the morning sun, the repeated movement of the hand from the tea cupboard to the kettle and back- becomes fraught.

I'll learn the best place to catch the afternoon light- but not for long.  I'll enjoy the porch- but not for long.  I'll tolerate the closet- but not for long.

A sense of impermanence stains things.  It seeps into the manner in which you fall in love, the ways in which you make yourself comfortable- or not.

Impermanence shouldn't do this, of course-  every home, everything, is impermanent. 

But somehow, to love, you need to be able to forget that.  And I can't.  Yet.