Category Archives: family

Union Church

What if Jesus had been a union man,
and his twelve disciples had all been plumbers?
Or tool-and-die guys, or even
photocopier repair technicians?

Imagine the parables that might have been told
of leaking U-bends, and toner cartridges
found at the back of the supply cupboard,
right behind the post-its and motivational t-shirts.

His mother would have run the show
for sure – along with all the other stalwarts
who had paid their dues over the years.
You know the ones I mean – there’s always one or two.

In the end, the church probably would have been
better maintained, and letters and regulations
would always look just so. But you can be sure
the internal dynamics would be just as dysfunctional.

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Trinkets

(a kyrielle)

A shadow hidden at the back
of her dresser drawer caught my eye
the day the movers came. I thought:
we keep things though we don’t know why.

A hundred foreign coins, a stack
of travel documents signed by
some long-dead border guard who fought
to keep things though we don’t know why,

a broken pocket watch, a black-
and-white shot of a compound high
in India, crammed in a box
to keep things though we don’t know why.

Tracing the alligator track
around this lid, I think of my
own collections, what I just bought
to keep things though we don’t know why.

Time stands still in keepsakes. We track
our past with trinkets that defy
every explanation sought.
We keep things though we don’t know why.

Astronaut

My father was a famous astronaut,
A hero from the bright comics I bought
On Saturdays. Sometimes I heard the key
Turn gently in the lock long after we
Had gone to bed. And then my parents fought

Like lovers in my mother’s sheets, but not
Out loud as they might wake the baby. Caught
Between embarrassment and lust to see
     My father was

Still real, I clutched my rocket ship and fought
Back tears. His only letter is what got
Me through those years – to know God and country
Might come first, but he always cared for me
No matter what our friends and neighbors thought
     My father was.

Blink of an eye

Hi, love. Sorry I missed your call – I know
It can get lonely at the hospital.
It will be great to have you home tonight.

I was out at Penney’s with our newborn
Buying him a birthday suit, extra long.
He looks so cute, you could just eat him up.

He’s been eating constantly, back to his
Birth weight, and then some. He does like ice cream,
Especially the stuff your mother brought us.

Nap times are good, he’s getting lots of sleep
But his days and nights are all turned around.
It must be from all that time in the womb.

Oh, and the driving instructor called us
She said there’s a spot for him next Friday,
Now that he’s learned to walk, and read, and shave.

When I asked the woman at United
If they would take care of him on the plane
There was an awkward pause, before she said

Sir, your son is sixteen – he’s an adult.
She’s right – he is the best of both of us.
And it happened in the blink of an eye.

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