Wild Edge

ava jumping 2

Between sex
And death
Cecilia chose
The latter
And that was
Always
the music
That played
At my heels.

Sex or death.
Sinner or saint.
No in between.

But can’t you
See?
It takes a lifetime
Of bad memory
To untangle our
Legs,
Smooth over
The edges,
And no amount
Of “I’m sorrys”
Will kill the story
“You’re forgiven”
has played
On my heart.

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Or

girl bowling

 

Here’s what will happen:

You’ll hate me for a lifetime 
Or
A moment.

And I will visit you at the church where you work or in the prison near my house.

And you will love God or learn the world according to Satan.

And maybe you will have children or know the ways of an untrained womb.

And maybe you’ll be happy on your own accord or shear every inch of yourself to wear another woman.

And you will remember all my sins and stack them up against me.

Or you will love me and let memory rot and forget the day I screamed until both our throats ran dry.

Dear Ava,

I’m a horrible mother. And a terrifically good mother. And a no nonsense mother and a spastic, nonsensical type of female who keeps parking crookedly and forgets the word for fork sometimes, and then other times I feed people my brilliance.

I don’t think any of us were meant to be good at this.

But I think that’s okay. I think for the first time ever, there’s no good mother Olympics, no gold to be won.

There are mistakes and bruises and tears and the way she looks at me like she’s known me before she was born and wishes she’d never met my face.

It’s the same way I look into the mirror sometimes.

But there are those other crystal clear moments, a love abundant, a love like Christ’s, where I can feel it all weaving together, broken skin healing and that sound she makes when she breathes.

Step one, we are alive.

Step two, start living,

Step three, write down, paper to pen.

Dear Ava,

I’m sorry.

But dear Ava,

You now know the truth.

Gold

Ava's Soccer.jpg

Once, I was a little girl, too, until the sun prospered then withered and all the gold drained to gray.

But now I see it in your smile.

Dear Ava,

running away letter

DEAR AVA,

I hope
This
Finds
You well and
The kids
And Jack
Are safe
And happy
And set
To swimming
In the beautifully
Blue pool.
The picture
Was lovely.
It looks
Like a long
Shard of glass
And that bird
Reflected,
Hovering up high
Reminded me of the one
That swooped
And ate your
Newborn butterflies
That hatched
From that kit
I bought you.
I should have
Paid more attention
But butterflies
Are a nasty thing
To own.
How’s the cat
And that gerbil
That I’m always
Afraid the cat
Will eat?
Is Lucille
Still eating
Her fingernails
Like you always used
To do and might still?
Funny, the dedication
taken
To shredding
And imbibing ourselves.
I’m well.
The postman
Asked the other
Day
About your father
And I said, “Still Dead,”
But no smile on his face.
What a waste because
He looks a little
Like
Dicaprio in Gatsby
And a smile
Would do him good.
Me, too, I guess.
But not to get down
And out.
Have to keep the spirits
Up.
Have to keep on keeping on.

Sometimes, I talk to God
And dare him to listen.

I have to get on
Now
And I know
You’re busy with the
Glass shard pool
And Jack and the kids
And all the minutes
That feel
Like hours
Until your glass has
Spilled
And all you see
Is your damp
Eye hovering
From
above.

Super Girl

Super girl, girl, daughter

She flew
Into all forms,
A pecking order
That started with
My
Mother’s coiled heart
And ended in her unraveled
One.
And all my time has been
Spent braiding
And knotting
What’s come
Loose
And only
When I look down
Do I realize
The world has
Removed
My fingers. -e.c.

Art

  

“I saw our lives like a flash bulb light…”

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DAUGHTER

When we were on

The bridge

I saw our lives

Like a flash bulb

Light

And God’s

Great hands nowhere

To be seen.

Your scream was

Set to the tune of

My angry fingers

Seeking revenge on

A wheel that could

Rip us infinite,

Scraps of metal

And concrete

Like a beautiful cosmos

Built by no maker.

“Take her away” was

Written on my mind.

But I ask you now,

Who else was there

Elbowing out that inky

Phantom

And its silk-strung voice

And the bursting nebula

That lit my pupils

Like your smile

Lights my heart?

How to Parent a Child

dog in a sombrero
See, Mr. McFluffycakes? This is how you pull of a sombrero you non-sombrero wearing son-of-a-bitch!!

Listen, I know I’m really great at a lot of things like wearing shirts and making my neighbor’s dog feel inferior because he can’t walk on two feet like me, a very smart human being (You hear that, Mr. McFluffycakes?  Huh?  You hear that?  I’m the smart one you sickeningly adorable son of a bitch!), but what I’m really great at is parenting.

Parenting is by far the best thing I’ve ever done because 1) I’ve never lost my child.

So there’s that.

But there’s also the fact that she’s developing into a very not scary person proven by the hilarious non-scary things she says.  Usually in public:

  • “Let’s pretend we’re all at a wedding and don’t know each other. Hi! I’m Tilly, I’m six, and I live alone.”
  • Me: How was the Humane Society presentation at school?  Ava: Well, the dog didn’t have any eyes and the cat died so they brought us a bag of fur to pet.
  • “It smells like eyeballs and helicopters in here.”
  • Ava: Maybe my new friend can be my boyfriend.  Me: Aren’t you a little young to have a boyfriend?  Ava: Don’t judge me!!
  • Me: Ava, guess what! We sold the house!  Ava: I know. I made a few emails on my iPad so you’re welcome.
  • Me: What are you doing?  Ava: Watching a video about Dropbox. It’s relaxing.
  • Me: Why is it you never listen?  Ava (with wide “innocent” eyes): Well, because I’m a little girl and little girls just don’t know how to listen.
  • Me: How did gym camp go?  Ava (laughing): Great! Told some guy I was twenty-five!
  • Me: It’s time to take your bath.  Ava: Okay, give me just one second.  Me: Nope, it’s time now.   Ava (in her best first grade teacher tone): Remember when we talked about patience?
  • “I’m in charge of the world.”
  • Ava: What are these?  Me: Onions.   Ava: Oh, I’m so sorry, but my doctor says I can’t have these.
  • Ava: Want to play Oprah and Gayle?  Me: Sure.  Ava: I’m Oprah.  Me: Okay, hi Oprah.  Ava: Get out of my office Gayle!!
  • Me: Why are you acting like a crazy person?  Ava: Because Jesus made me this way!!!

See?  Parenting isn’t hard.  You just have to be willing to dress up like the best friend of a multi-billionaire and be screamed at from time to time.

And in the end, just realize Jesus made them that way, so really, it’s all his fault.