Summer Rain

Saw her. My new niece: Summer Rain. Tiny, in the NICU. What exactly does that abbreviation mean? Some kind of shorthand. Maybe neo-natal intensive care unit? The NICU. Pronounced nick you. Oh, and it does.

Dictionary.com defines nick thus...

1. a small notch, groove, chip, or the like, cut into or existing in something.
2. a hollow place produced in an edge or surface, as of a dish, by breaking, chipping, or the like: I didn't notice those tiny nicks in the vase when I bought it.
3. a small dent or wound.
4. a small groove on one side of the shank of a printing type, serving as a guide in setting or to distinguish different types.
5. Biochemistry. a break in one strand of a double-stranded DNA or RNA molecule.
6. British Slang. prison.
7. to cut into or through: I nicked my chin while shaving.
8. to hit or injure slightly.
9. to make a nick or nicks in (something); notch, groove, or chip.
10. to record by means of a notch or notches.
11. to incise certain tendons at the root of (a horse's tail) to give it a higher carrying position; make an incision under the tail of (a horse).
12. to hit, guess, catch, etc., exactly.
13. Slang. to trick, cheat, or defraud: How much did they nick you for that suit?
14. British Slang.
a. to arrest (a criminal or suspect).
b. to capture; nab.
c. to steal: Someone nicked her pocketbook on the bus.
15. in the nick of time, at the right or vital moment, usually at the last possible moment: The fire engines arrived in the nick of time.

Looking at sweet Summer Rain in that sterile bassinet, her heart needing a surgeon's knife, belly riddled with staph infection, on the mend from meningitis, bruised and needle-pricked, frail, breathing quickly, turning eyes towards mama's voice, falling asleep under mama's loving fingers. I touch her soft head.

And some kind of notch opens up in me, a hollow place, a soul wound that feels like it goes all the way down to my DNA. I am captured, stolen, in prison, tricked (I thought I was strong; now I see the truth). Will this incision of grief give me a higher carrying position? Will it guide someone in need? Is it in the nick of time?

God, carry these infirmities. By your wounds, make us whole.

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You know what father meant to me in the growing-up years...cheat, shout, abandon, coerce, take, humiliate.

You know. And yet You have the pluck to ask me this...Call me. Call me Father. Father who art in heaven.

Tell me, teach me, show me, deep down in the wounded places. What is father, God? With Your sweet hand, brush past my lips, my heart. Open what has long been shut.

The sound of my voice, the thrum of trust that calls You Father, Father, Father.

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I had thought, been taught, to hear You, seek and expect You, taste and touch and glimpse... You...mostly through your written word. I had thought. Been taught.

But these past days when the breeze has been undoing me, whispering across my skin, and the sound of a single bird "caw, caw, cawing" has pierced my inattention, I have become again a child... seeking you first not in words but in wineberries, red and tart that burst sweet and sour on my tongue. Feeling you in sunlight that plays and alters my very body, turning me golden brown.

I find myself drinking You, biting and pressing You against the roof of my mouth, closing my eyes and hearing You in the sound of a violin, seeing you in the blink of my children's dark lashes. You touch and grace me from the time of morning's pale light 'til darkness descends... and the stars say softly, "Didn't we tell you, child? The glory of God, the glory of God, the glory of God..."

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Take Me

I sit on the side porch, in shadow,
upright and stiff on a metal folding chair
(my rocker banished to the garage because
of last week's party).

And the breeze insists on playing with
my hair. Tendrils untuck, dance on moving
air. I watch the pine branches dip and sway,
note the passing of a white butterfly,

like paper riding the wind, flipping,
fluttering into the distance. My heart feels
tired, even as the catbird soars, sails.
A tightness within pleads for release

Take me, God of the breeze.
Take me over the tree tops, into the
green. Unwind, uncoil. Take me. I am
two folded wings, waiting for a stirring of air.




The raspberries are full and red, hung with
the coolness of last night's rain.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
His love endures forever.

Wet, the kale bows in long arcs, heavy
with golden fingers of seed pods.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
His love endures forever.

Zucchini puts forth yellow flowers, cucumber
does so too, turning water into flesh, green.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
His love endures forever.

Black-eyed susans and blueberries flank
the garden, pert, sun-hopeful.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
His love endures forever.

And the catbird, grey, presides over all,
considering what will make his breakfast.

Give thanks, give thanks.
To the Lord. For He is good.
Yellow-fluted, blue-fringed, red-fatted,
grey-arched, sprung with crystal upon
crystal, His Love. Endures.

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