Deb
Reader, Thinker, Writer, Lover.
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I sat beside her on the staircase, hour after hour, day after day, as she spoke on the phone with her friends and her sisters. I colored in a book, or just listened to the bubbling creek of her voice washing over me.

 

I didn’t understand every word my grandmother said, but I knew the important ones: amor, morió, mi hijo. With hjio, son, her voice would choke up and she would start crying. I would lean against her, trying to comfort her with my body. I would look up into her eyes and she would wipe the tears from under her glasses, and smile at me. Her son had died, at an age that would break a mother’s spirit.

 

Sometimes she would become so upset that she would start rapidly breathing and clutching at her chest. I knew where she kept her nitroglycerin pills and would encourage her to take one. In fact, I remember once when the pills didn’t do their job, and she had to be rushed to the hospital; I think maybe I was only 5 years old. I had already learned the lesson that grief would try to kill you.

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October 26, 2018

Written by Posted in Blog Posts, Poetry Comments 0
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Look up

Notice that leaf

on an uppermost branch.

The wind challenges

its heroic grasp.

 *

All of its treemates

have long since released

their tenuous hold on life

blowing as they do into

far pastures and lanes,

byways fill with their corpses.

 *

They reveal

as they die

the winter’s architecture

of the cottonwood tree-

A ghost in black relief-

the autumn moon watching

through its arms.

 *

Look up

The leaf is holding on

to what is not meant for it -

Holding on

to this idea of immortality -

all the while losing

its grip

on the one life it has known.

*

This leaf

is one of millions of leaves

come and gone

in this ghost’s lifetime.

*

In autumn we say goodbye.

October 17, 2018

Light

Written by Posted in Blog Posts, Poetry, Youth at Risk Comments 4
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I want to be a light for you

*

shining the way

down the path,

to the doors,

around the obstacles.

*

I have no strength to give you,

No solutions to offer you.

*

I can’t pick you up,

can’t carry you,

can’t force you to see.

 *

All I can do

is say -

Hey look!

Did you notice that?

Do you see the choice?

Can you feel your power?

*

All I can do is

Light up the dark places -

show you another way to walk.

 *

All I can do is

Shine a light in your heart,

point out what was already there -

*

which is Strength Unimaginable

Goodness Unrealized

Resilience Untapped.

*

My light can speak truth

Into your dark places.

 *

Let me be your light.

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Photo by Daniel Cano on Unsplash

 

I asked them to tell me about someone they trust – someone who came through for them time after time, had their back. It was a risky question seeing as how I know for a fact that people indeed do not come through for them: dads in jail, mothers in rehab, bullies at school, teachers who have written them off.

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Roo and his bitc…uh…girls.

 

I was in my bedroom when I heard a hullabaloo outside my window. I opened my curtain and saw my entire flock of chickens huddled under the low branches of a tree. At first glance, I thought one of them was standing outside of the group, but upon closer inspection, I saw it was a hawk. It was almost as if he was sizing up which hen he’d like to have for lunch.

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Okay, I’ll admit it. I don’t have it all together. You know those times I posted a picture with pride, or said we’re doing just fine, or made it look easy to parent a kid with a disability? That might have been a straight up lie, or it might have been me just trying to convince myself that I was qualified to do this job, or maybe we were finally having a good day.

 

But you see, the world is set up in such a way that people with disabilities, specifically my kid, are handed the short end of the stick day after day – and that’s if anyone bothers to hand them a stick at all. I have to watch her get looked over again and again: in jobs, by the waitress at the restaurant, in love.

 

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I couldn’t look at her face

One more day.

Her cry was weak

My milk no longer strong enough

For a toddler

But I had no choice

No options

No food.

*

And the eldest one

11, a child-

a man with a gun

had grabbed her

had…touched her

had laughed

and I knew next time

it wouldn’t be just touch

*

every day was a struggle

a battle

just to eat

to feed my daughters

to protect them

from evil men

and so I ran.

*

I put our lives in the hands

Of a man I didn’t know

For 1000 small coins

I had squirreled away

From carrying garbage

*

And the journey was one

I could never repeat

But I repeated

“It will be worth it”

even as the man took me

my breasts heavy with milk

dripping as my baby sat in

her sister’s arms.

They were both crying

But he had said me,

Or her.

So it was me.

*

These girls are my life

I will give my life

I thought

It will be worth it.

*

We reached the end

And I thanked God

And wrapped my arms around my girls

And cried with joy.

We had reached the promised land.

*

The man turned to leave us and said

Cross there

When the sun goes down.

I said, “Wait, with you?”

He laughed

And squeezed my breast

And said, “Don’t you wish”

*

I had lost the ability

To even flinch

From the indignities

*

We hid until the sun

Dropped below

And then hid longer.

When all was quiet

We hid longer.

*

And then I woke her

And didn’t wake the baby,

Strapped her to my chest,

And we walked where

He had pointed.

*

The lights were blinding

The yells deafening

Chaos filled the quiet night

*

I grabbed for her

And they grabbed for her

and she was screaming

No! No entiendes!”

And they didn’t understand

As they dragged her away.

*

And they asked me questions

And I was sobbing for her

And desperate to find to her

And they were unwrapping the baby

And I was clutching her

And I was screaming

And she was screaming

And I was holding her

So tightly I thought I would break her

And they wrenched my wrists

And they tied them

And they took her

Her little legs kicking

Her little nails scratching

Her little teeth biting

And I screamed

And her screams stopped

When the car door closed

And my milk drenched my shirt

A waste.

*

Photo by Roi Dimor on Unsplash

May 7, 2018

Get Into Your Body

Written by Posted in Blog Posts, Horse Magic Comments 0
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My legs were shaking, and my breath was coming in gasps. This horse felt like a lit fuse underneath me; so much energy that it fairly vibrated out of his muscles and skin and made mine respond in the same way. He is big and fit and powerful, and I often feel slightly out of control when I am on him. This day, even more so. I fought to stay calm, to trust my training.

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***

Oh, Crossfit. I stare at my jump rope for a minute before the workout starts, hoping I will have some sort of epiphany. I mean, after 6 years, one deserves an epiphany, doesn’t one? Double unders – getting the rope under my feet twice for each time I jump – have been my nemesis since the beginning. There have been some ugly moments that include crying, throwing the jump rope across the gym, and threatening to choke my coach with it. On the (questionable) recommendation of a friend, I even slept with it under my pillow for a while and spoke sweetly to it. If you ask me to do single unders, I can do them till the cows come home. Doubles? Not so much.

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No one ever wrote your name in the stars.

*

Never sat under the night sky

And pointed up, saying,

See how it makes an A, and an N?

You belong to the universe.

You’re made of stardust, child.

*

No one laid under a tree

In the shade on a sunny day

And pointed up, saying,

See how the world spins?

How all of nature is swirling with joy

Over who you will be?

You belong to Mother Nature.

You’re made of the earth, child.

*

No one wrapped you up

When you were angry or sad or scared

And pointed to your heart, saying,

See how you feel?

It’s okay. I’m here.

You belong to me.

You’re made of me, child.

*

Who taught you to

Narrow your eyes

Suspicious of everything

And everyone

Who will let you down…

Because they will let you down?

*

Who has said,

You’re not stardust,

You’re just dust.

You’re not made of earth,

You’re just dirt.

You’re not made of me,

I don’t want you?

*

Give me a chance, child.

*

Let me show you

The glimmer of stardust in your eyes,

And how your horse responds

To the earth in your body,

You two made of the same clay.

*

Let me show you

That you are me,

*

And I am you,

*

And we belong to each other,

*

And that it is safe to hope.

*

“The cosmos is with us. We are made of star-stuff. We are the way for the universe to know itself.”

- Carl Sagan

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