Resurrection on 287

I’ve seen 
the broken down house
on highway 287  

cinderblock walls, 
only rafters left for a roof,
a gaping hole where
a once presentable 
exterior used to be.

When I drive by
my broken down heart—
though jaded and cynical
by all accounts—
is filled with brutal 

I fantasize
about pulling the car over
and rushing to what was once
the doorway and running
my hands over ruined 
cinderblocks and wood
until the love of the place
would change it
like a Resurrection—
a new house from these
crumbled cinderblocks.

maybe this is how I know
I really do believe
in all things
made new—

one day—
my heart like
the cinder block house,
all coarse and rough will be
smoothed out with sandpaper
the walls rebuilt to safety,
the shutters painted,
the door flung recklessly wide—
(because being whole and loved
will do that to you.)

and what meals we will share!
in a kitchen once marked by 
ash and rubble,
with fruits from the garden
growing wild out back 
just because it can
there is nothing to stop it.

The ruined house 
on 287 reminds me of
what sometimes seems
so terribly easy 
to forget—

I really do believe
in the Resurrection. 

Anything & Everything

did it hurt?

when Thomas put his child-like
hand into your spear-torn
side—the only cure
for his grown-up unbelief? 

2,000 years later
my twins dig their toes
into the wrinkled skin
of my belly stretch marked
by my love and their growth.
	(I don’t mind it so much—)
but it hurts when the tips
of tiny toes find the edges
of the scar from whence
Jordan came and
sometimes I still feel 
the zip of the scalpel
across my tender skin
and I feel afraid. 

but they seem to seek it
like a reassurance,
like a firm place to stand 
amidst a sea of softness.
	(to be feminine is not all 
	softness—there is no one more 
	ferocious than a mother.)	

as if Nathan is trying to remember 
the way I roared him earth side 
with a power like the tide.

as if Jordan is seeking the strength
with which I held on to hope,
to consciousness, to her—
amidst incredible pain.

as if my scar, like an anchor
holds their four tiny feet fast
to this one truth:
I would do anything. 

And I think of Jesus 2000 years ago
his heart broken for the world
then and now— his heart 
aching for his friends, 
Judas’ betrayal still sharp
as a spear jabbing his mind—
his hand tracing the place
where thorns tore the forehead
his mother used to kiss goodnight
as they mocked him—
the memory of the pain
on her beloved face as she stood
there watching him die—
the agony of that last
shallow breath—

	this Jesus 
offers his torn open body to Thomas:
like a drink of living water;
like a mother with a milk-stained shirt,
and an open wound, 
and a bleeding body
coming for the crying child
in the dark of night with this
reassurance, this one truth: 
I would do anything. 

did it hurt? 

is the ache still there somedays? 
in your glorified body
where you chose 
to keep your scars?

2,000 years ago 
Thomas ran his clumsy fingers
across the edges of your wounds, 
and at last the proof sparked 
the flame in his eyes—
the light of a child believing
	at last 
in his own belovedness.

and here I am
grasping for the strength
of a child-like belief. 
digging my toes in
to this weighty anchor 
of a love that did everything.

the difference

I think I know now
how the disciples felt
as they watched the backs 
of Judas and Jesus
amidst the clutch
of Roman spears.

The betrayal so sharp
& stabbing, like a spear
between the ribs
like a man hauling 
himself up on nails 
to get a breath—
to ask for a drink.

Were you giving us vinegar
when we asked for wine? 

Could we really 
not tell 
the difference? 

what about spring?

“what about spring?”
they ask him

“in our hands
we have some seeds
and the fallow fields have held
their curling breath all winter long.

but with a war waged against us
and occupying evil trampling
our dreams—do we dare 
to sow seeds?”

“Yes,”he says. 
“Yes—we must plant.
we must plant seeds as surely 
as we plant our feet to fervently fight 
on this our freedom ground. we must 
organize ourselves into sowers of seeds
and of hope—campaign for a harvest 
as we campaign for a battle—
turn the tractors we used to tow away tanks
back to the field to plow again.

don’t wait. Don’t hold 
your breath
there is 
no time
to lose 
no time
like the present 
for planting hopes in the ground. 

even as we plant our soldiers 
and our citizens
our mothers and fathers 
and God help us—our children—
in these snow covered fields. 

even now, we hope 
for a resurrection of more glorious
than these seeds, these little deaths
we lay down in the earth and bury.”

“Okay.’’ We say, 
turning towards each other 
our mouths turning up
 behind our tears.

in this land occupied by evil—
 and visited by gratuitous death— 
we know what we have to do. 

so let our enemy see his defeat
 in these tears that water
 dormant hopes like wheat
 which in time we know 
will become a feast filling
 fragile bellies on frames of earth

—a foretaste of what’s to come.

{Photo by Rana Sawalha on Unsplash}

Note to my empath-self in times of tragedy

"If I didn't care 
then it wouldn't 
hurt so much." 

something I tell myself 
(almost daily sometimes)
especially when the world spins
on her broken axis and evil seems
to flourish with every revolution—
sometimes I wish I didn’t care so much

"You're too sensitive." 

something I grew up hearing 
(what felt like daily)
my tears were tiny but mighty traitors,
my tender heart— a bitter enemy.

but when I read of Jesus and 
how he heard the crowd 
around Lazarus’ tomb singing 
their songs of languishing lament 
and what he did as he looked Mary 
in her tear-stained face—

“he wept.” 
john 11:35 says.

“How he loved him!” 
they said on seeing his tears
and reading this, I know that Jesus
knows the daily crushing 
weight of grief.

and God did not chide him for weeping
even though he knew how it would all work out.
even though he himself held the power
to raise Lazarus from the dead—
to turn all those tears of mourning
into leaping, dancing shouts of joy.

so I suppose that I am not too sensitive after all—
I who do not know the ending of this story. 
I who have no idea how it will all work out. 
I who can only hope and watch and pray
kneeling at the feet of Jesus, weeping like Mary 
confused and angry—almost accusing:

“if you had only been here
 my brother would not have died.”

this declaration a statement of faith—
my anger a show of trust
in a Jesus large enough to hold my rage, my tears,
my confusion, my longing, my wondering
and all this ache that I can scarcely name.

and in the end, surrendering—
trusting that he can resurrect 
with a word or a breath, 
that he will be there in my weeping 
over all that I must lay to rest.
trusting that the pain I carry 
with all this caring
will also in time
be redeemed.

The Grief of Eve

I think often
of the grief of Eve
giving birth to two sons
only for one to kill the other.
I imagine she wished 
she herself had died 
before she had seen such evil. 

I imagine she thought often
about the promised Son—
the one who would come
to crush the head of that lying serpent
who ushered in death 
by her fruit stained hands
long before Cain swung a rock
at his little brother’s head. 

I hear her asking, 
staring her first born son
dead in the eyes
	“What have you done?”

and then more softly
by the rivers edge 
where her naked shame 
is revealed in her reflection
	“What have I done?” 

I imagine some days
the promise was her only comfort 
in the aching grief that clogged her throat
the burning rage that seared her temples 
making her head pound
turning her once lovely face
into a grief covered frown. 

what other solace could she hold
with Seth in her arms
the son born to her grief in a land 
where brother turns upon brother
for jealousy? or was it pride?
Cain did not heed the warning 
of destruction crouching at his door. 

and what other solace could she hold—
In a land where babies we nurse at the breast can be killed?
In a land where babies we nurse at the breast can become killers? 

what other solace have I? 

and Abel’s blood is crying from the ground and the scriptures say that the earth will uncover her slain and that God himself will avenge the blood of the innocent—that He himself will repay for this evil and this is the promise that now comforts me, for what other comfort is there—

In a land where babies are killed?
In a land where babies can become killers? 

I ache
and I pray
for vengeance— 
for every tear 
and every last drop
of innocent blood. 

**Wonderful image from Hans Hamann on Unsplash**

the Ache

the ache is like a tear
a rip rent in the heart—
like the tears shed by wives, 
mothers, sisters, and daughters 
leaving husbands, fathers, sons,
and brothers behind at borders 
and airports today. 

the ache is like the cramp
in the wrist of the nurse
squeezing oxygen and life 
into the tiny body of a baby
in the bomb shelter basement 
of a hospital in Dnipro today.

it’s in the handcuffed wrists
of the protestors in Moscow
arrested by the thousands
for their constant chant
“No to War”— 
wondering if they will be heard
before it’s much too late. 

it’s in the cracks of the voices
of the Russian mothers on the phone
pleading with their sons not to go there—
“Not to Ukraine! No!
Don’t go there, please—
just get on a plane and come home.“

it’s Ash Wednesday, and the ache is everywhere. 
even in the ashes in the atmosphere—
in the streets above the shelled schools
and the residential buildings 
that are being blown to bits 
with a doubled-down desperation 
of an addict looking for his fix. 

an ache filled by love 
is an ache that can heal—
but you fill your ache with lust
for power and don’t you know
it will never be enough? 
You shall go hungry—
hungrier even than the little boy
hiding with his mother in the basement
in a small town outside Kyiv
only stale air and air raid blasts to eat.

and weren’t you a little boy once?
sitting on his mother’s knee
asking for simple things like sugar
in your tea and receiving it
sitting satisfied?

now a whole country cannot quiet 
the snarling of your soul
and all I can think as I rock
my own infant son to sleep
is how your mother’s heart would ache
if she could see you now. 

while it is still dark

before golden light crests the hill behind my house,
I see a dozen small sparrows hopping through the shallow snow
in the predawn dark of my backyard. 

they are bold—almost cheeky, as they peck their way
through the dry grass & weeds & shriveled crabapples
that have fallen from our tree.

I have heard that He is aware of every feather & flap  
& not one has fallen apart from His notice.
I realize He must know which weeds provide the best seeds
& He plants these in summer’s abundant heat. 

these dozen small sparrows do not wonder 
who will feed them their daily bread.
it is still dark while they sing their songs of joyful trust,
knowing a feast has already been prepared.  

then there’s me—with my tear stained face  
pressed to the ice cold window pane
hoping & praying, for a small sparrow’s faith. 

Header Photo c/o Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

let me hope like dandelions

let me hope like dandelions—
obtrusive and resilient, resistant to a fault.

let me resist all that tries to divest me of my joy,
of my glory in future songs. 

let my hope spring careless of road sides,
or dung heaps, or patches of dry grass.

let it rush up from the tiniest seeds
carried on winds or birds wings. 

let it overwhelm everything else. 
let it dominate all that now grows wild. 

let it creep in under cover of darkness
and sow itself in places least expected.

let me hope like dandelions
and nothing (I mean nothing), could ever stop me. 

©Grace Kelley 2022

Photo by Олександр К on Unsplash

(I must have missed) Dancing

I want to find
my way back
to the girl 
whose lust for life 
made her splash
in rain puddles

whose love 
made her free
as all the birds 
she watched 
flying south. 

I’ve been dancing 
in my kitchen. 
And I say
it makes me feel sexy,
but what I really mean is
that it makes me feel alive. 

	Have I
	been gone
	so long? 

A dead heart
in a chest still breathing?
how to laugh—
what it means
to exist where both 
joy and sorrow do? 

I knew that girl once: 
the puddle dancer
always laughed 
at lightning. 

	& I loved her—
	for all her joy
	full innocence.

Then I was made to watch 
as the rain 
drowned her out.

All at once it became deep
too deep
to splash in. 

For one
	she went under.

But now,
through clumsy steps 
on my kitchen floor
I find I’m teaching her 
to live again. 

Now I find,
I’m teaching her 
                         to dance 
           upon the waves. 

(Image c/o Dyana Wing So on Unsplash)