Sissy polio boy, 1955

I spilled tomato juice on my
flannel shirt my
first year in kindergarten
in a new town with
kids I didn’t know

and they laughed.
It felt like they laughed
at me but
who knows?

When at age four you’ve
just spent weeks in a hospital
and months taking
hot baths and castor oil

but they tell you how lucky
you

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Gardening

How can a virus travel
+++and not love?

Or are we not now all infected
with shame
+++at our human nakedness?

We don’t want to know our own evil
so profess good, pretending
+++to smile without hurting.

So painful.

The Tiananmen butterfly warns us:
cyclones we’ve stirred with our grasping
+++While the world shudders.

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Mark 2:1-12

Lutheran church chancel

As the pastor began to speak the absolution,
+++I stood up and
+++interrupted the liturgy.

“Anyone who looks into their hearts
+++and acknowledges what they find there
+++also finds the power
+++to forgive
+++themselves.”

To the woman on my right
+++I said,
+++“You can still make love

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Advent

"Lights, 2014" by Mike Shell

The world groans.

She cries out under
+++++heartless regimes
+++++propped up by fearful,
+++++hungry people.

The powerless
+++++are driven into homeless exile
+++++in the very battlefields they fled.
Broken,
+++++with their children
+++++stolen from them.

Other ages were more hopeful.

But ours
+++++sees only end times
+++++and flails back

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