Ending Ached, New Year

Last night, I told my mother

I will never get better.

She says I say this

every time, but a smile

finds residence across

my mouth. This isn’t only

PMS magnifying fault

I’ve allowed myself believe

no matter direction my cold feet

travel me. This is me losing

sleep, repeating: There is

nothing to fear. Whispering

inside my head, it’s just the dark.

I close my eyes, picturing you folding

your hands reverent. I stand over frailty

once housing a soul maybe my twin.

We shared fears—death, loss, mistakes.

As I do with mom, I cried over them to you.

Voice firm, Julia, you are too hard on yourself.

I always thought you were scolding, until I recall

your watery eyes, seeming to know my needing right

once and for all times. You knew only Jesus could give

answers human mind doesn’t comprehend. When I

wandered through this desert, leaving school in search

for Him. Instead, I spent hours asking why, Jesus?,

why, Grandma?

why, Mom?

I’;ve failed,

I am a failure.

Between head,

world chaos

I put this fear into collection

you called, asking if I’d pass

copies your way.

This was the last time we spoke.

I’ve wondered if my raw honesty

frightened you as much as the day

grandpa cried peace into my ear

hushing my whole bod

Ask, Magnolia

Magnolia aches Son

inside her stamen—

today I am emptied

all dreams thought center,

she quietly admitted beside

a Jacaranda tree.

Don’t forgot His love, yellowed one.

Though you wither, remembering

elder you have lost, my heart is steadfastly

praying your soul know it is well.

Our Father took delight planting

us together on this spacious hill.

He said, I will go plant little flowers,

seedlings from my own heart.

She lowered her petals exasperated.

I’ve lost a grandmother,

knowing worrisome toil I let

sway my attention.

World or Father above?

Years sunshine, hail, snow,

rain, those roots upheld her.

Aged beauty kept by unseen hand,

leaving without goodbye after midnight.

Dust we come, dust we go

but if hope is a blindfold,

a solace, why does sun’s

burn bring no comfort

upon my sacrificial frame?

Sugar Marie

Author’s Note: The last 9 days have been a blur. The day after learning my Grandma passed away, I wrote this. About the love my grandparents showed each other. I always saw this most clearly in the kitchen, always telling her how they reminded of Lucy and Desi. (except my Grandpa isn’t from Cuba and Grandma wasn’t a redhead.) They argued and made up like Lucy & Desi in I Love Lucy. To me at least.  It was always humorous. I’m pretty sure this piece is a mess, love is the same. A beautiful, giving. receiving, and forgiving mess. Thank you, God for letting me witness how you love us. Oh, the title comes from whenever my grandma dropped something in the kitchen, she would exclaim this. Have I mentioned how much I miss her?


I didn’t expect hyperventilating

hearing God took you back home,

some time last night. sleeping.

Jesus, Jesus, please come sit

beside me, weeping loss

for her, who gave me second mother’s love.

I have since spurted this yolky soul,

watching taste hit my lips, salty bitterness

refilling without my ask.

My head throbs remembering days

I’d come in the kitchen, lean

against the counter or refrigerator,

talking about the mundane of life,

compared to the way you’d prepare

a pot of chili

“Since the weather’s changing,”

you’d say, “getting colder.”

I can’t quite remember

exact wording, but

whenever grandpa came

waltzing through that straight line

kitchen, he’d try sticking his pointer finger

inside the pot. I can still see you:

blue babushka pulling back your short, blonde hair,

a grey sweatshirt with matching sweatpants,

and those squeaky white tennis shoes

standing over the pot, stirring.

Sometimes washing dishes,

a towel draped over your shoulder.

You’d catch him, exasperated:

“Get out of there!”


“It’s just a taste, Marge, relax.”

A smile covering his face.

You always told him, if he could wait

five more minutes and to “go sit down.”

“Okay, dear.” Kissing you on the cheek,

he’d leave to the family room,

Lou Dobbs and him, patient.

Biggest glass, you poured tea

only you could make right,

wedged with lemon.

At this time, I’d be at the table,

as you placed his dish complete

with sour cream and buttered bread,

Rye, set before him.

After he’d finish his second bowl,

you give him the medicine cup

full of colored pills.

Too many for me count,

but you portioned them out

day & night alleviating his ache

even in the midst of your own/

How deep your love

goes, grandpa’s & yours-

small movements of Christ’s love

impressed upon grieved heart

until our eternity is shared.

Pleas From A Granddaughter

She looks up,

fanlight ambient.

Conversation intimate,

she doesn’t want to have invisible.

Grandma, I am angry I didn’t call,

I didn’t say I loved you. I am angry

you are only memories I can recall

now. The time you gave me wine,

instead of grape juice.

We had a clam bake, I think.

Remember? When I tasted, I said,

uhh, grandma, this isn’t grape juice,

your face turned apologetic.

You took the cup away, I hid a smile.

You did, too. Though I swore one

broke halfway. You said, I’m sorry.

I don’t know why I remember

apologies. Any time you accidentally

scared me when I wasn’t expecting

you to talk to me. You would say,

half laughing, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean

to scare you. Or, Julia, it’s just me!

Never upset because you were

jumpy, too. I’m sorry I want to ask

one more enveloping hug,

you to appear without me jumping

almost out of the chair, tell me

I’m going to be alright. Chili will be

ready soon. A dollop a daisy sour

cream, shredded cheddar cheese,

and a piece of white bread to dip,

warm inside my heart. I don’t enjoy

this selfish ache for you back.

Up there with Jesus, you must be

listening while I go swinging moods.

Denial. Fine. Denial. Sadness. Anger.

Over & over, PMS grief I know will be

my companion awhile.

I miss you.

What My Heart Cannot Get: Apology

They say sorry

you passed slumbering

under night covering.

I keep saying, “it’s okay.”

my eyes spurting salt

thinking my body may be made up

100 percent, instead of 95 water.

I can hear you, “dry those tears,

missy” but you aren’t looking behind

from the passenger seat, to me,

your highly sensitive granddaughter,

knowing you’ll watch over me, listen,

but I won’t be able to call anymore,

hear your excitement to pull out

your Bible to help me understand

God’s love for me. Tonight, a woman

gave me pork chops exactly how

you made them. I thought through

my drops, they taste good cold.

I must have made them bitter.

Author’s Note: My grandma passed away yesterday. She’s taught me more about Jesus than I can put it into words right now. She’s the first person I’ve been close to, that I’ve lost. I love you, Grandma. Thank you for loving me exactly as I know Jesus is loving you in Heaven right now.

Until Your Belly Gave Notice


running starved

hard footsteps coming

judgmental in front of stovetop.

Boy, younger, stands readily

holding a left-handed ladle

drowning in juices you did not

drag from behind in heated struggle.

No, your shied brother stiffened upper lip,

strayed not a question for right.

Firstborn. May I be? Spoken

hushed due to temperament.

Oh, the agony gnawing viciously

unseen, maybe unheard to the quiet tongued

child unimagined in my mind’s eye, as is your tummy.

Until you break-erupt: What time do I have for this?

Give me what I so crave! Downed lowered chin

comes salted broth, a flavoring dear brother

watches break animal resistance.

Fall Out

After midnight, my body tingles.
The urge stronger than the tiny light under my door.

You’re alone in the dark.
Indulge your loneliness.
Dip down, get the sensation, firm grasp on love.

You don’t have a boyfriend you can call. Hear him say: I’d kiss you
if I was there, babe. I’d hold you
if I could, babe. Words you’d so easily snug yourself inside-

a wishing well, a dream, an almost
promise for your body, your head.
Your heart can’t take being denied, while your flesh gets fed again.

Desires aren’t a light up,
a smoke puff you let drag
you undesirably, to a grave
you’ve already been saved
from living under.

No, your heart desires
spending nights coming undone
by intimate conversation-
touching on days before,
here and coming.

A pause.
A breathe.
A silence.

I fall asleep,
each defiling thought
growing silent as dreams
take me high, kept under His wing.

Author’s Note: Published in the October issue of The Larcenist. I have extreme jolts of anxiety posting this. Reading back through, I see my heart tangled up in the truth of this. I’m most broken at night. My deepest fears, dreams, questions, doubts come out at night. Not that I’m not broken during the day, I’m just more painfully aware in the dark. I think we all are though. If though this is gritty, hard, and doesn’t feel like I wrote this at all, I can see how Jesus has begun pulling closer, when I start feeling trapped. Like when when I was up last with a billion thoughts wanting sleep, I read this: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. (Isa. 40:11) I felt this overwhelming swell of His love for me. How He tends me to my bedside, when I’m all: “Hey, so I’m about to go down memory lane. I’m about to wonder, wander, and my ‘bah’ will be “why me?”

He whispers His love to me, will never let up until I believe. Even then, I doubt He’ll quit 🙂 He won’t for you either, whatever the issue may be. He’ll speak so tenderly, like a long lost friend you never really forgot.

Unseen, He Cries

I do not live

where a chill

will precipitate flaking

fingers. Not dropping

out from my sockets,

the sky. I will not lie

down, spread my arms

winged motion.

Up. Down. Up.

Down. I will not

laugh childly,

leaving mark upon

the ground I am

found. I will stare

up deep compressing

darkness, asking God,

why is Christmas hard—

why grief meets me

hushed, anxiously petitioning,

please be with me. before

I fall sheepishly under night—

sighing a wish for a birthday

I will not miss. Jesus

slumbering within

His mother’s womb

a fetal prayer

heard by Father

above in groans

interceded intimately.