Furnace Days

Image by skeeze from Pixabay 

I walked out of school.
It was raining.
I was walking with one of the girls from my class.
I knew my mother was parked along the curb waiting for me.

I could see her in the line of cars along with the other mothers.
The girl was walking alongside me and asked me a question.
“Do you know you’re adopted?”
I knew the word, adopted; we had learned that word in our catechism class.

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Moving Forward

I recently saw an ad for another Hollywood remake of one of my childhood favorites, Little Women. I read the book when I was twelve years old and immediately identified with the character Jo, the writer in the family. As I’ve grown older I’ve also identified with Jo’s sister, Amy, an artist, who struggles when she realizes that she has talent but maybe not “genius,” which she craves. It’s one thing to know who you are and quite another to be able to live, or make a living, as who you are—particularly in the artistic professions. But the conflict of juggling personal identity and a profession isn’t limited to creative pursuits; my husband may have been a doctor if he’d been given the opportunity and education early on. He and I both fell victim to the struggle between personal desire and doing what tradition expected of us. 

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As the Waters Cover the Sea

Photo by Ismail Yanim on Unsplash

For the last couple of months I’ve been working on putting my first book of poetry out into the world. It’s only twenty-three poems, but they’re the best of what I’ve got from the last eight years, and my husband and friends have finally convinced me that it’s time to go for it. My daughter offered to help me with the layout and design, and it’s been fun to share this little project with her. I wonder what she thinks about having a mom who writes poems, and is crazy enough to share them with others. But then again, she told us the other day that her English teacher wants to help her publish a children’s book that she wrote. So maybe she does get it.

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Little While Trials

Photo by Ryan Parker on Unsplash

I felt them in my wife’s tummy before they even entered the world. I knew them when they needed us for everything. I feel towards them a protective instinct that even I don’t always understand. It’s an absolutely right and an inherent desire that I do not want my children to suffer. Something would be wrong if I was ambivalent about it; but I equally believe it’s naïve to think that my children will not suffer in this earthly life.

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Illuminating Shadows

When I was young, my mother wrote poetry. As far as I am aware, she rarely wrote just for fun, but mostly as gifts for parents of new babies or as a comfort to friends who had lost a loved one. Her poems were simple yet profound and always received with heartfelt enthusiasm. It made an impact on me. She considered words to be valuable and important gifts worthy of sharing. She joyfully and freely gave them to those she loved. Though not expensive or store-bought, her gifts of poetry were rich in sentiment and the time spent to lovingly and carefully craft them for her intended recipients.

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bleeding in, bleeding out

Orchid – Josie Koznarek

All the time I knew
you carried weight upon your back
in every tremor when you spoke,
in each “I could never…” disbelief;
as if the sin that you held close
was when you reached out to receive.

All the ways I knew
you bought such shame for taking time
in every conversation held,
how all the grasping proved the need
within a hungry heart undone,
that, reaching out, still could not feed.

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