Page one-hundred-seventy-one.

Check it.

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he grinned.
This is Him.
Jesus.
Only Jesus.
He was the Messiah,
promised on the earth.
The spirit of truth.
He would soften hearts.
He was the Master.
He loved.
I do believe, Lord.
Help my unbelief.

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Tidal Waves

I was chasing the moon home, as if I could beat it.
Convinced that I was not as small as I felt
and that two people couldn’t be as separated as they were
when the sky bound them together.
And as I drove,
I felt like a child,
curled under a celestial blanket.
It promised me of my worth;
it sheltered me with whispers of greatness.
This was how I felt that night.
As if I was meant to be something,
and the world knew my future but couldn’t reassure me
because I didn’t speak its language.
The words of the sky are not composed of letters
but of breaths and silences.
And in those silences,
I didn’t feel so disconnected.
The air hung over the darkening hills,
blue with humidity and promise.
When I wondered what I would become,
the indigo air absorbed my fear.
It enveloped the visions of solitude and singularity
and gave me breath to fill the shallow spaces in my lungs
and my heart.
It embraced the repetitive words and
the fragmented
lines.
the fragmented
lines
it enveloped.
And in the only language I could understand,
it read to me my best stories,
and those stories finally sounded real.
If the poems run together someday
and no one cares to listen anymore,
I will have that.
My stories,
carried on the faint winds of a humid evening.
I don’t know when night drives became my drug.
(Probably around the same time that
poems started to bridge the gap).
But if it’s a fix I need,
I’d rather get it under the cover of darkness.
A black sky,
connecting me to whatever I am
and whoever you are.
And whoever is in between.
Including myself.
As I drove,
the fireflies created for me an everlasting Space Mountain.
More guarantees of adventure
along some winding path through obscurity.
And as I flew into the supposed oblivion,
I pretended their twinkling was the sleeping souls of birds,
awake at night even as they slept
burrowed in a nest far above the road.
People could be like that.
Alive at the times no one presumed them to be.
Seen most clearly
and most beautifully
when they didn’t intend to be seen at all.

Night wore on,
but I kept hearing more.
The moon was getting farther and farther away
and I was that moon.
An illusion of closeness.
Under the same grand blanket,
anything could seem small and big all at once.
That night,
it began to stop mattering.

That frightening moment when your bread gets stuck in the toaster and you think the house will burn down.

My puppy is sick.  And this phenomenon has taught me two things, the first being that I am not good with sick puppies.

The second, though, is a bit more profound: I can do nothing to make Toast stop being sick.  I can’t fix him.  And that is a lesson that has had me standing at the feet of God, eyes downcast, chewing my bottom lip.  It’s what I do when I need something, but am too proud to ask.  Except with Toast, I don’t have time for pride.  Which is why I’m finally giving into the lesson.

We’re pretty sure it’s just the flu.  Two days ago, I didn’t know dogs could “just get the flu.”  I thought they had to eat something, or be bitten by something, or cuddle up with some other sick dog in order to get sick themselves.  But apparently, I was wrong (it happens).  Toast was fine, then he started acting like a human who has the flu, except he didn’t complain as much.  The vet said it is probably just the flu.  But in my head, Toast has been dying a cruel and horrible death, and it has psyched me out.  I didn’t know I could love an animal so much.  But this is the first time in a very long time that I’ve been afraid of death.  Almost a year ago, a couple close family members got sick and there were moments where it wasn’t looking wonderful.  I was scared then.  But everything turned out okay.  And now, Toast’s flu has scared me just as much.

You think I’m crazy, don’t you?

Let me explain.  Toast came into my family at a time when we needed him.  A lot.  I’m convinced that his existence is nothing short of the amazing and merciful hand of God, a God who fashioned this silly little dachshund, the runt of the litter, and sent him to us.  He knew we would need a distraction, a little ball of excitement and innocence.  I can say with a decent amount of certainty that I did not understand unconditional love until Toast fell in love with me.  And then, I with him.  When we first got him, he wouldn’t leave our laps.  He was my sister’s birthday present (and though I doubt she’ll read this, she would be exceptionally peeved if I didn’t mention that fact), but he loved each of us right away.  He needed us.  I think we needed him more.  When we come home, he runs to us and jumps straight into the air, nipping at whatever piece of clothing he can reach.  He sleeps in our arms on the couch.  He chases us around the house – he is the fastest little thing.  He likes to bark at bunnies and birds, as if he’ll catch them.  When he’s caught me crying, he sits on my lap and licks my face – you can say he just likes the taste of tears, but I know there’s more.  It’s like he wants me to know that he is with me.  When I’m not sure of anything, my goofy little dog is sure of me.

God has used Toast so many times in so many ways, and only now am I realizing it.

Tonight I was the only one home with Toast for a few hours, and the entire time, I kept my hand on his chest as he slept, making sure of the rise and fall.  My friend’s dog died suddenly a few months back.  She ate something.  Then she died.  That’s what has me frightened.  I know it’s silly.  I’ve watched kids just as sick before.  Children – like, the human kind.  I’ve worked at camp with kids who get hurt badly, and it’s my job to run damage control.  I can do that.  I can nurse a child with the flu.  I don’t freak out when a kid gets a cut and won’t stop bleeding.  I don’t immediately think anyone is going to die when they say they have a stomachache.  People can tell me what hurts; they can tell me what they need and I know I can take care of them.  Or I can get them to someone who can.  But with Toast – it isn’t like he can just explain what is wrong.  He can’t tell me if he ate something bad.  He can’t ask me for water or food or an extra blanket.  He just looks at me, eyes half opened and sad, as if he wanted nothing more than to sleep forever.  As if it was the only thing he could do.  To me, a dog with the flu looks strikingly like a closing scene in a film with a human on the threshold of death.

I’ve got the brain of a writer, a brain I can’t shut up.  I make up scary things, things I couldn’t handle if they were true.  Things with a million implications and a million solutions, and not one that is within my power.

I can’t fix my dog.  I can help him, but I can’t fix him.  I can’t make him better.

I can’t fix a lot of things.  I can help, but I can’t fix people, or the world, or myself.  But I have a God who does immeasurably more than I would ever think to do, even on my best and most faithful days.

Tonight, I am thankful for that.

 

Page two-hundred-forty.

An altered book poem to break things up (unless that’s all that I’ve been posting… I had these things scheduled in advance so for all I know, apocalyptic happenings could have commenced, and these poems still keep appearing).

________________________

the weapons favor the invisible,
panic-stricken struggle.
armed with fright
in a dark universe,
all the others were wild.