Friday, October 31, 2014

Feelin' Crummy

by Jen Hunt, from the archives, for Calvin, born November 5, 2001
To the tune of Simon & Garfunkel's 52nd Street Bridge (Feelin' Groovy)

Fan on and earplugs in
I lather on the Lotrimin
You guzzle down Nystatin drops
Waa, waa, waa, waa feelin' crummy
No skin off your dear ear-drummies

Hello Calvin, Mommy talking,
I've come to find out why you're squawking
Ain't you got no smile for me
Waa, waa, waa, waa feelin' crummy
Waa waa waa waa gassy tummy

You've got clean clothes to wear,
New diaper and nuk,
I've rocked you and bathed you and read you a book
Bout time you got drowsy, so please settle down
Life's not that bad, says Your Mummy
Waa waa waa waa feelin' crummy

Friday, September 5, 2014

Justin’s Wish

for my nephew, Justin, from the archives

If once, just once, I could have my wish
Every day would be Saturday-ish
Me on my booster, Baby Jo on my right
We’d gobble up pancakes from morning till night
With courses of carrots and cheese in between
Topped off with a gallon of choc’late ice cream

Whenever we tired of stuffing our faces
We’d hop from our seats and have teddy bear races
From down in the play room: On your mark! Get set! Zoom!
We’d dash through the hallway and into my room
Where there’s never a lack of nooks to explore
Whether under a bed frame or inside a drawer

It’s nice being me, with Miss Ann my teacher
One day I really would like you to meet her
My only regret as a toddler/typhoon
Is that I need help to read “Good Night Moon”
Well, also that Christopher hijacks my stuff
You can see why sometimes a guy’s had enough

Friends say I’m loving--I dare say I am
While others insist I can be quite a ham
My folks call me Pumpkin, but Justin means “Upright”
So one day I hope to exceed my dear Dad’s height
Until then, to sum up, I’m active and sweet
The happiest boy you will ever meet

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Time Travel

By Jennifer Hunt, from the archives

Scientists have yet to explain
Why time travels slower in closets

When I was small
I would open Grandmother’s medicine closet
Discovering items not stocked
On drug store shelves for sixty years

Grayed talc, odorless perfume
A squeeze bottle of solution
Designed to paint hosiery
On bare legs
With illustrations for painting seams
Up the back

I never asked why, how, or if
She ever got the lines straight

Whole generations of girls have reached puberty
Without learning how to make their naked legs
Appear hosed
Can we survive this loss?
Will we live to regret it?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

For Sir Christopher Grillo

by Aunt Jen, for my nephew Christopher, from the archives

My name is Sir Christopher Grillo
And I once owned a pet armadillo
Everywhere I went, why, Jed would go too
Till Miss Carol caught on and cried, “Shoo, you!”
At first I felt sad, then I felt mad,
Lastly, I cried on my pillow
Until I came up with an alternate plan
That would prove who was king of the Hill-o
After talking it over with Greg and with Nick
(My favorite partners in grime)
We simply decreed I would just trade Jed in
For a gun shooting strings of blue slime.
As I mentioned the swap to my family that night
Over nuggets the shape of steam engines
From the edge of my plate stared a side dish I hate:
Veggies disguised as stick penguins.
Both mother and father, and wee brother Jus
Are aware I’m no fan of asparagus
So this time they served it, I point-, shot- and squirted
Till blue goo turned everyone’s hair a mess.
With my hands on my ears, and eyes filled with tears
I screamed, “Fruit Loops and pizza--or else!”
At that mom complied, while my poor father sighed,
“Could goo taste any worse than my head smells?”
At bedtime that night, I just didn’t feel right
Though I’m usually good and light-hearted
You might say I fretted, or even regretted
The mess ammo-‘dillo trading had started.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Thank you, God, for growing things

by Jen Hunt, written on 6/8/13
Thank you, God, for sons that mow
Thank you, God, for seed to sow
Thank you, God for sun and spring
Thank you, God, for growing things!

Homage from a Sinner, Saved

by Jen Hunt
My heart an altar, Thy love the flame
I kneel not for any flesh, but for you alone, deign
Even to stretch face down on this mat
Because I am all this and you are all that

Thursday, May 15, 2014

"Chocolate-Coated Somethings", from the archives and it's new sequel, "The Spirit-Freed, Jelly Beaned Me"

Chocolate-Coated Somethings
by Jennifer Hunt, from the archives
Yesterday I received a box
Of twenty-four chocolate-coated
I am one third of the way
Through the somethings.
I have eaten three completely,
Given five away,
Squished the bottoms in
On eight others
Only to put them back in the box,
And forced my husband
To eat the one I nibbled
Only to discover it was
There are newly-poked parts of me
I want to put back
In that chocolate box.
I’ve always preferred
The kind with lids
That give away the insides.
You can pick the ones you like
And leave the rest.
Who has the lid
To me?


The New Spirit-Freed, Jelly Beaned Me
(Jen's long overdue Sequel to "Chocolate-Coated Somethings" that was written in seminary)

Today I bought
One thousand fifteen
Jelly beans
Lime and tangerine
Flecked and swirled
And I can see what color I’m getting
From the get-go
Watch them fall down the clear plastic chute
Into the zip-lock
I’ve poised
At its mouth

They are mine to name
Mine to taste
Or mine to give away
As I see fit
I can eat one today
Two tomorrow
Or five any time in-between
I can choose like colors
Or contrasting ones
Guess the flavor
Or scan the menu
Make strawberry daiquiri
Or blueberry pie
Or stack them
‘Til they touch
The sky

Yes, sometimes
I may confuse
Chocolate for Root Beer
Licorice for Berry or
Find Harry Potter Puke
Whether I’d prefer to or not
But the choice is mine
And the sense is divine
Of tasting and seeing
The guts on my tongue
And naming and
Each and every

You say you have the
Solemn and certified
Authorized, petrified
Lid to me?
I once thought you did too--
Now, though, I say I’m
Cear through that sad
Box of chocolate-covered somethings
And into a Spirit-freed
Jelly-beaned pouch
Of flavors too varied,
Too honest
To count

I still nibble halves
And leave coconut for last
But now
I’ve found
Through choices I make--
No matter the flavor
Being me is just great

* * *

"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!" Psalm 34:8a
"Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me." Psalm 139:7-10
"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10

Friday, May 9, 2014

What They Saw on the Family Bike Ride

by Jen Hunt, from the archives

"I need to do some exercise every day," he had said upon getting home from work tonight. And this time she believed him, though he had said something similar many times before and given up on it if not two weeks later, then two days. So tonight, instead of the usual routine of dinner followed by the lethargic, dulled conversation brought on by overeating cheap, unimaginative and unwholesome meals--"what do you want to do tonight?"-- "don't know, tired"--they tried having their fun first and leaving the meal till later--too hell with their stomachs or the clocks. Graham said he'd get the bikes ready if Jen readied the kids. They were one and four, easier to pull in a bike trailer than to walk five steps with, that is once you strapped them in, which wasn't always easy since the younger had fits and fights with anything which constrained him, be it a stair gate, reprimand, diaper change table or buckle such as the one which unfortunately had to be used when using the bike trailer Jen had found at the nearby toy store chain, new, for less than half the asking price of the more prestigious brand sold on E-bay by working parents who had used them five times or less. She remembered this with pleasure often as she followed behind Graham and the boys on her bike which she was doing just now, looking at the orange triangle on its low back and imagining it a miniature Amish carriage.

Jen found it much easier to feel alive while biking, awaked by the irregular vibration of the pebbles under her tires and the cool, clear wind that smoothed the face and sent untied hair flapping and dried opened eyes, easier than she ever felt at home, either before, during or after a meal. It was something about the blood, stirred as it was by the pedaling that helped her see better, hear better, think better. This she liked, though about what she thought or heard or saw was usually something of little consequence and wholly unremarkable--or at least that is what she would tell herself. And usually she believed it, at least on the surface, which is where life is lived for those who think the things of life worthless unless one can receive a pay-check for them, and which she, being a stay-at-home mom certainly never was. And because she believed it, she saw precious little. However, on this evening, despite all that she usually told herself, there was something remarkable to see with her pedal-cleared eyes, there, in front and below her, not twenty yards away, down the bank in the curve in the river. Yes, a thing, a happening. One, two or more "things" she couldn't yet tell. "What is that?" she called Graham to stop.
"Can't tell if it's beaver, muskrat or what," she continued. "Down there, on the right by the edge of the river."
And she couldn't either. But whatever it was -- rather, the two were (there were two, now she could make that out at least in the searing shint of the setting sun) they were clearly having fun. Swimming roughly, quite roughly, in a circle the size of a large washing machine and pawing at each other like two playful otters. So much like otters that Graham thought at first that they must be related. Or perhaps they were woodchucks like the ones they often saw dashing for their holes as they passed along the trail at sunset. And for the first few moments Graham and Jen had stopped biking to watch them that was the supposition. "They look as if they are happy to finally have warmer water," said one of them. "Bet it's hard to be a woodchuck in Wisconsin in the winter," said the other both reading their own thoughts and emotions onto the scene.

Only as the creatures bobbed around and around and they got a lasting view the woodchuck theory became increasingly less convincing. For one thing, it was hard to make out anything close to the fur of a large rodent on either of them. Jen was almost certain of this because she had been to Heritage Hill's fur trader exhibit just a few hours earlier for the Memorial Day WWII reenactment where Calvin, the one year old, had been allowed to touched the real things-- beaver, badger and muskrat skins--up close, calling each one, in turn, "Bunny." And another thing, despite what they had imagined they had seen for the first few moments of their current stop, the longer they looked they began to realize that they could not find on either form the happy, upturned faces and obnoxiously boyant bellies one would expect to see in an otter's cousin. The coloring, too, was off--a muddied brown with not a little green in it. Jen was the first to suspect that these were no members of the mammal family at all. But to what family they did belong still baffled. She strained to find a category to fit. Jen found it hard to shake the initial assumption there had been hair on the two friends, and she tried imagining turtles covered in it. Furry Reptile? No, that wouldn't do. There was nothing in any of the many zoos she had visited as a child or now with her own children, in old fairy tales or even in her highschool evolution textbooks with a hybrid like that. And so in their curiousity and in the shade of the new spring trees on the crook of the bike trail as a few, less fortunate bikers passed, oblivious to it all, Graham and Jen stood before the playful, spinning, snipping, flapping, pawing pair and scratched their heads.
It was only after Jen had finally rejected the notion of fur entirely that she could begin to see the figures accurately enough to determine their species, let alone their class or family. It was not that the lighting had changed at all. In fact, it still forced a squint on them both. It was the shift in mental perspective. All categories swept aside, the otter's tail became much longer and more pointy than they had originally supposed, and the otter's belly that they had both tried to make out and failed, had become flatter, larger and more round. The otter's pointed smiling face, impossible to spot previously, had now turned southward and become more boxy, and sharpened at the tip so that the happy, bobbying back-floating rodents could now be seen for what they in fact were--two rather large, right-side-up, clumsy snapping turtles engaged in some form of mating dance. It struck Jen just then how very much the turtles (as they now most clearly could be seen to be) were she and Graham. Slimy, swimming snappers, biting each other and wacking each with puffed, clawed flippers in their Escherian dance for two. This is all she and Graham or the snapping turtles had ever known of love. Or had anyone else, she suspected.
"They're turtles. They're mating. " is all Jen said.
"O my goodness. I think you're right." said Graham who did not say that lightly or often, no matter how often he thought it, which he didn't. He was now equally sure.
"Can you believe it? Mating."
"What is mating?" rang a question from the four year old Jen had almost forgotten. He was tall enough to see past the tall grass down to the spot Graham and Jen had been eyeing and had seen it all along with them.
Jen looked behind here to see a someone on foot approaching. "We can talk about that at home. Later," said Jen.
But when she got home later the question was forgotten in all her dinner preparations and by then her oldest had forgotten as well.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Matron of Honor and the Maitre D

by Jen Hunt, from the archives
First line borrowed from Mary Herbert,
Countess of Pembroke, (1561-1621)
The Sidney Psalter, Psalm 139

O whither might I take my way,
Sophia, Maitre D, dark and deep-voiced,
Keeping to the shadows yet a lighthouse?
Point me through this frenzied, mirrored maze
This gold gilt factory of brides awaiting recess—
Chrome capstone to a Long Island love affair—
For I come from one wedding among seven
As one soul among millions
On the sixth of May

I find no rest-
Room sign to guide me to a private stall
Shell-shaped sinks and toilet guards elude me.
I stand white and tall in my sheath
As smooth, as stony, as singular
As a Grecian maiden balancing a birdbath--
But love is a two-columned wonder
Vowed Gebron the Prophet slipped
Within the Book of Common Prayer this morning!
Who will guide me, for a fee
A matron of honor forgetting my way
Down a hall I’ve never seen?

Ah, how foolish!
I have been there once before,
Before the photographer snapped
His fill and filled his wallet,
When I, clutching the bride’s shear train, kept it from
Snagging on the carpet and sagging in the john.
There, before the band cooed through electric air
“I Only Want to Be with You” to the dancing pair
While a winding rope of dancing worshippers
Replied “And you! And you! And you!”—
Those who had mouthed the morning’s prayers
Together with those who slept in

Sophia bids me, “Go next door and sip white zinfandel.
For there is no pink lemonade here.”
But when I have drunk my fill and have
The urge to go, I must stay in my sheath.
For if I switched to blue overalls and sandaled my feet
The restroom doors would surely close
In this mirrored world where ladies’ rooms bar ladies
And serve wenches.

I sure was in a cynical mood when I wrote this one. It is not meant to tarnish the event where the inspiration for it occured, let the bride understand.

Family Manners Rhymes

Reminders when our boys were small
by Jen Hunt, from the archives

Whenever you come to our nice mealtime table
Please sit as still and speak as softly as you’re able

Forgot to pray before you chewed?
Shame, shame, shame on you, you, you!

One of your mother’s last, dying wishes
Is that you remember to clear off your dishes

A bed is a bed, except (can you guess?)
When it’s one big, awful, unmade mess
It’s not too hard to start your day right
Just straighten your sheets when you’re done for the night

Dressers are great, see all of their drawers!
We have them so that we can walk on our floors
Without them, you’d find your route clogged with huge piles
So put clothes away and you’ll bring your feet smiles

Hark! Who goes there? I hope it’s not you
Please use the front door, then take off your shoes
Oh, and hang up your coat—need I say more?
Yes, the very best way to keep dirt off the floor
Is to always come in through the front garage door

Whenever you’re done with your shower or bath
Pick up any tub toys or towels in the path
Then after you’ve dried off and combed all your hairs
It’s time for jammies and nighttime prayers

Toothbrushes help keep your teeth when you’re older
But please, once you’ve brushed, put them back in the holder!

Whenever Mom/Dad calls you to go
Please don’t move in slow-mo

If you’re in the mood for food
You better ask your mom first, Dude

Please keep dirty paws
Off our furniture and cloths

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Truth Be Told

By Jen Hunt
Inspired by meditating on Mark 8:22

He has spit and put mud
On my eyes
And now I am
On the spot

He asks, Do you see anything?
It seems like a simple yes or no question
I should just say yes
And leave it at that
For how can I admit
I see trees walking
In front of the ones who brought me
And begged for my healing?

Then again
How could he ask me here
In front of them
For if he’s God, surely he knows the answer
What kind of cruelty is this?
But all I see are trees walking
Truth be told

If I say I see trees where the people should be
It's plain as day
There's either something wrong
With me
Or with Jesus
Who would you believe?

Jesus has done miracles
That is without doubt
Many miracles
Or so I’ve heard
(Thankfully my ears, they work fine)
Usually all at once
Usually completely
No mud or spit required

The problem can’t be him...

So if I’m honest
About the little matter of the mobile trees
I’ll be back where I was
At the beginning
Only worse
Publicly certified to be
“Irretrievably Miracle-Proof”
A badge of distinction
I’d rather not wear
In these parts
Truth be told

On second thought
Maybe this is how people are supposed to look
Maybe everyone sees this way
And my eyes just haven't adjusted yet
Who can trust their perceptions anyway?
I think I’ll just say
I’m seeing great--
Great, I say!
Thanks, Jesus
This is swell
I could fool my friends
And maybe even me
For a time
Plus it would fit so much neater into the Good Book
With all the other go-and-tell-no-one’s
If this had just worked
Like it was supposed to

But truth is
I’m seeing trees

I’ll just say, Yes,
I see something, alright
And be done with this
Embarrassing mess of a miracle

Then again
He won’t be fooled
And I won’t see
Any better

Do I see anything, he says
Again, if he is God, why does he bother asking?

Jesus, don’t take this the wrong way
But would you be so kind as to--
Oh, I can’t even say it!
What if I am the only one so flawed
Even Jesus’ touch can’t fix me--
Now that’s defective--

I wouldn’t be surprised though
This really should have worked the first time
Shame on
How dare I even hint
He do this over?

Then again
What do I have
To lose?

The scene plays itself out
In my head
Like an movie projector
Turned inward:
Jesus would you be so kind as to ...
Try again
To not give up on me
Because I’d so like to see clearly
And my friends here were counting on it

Then he,
Marking my thoughts,
Puts his hands on my eyes
A second time
No apologies
No rebukes
Because that is what I needed to be whole
What I had sought to begin with
And what he always wanted to give

He’s powerful enough
To do anything right
First time
If I ever doubted it before
I cannot possibly now
So why the redo?
Why the installment plan miracle
For me

Perhaps fixing eyes
Wasn’t the only spectacle
On display
But also
Truth in the inner parts
Honest insight of myself
To myself
My God
And others
If I hadn’t dared to answer plainly
Right there
With Jesus
In front of all those who were
A bit impatient--I dare say, annoyed--at my bluntness
(Truth be told)
I might never have seen clearly
But only trees walking always
Sight not a gift, thereafter
But a curse haunting me
All the more

Sometimes with friends
Especially those awaiting some miracle
To be done in me
I want to tell them
What they want to hear
What fits their spin of the redemption story
Or worse
I want to tell Jesus
What I think he wants to hear
Rather than
What’s really going on inside
And how it all seems to me
Like it or not

But when I do
I remember
Him asking me
If I see anything
Him taking the time to ask
Him, believing, not rebuffing
And him showing messed-up, miracle-proof me
He has a few more tricks
Up his sleeve
Truth be told

Sometimes I still see trees walking
But because I’m risking and trying
And turning to him
There’s healing to be found
For my blind spots
Even yet

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thank You Limerick

by Jen Hunt, from the archives
Written to thank a wonderful father-in-law, who loved limericks, for taking his entire clan to Europe(England, France and the Isle of Jersey) for his 65th birthday

There once was a Brit lad named Alan
Who possessed a remarkable talent
For lim’ricks, rock-skipping
And low-water fishing
With grandsons in tow he looked valiant

Two relations who traveled together
Had names differing just in one letter
On the plane the crew claimed
They were one and the same
So they shared a seat and a large sweater.

There once was a generous gent
Who gave his kids 5,000 pence
And a UK jet ride
For his sixty-fifth’s pride
His renown for the act was immense.

Customized Beatitude

I thoroughly enjoyed the Biblical Imagination seminar I went to recently. We ended the time each taking half an hour to write our own Beatitude based on Matthew 5:1-12. This was what I wrote(modified since then):

Blessed are those who are nobodies at home, for they shall know the favor of God.
Blessed are those who have lost good dreams, for they shall find God wasn't lost with them.
Blessed are those with stale souls and empty pockets, for they shall learn, “That’ll do”.
Blessed are the whittled-down bruised-brains, for they shall have the mind of Christ.
Blessed are those who want something Apple doesn’t sell, for they shall receive something that needs no upgrades.
Blessed are the abused who let God do the score-settling, for they will be healed inside.
Blessed are the worthlesses who ask for help anyway, for they will taste true delight.
Blessed are the apology-champs, for who they resemble is plain to all.
Blessed are you when you are misunderstood, marginalized or manhandled for me. Rejoice and be glad for something better is on the way.

Friday, April 4, 2014


by Jen Hunt, from the archives

Jesus, if it weren’t for my nagging wife
my ninety-six minute commute
my hair loss
my loss of nerve
the new car payments
the cold coffee
the sins of my past
the late-night TV
the K-mart specials
the tight elastic of my underwear
this cold which never seems to go away
and the comfort of inertia

I’d have tried you by now

Friday, March 14, 2014

Zachary Robert Miller

by Jen Hunt, from the archives

Pickin’ it up
Put it right down
Zachary Bob’s
The best dude in town
Wakes up kinda sluggish
Lives on PB and nuggets
A definite Miller
None can dance sill-er
From Yahtzee to poker
World’s Favorite Joker
Athletic and funny
A run for your money
Donovan and Westbrook admirer
Permanent Eagle jersey attire
Best friend to call in a pinch
Pure gold, every inch

Aunt Jen

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Sanctuary

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:10
By Jen Hunt, in honor of the Baudhuins departure for seminary, from the archives

Weekly and weak
I return to this shore. Baffled,
Yet balmed to see

Brash sand sculptors mock the tide
With its too-soon waves
That lap, then leave, and lap again,

Till all is lost and
The barren shore rests
Flat, yet moist--

No trace of craft enduring,
Save in soul clay

Here, in the swish and grime
Bare toes, dizzied, curl tight,
Re-righting their stance at the rim of majesty

A chin shakes; knees quake
Ears --and fears—pop! Deafened by the din
Of rattled hearts and cancelled sin

The world’s crimes hang clean
And sweet as slips on wash day
The wind whips through and through,

Sets all in proper place--
Such rare force, grace--
God stretches; I shrink

The ceiling’s not where I think,
Here, where chalk writing leaves
Indelible ink


by Jen Hunt, from the archives

You who tally
Pin head dancers
Who trade omnipotence
For mind games
Who deem all-power
Reason treason,
The scribbling of square
Circles or the like,
Face a force
Proved by one
Pure-footed trek
On soiled soil
The feat of which
Sends pins and
Needles up the spine--
See how
The Almighty
Rends small mind's
Infinite loops

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Written in memory of my mother, on Mother’s Day 2006

The week before my mother died
I held her arm, rubbed her feet
Left fingerprints on her flesh
Like some patented memory pillow
Kept random conversation
About mis-matched earrings
The plight of Israel
The twenty-five inches of snow
Just outside her third floor window that had melted in a day
And explored the parameters of chaos

Edema had bloated her
So that she was like a half-leaked balloon
You might find the week after a birthday party
In some odd corner of the house
Hovering down by the heat registers,
Travelling sleepily wherever the air wanted it to go

She was a good mother
The kind who knows to wrap the string
Round her child’s wrist
To avoid the tears when balloons fly off
Her hands brushing my bangs aside
And straightening my socks

Yet now, I stood bare-wristed
Teared eyes tracing her spent form
As she soared skyward toward home
I was the child wiping bangs from her cold forehead
Alone in a room with flowers that had bloomed
And lost their scent

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dandelion Wine

For my Mom, from the archives

There's a chore my momma gave me
meant to free me from her hair,
"Go on past the old grain storehouse
to the ground patch by the well
Take some scissors in your pocket
and an empty paper bag,
fill it to the top with yellow
dandelions, for your mom"

"Momma, what ya need with dandies?
aren't they just a worthless weed?
Wouldn't buttercups be better?"
"No, it's dandeli'ns I need
Get 'em now while they're still budding
Lest they fade and blow away
When you're done, you'll hear a secret
But for now, get on your way"

So I walked out past the storehouse
to the hillside near the pool
and kneeled down to pick the dandies,
though I felt some like a fool
When the bag I brought had swollen
And no more would fit inside
I stood up, to go back homeward
And my hands were yellow dyed

"Good, you did just like I asked you
See that bag is nice and full
Now come here and let me show you
what I'll make with all you pull'd"
Then she rolled the antique milk urn
which stood just as tall as me
from the corner of the kitchen
and got out her recipe

So she poured in all them flow'r tops,
Adding grapes and sugar too,
"Just you wait until it ferments,
See what dandelions can do"
Dandelion wine's a myst'ry
Not sure who first thought it up
But once you add in all the extras
Smells like heaven in a cup

In my few short years of livin'
Mom's the only one I know
Who can find a use for somethin'
Others try their best to mow
She made sweet wine from a lawn flow'r
Better try it to believe,
Tastes so sweet, you'll never notice
That the staple is a weed

Guess I've learned a thing 'bout livin'
From the chores Mom sent me through
Cause not everyone will tell you
Where to look for heaven's brew
But that's just her and my sweet secret
No one else would understand
Why we run on yellow hillsides
Gathr'ing weed tops with our hands

When I think about my Savior
Leaving heaven for a hill
With a kind eye and a purpose
For a bag he planned to fill
It's a tribute to his mercy
And his strange economy
That a rose who lo e're bloomin'
Picked a dandeli'n like me

Monday, February 10, 2014

Intake Form Request

by Jen Hunt

Lord, I entered this field
Because I wanted to help people
And find I am
Drowning in forms
Tidy boxes I must fill
To justify my help
To those who hold the purse strings
Therapists and paperwork
Make strange bedfellows
If I am not mindful
These forms might
Lock clients
In stigmas
And block
My weary heart
From truly seeing those I see
As I type
Remind me of the people
For whom these fields exist
That the unseen boxes “Heard”
Or “Known”
Or “Loved”
Be not left barren
On their forms

Friday, February 7, 2014

You know what, God?

by Jen Hunt, in the style of her favorite children's author, Elspeth Campbell Murphy, from the archives

You know what, God? Yesterday was Valentine's Day.

I got lots of cards and stuff from people in my family. There was a heart-shaped card from my son, Alden, woven with pink and purple strips of paper, and also a bunch of white roses from my husband, Graham. They're white, just the color I wanted, not red like the stores say you have to get if you're in love, but they're my favorite just the same. I wrapped tulle and ribbons around the vase for good measure. You really should see them.

Then, did I forget to tell you? I got cards from my Mom and Dad, my sister, my mother-in-law, and Ga-ga, and a total of five dollars for candy.

It's nice to feel loved. And it feels good to love others, too. That's why I sent them back cards Alden and I had made with sponge paint and a paper punch.

But you know what really amazes me?
I knew for sure you loved me, yesterday, God.
Me. Really me. You gave me a Valentine with my name on it.

Every time I go to the second-hand store, I check the kid's bookshelf looking for some Elspeth Campbell Murphy books for my collection. I haven't found one in years. Yesterday I looked again because I had time, and besides, it was my friend Debbie's turn to watch my kids. Still nothing. But then I walked by the clearance section--and from the corner of my eye I saw one popping out. One I didn't have yet! Then I found another. And another. And one more. I kept looking for more, because I just about thought I was in heaven. But that was all there was. Still, four is a lot more than I could have hoped for. And not only that, they were all marked 5/99cents! Can you believe it? They must not be worth much to the resale store, but they're worth a lot to me. I even paid $18 for one of her books online.

I don't know how those books got to the clearance section when I had never even spotted them on the regular bookshelf. You know what I think? I think you must have put those books there just for me . . . to tell me how much you love me. You know exactly how to love me best.
Jesus, you love me better than everyone else in my life: better than my mom and Dad, better than my sons, better than my friend Debbie, even better than my husband. That's because you know me better than anyone else. You don't stop even though you know the yucky things I think, like when I wished my Graham would jump in a lake because he didn't notice how decorated my bedroom. Or when I was glad my friends lost the board game so I wouldn't look so dumb. You loved me enough to take the punishment those yucky things deserve, just so I could enjoy being with you and loving you forever.

That's kind of how Jeremiah must have felt when you told him:
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

You sure love me, God. Me, really me.
Thanks again. Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 3, 2014

"Villain!" Cried the Forlorn Lover

by Jen Hunt, A Valentine Acrostic, from the archives

"Villain!" cried the forlorn lover when
At long last I appeared
Long since had our meal time vanished
Even though my date book's eared
Needful of a phone call service
To remind me of my vows
I returned with mouse-shaped catnip to my favorite fe-meow
Never thought the day would come I'd break a promise to my pet
Everything has gone to pot since I found the Internet

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mapquest and my quest

I can see the destination
On my iPad
Try as I might to drag the route
To the scenic side
I fail
My clumsy fingers are too big to grab hold
I never find the right way back

I turned northward one roundabout too soon
It took me to a town I hadn't passed before

I got sidetracked thinking about
the unsolvable knot that is
I am tired and
I can't think anymore

I need to rest before I can face this
When I do, only then
I will be able to trust
How is it I need to be refreshed
in order to wait well?
I thought it would be more draining to act and control
than to do nothing
I was wrong.
In truth waiting on God
takes all the energy one has
It is far easier
just to try and control the outcome
Who knew?
So I must rest
And let the quest

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Christmas in July

Given to my niece, Emily Watts, with a Fisher Price Little People Nativity Set in honor of her first birthday

Emily Anna Watts
You’re the only niece I’ve got
And I do love you a lot
Though you’re still a wee little lady.
And there is so much
I want you to know
About God, the One who made thee

But you haven’t even learned to write or bike
Or manage companies
What language could I possibly speak
Held here between glory and
Diaper leaks?
It seems too much
To put in a birthday card
Too much to grasp
Even if one thinks hard

But who am I to say
You are too young, anyway?
Wasn’t the Kingdom granted to such small ones?
So, why not send you
Some solid symbol
To whet your tender soul a thimble
Tell you of a God so humble
Who causes kings and rules to stumble
But wouldn’t break the faintest reed
So gentle his yoke
So sure his feet?
That honor needn’t wait
Until December, need it?
Which is why I came to
Giving Jesus in July

It’s not as odd as you might think--
See the red and green bow I swapped for pink--
His birth being ever near
The hearts of those
Who would adore him
No matter the age or time of year

He was once was smaller than you are now
Warmed by breath of sheep and cows
In a place that smelled of dung
Where no mobile but a night star hung
Laid there at the perfect season
For a very special reason
That you might know the greatest love
Any child can partake of
A free gift, just like this present
Only better, being heaven-sent
Not from Wal-Mart’s Site-to-Store,
Plastic and inanimate
But living, breathing, Spirit-lent--
If only you could believe it!
(And so you may, one day)

Alas, sweet lass
I fear my waxing eloquent is lost
On one so young and wonder-tossed
Far better you just tear the paper
And hold the baby in the manger
Plastic hay and donkey brays
Will suffice for now (and sound less strange-r)

You can pretend to be Mary
Or a palm tree
Or a king
And Dad can be a shepherd
And Mom can angel-sing
And you can cradle Jesus there
Upon your dimpled knee
Imagining his love so big and form so small with me

Merry Birthday, Emily
May you, from now with endless glee,
Delight in the Lord Jesus Christ
and your Nativity.
With love and hope and deepest faith,
Your God-struck Aunt Jenny

P.S. How nice it is to have a niece
One red-haired, even better!
If I could, I’d wrap the whole world up for you
But maybe that will have to wait ‘til birthday number two

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cyber Hibernation

By Jennifer Hunt, from the archives

Leave the house.
Try your
Charlie Brown-empty
Round a corner.
Crane your neck.
Falter, child-like,
Groping for plane
Like wobbling bubble
In carpenter’s level.
Grab hold the horizon.
Hang on for dear life.
From bland swaths
Of TV screen snow
Adjust your eyes

Aim to decipher
The cumulo-strati.
Learn God’s cuneiform.
From watery depths
Unplug both ears
To leaf and lark.
Discern each line
Of fall’s concerto—
Her rotted pecan
Her foot-crunched leaf
Imbibe dusty Autumn’s
Drygood musk.
Inhale her stale
Box of crackers.
No junkmail here
Dig in.

Friday, January 17, 2014

This is the woman with satin hair

From the skit "Guilt Super-sized" by Jen Hunt, from the archives

This is the woman with satin hair
Who hugs her children and their bears
Who practices law from the wee morning hours
And grinds wheat for her own bread flour
Whose every word is spiced with wit
Whose kids speak French and have no zits
Who works out daily at the Y
And bakes blue ribbon cakes and pies
Who volunteers at St. Vincent De Paul
And hardly ever sleeps at all
Whose husband helps around the house
Who always wears a fresh-pressed blouse
Who keeps a garden and a pet
And never, ever, gets in debt
Who minds her figure and her stocks
And beats the pants off Goldilocks

Friday, January 10, 2014

A fern is a fern is a fern

by Jen Hunt, from the archives

I have only seen one fern this winter
Besides those memorialized in vinyl
On my bathroom floor,
The floor I have cleaned like a handmaiden
The floor I have wished gone
Since the day we moved in.
An immigrant from Home Depot,
(The fern, mind you, not the floor)
I called her Charlotte
At less than ten dollars
A cheap cure for lonely winters.

When the landlord said no pets
She could not have meant plants
But we all know those extravagant
Bostons shed like dogs,
And, well, that’s more vacuuming
For someone
In a home where kids are little and feet are feet
So I was not wholly shocked when my husband
Noting her consumption of the living room
Sent her away
For which I remained stiff until spring

Friday, January 3, 2014

Optical illusion/Spiritual Reality

Slivers of black and white
Rub past each other
When I turn the first page
Of my son’s book
A horse gallops across

Small sinners serving
Placed side-by-side
Spying from the corner
The world sees
Christ at hand