by Jen Hunt
My Box is a Bag
Or a purse
Or a green, camel tote if you will
Haggled at Petra
A simple set of spoons
Bequeathed to my Pop-Pop
By the Lutheran nun, Sister Lena,
Who raised him at Tabor Home for Boys
After his father left his wife and three children
(His mom couldn't afford to keep her sons by, just the girl)
For as long as I knew him,
Pop-Pop lived in government subsidized housing
In New Jersey, an active AA sponsor
Taking one day at a time
Painting rooms, perfecting apple pies
Pontificating on earth and sky, and
Watching me whenever my mother would fly
Pictures for the Palace:
Story by Flora Fifield, pictures by Nola Langner
A 1950's children's picture book
That should never ever have gone out of print
Generous and creative, Eiji, lived in Japan
With two taunting older sisters
Who made him pawn calendars and red peppers
When he only wanted to paint
The little dreamer snuck into the palace and
Won Emperor's Best Artist
Despite his critics' nays
With a remarkable mural
The details of which I shall not give away--
Through him I remember
When we live true to the passion God has put inside
We are destined to serve before kings
--AS WITH DREAMS,
THIS BOOK SHOULD BE HANDLED WITH CARE—
Zig Tech Monument
After the pit stop in our cottage-bound van
One son's Zig Tech went on the lam
He didn't notice 'til we came late to base.
Then mother-in-law swooped down to solve the case
Attempting to prove her superior, maternal ways:
"We've got to go back right away--
He'll die without his prized shoe mate"
Oh, if only I never made such mistakes!
This shame will be hard to face.
Lord, will help me find the shoe;
You know we can't afford to replace it with new.
Look upon this poor daughter-in-law's fate
Can't you see my honor's at stake?
Wal-Mart is a half hour back
It is dark; and I'm tired and out of whack
Prove to this worry-faced crew
I'm no less a mom, if I chill and trust you.
Besides, if you help me find it tomorrow
They will know my God watches more than just sparrows.
Back to Big Box customer service, promptly, next day:
"Nope, no Zigs turned in here", they say.
So we scour the parking lot, leaving no can unturned
If we go home empty-handed, how my cheeks will burn!
"Check one bin more", an inner voice cries.
"Have we looked there yet, Cal?"
"It's useless, Mom. Why even try?"
But half-way down, camouflaged by things
Crumpled, ketchup'ed and half-chewed:
"Say, could that be? Is it true?
The tongue of your long, lost, hallowed shoe?"
Reached my arm in long to find
The Zig tech had come back in the nick of time
This here is no ordinary shoe
But a testament of God's mercies everyday new
One final kid's book for you to squint
I will never forgive the publisher that let this go out of print:
Elspeth Campbell Murphy's God Hears Me When I Pray
Psalm 23 retold in childlike prose
Retells the ways God loves me, thrills my soul from heart to toes
If you find one in a thrift shop
You are more blessed than you know
Just don't tell me you found it
Unless you want it --"stowed."