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