Heart Journal Entry. A day among others.
Nine-thirty one morning a boy recalls the sounds and sights
of visiting dad imprisoned for murder.
He’s young and strong and broken already at twelve.
His hands flex into a fist and says,
“I am not like my father, no matter what they say.”
I tell him he’s distinct, whole and separate.
He listens. Hopes, wants to believe
and agrees to continue on a little card
called “next appointment.”
At 11:00 another child of fifteen going on twenty-two
unpacks his mamma’s weekend tripping drugs.
He talks about knives and pills and being pissed off
at his inability to attempt to hang himself.
Strange how I take that as good news.
We take steps to safeguard his safety.
He leaves, says, “Thank you. See ya next week.”
At two-fifteen, twelve life-gushing middle school girls pour in for their time, their group.
They giggle and laugh and devour everything edible. Between games and chatter
we chip away at spotting signs of perverts, scumbags and scammers
and whatever else would prey upon young life.
Come four-thirty they leave fortified, still giggling, innocent with knowledge.
For the first time in several hours I am alone
with seven emails and three voice mails.Who’s first?
I escape to Amazon.com and covet a camera I cannot afford.
Where was I? Yes, inbox/incoming and blinking telephone.
One makes me smile; a boy turning ten called to invite me to his party.
An aspiring photographer sends a still life she’s proud of.
Another teen says his life’s a mess
and wants to know how soon we can meet.
Quiet now, I run the vac and suck up crumbs and chunks of mental scum.
Back and forth, back and forth, I add up little triumphs of the day.
Some dirt doesn’t budge. A guarantee of work tomorrow.
I stack barrettes, orphaned mittens, an agenda book
and a chewed up pen into the lost-and-found box.
At home, a place of choice and peace,
I pet the dog, pour wine and ponder one more day.
For a moment I hold who is broken, elated, fortified and fearful
And wonder what the overnight will bring.
We all go home to whatever home is,
To heroes and bastards wherever home is.
Whatever home is.