Barefoot in the dirt outside our tent
in the dark, I bend back my head
and open my heart to the night.
I hope to see heaven unravel
as galaxies take up the thread
then spin, then stretch, as
vast, practiced hands
join woof with warp
until smooth folds of time become
measureless yards of
absence and substance—
endless bolts of evidence
unrolling across the sky.
Meanwhile, one by one,
after billion-year trips,
photons land without fanfare
in my eyes, in my hair,
each quantum a jewel that
graces the dirt where I stand.
This is the upper-left corner of a postcard that my grandmother, Emily Harriet, wrote to her younger sister Mary Joe in, let’s say, the 1910s. On the back is a photo of the Federal P. O. Building in San Antonio, Texas. It was a towered castle worthy of a haunting, and it’s now long gone. So maybe it, too, has become a ghost….
Why do I love tales of space travel
when I know my heart would break
if never again could I walk beneath these clouds?
Just as I pushed “Up,” the elevator doors opened, and out stepped a guy in a tweed overcoat, buttoned, collar up. A hospital gown peeked out below the coat, barely covering the spindly bare knees, and bright yellow no-slip socks covered his feet. He shot me a guilty look, then broke into a trot as he hustled across the lobby toward the doors.
“Wait!” I shouted, as he exited into the winter sunshine. “Stan!”
The guard behind the lobby desk followed Stan with his eyes, then turned to me.
“No worries,” he said. “Happens all the time. We’ll get ‘im.”
The hospital chaplain’s normally gone at this point, because you’re dead, after all, and your loved ones are gone. But for some reason I don’t want to leave you just yet. Your sister and your friends made for the elevators just minutes after the RN noticed your death on her monitor and joined us in the room to whisper “He’s gone.” Booming news, delivered like a puff of smoke. Relief and grief; exhaustion and adrenaline….
In 2023 I completed my Master’s thesis on the topic of how healthcare chaplains perceive and can mitigate the effects of bias towards racialized groups in U.S. healthcare institutions, and I had the help of a terrific faculty thesis advisor, Lonnie Valentine….
I’m proud to have my song “Go in Peace” included on the latest album from Abbey of the Arts, The Love of Thousands: Singing with Angels, Saints & Ancestors. It’s humbling to have my music placed among songs from beautiful artists whose music I cherish, including MaMuse, Melanie DeMore, and Karen Drucker. The album accompanies […]
“Dear God. Not again.” Shelly blew out a loud sigh and tapped on the glass next to Chewbaka, hoping this time it would jump up, or yawn, or even twitch. Nothing. She unlatched the top door of the cage and reached past the Chewbaka-sized ramp and running wheel to where the little animal lay snuggled […]
My mom, Dorothy Stenstedt, died on May 19, 2022, and we had her Celebration of Life on August 14—first a church service, then a party. Here’s what I said at the service.
I’ve received two beautiful ones in email, and I’m sharing them here. If you know of more, please send them to me. I find them helpful and comforting during this strange time.