On the run

26 days after Amy passed away I cleared my schedule, put on a black dress and prepared for the opportunity to grieve, but first I ran a 5k with my son.

Boys on the Run, I love this program. It’s about building self-awareness and positive living, raising healthy men. It's not a race, they said. I was his running buddy, my job was to run alongside and encourage him, accept his pace fully.

The first mile: He is fast, he is vivid, we are joyful oxes. Everyone is a champion at the beginning

because nothing hurts

The second mile: he is crabby and silly and anxious. We feel how we feel before we know how we feel but until we know how we feel it comes out funny

too hot too tired there are too many people

needs to walk needs to skip needs to walk

needs water needs to take off this shirt

On the third mile “woohoo" becomes "you got this”

and I worry I’m an asshole

because I worry my own son's an asshole


look at all the cheering people, look at the wrath of my son

how can a person be this surrounded by support and this stubborn

because I want to be a shelter but he only speaks tornado

because we are in a hurry

we are always in a hurry

and there is so much to carry.

So who is really having the breakdown when he is folded and crying on the side of the track

“I need a break,” he says

“I need a break” he echoes

Parenting is just the valley where all our flaws are returned to us

if you pause long enough

to listen

I sit down for the first time in weeks

My sunken sadness rising

"Okay," I agree 

My buried chest

lost at sea 

"Okay," I echo

We are two storms, luxuriously self-absorbed, watching everyone run past.

They say grief comes in stages, but honestly there is nothing organized about it

At some point you just drag yourself all over the place until you can’t

Running in circles I had told him, "we're almost there."

"Stop saying that," he had said.

Two more laps: we walk.

The last curve: we sprint, end strong they say.

When he crosses the finish line the crowd cheers.

He is the last runner, we are the last runners

and I’m crying now, kneeling

arms around my sweaty son, his face a sky

"I’m so proud of you," I say

"I'm so proud of you," I echo

Ask the glacier who carves and collapses inside me,

some days we don't appear to be moving and still we arrive

How powerful is this,

when you give yourself

the space and the pace you need

when you need it

I've seen the inside of endurance; it's tenderness.

I kiss my child, alive and aching.

It is so easy to pass ourselves by

but we won’t.


MATT LAUER WAS FIRED WITHIN 36 HOURS OF BEING ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT. Matt frickin Lauer. Everyone loves Matt, he’s like the neighbor your dad always mentions and secretly wants you to marry. He walks dogs, he’d open your door, he’d offer you gum if you were waiting somewhere together. I grew up with that dude in my living room; he was a part of our breakfast pyramid, like choosy moms choose jif and they also choose Matt Lauer. Every boys club wants a Matt Lauer. Every basketball team wants a Matt Lauer. I can’t even pick him out of a crowd anymore bc I grew up with Matt Lauers in the classroom and Matt Lauers at the airport and Matt Lauers at meetings and I’ve been followed by Matt Lauers and I’ve worked for Matt Lauers and I’ve been groped by Matt Lauers

A Matt Lauer has driven me to his house and not driven me home till morning. A Matt Lauer planted an earthquake inside me, it was the quietest way to destroy me. A Matt Lauer never loses friends, a Matt Lauer goes to work as usual, I have torn myself apart before I’ve torn Matt Lauer apart.

and then NBC FIRES MATT LAUER ANYWAY!! and I’m not crying, you’re crying!!! Bc everyone loves Matt and finally it’s not enough. Bc the tremors are real. Bc the whole country is shifting. Bc we’re making examples out of the powerful and putting the good ol boys in time out. Bc their money won’t save them, their face won’t save them, their parents won’t even save them.

Bc it’s a new morning.

Bc I’ve been asked to protect abusers my whole life and this, THIS is the today show I’ve been waiting for.


The other day I watched a teenage boy

walk across four lanes of traffic with his

middle fingers in the air

just to hug a girl

on the other side.

Romance can be wild

but when I mistake


for fearlessness

I wonder why we were ever taught

that it should be dangerous

to love us

Truly, it isn't that brave to

throw yourself into another.

I could throw myself into


right now,

if I was rude

and had nothing

better to do.

Why not instead

care for someone 

the way the light cares

for an uneven landscape

or the silver cares

for a stream it barely remembers

or the gardener cares

for a complicated ground,

so shy it pools up

They hold even the untouchable close,

bow down to the precious.

my lovers take their shoes off in the house

they would never make demands

parts in my hand

When you grown now

so you can hear your father.

Here he is building you a shelf.

Here he is comparing rear view mirrors

he found on eBay. Here, he has already

assessed the prices of every wind

chime in the city because on Sunday

you mentioned you're in the market for

one. Your dryer doesn't work, now

he is describing how dryers are supposed

to work. How your brakes work. How

grit works. How a man who will

never change works so

how you should work.

Here is his garage, full of honest things for sale

because he is sorry or so you will finally

leave the knock off lover behind, same thing.

We don't say it. But

when there are a lot of places to sit

I sit next to him. And when nothing

is broken I believe he believes

it's broken and he can fix it.

Here I am, nearby

holding parts in my hand for him.

Today, the sound of my

new raincoat moving

is the sound of his

raincoat moving.

When I turn I hear him

turning, his boat swelling

on the pacific, soft

as he twists

to see me.

I didn't know

if I wanted the frozen pot pie

but I knew I wanted to receive it so

I said oh that sounds good.

I can still hear him opening it

Tiger mom

When they ask you what kind of tiger mom I was, I hope you'll say I was soft.

Hope you’ll say I was fierce. Tenacious. Simple. That I would chew my own bones just to keep my teeth sharp. That I would make soup for a sick vulture. That some evenings I would circle you, like a choice, and fall asleep.

Tell them how we’d walk together, a bouquet of wild footsteps. Tell them about the good mornings: when I’d boil you an egg or when I’d tuck a kiss in your pocket or hold a lighthouse between our hands. Tell them I did my best, even when I’d disappear. Tell them we are a family of ghosts and every one of them sound like me. Say: to this day, it’s hard to tell us apart.

The other night I dreamt a man was driving a truck across time and I hopped into the back. At any moment, memories sneak up on us, bum a ride. Once I put a roman candle into the ground and it fell over. Stars shot at our family instead of the sky. Pow, pow, pow, pow, until your uncle kicked it away. When I met your father, he treated me like a holiday. We were so in love we lit everything. Every day he stole fireworks till he built me a home out of them.

You wonder why I bite the lies right out of you. Why I smother you in a mother’s temper before yours ignites. Why you are having trouble breathing, why ashes are streaming down your cheek. Child, you and I are divine, we are sacred. We are sacrifices, we are legends, proof of prayer, protectors; but first we were small explosions, so fallen we could not tell sky from being kicked.

Will you believe me - that I can’t help but raise you like a rescue? Sometimes you sing the song I made you with and all I hear are sirens. I see you cower the way I cower and I cower again, because there are so many ways to ruin you. I think: how was I, a foolish, reckless girl, given such an important, dangerous thing to tend to? How can I, an ordinary woman, open your gifts and not choke on the honor of being recognized as your mother?

Be braver than I was, so that you can forgive yourself often! Tell them you are the tiger's son: an unfinished folk tale, a new tradition. The one she raised to be more powerful and more humble than anyone who happened to see her, more peaceful than the mountain spirit that leaned on her. Tell them your mom was unrelenting; she leaped to love you, silenced herself into a roar. Tell them. She never wanted you to be afraid of being afraid.


Just wanna say thanks for all the eclipse

photos everyone posted yesterday. You


looked beautiful in your glasses. Your

sidewalks looked lovely covered in


crescents. I am grateful to live under the

same confident sun, the same honest moon


as you. I like that you shared your view - the

stanza of sky that was so uniquely yours and


so undeniably ours. Maybe I'm projecting.

Maybe I'm reflecting. Anyway I like that on a


humble Monday, at roughly the same time, in

different shades of the same light, across this


tender and arrogant and

clumsy country, we looked up


to each other.



The dandelion collector

The woman who works at Hot Bite is cleaning the outdoor tables. Someone must have picked a dandelion nearby and then left it on one, for whatever reason. The woman wiped the table, picked up the dandelion, carried it across the picnic area and put it in a red cup full of at least a dozen other picked dandelions and haven't we all mistook a flower for a weed in our own lives, in our own way

and haven't so many of us been discarded simply because we belonged to other places or other people

what field shaped like a table might we be lying on

what bouquet is beckoning you

how picked and valuable are you

how messy and deserving of love

are you.


I don't know what love is but
I do know how to climb a tree. 
I've watched my slow footing, 
I've placed my hands around a knot. 
I've rested on limbs and called them a house.

I don't know what love is but
I know what good lighting can do.
I know how it brings out all our best features.
My eyes brighter, your smile wider,
none of our shadows are harsh here.

I may not know what love is but
I've baked a loaf of bread. 
I've seen powder roll itself into life
as though my touch meant something to it. 
I've seen proof.
I've seen it rise when the sun looked at it.

I don't know what love is but
I've flown in an airplane
and I've rode an escalator
and I weave sometimes.
I've voted in a primary.
I've looked through a window. 
I've spilled things just trying to reach out.

I don't know what love is but people say hello to me when I walk through my neighborhood.

And I never check the weather and that mostly works out.

Sometimes I feel more beautiful simply because someone says so.

Maybe love is when the tide is going out and you find something you lost. 
Maybe love is the safety bar on the Ferris wheel.
Maybe it's sensible shoes when you travel.
Maybe it's every time the person next to you woke up, told you their dream and
you listened.

Isn't it all worth celebrating, worth promising, worth committing to? 
Today, tomorrow, the next.

My favorite day of the week is you.

It's 9 pm and I'm calling to ask how your day was. 
It's July and I'm blueberry stains on your fingers. 
It's cloudy hillside and I am shapes, I am drift, I am do you see what I see
It's forever and I am every single lick it takes to get to the center.

Let me drumroll. 
Let me hold you. 
Let me hope humble
and let me grow, too.

If you let me learn to love you
I hope you'll let me breakfast with you.

After we wake
and as the world awaits
may the day take me to the unknown again
and again and again

with you.


The Battle

I think my son and his cousins are battling with the ocean.

I suppose it because they have been throwing rocks at it for an hour.

The oldest on a boulder, soon to be swallowed by the tide.

They run into the sea like a clumsy game of dodgeball.

They are losing.

The waves crashing into them, around them, everyone out at once.

Still, they retreat and throw themselves into it, retreat, throw themselves into it again.

Shrieking, laughing.


I want to write them into an odd victory.

Isn't that the point?

Imagining ourselves as champions,

crafting meaning out of senseless attacks?


I can't do it, of course.

Partly because I am preoccupied with redefining the war

and partly because today I'm unconvinced they will ever win

and partly because I am picking apart their tactics,

wondering if the weight of one of the rocks will break them


But mostly because they look so happy.

Three dots on the coast, full of significance,

all the pride of their parents incarnate.


Maybe it's not a battle at all.

Maybe they are just throwing rocks into water

the way you throw a ball for a dog

or you throw the game for a friend

or you throw your voice into a valley

or you throw your heart into a hurricane.


Sometimes fear makes a country out of me

and I worry nothing that leaves will return.


Surely we'd rather live like this:

Our family by our side.

A stumbling anthem,

gleeful perseverance,

small but limitless,

mighty and sincere.


Joyfully opening the borders along everything we touch.