There we lovers were, just dancing in the Dollar Tree
Swaying to lively holiday shopping music, you and me
Giggling like little kids when someone happened by
Couldn’t have been quiet, so we didn’t even try
I commented that we looked a lot like newly-weds
You just went all sheepish and we gently touched foreheads
You dipped me low, then lifted me, then softly kissed my cheek
Then let your hand slip from my waist to the pinch you tried to sneak
I yelped aloud in mock protest, then tugged on your goatee
And thought how blessed I am that you still dollar-dance with me


Trampled Roses


I was there the day it happened, and my heart was rent with grief

As my precious rose lay battered, crushed of petal, torn of leaf

And I cried for all my children who have drained that bitter cup

As their pleas for mercy echoed and their anguish floated up

Please believe me, dearest daughter, this was never my intent

For such pain to be made perfect my Son’s precious blood was spent

There is nothing where you’re standing that can wholly heal your heart

But believe me when I tell you we won’t always be apart

The memories and scents that haunt your dreams and cloud your days

Will one day dissipate and you will truly know my ways

But for now I have a gift for you that just your heart can see

It’s a picture I have drawn of two embracing, you and me

The image I will leave with you while you must walk your sod

And you will be my darling girl and I will be your God

So hold it close and don’t forget one truth that never died:

Evil will not always boast what Love has crucified

Don’t Say Forever

I admit with shame I let myself believe it
Breathed it deeply, let its comfort beckon me
Felt its sweetness, let it hold me for a moment
Now forever I will never truly see
Once I trusted, though reluctant in my fearing
Dared to let such weakness break the shield I wore
I’d have been much less transparent had I seen ahead
I can’t listen to forever any more
It was beautiful, a treasure made of diamond tears
And I held it all too closely to my chest
So I loosened trembling fingers, let it flutter free
And now never will forever let me rest
In its freedom it has chosen now another path
I’ve been forced to let the one I cherished go
Now in silence there is nothing of what once was ours
Only pain I cannot let forever show
I am left to shed the anger with an anguished cry
Letting go of any hope that’s left within
So if you would speak your love for me, I ask you this
Never whisper a forever word again



One by one, they march along
So soon flew twenty-five swift years
Slowly fades the goodbye song
But not the sting of farewell tears

All these hearts remember you
Rosebud lips and tiny hands
Recall is all we now can do
This empty’s hard to understand

Yesterday I painted you
A graceful, earth-freed soaring dove
Upon a canvas spread with blue
Brush-stroked with a mother’s love

Time tries to help our parting fade
But April whispers soft your name
As Heather blooms in springtime shade
And I still miss you just the same


In Memory
Heather Rose Easterling
B/D April 18, 1990
~ * ~

Him coming Home

Rest in peace, sweet Joey
3/9/10 – 1/24/14
Photo: Ali Flower Shryock

I must have felt it in the early hours
A tiny quake when startled awake whispering his name to Heaven
Mumbled soft in slumber but the heavens knew
It was him coming Home

There must be a sound, a shake, a sensing
When the fragile soul of a three-year-old
Breaks through time and space
To see God’s face

It’s emptier here in our numbness and tears
We fall trying to make sense of it all
We pray and we grieve
And yet still we believe

In our struggle to cope we are not without hope
Another treasure’s been laid sweetly up
A beautiful boy with blue eyes bright
To light our way to Heaven

When I fall


Thanks for catching me when I fall
Sometimes the empty of it all caves in
Like waves rushing over pushing memory
Where too many moments crush at once
I run and the tears come and I miss her so
And you reach out and steady me again
I did that for her

Thanks for loving me through it all
When the sadness steals truth from my knowing
And I don’t hear your heart at first
Know that I always feel it, look past the surface
And see you reaching out to grab my hand
Knowing you love me like I love her
And you

Hate to Hope in the Space of a Day


Today while searching through old email archives I came across a pair of poems I wrote in 2005, one day apart. The second is apparently a glimpse of God’s healing touch at a pretty difficult time in my life as I struggled with my mama’s progressing illness. What I didn’t know was just how short our time together would be.




Hate is ugly as it comes for me
Hanging like moss from limbs over bus-stop shanties
Waving like a pointed finger in the face
Taunting like the enemy it is
And winning

And I wait for the bus, not even sure where I’m going
Or where I want to go
Staring into the distance not seeing
Not caring if the bus comes or it doesn’t
I may still be sitting here
When it’s gone

Feeble attempts they are that I make
Little efforts to push the feeling away
Knowing deep down that isn’t me
I love
But today I hate
And I hate that I do

I hear the bus and breathe a sigh of defeat
Cast my ocean-blues to the ground and shuffle my feet
Hoping I’m alone on the dusty bench
Not wanting to lead another down an empty road
Another bus will be along later




Hope comes on a butterfly’s wings
Alights on my shoulder and flutters away the dust and tears
I swallow back the pain once more
Lower my eyes again to the dusty ground
This time I pray

I’d hoped to be alone on the bench
But a stranger appears who doesn’t mind that I wished her away
Her words lifted to heaven before mine
Her tears falling softly for a struggling girl on a bus bench
An unmet friend

I steal a glance toward her
Sad to have given her reason to cry
But her smile forms a bridge across the dust
And I wonder at the love that can reach out to a stranger
And offer hope

And the moss sways in the trees above our heads
Hate loses its grip and slowly dissipates
I feel its icy fingers loosening, loosening
There’s a rumble in the distance coming closer
Her bus and mine


Twenty-three {NaPoWriMo 18}

heatherrose23Twenty-three birthdays and none with you here
I keep thinking maybe it’ll be easier next year
It really doesn’t get much better, this ache
There’s only so much a heart can take
So every year is hello, goodbye
Busy makes it easier not to cry
I’ll hold you again when all things are made new
Happy birthday, beautiful, from your mama to you

Almost {NaPoWriMo 17}

anxiousdriverI almost called you today
Sobbing down a narrow highway
My heart torn clean in two
Surprised that in that moment I wanted you
I almost slid
But caught myself before I did
Poured it out to God instead
From a part of me I think is dead
There is no friend I trust me to
Not even you

In Your Mind {NaPoWriMo 10}

Would you cheer up? You’re just depressed.
It’s been three days since you got dressed.
Just pray it through and you’ll be fine.
It won’t fix anything to whine.
No, really, I don’t mean to pry,
But you’d be well if you’d just try.
How could you ask for one thing more?
You’ve so much to be thankful for.
So chin up, girl! Snap out of it!
Your downcast gaze just doesn’t fit.
I hope you don’t think me unkind,
But this is all just in your mind.

And so we hide for our own good
To fight what is misunderstood.