I'm just happy to be here.


Every night, I see the Oak tree across the street
Towering over the houses and the power lines,
pumping light into my heart. After all,
I am a machine. Meanwhile, the Oak
was born where it stands. I know how
different I am from that which
is rooted into this earth. We are both
shadow makers, though,
the Oak was here first.
Elder Oak. All light is
a lesson, though,
we are different students.
I illuminate the dark street,
the sunlight scatters through the Oak.
I am not a home for the wandering Hawk,
the roaming blue jay or tired cardinal, though,
I do want to
We are of two different worlds
living on the different side of
the same street. When the leaves fall,
I feel a longing I cannot name.
I am not a tree,
growing and alive.
I am a machine, designed
to illuminate. I know my fate—
it ends and begins each day, arrive
when the sunsets, leave when the sunrises.
In the in between,
the Elder Oak must sing
a thousand different


Jessi picks up a crayon with purpose.
Every color is her favorite color.
She talks a sing-song of thoughts
under her breath,
the white paper sky
ignoring the lines,
she orbits around
with color after color,
determined to create.
I ask her, what she created
and she answers,
This is what I created!
I laugh and tell her to keep going.
It is Saturday afternoon and
Jessi is the color of joy.
We paint the day together.
She asks if I’m going to color
with her,
and I pick up a crayon
like an old friend.
She laughs like a color wheel.
It sounds like my favorite color.
Reminds me of my brother,
her father, and when we were boys,
we would do everything together.
Now his daughter is in my house,
three years old, thirty-five inches tall.



At 55 miles per hour, a head on collision
between two vehicles has enough force
applied that both drivers could die on
impact. A quick death, I suppose
is a small mercy. I did not die, though
in life ingrained the expectation that
no one is that lucky.
It was a Sunday in Giddings, TX,
the day I should’ve died,
but didn’t. Think impossible.
Think inescapable fate.
And I escaped.
But the other driver did not.
What kind of miracle is this?
He crossed the dividing line
of oncoming traffic. Happened
so fast my body couldn’t
even see its fate. I never
broke like glass. Even though
my car
bounced like tumbleweed
over concrete and grass.
I question God and physics
all the time. What I feel
is a different kind of pain.
I never talk about that day
in November. It was raining.
I’m not particularly
proud of how the story ends, but
I am not here unless it ends that way
I didn’t do anything
but lock up, my blood
pumping frozen adrenaline.
The airbags did all the work—
cradle my spine and skull
into the grassy knoll. I
rolled over the concrete parking lot
Landed in the soft mud
the tender earth
oh, the gentle soil
that gave me
a safe place to crash. Maybe
was God
coming to my rescue—
and on the Day of Rest,
no less.