Mixed under a
hood, a drop can burn skin.
She pushes in cc’s as saline drips down a tube,
mixes, in a secret recipe, with this “cherry” juice.
I talk books, Germans from Russia, teaching AP.
It comforts to believe chatter eases staccato steps
as nurses choreograph their concentration on us.
Patients waltz to restroom with bags, tubes,
wheeling along to rhythms of hearts’ hopes,
then settle back into recliners with knitting, books,
conversations, silences, TB shows, love.
Siblings, spouses, sons, daughter, friends –
our hopeful wallflowers –
look on, make
phone calls, wander off, return,
will their love to put toe-tapping melodies
into compounds coursing through our veins.
Lidded toxic trolley receives empty syringes
as the next chemical gets hung and hooked
to an electric pump, musically chimes at air,
and other problems invisible to untrained eyes,
yet calls for a maestro’s attention across the room.
Able to pause for a moment, the nurses focus
on merrier steps in their lives away from IVs.
Now the floor
Now is my “hour of lead.”
Now still, eerie, peaceful.
My spirit tangos into dark,
barely glimpsesGod’s glowing soft shoe
tap dancing far ahead.
I could lose His whispering cadence.
I strain to hear His healing beat.
I dance on.
Mary Lauck, December 14,
She stands at
stunned at tears, sodden
in the sink. Not such a
big deal so why cry
as she takes shears
to strands which will
be lost anyway—
reflections speak to her
of tears they shed.
“You can face this”
their spirits whisper
from an eternal expanse.
“We faced worse.”
The weeping ceases,
she is stunned again
at the power of
two grandmothers’ strength,
tendered to her heart.
into dry tears.
Mary Lauck – March 4, 2006
At the Brilliance Corral
On trying to
be an AP poetry teacher
snorts echo among the herd.
Steam rises from nostrils
sniffing among straw ideas or
rotting old silage in troughs.
They mill around inside boards
without clear sight of beyond,
or lie in distant corners
to sleepily avoid rough-haired
bucking play of the enthused.
I throw tasty alfalfa words
into an open gate to lure
them into wild openness,
green pastures, tasty morsels.
They mosey toward temptation.
Innocent, huge eyes gaze at
my ghostliness outlined before
Mary Lauck – February 28,
For my mother, Leah Lauck, and my sisters Betty,
Esther, and Alma
We point to many
You’d rip crooked first seams and remind us,
“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well!”
We’d get over tears and sew straighter.
Frustrated by greasy hot splatters,
ready to give up on cooking supper,
you’d say, “Daddy will be in soon to eat.”
If things went awry, two fronts of a vest
cut from corduroy – one pile up, one down—
you found a calming, creative solution.
We squabbled and you’d call: “Do you girls
want me to come out there and really give you
something to argue about?”
We’d smile, but unisoned an immediate
In a dream you saw a great Light
and heard God’s challenge in your sleep:
“I gave you four daughters, what have you done?”
You knew from that moment, even before that moment,
whatever else you might teach, it is about love.
His love shines through you, Mom, through your
while life, above all else you bequeath to us.
Tonight you whispered, “God blessed
me with my four daughters to love, to raise.
My family – you’ve all been so good to me.
You four sisters love one another.”
I want you to know how good you’ve
I want you to know there’s no better mother.
But I just lean closer, “You know me, Mom,
I’ll make sure we do!” and laugh at your reply:
“You tell them you have my permission!”
Mom – we promise – we will love
one another, in His name and in yours.
We will love as you have taught us –
as you have shown us, day after day –
to love each person God brings to our lives
with a love beyond our comprehension.
We will honor your legacy of love.
Mary Lauck – April
A River of
like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
~Horatio G. Spafford
They walk beside us in loss
bottomless ageless sorrows –
20 children on a bus 45 years ago,
168 on April 20,
Thousands on one September 11,
Teenagers and a teacher at Columbine,
Florida’s tornadoes, Louisiana’s Rita,
In Iraq, on highways, in street gangs –
Spafford’s four daughters drowned at sea
His wife safe in a 19th century shipwreck,
He wept, held her as they walked childless.
Friends walked beside, loved them,
witness to hearts reshaped from shards.
We walk beside each other
love flowing, a river of peace
smoothing jagged pieces
in one another’s souls.
Mary Lauck –
February 3, 2007