I discovered this painting in the small chapel of my church back in June.

Last Sunday I invited my son-in-law, Brad, in to see it with me. He and Dale, my son, are making an unexpected move from where they thought they would be for the next couple years -New York City- to Sewanee, Tennesee in January.

And I, having dreams of moving, know that 2015 holds more substantial change, most likely a physical move from the dwelling I have called home for 13 years.

Both of us stood looking at the picture.

Brad mentioned Mary, bending over her newborn son.

I mentioned the star- pointing to it, emphasizing the long tail, the position of it over the baby.

In our common places of uncertainty, we both continued to look at the stable.

A shelter for animals.

The birthplace for God’s son.

And a word that also means “firmly established.”


You knelt
beside me.

I felt your

I am just
a babe.

And you,
are my


No stars existed
not one pinhole of light
in the black
expanse of time and
space, a galaxy removed
from planets and people
feelings and truth
an unlikely cocoon
where a latent image
appeared, flimsy and
a haze on the
negative I dared to
hold up to the light

I reached for the
magnifying glass,
hoping to define it
and words spilled out-
breaking the silent
void of my womb
letters floating and
now captured
with each click of
my pen to paper
the image clear,
my own reflection
with wings

I flew up
and out.








As I near the end of my series of photos and words with the red balloon, I invite you to check out my previous posts.

In many ways, these posts, collectively, are my emancipation proclamation.


When i ascended the stairs to
the attic their creaking announced
my impending arrival.

i stooped to enter.

sunlight slanted through
a small closed window
illuminating the cardboard boxes,
the rocking chair, the shoebox filled
with crayon drawings, the dust descending
in stale, hard to breathe air
like miniscule snowflakes swirling
on a cold winter day
but it was spring and warm and
cleaning out was in the air of my head
(the dust had settled)

it grew dark
rain descended upon the roof
so close to my head
each raindrop a mighty pellet
pummeling, producing sound in waves
echoing and loosening the dust
a memory, the bathtub
two inches of water my childish
body partially submerged
a plastic sailboat placed between
the space of two recently scrubbed
legs, lips puckering, producing
wind against stiff sails
it gliding towards my shriveled pink
toes before i stood up, clean.

the window, yes

opening it, wide, the storm
answering with water falling
harder and faster
the attic filling, my tears of joy
mingling no fear the water rising
a deluge welcoming its currents
pushing me out the open window
floating my nose just above the
surface able to breathe watching
the boxes
the rocking chair
the shoebox come
sailing along too

my tiny bird, dead
cradled in cupped
dirty hands a hole dug
prepared for burial
one last wish looking up
at the heavens blowing
wind my own storm into its
beak, many teardrops falling
seeing slight movement
blowing harder
it moves, flutters its eyes
spreads its small wings
takes off, sails
with ease up into the trees
perches on the highest branch

the water subsides
my naked body
finds rest
a table
stone, warm
arms outstretched
overhead in praise
an offering- holy
innocent, beautiful
acceptable, pleasing

Just for Me



once upon a time

i watched and waited,
impatiently, as grandmother sewed
her nimble fingers stitching the
last now one, two, three
stitches, and then she
draped it,
finished, lovingly around
my shoulders, kissed me
on the cheek, and pulled
up the hood

“when you are in the woods,
grandaughter, always wear the hood up.”

my name is Katharine. not red.
nor riding hood.

i skipped into
the heart of the forest
that day
obeying grandmother,
wearing the red she chose
instead of the green
i really wanted
distracted by picking
delicate white
amongst the brown leaves
and dirt of the forest
floor standing, sniffing their
aroma, pushing the hood
back only for a

from behind 
a familiar voice

“where are you going little girl?”

the big bad wolf drooled
licked his lips
gave direction
i listened, observed
his teeth, so white
so sharp
anxious to devour
my innocence
yet charming, sly
patient, proceeding
to grandmother
swallowing her first
the appetizer before
the main meal


i discovered
the small axe
the woodsman left
at the base of the tree,
my favorite one
where I sat
my back supported by its
the handle smooth
I hid it
under my cloak
gripping it
as I walked

“the better to see you with my dear…”

into the

my movement, restricted
my voice, silenced
by the gurgling
of the juices from
his thick stomach,
but then I remembered
the tool and
slowly, it took years
chop, chop, chop
i created space
and eventually
broke through,
escaped, emerged
born again

i killed the wolf

and grandmother followed me to freedom

The scars from his bite have become a deeply carved cavern, an empty bowl capable of collecting rain water.


A Red Balloon

a red balloon came to me in a dream

descending slowly from the sky

its red ribbon teasing me

the closer and closer it came

and I reached, standing on tiptoes

almost having it in my hand…

and suddenly

I woke up.


Today, wide awake, I caught the ribbon – I purchased a red balloon. For the next few days I will follow the red balloon… wherever it may lead.