beef is browning in the cast iron and kasher is fussing and aiden wanting a story and so i breathe. count the ways i love them and exhale seventy times seven. adjust kasher’s soother. slip to the floor while the beef browns and read to aiden, ‘i’ll love you forever’, but the words crumble.

i’m thinking of kienan in his scooby-doo shorts, with his three blankets. a three-year-old abducted, four days of nothing; then his parents’ plea and the little boy’s return. still in scooby-doo shorts, still gripping his blankets and they say he returned to normal.

the beef is burning and the story is stuck. i’m sorry, i tell him. turn down the burner… its name, so fitting in my case… and remember the pastor. kienan’s pastor, whom i interviewed, and the way his voice caught and tripped and fell trying to talk about forgiveness.

about how God has a reason, but the word ‘reason’ should really be purpose. in the end, the pastor says, “God can take something as horrific as kienan’s abduction, something as terrible as every parents’ nightmare and sweep this awful event up into his own purpose so that good will come of it.” he chokes. “it might be that a generation yet to come will look back at the events of this past week and see the reason behind them. but we can’t, we are too close to them.”

i think of the song in the book, of the way the mother tip-toes across the carpet each night to rock her boy back and forth. of kienan’s mother staring at her boy’s empty bed.

and then, his return. police saying they haven’t seen anything like it in 26 years. and the parents, thanking the suspect on TV for hearing their plea, for returning their little boy.

thanking him.

thanking. him.

i slip to the hardwood. rock my son back and forth, exhale.

seventy times seven.

1. link up a post (old or new) that you feel is ‘broken’ or ‘imperfect’ or somehow redemptive
2. put the ‘imperfect prose’ button at the bottom of your post, so others can find their way back here (see button code in right-hand column of my blog)
3. read other’s prose, and encourage them!


*’sheltered’ was a commission for my friend, duane scott. prints are available here*


and let me urge you to visit my friend steph forster, here, at the nehemiah arts foundation … her passion for haiti and the hurting… oh, it’s beautiful.