Turned 30

Couldn’t be luckier -S

Birthday 2019

Adulthood, round 2. 

There are so many things

you could be and do -

so many you have done and been.

I can see you a famous writer,

or a well-known picture-taker,

or another path - but always fighter.

Courageous, honest, smile-maker.

Wherever you take me, I will go.

Wherever you work, I will assist.

You are brilliant and brave, you know.

(And impossible to resist).

Be it Spain or outer space,

a new home, new state, new child,

whether we replace inventions

or reinvent our place,

I will be with you 

and it will be worthwhile 

while wild.

-E

On a business trip

When her fire is burnt out

and in this cold taxi

and with this cold distance

I have no heat left to give her,

be Warmth

please.

A Snow Day

Today we woke up to our first storm of 2019. Snow came for the first time and your dad left on a trip for the first time since you were born — giving us a lot to think about. The day was a little adventurous but mostly it was a lot less warm. 

I took you outside and set you down and you got real quiet like the snow. You smiled a little but only at first. Then we watched everything be still. Then you looked so serious about it, I had to tell you it wouldn’t stay that way. 

Snow melts, and he’ll be back. 

Grandpa Jim's Service

“I want to be like my Dad.” -Mike Dunn

10 years since you walked me home from school

To  befriend someone is to become acquainted with their mind. To agree to walk side by side with their sentiments and keep beseeching, "show me". To search out their thoughts and see what trails they've wandered and which ones they've avoided. It's to become familiar with the places they say seem dark and impenetrable, and to patiently say, "I see that darkness, I have darkness too." It's to move with them — speeding at their speed and slowing at their slow. It's sitting quiet and still at the edges of their cerebral and emotional maps and dreaming together that the page could continue, perhaps. It's apologizing when you trip over the roots that have overgrown some paths. It's marveling at all the landscapes you discover in your friend.

If falling in love is free-falling down in an unexpected and destined ecstasy, becoming friends is the intentional sweaty trudge up a mountain for a view few live to see.

Not one day have I ever regretted our climb towards friendship. Not one day have I lamented traversing your mind — first.

I say rather to those just getting started, if you're going to fall in love, do it on a mountain top, like I did.

To My Bride Become Mother

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If there's a chance you'll forget

don't take it.

Slice clean through an orange

mull:

The veined lines are never straight

but nevertheless delightful.

To be perfect

is not to be precise

but to give delight.

You are flawless today;

Every day.

Take two onions and compare:

full of water, 

and increasingly inner 

sanctums.

Never two alike.

To be perfect

is an absolute state

of infinite degrees.

No matter how you change,

you are always the choicest variety 

of my happiness.

Your current morning routine: 

  1. Wake up around 6am. Your dad comes to get you, puts you into whatever clothes look warm and comfiest (9/10 times this is sweat pants). You help him wake up with giggles and squawks and yelps.

  2. He brings you to me shortly after so you can eat. Then you signal you’re finished by turning your head to stare out the window. You look out the window, I look at you, we snuggle, and I cherish.

  3. Your dad picks you up and you get some of his best, his morning, to play with him, talk at him, and watch him. By 7:30 you’re ready for a nap already.  

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A Poem for the Morning

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I had a whole year

they told me

to decide whether I wanted 

to spend every following year

with you.

Go through every season,

till you excise any reason

for breaking us off,

they said.

I had no similar option

with our son:

9 months of wonder,

then lightning, then thunder -

we all fell down.

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Whereas you created the mold for yourself

in my heart;

he is supposed to conform to the mold

awaiting him

in my heart.

He must navigate the street around the corner,

the one where we saw him coming.

I didn’t see you coming.

These are two very different

but equal ways of loving.

(✎E 📷S)

Advice

I am a long time away from being able to say "the most useful pregnancy advice given to me was..." But I can share my favorite advice. It came from my father in law, who told me the best prep I could be doing right now was to focus on my marriage (being close and united), instead of reading a bunch of parenting books. He said our marriage would have a huge impact on our child. ...While I think this is probably wise in ways I don't even know yet, I mainly took that as a perfect excuse to spend time with my favorite person. And on the eve of week 38 of trying to implement this advice, I'm just here to say that I regret nothing. 

Photo by Taylor Sporleder

Photo by Taylor Sporleder

Room 373

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I will often be there

At the moment we stand staring

At your profile

In the hotel mirror

Your body inches its center of gravity

Toward a layered eternity.

You hold one more forever in your womb.

An unending soul begun

Among the incidental wonder

Of our surrogate roles.

A story of Life and Death unfolds already

Set Uniquely against the repetitive predictability

Of room 373 down at the end of the hall.

What a fragile contemplation

Is new life,

Nothing my caffeine laced thoughts

Or power button thumbs

And screen savor eyes can't ignore for a moment.

I will often be here

At the moment I stand staring out the window at Spokane signage

Unable to sleep

Feebly considering the fate of that person- named already but not yet to us-

All we have to offer you is Alias,

Halfway house,

Transition,

Hotel room,

While some great River

Ushers you in 

to Ocean you will never

See the floor

Know the scope

But never not explore

Cling to hope

And drown.


All things now for you, alive,

Trend to die.

This is the direction of birth,

From water to air

The only way in is out.

The only way up is down.

Here is my heart, and how to burn it down.

To love you 

Is to set aside my armor

To show you: come,

Here is the deepest room 

In the furthest reaches

Of my house.

Here is my heart

and how to burn it down.


I grant you the same permission 

I gave her:

Hurt me

if you will.

You will

all but destroy me.


Loving you -

loving her - 

is rapt stare at a fire

I did not start;

you are sacred cleansing art -

catch on the altar

and we will collaborate on this part:

flames only tend

one direction.


To know you

is an inflection 

of the tongue,

one I’ve never made before,

language I cannot yet articulate.

My mind is not young like yours:

you will speak this sooner than me.

But I will exhaust each breath

inside each lung,

before I live in a world where 

we do not share 

common ground or grammar.

You will watch me shed tears,

hide tears,

I will startle, stutter

stammer,

but meaning

is more stubborn than my weakness.


We will both be translated

before long.

We will both be changed.

We will both be spoken strong.

We will both be rebels against God.

We will both be wrong.

From Belize

Photo by Taylor Sporleder

Photo by Taylor Sporleder

The ocean between us has me remembering the first time I was out of the country on your birthday, also the Caribbean. You sent me away with poetry.

But I’m more excited to see what the closing lines of your 20’s will be like. You’ve always been good at ending a poem that seemed to be saying so many things, with a line that conveys it was really only about one very important thing. Maybe 29 isn’t normally the most memorable year for people, but I know you. I know your philosophy on finales. I know that you would say the beginning is only good if the ending is tac-sharp, intended, and arresting. And it’s not because you’ve planned it. You’ll feel your way there. You’ll stumble on it as you’re walking on no discernible path and listening to the twigs and leaves crunch under your feet. And hopefully I’m getting better at being less terrified of that. This decade has proven that the best endings always seem to find their way into your poetry. 

So here’s to the long walk that led you up to this year, and to the last stanza of your twenties that will find you in the year to come. 
Happy Birthday from Belize, Evan

Goodbye "pink house"

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We said goodbye to another place that tells part of our story. So grateful in goodbye for something we didn't deserve in the first place. Thankful for the sweet-smelling, well-lit and well-shadowed memories. Thankful for a great "shelter", through some of our most trying and joyful times. Thanks to the Giver of all good things.