Tall. Leggy. Almost all legs. Dear God.

She sang “Skip to My Lou” and “Tippecanoe”—

old songs she shouldn’t have known, but did.

She pinned my boyish heart for the

three count. See, sometimes losers win.

We both had older brothers, and both

brothers ran off to war. Only mine came home.

She called him Diddle Diddle Dumplin,

her brother John. I held her as she cried.


Still tall. Still leggy. Almost all legs.

She still sings, but not those old songs.

I’ve heard “Talks to Angels” when she

loses herself in something, sometimes me.

I watch her as she sleeps and thank God

losers win. Still, the grenade that went off

in that girl’s heart left a hole that’s never

healed, never closed. Healing. Closure.

New words. Fool’s words. We know better.


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  1. Sallie on April 30, 2020 at 8:21 am

    Thank you; I didn’t realize the depth of crust on my heart. Now softened

  2. Janna Barber on April 30, 2020 at 8:22 am


  3. Marilyn on April 30, 2020 at 8:49 am

    Beautiful. True.

  4. Mark Grace on April 30, 2020 at 10:31 am

    Awwww, heart stirring!

  5. Nate on April 30, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    I like it. Thank you for sharing John.

  6. Annie B on April 30, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    True. Thank you.

  7. Katie on April 30, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    Gorgeous as always. Thanks for sharing!

  8. judy burke on April 30, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    love it and you keep watching and holding and making memories!

  9. Jacky on May 1, 2020 at 10:14 am

    Whoa, this is a hard one, John. Living with a wound, living through it, living in it…..I don’t know. Perhaps this side of the grave it is all of the above. I do recognize two extremes in our culture: avoiding and denying pain vs defining oneself by it —- both seem futile and dehumanizing, There certainly is no shortage of material out there to read and study on the subject. But perhaps we must walk the path alone in the end. Alone with Jesus.

  10. Melinda Ballard on May 1, 2020 at 10:38 am

    Beautiful, bittersweet, lovely. Your poetry is some of my favorite. Thank you!

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