Let’s Talk About the Weather

by Abigail Rudibaugh

What does the cold
have to say, throwing
a fit on a Wednesday.
Advisories and cancellations—
“Stay in, stay in,” he says
as he slaps our face
with one gust of wind.

He keeps the list extensive
of what needs prepared 
for his presence. Heavy 
things worn to keep 
the neck, the body, warm,
and stiff. It’s no coincidence.

Isn’t it interesting
little can protect
the eyes?

Eyes forced open to see
hate killing, freezing,
shutting us up indoors
making soup, pretending,
we didn’t do this, or
we can’t stop this.

I hope you know
we aren’t powerless.
Talk is just easier 
when it stays about
the weather.

On Feelings—A Less Welcomed One

Anxiety is coming
so there’s work to do.
Journal, pray, read—
stay busy, stay still,
breathe and don’t exhale
until your throat catches 
the air. Diffuse wintergreen.
Make chamomile tea, and
make yourself sweat, but
preferably not in that order.
Let yourself stand in line
at Chipotle. Say yes
to extra guacamole.
Call your friend
and talk about nothing
because you can’t really
name why your ribs
keep clawing so tight.

Tears come because
crumbs can’t stay
tucked long in corners
of the hardwood floor.
Exposed and tired—
you’re left confused
why your tricks aren’t
sticking to the script.

Please know, it’s okay.
You do what you can,
you cancel what you can’t,
you stay in child’s pose
long after everyone has left.

Peace will come again
like the sun and new days.
Birds will sing melodies.

For now, you wait
for Love’s outreached
hand dressed in
so many disguises.
Trust she’s there 
even when you’re scared.
Know it’s good to need her.

Found Inspiration

By Abigail Rudibaugh

Inspiration is really good
at playing hide and seek.
She asks you to count,
your face flat on leather,
cold and molding to you
as you count to ten.

You don’t tell her the truth
you don’t want to play
because you know well
Inspiration doesn’t
like the isolation.

Ready or not
you duck under beds
and peek behind doors
puzzled at how easy
you lost her.

You want to start dinner
or change the sheets,
accomplish some thing—
Any thing—
before the next day repeats.

Giggling seeps through
the pile of folded laundry.
Hysteria, celebration,
sheer joy at being found
in a space so ordinary.

You surprise yourself—
you’re laughing,
and now extending
an offer to play again.

Moody Thursday

I’m not in the mood.
Another day of gray
after a night with
restless little sleepers.
The last thing I want
is to grab my pen
and write.

Like oil changes
and peeling potatoes
and folding
those same clothes
every week—
routine can be
a drag.

Having to wear
a heavy coat
doesn’t help.

But my body knows,
practically overflows,
ready to get
the words out—

Rhythms at work again
reminding me,
“This is what we do.”
One letter after another
like one foot following
its brother, I forgot 
how good it feels
to move forward.
..
Day 4 @hopewriters writing prompt: Mood. #hopewriterlife

The Art of Drafting

by Abigail Rudibaugh

When do you know
when a balloon
is blown full enough
or a handpicked bouquet
has the right amount of lilacs?
Even a fallen branch in a forest
still has work that he is doing.

Half-finished things are everywhere—
tucked away in documents filed
or buried between ramblings
and folds and pockets.
There’s a poem right now
in the back of my mind
just waiting for the right
small talk or traffic light stop
to deliver the piece I’m missing.

Even final drafts are still drafts.
They just sit a little taller
in the chair because 
someone smiled at them,
proud of all their effort
finally on display—
Straight irons and combs
put away in a drawer
and the counter 
cleared off for pictures.

Genesis 1:7

by Abigail Rudibaugh

Alarm clock, snooze, slippers,
coffee pot pre-set to brew,
pile of books and blank pages
scent of lavender traces.

Of course plenty will be in motion
two hours from now—
but it will wait outside the door,
trying not to creak the floor.

I’m busy finding the brushstrokes
on the painting above my desk.
Even with all the intentional marks,
why do my eyes keep landing on the dark?

Perhaps there’s space yet to create
something someone is waiting for
like me finishing coffee under lamplight,
opening my journal, ready to write.

Breath Work

by Abigail Rudibaugh

Breathe in—
Roll up your breath
like a snowball.
Let it sit at the top
of your lungs
for a minute.
Use your fingertips
to reach for the right
word to start the sentence.

In a room of friends
debriefing from the day,
the ice in your throat
begins to thaw.
The ball perched
begins its descent.
The rest of the
sentence grows
as you let yourself
be heard.

Let the exhale
push significance
back into its place
inside your bones.

An Enneagram Reunion

By Abigail Rudibaugh

They arrive at Four’s home
because it’s the coolest.
Some indie artist playing
on a record next to a platter
of port-wine cheese.

One shows up clean-shaven,
on time, and proud.
The invitation said 7pm.
Six is just around the block
but makes sure to text 
an “I’m sorry, running
late,” while Eight finds curbside
parking that Nine passed up
because he doesn’t want
to brake in traffic that long.

Two juggles her dishes
From the sign up list
Three sent with a reminder
about the white elephant.
Five waits for his debut
of the games’ rules 
as Seven makes her way 
from another party.

Friends over a decade
it’s easy to see everyone
acting so—predictably.
But the stories and wine
begin their work
restitching familiarity
back in its seam.

Nine changes the script
from “of course she did”
to “tell me more” while
One loosens his tie
and listens. Eight
empowers Two to see
her value, while Four
offers an idea Five
can get behind.
Three overhears
and gives it feet
while Seven jumps
in adding wings.
Six sitting, smiling,
treasuring this
togetherness
with her friends.

The Days Before Christmas

by Abigail Rudibaugh

Days before Christmas
and I’m annoyed
by winter’s gray,
mad at sickness
I can’t keep at bay,
stressed with laundry
and the wrapping,
and more stories
of sneaky porch
pirates getting away.

I know I seem
frivolous, and
this is luxurious,
to complain
about things
that seem trite,
but “merry and
bright” aren’t
sitting just right
these few days
before Christmas.

Joy gets harder
to muster under
days trimmed
with evergreen;
pressure builds
to find handles
on peace while
decorating with
dried tangerines.

So let it be said
even if I’m alone
in forgetting—
Joy is no
prerequisite,
shame not a
consequence,
when all isn’t calm,
a lot isn’t right,
and we are drowning
in incompetence.

Joy isn’t something
conjured with cookies
and Peace isn’t lured
by more packaging.
Believe me, I’ve tried,
and I’m back to what’s
time-tested and true:

Remembering
a lifting
a lightening
a release of
Joy and Peace
in Holy flesh
like snow fall
swallowing us whole.
Christ came to us,
introducing
redemption
that found our
hurt and loneliness,
acknowledged it
hugged it
wrapped it
with Promise:
it will never be forgotten
and we will be brought in
even in our preoccupation
in these days before Christmas.

“they say a storm is coming” musing

For my birthday last year, my husband surprised me with a kid-free weekend with my best friends and their spouses at the Kentucky Derby. It was incredible—the company, the anticipation, the hats, the intensity of cheering on horses even though none of us knew what we were doing—it was all so much fun. The only down side? It stormed all day and we had no seats. Still, we laughed hard and made the best of it because we don’t get these moments often and no one can control the rain.

What I loved about Jennifer’s poem from Monday was that the storm and the sweet air were both held in open hands. One did not dominate the other and there was a humility in seeing the good yet knowing the storm is encroaching. I loved the intentional reflection and want to cultivate the same in my soul.

It’s so easy for me forget the kindness, originality, spunk, and courage of my girls the moment food is thrown on the floor intentionally or tantrums in Target make us abandon the shopping list. In those moments, I feel like I’ve failed as a parent and have not made any progress in shepherding or discipline. But on this side of heaven, the radar will always have some storm brewing on the outskirts. And, if the derby can endure it (trust me, there was a lot of rain), I’m much more confident little deposits of good in our children aren’t going anywhere—they may just be hiding in tall rain boots and under thick ponchos, and might need a bit of time and space to dry out.