Saturday, April 30, 2016

U. of Wisconsin Publishes My Sister's Mother: A Memoir of War, Exile and Stallin's Siberia by Donna Solecka Urbikas

It too becoming a mother myself with all its selfless transformations to even begin to understand my mother. I cam to realize that the turning point in her life, that fateful day of her arrest and deportation in the winter of 1940, became my fate and had directed the course of my life and that of my children, as her parenting affected me more than I cared to admit. Though I didn't recognize it then, I was writing my mother's and sister's story in an attempt to capture their mysterious closeness, to become a part of it, to satisfy a longing that seemed to never be quieted in my mind...

I was fascinated with the title of this book, not being able to comprehend the background that might cause such a choice. Yet, when reading the book it becomes so clearly the perfect name to document the story. Urbikas, the author, writes of a part of her mother's and sister's lives that she never knew. At first she was a little jealous of their close connection. Later it led to a curiosity that could not be curtailed and she began the research necessary to write this extraordinary book. 

My Sister's Mother falls into the memoir genre; however, it turns out to be much is a family saga that starts in one part of the world, moving into another one where, tragically, the family creates an environment so close to what they had once owned, that readers immediately realize how much they missed their homeland, where they would have returned if possible.

My Sister's Mother:
A Memoir of War, Exile, and Stalin's Siberia

"My mother," my sister continued, "was a hero."I reeled back from the comfortable embrace of our mutual recollections and thought to myself, what do you mean my mother? Wasn't she our mother?

By Donna Solecka Urbikas

Advanced Readers Copy

Mira was the first daughter of Janina Slarzynska during her first marriage. Donna was born through another marriage and at that time her step-sister and mother were so close that Donna recognized the difference.

The Preface sets up the story:

This book is a nonfiction account of my family's experiences in pre-World War I Poland and during the years prior to and during World War II in Poland and the Soviet Union, the Middle East, India, and Britain, as well as the Unites State following World War II.
Before the fall of Societ-style Communism in Poland in 1989 and in the Soviet Union in 1990, the atrocities committed by the Soviets in the prisoner-of-war camps such as those that my father, a Polish Arms officer, witnessed or in the labor camps to which my mother and half-sister had been deported, were essentially unknown. It was my aim to bring those events to light when I first began writing their story in English in 1985...

Obviously there was much research and, as possible, interviews. Janina had always told stories of the past, so much so that  Donna sometimes didn't pay attention...until she was older and realized that she had begun listening and wanting to know more...Earlier discussions, from Donna and others, at first, were too naive and her lack of knowledge agitated her mother... Then,  by the time she was interviewing her mother, her mental faculties were oftentimes lost and/or too traumatic for her to respond. 

She included a time when her mother had initiated the discussion as she often did...  "Oh, nothing. It's nothing," she replied. She sounded nonchalant, but I recognized that she was waiting for an invitation to go on with her story.
"Now Mother, if you're going to say something, then finish telling us," my sister insisted. My sister, who by then was about thirty, always seemed to say the right thing in this mysteriously quiet, confident manner. I admired her composure, her coiffed hair styled nearly into a French twist, her impeccably tailored clothes.
"Well, I was just thinking about that time I had to go dig potatoes in Siberia," my mother began. "Do you remember, Mireczko?" she asked, using an endearing form of my sister's name.
I noticed my mother was poking at her portion of potatoes on her plate with a fork. My sister nodded knowingly toward her. Then they both fell silent as I waited for the rest of the story that I had heard dozens of times before, but nevertheless wanted to hear again. In spit of all the repetition, I was easily engaged by my mother's storytelling. She could make any mundane story come to life with her lulling voice, timely pauses, and expressive face. My father and I stared at her, waiting to hear more.
The conversation we were having reminded me of similar ones my parents often had with their friends. One time, my parents invited several new American friends to our Wisconsin farm during one of our vacations there, and as usual the conversation turned to the War.
"Why couldn't you just fight them or refuse to go? asked one guest naively.
"Wasn't Poland a free country then?" asked another.
My mother grew very grave, narrowing her full, arched eye brows and wrinkling her forehead, making herself look old and anguished. I sat still, bracing myself for an outburst and anticipating the embarrassment I expected to feel in front of out new guests.
"Free? Do you think you know what freedom is?" she asked, her voice rising. "I know what freedom really is, because I know what it's not!"

Poland had had a very brief period as a free country... How much more devastating it must have seemed to to have had freedom, only to lose it again!
How tragic it would be to have other countries come in and claim their property and everything they had worked for... Yes it has happened to others, but each story is unique... Picturing Janina trying to chop wood in the cold forest of Siberia, just putting in time until she could return and make sure her daughter was still alright, cannot easily be forgotten.

We find the youngest daughter having and enjoying that freedom in America, while the past is still haunting her mother and even her sister who, when, parties were held to match her with a husband, had refused to marry any of them... If you love solving mysteries, I think you might be able to imagine why Donna became determined to find out more about her sister's mother and, in turn, find out more about herself... I think she has succeeded in her desire!

A side note was interesting as the author mentions she was among the first who began to use creative nonfiction before it was formally accepted and now in the book, it allows an emotional connection of the family to be established as the saga moves forward.

Historical war novel fans should definitely check this out. Obviously, those from Poland, especially who came to America, will want to take this opportunity to initiate memories from their past. Whether similar or not, this is a memorable story documenting a family's trials and losses as they faced those invaders who came to conquer, not caring about any of those who were affected, in so many different and varied ways. The emotional impact of this story will leave you in deep thought which will not easily leave you. Be prepared.


The trip to the railway station was short. With the rising sun, the icy horizon emerged in the distance. The old black steam locomotive stood waiting for its reluctant passengers, spewing out white vapor in short bursts. The engine snorted like a race horse at the starting gate, and its billing white fog engulfed the train's engineers in a cloud that seemed to levitate them. For a brief moment, Janina thought of trying to escape in the commotion of the transfer to the train, but there beside her was Mira clinging to her hand... People choked back tears. Shouts and laments echoed through the cramped boxcars: "Ojczyno, Moja Ojczyzna (Country, my country." And then, almost as if by command, people broke into a chorus of...
The singing soon died out and only the occasional wail of the locomotive's whistle broke the silence and the children's cries. Mira joined in the sobbing as she cuddled at Janina's side. The farther they rode away from Poland, the heavier the mood became among the deportees....

Donna Solecka Urbikas was born in Coventry, England, and immigrated with her parents and sister to Chicago in 1952. After careers as a high school science teacher and environmental engineer, she is now a writer, realtor, and community volunteer. She lives in Chicago with her husband.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Young Adult Female Hero Stars in The Crossroad Guardian by Allice Rippley!

Living in a city half populated by gang bangers and criminals isn’t easy. Most young girls my age use the buddy system and are in their homes before dark. Some carry pepper spray or a taser in their purses. I guess each person has their own way of ensuring their safety. In Crossroads, Virginia, one of the most infamous gangs in the United States was created. The Crimson Shadow Gang is known for its brutality and lack of mercy. 
I’m known for the same thing.

I slide my purple hoody over my shoulders and place a half mask over my eyes. I pull my striped, cream colored scarf over my mouth and place my long bow across my body, the string secured between my breasts and handle between my shoulder blades. My backpack is placed over my bow, containing chalk, rope, and sharpened arrows. Finally, I put on my leather combat boots over my black leggings and place four sleek black throwing knives around the boots, two hidden on the inside, two latched on the outside.
I exit my house and skulk up and down the abandoned downtown streets. Nobody in this town is arrogant enough to roam the streets past dark, unless of course they are the predators. I listen down each alleyway for voices and finally come upon one full of them. I silently pull two knives from my boots and eavesdrop on the conversation. 
“You know the price,” one voice says angrily 
“Man, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” another voice says exasperatedly. 
“Then you’re obviously useless.” I hear a click and immediately pounce into the alleyway, side arming the knife in my left hand in the direction of the gun. It hits the barrel and the man drops it, looking in my direction. I wave with the knife in my right hand. The man who dropped the gun grins at me and I grimace at his rotting teeth. “Do you own a toothbrush?” I ask disgusted.
The man’s grin tightens into a scowl. “Actually, I might have one in here,” I pull my backpack from my back and set it in front of me. I make obvious eye contact with the victim and nod my head in the direction of the alleyway entrance. He nods in understanding, I pull the quiver from my bag and place it over my shoulders. I kick the bag toward the brick wall. 
“I ought to teach you some respect, girl,” the man grinds out.
I walk to him and stop two feet away. “Do you know who I am?” I ask. 
“Yeah. That’s why I brought them,” he says, pointing behind him. I look in the direction his thumb is pointing and see three figures heading in our direction from the end of the alleyway. 
“Go,” I say to the boy. He turns and runs from the fight. I smile and look the man dead in the eye. “More fun for me,” I say and throw a quick roundhouse kick to his chest. He falls backwards and collides with the brick wall. I pick up my knife and throw the gun in my belt. Let the real fun begin. Within ten minutes, I had each man on the ground and no bruises to show for it. Four grown men against one 5’2 teenage girl should have been a difficult fight, but in reality, it was a one sided battle. I tie each man's hands together individually, then knot each set of hands together. I pull the chalk from my bag and hold the glow in the dark blue in my left hand. Yes, I’m left handed. On the brick wall I write the letter “J” in chalk and call a tip into the cops. I check behind each mans ear and see the symbol behind each one; the gang symbol. A small line is tattooed behind each right ear.

The Crossroads Guardian

By Allice Rippley

When a gang takes over a community, everybody becomes frightened, staying inside...sometimes, even wishing for a hero... But that was not the reason that Dana had single-handedly started going against gang members... It was to avenge her brother...

At school, she always wore her hoodie and loose clothes, trying to never attract anybody's attention. So far, covering her face had kept her avenger activities a secret... That was until she had come across a teenage boy who had been bothered by a gang member and when she'd heard a click, she moved in, gained control and signaled for the boy to leave...

Until, later, when she was heading home, someone came up behind her, stating that he knew she was the one who had saved him... Dana was dazed, he was only "the most sought after bad-boy at East Crossroads High." Still, she thought he was safe until as she went on toward her house, saying, "Thank you Dana..."

I am indeed confident, 
though nobody at this school helps my 
confidence. People often call me ugly
 and worthless, but I know that I’m not ugly.
I know I am far from worthless. 
I just feel more comfortable smarting
 off to criminals rather than smarting off
 to teenagers with no apparent reason
 for being rude
She immediately stopped, went back to where he stood and threatened him...

Dana puts on a major front--and deserves to with the types of skills she has achieves, as taught by her brother. But no matter, what, she is totally alone, on her own, and not only handling her own needs, but has been working for two months to move against gang members in the act of some type of violence.

Interestingly, she performs no violence, merely gaining control via her speed, skill, and then expert rope tying... She leaves the men tied up and calls the police with the address where they can be found.

Now, however, things have changed. When a bully girl recently tried to get her to do her homework, Dana had it handled, but before it was over Eli had pulled the girl away, and pushed her away from Dana...It was kinda funny really...

“Oh, hi Eli,” she says to her assailant, twirling a strand of bleach blonde hair around her finger. I look up to Eli and scowl. I just had to save the bad-boy. 
“Sue, leave her alone,” he says seductively. I groan and turn away. Before I am able to get out of reach, Eli’s hand grasps my arm and holds me in place. With one quick maneuver I could break his arm, but I decide to wait instead.
 “Awe, but Eli. You know she’s nobody. It doesn’t matter.” Her harsh words cause me to physically wince. I’m the same nobody that saved her from losing everything to a creep...
Eli leans into her until he is directly in her face. “She matters more than you,” he whispers. He pulls my arm and leads me toward the schools front door, leaving Sue gawking and being primped by her friend. His thoughtful words echo in my mind, but I force a passive look on my face.

It must have been especially hard for Dana to accept the bullying at school, from, especially, those who she have saved during her skulking in dark places, to save those need her help from the gang...She did get a little snarky but, you know, when you're a community hero, those of us...readers...enjoy her defending herself and refused to give in to bullies, even though she looked like the perfect one in school to be picked on!

Eli, however, was not going to leave her side and slowly each of their feelings grew and Dana even agree to help train him--he had almost demanded that he go out with her to protect her, especially when he learned that her parents had been killed... Guys are funny, like that, don't you think, especially since Dana could easily put him down and tie him up like a calf...LOL

I enjoyed this quick read. The story was perfect for young girls who are looking to stand up on their own. It might not be as a vengeful hero, but, since I know how my niece did so well in martial arts, I am a supporter of teens getting into something like this to be able to physically handle potentially dangerous situations... 

And it's always nice to find a young man who respects your goals and ambitions as Eli did. Please check this out for your young adult readers. It is one that I am happy to recommend...

Before I can comprehend what’s happening,
 my back is pressed into the front door and his breath is dancing on my lips.
 “Have you ever just known when someone was made for you?” he asks huskily. 
I lean into the door for support and meet his perfect green orbs
 with my desperate brown ones. “I think so,” I whisper. 
His lips gently brush mine, leaving me craving so much more.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

After A Lean Winter by David Farland Hearkens Back to War of Worlds by H.G. Wells

Using a great story upon which to create anew is surely something that is routinely done... But how close or how far can the imagination go in this new creation? In this case, as if Jack London was the main character! I think that David Farland has done an outstanding job in creating After A Lean Winter... The emotional impact of being invaded by something beyond the earth is still as amazing and emotionally charged as the original War of the Worlds and can still capture the fascinating possibility of it really happening! Especially with the intriguing  cover for the story!

There were no enemy ships on the horizon, so I watched as Pierre swept into Hidden Lodge on
Titchen Creek late on a moonless night. His two sled dogs huffed and bunched their shoulders, then dug their back legs in with angry growls, hating the trail, as they crossed that last stubborn rise. The runners of his sled rang over the crusted snow with the sound of a sword being drawn from its scabbard, and the leather harnesses creaked. The air that night had a feral bite to it. The sun had been down for days, sometimes hovering near the horizon, and the deadly winter chill was on. It would be a month before we'd see the sun again. For weeks we had felt that cold air gnawing us, chewing away at our vitality, like a wolf pup worrying a shard of caribou bone long after the marrow is depleted. In the distance, billowing thunderclouds raced toward us under the glimmering stars, promising some insulating warmth. A storm was chasing Pierre's trail. 
By agreement, no one came to the lodge until just before a storm, and none stayed long after the storm began. Pierre's two poor huskies caught the scent of camp and yipped softly. Pierre called "Gee," and the sled heeled over on a single runner. Carefully, he twisted the gee-poles, laid the sled on its side next to a dozen others. I noted a heavy bundle lashed to the sled, perhaps a moose haunch, and I licked my lips involuntarily. I'd pay well for some meat.

After A Lean Winter

By David Farland

Living in this area of our country is bad enough without problems with a war! Interestingly though, the martians that had invaded the United States had discovered that the climate around the arctic circle would meet their needs!

In warmer climes, it was said, they died quickly from bacterial infections. But that was not true here by the Circle. The Martians were thriving in our frozen wastes. Their crops grew at a tremendous rate on any patch of frozen windswept ground--in spite of the fact that there was damned little light. Apparently, Mars is a world that is colder and darker than ours, and what is for us an intolerable frozen hell is to them a balmy paradise.

Jack sat watching was men and their huskies came toward the Lodge. As soon as they were in sight and identified Jack, they were asking about whether the martians had been seen...

"Jacues? Jacues Lowndunn? Dat you?" he called, his voice muffled by the wolverine-fur trim of his parka. He pronounced my name, Jack London, in a thick accent, his lips frozen. "What news, my fren'? Eh?"
 "No one's had sight of the bloody-minded Martians in two weeks," I said. "They cleared out of Juneau." There had been a brutal raid on the town of Dawson some weeks before. The Martians captured the whole town, harvesting the unlucky for no one would walk about unarmed, then forged up toward the lodge, plodding toward me through the crusted snow, floundering deeper and deeper into the drifts with every step, until he climbed up on the porch. There was no friendly light behind me to guide his steps. Such a light would have shown us up to the Martians. 
"Where did you spot them?" I asked.
 "Anchorawge," he grunted, stamping his feet and brushing snow out of his parka before entering the warmer lodge. "De citee ees gone, Jacues--dead. De Martians keel everybawdy, by gar!"
Many of us think of Alaska being the most secluded place, yet the martians had gone through Juneau, Anchorage, many other cities, destroyed them, and moved on to where few people were there to fight them, especially at this time of the year. So learning what was happening was the first thing that people asked about. Jack had his own memories of seeing the martians and it wasn't something he'd forget...

Only once had I ever had the misfortune of observing a Martian. It was when Bessie and I were on the steamer up from San Francisco. We'd sailed to Puget Sound, and in Seattle we almost put to port. But the Martians had landed, and we saw one of their warriors on the beach wearing a metal body that gleamed sullenly like polished brass. It stood watch, its curved protective armor stretching above its head like the chitinous shell of a crab, it's lank, tripod metal legs letting it stand gracefully a hundred feet in the air. At first, one would have thought it an inanimate tower, but it twisted ever so insignificantly as we moved closer, regarding us as a jumping spider will a gnat, just before it pounces. We notified the captain, and he kept sailing north, leaving the Martian to hunt on its lonely stretch of beach, gleaming in the afternoon sun. Bessie and I had thought then that we would be safe back in the Yukon. I cannot imagine any other place than the land near the Circle that is quite so relentlessly inhospitable to life, yet I am intimate with the petty moods of this land, which I have always viewed as something of a mean-spirited accountant which requires every beast upon it to pay his exact dues each year, or die. I had not thought the Martians would be able to survive here, so Bessie and I took our few possessions and struck out from the haven of San Francisco for the bitter wastes north of Juneau. We were so naive.

So what happens when you gone as far north as you can to escape, only to find the enemy is not only there but went further north...and were surviving in the location! Especially hurt were the trappers who had lost his opportunity to run his trap lines. Numbers of those living there were diminishing and Jack's wife, Bessie, was holed up at home, until the storm passed and he, along with others, would go back to their homes.

What I didn't expect was for them to have a dog fight! Nor, in their preparations to find...a martian!

The Arctic night was brutally cold, the stars piercingly bright. The aurora borealis flickered green on the northern horizon in a splendid display,.. I stood in the snow for a long hour, looking up at the shimmering display. My thoughts were cloudy, but I wondered at all I had seen. The Martians wanted this useless tundra, and I tried to imagine a world where we lived in peace, sharing it. 

When we face something so different that we don't know what is going to happen, do we go into a dramatic shutdown? Or do we do what we must do, figure out what to eat, where to live and, then, how will we survive... Only later do we begin philosophically thinking what about the future... David Farland's story brings us face-to-face with our own humanity and what we are willing to do. How does the story end? Each individual who was there would find their own ending... What would mine be? Yours? A fascinating story for your consideration!


David Farland is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author with dozens of books to his credit. He began his career writing short fiction as a prize writer, which vaulted him into prominence in the mid-1980s. He has written science fiction under his own name, Dave Wolverton, including the highly praised "On My Way to Paradise," which won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award for "Best Novel in the English Language." 

David has also written novels in the Star Wars and Mummy Universes, and has worked as a videogame designer, most notably for Starcraft's Brood War. 

In 1999 he set the Guinness Record for the World's Largest single-person, single book signing. 

In the mid-1990s he began to follow his love for writing fantasy under the pen name David Farland, where he became best known for his international bestselling Runelords series; though he has also won the Whitney Award for best novel of the year for his historical novel "In the Company of Angels," and he also won the International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel of the Year, along with the Hollywood Book Award for Best Book of the year for his Young Adult fantasy thriller, "Nightingale."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Who is Bernie Sanders? By Tag Powell - Brief Bio Pulls Together Basic Image of Presidential Candidate

I wanted to read this book for one reason--I had seen this candidate's ads on television and was intrigued with what he was saying. And compared to the other candidates, I didn't know much about Bernie Sanders...

Also, this author had done a number of books of this style, so it seemed a good choice for my purposes... a short bio... which could allow further research if desired.

The book begins with a basic overview of Mr. Sanders background. I was not surprised to learn of the tension of prejudice in the family's background.
The children absorbed a “sensitivity to class” in society, and an awareness of which ‘class’ they belonged to, with all the fibers of their soul. Larry Sanders, Bernie’s older brother would later have the following to say about an episode from their far past: “That created tensions for our parents, and that was an important part of our life.” Both boys did not lose optimism and set some life goals.  Tracing back the family story, Bernard explained his early interest in politics so: “A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932. He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election in World War II, including 6 million Jews. So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important.”  
The main information that was shown in this candidates ads was expanded upon in this book. It seemed to me that what he was saying at this time was based upon his background  and past actions.  That is, he's opposed to power-hungry corporations who use money to influence politics...

And that his campaign dollars came from citizens as opposed to such corporations.

This man's moral fiber went to work early... and his actions those that were important to moving the country forward...

Sanders was an organizer in the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was also an activist for the Civil Rights Movement. Bernie was interested in history, psychology and sociology. He was familiar with the works of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky. The young man openly demonstrated his opinion of the segregated housing that belonged to the college. He also touched on the topic of the city’s segregated schools. That protest caused his official arrest and he was fined $ 25 for resisting police. During a historically prominent March on Washington in 1963, student Sanders was among the crowd. Later, as an adult his explanation of his reasons was clear to everybody: “It was a question for me of just basic justice – the fact that it was not acceptable in America at that point that you had large numbers of African-Americans who couldn’t vote, who couldn’t eat in a restaurant, whose kids were going to segregated schools, who couldn’t get hotel accommodation and were living in segregated housing. That was clearly a major American injustice and something that had to be dealt with.”
Later, as an adult his explanation of his reasons was clear to everybody: “It was a question for me of just basic justice – the fact that it was not acceptable in America at that point that you had large numbers of African-Americans who couldn’t vote, who couldn’t eat in a restaurant, whose kids were going to segregated schools, who couldn’t get hotel accommodation and were living in segregated housing. That was clearly a major American injustice and something that had to be dealt with."

Moving to Burlington, Vermont seemed to set the stage for more...
Bernie Sanders started an active campaign and attracted public attention to his inspirational viewpoint. He did it through constant talking, talking and talking in many different places. He shared his vision at schools and churches, big plants and prisons. Sanders became stronger due to public attention and support.
And the fact that he shared with vision with the people was a characteristic to be admired, in my opinion.

Early Political Steps “I think the overwhelming majority of the American people know that we have got to stand together, that we’re going to grow together, that we’re going to survive together, and that if we start splintering, we’re not going to succeed in a highly competitive international economy. Bernie Sanders appeared in the political arena, in 1971, as an advocate for the poor, the old, the young and as the representative of ordinary men and women.

I was quite satisfied with this short book. With only 30 pages, the material was comprehensive enough for me to learn about a man...a man whose life has led to where he is today, in my opinion. The author provided exactly what I expected for the type of book he had written. Highly recommended.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Adolfo Caso Shares Personal Memories of Son's Accident in... GPS to Love Lane... During National Poetry Month

GPS to Love Lane

By Adolph Caso

To assuage the pain from daily living,
Our human psyche automatically
Into our brains,
Things and incidents we need to forget:
To make life livable,
In relative happiness--
Rather than continuous drudgery;
For, memories of joy remain vivid in our consciousness,
While those of pain never entirely go away
Neither from main events,
Nor from those details that mortify the soul.

That the GPS consider
The conditions of our hearts!

Programmed with the distant address,
The virtual voice emits
Its unexpected order to take a left,
Love Lane!
My heart pounding,
The accelerator refuses
To be pressed by my foot.
I push for another direction—
Pulse in throat!

Up ahead, the large oak stands erect,
Its bark closing in onto itself
Like a whirlpool swirling downward in slow motion:
Everything going down its vortex
Passes through,
With no returns of any kind!
If healing appears on the tree’s bark,
No such transformation encompasses my heart.

There, the front of my 1964 Mustang:
Signs of its bumper wrapped around its trunk--
I see the image of my son:
Between life and death.
I swerve drastically into another street,
And speed to the hospital.

Can one defeat death!

His eyes closed,
His jaws wired shut,
I take his hands into mine:
“Richard, Richard, wake up!”
Receiving no response,
I wait while rubbing his hands in turn.
“Richard, Richard,”
I repeat in a louder, beseeching voice.
Receiving no response,
Apprehensively, I order him:
“Open, open your eyes!” I command,
As fathers do.
No response!
Suddenly, his eyes open.
“Dad, hi dad.” he repeats in a weak voice--
As if it were coming
Some realm of an underworld.
With no pattern of consciousness,
He immediately closes his eyes.
“Yes, Richard, I am here...with you.”

No need to know anything more.
The miracle vibrates in every cell of my body.

After parking the crippled Mustang in front of the garage,
Clipboard in hand,
The truck driver presents the release form.
“I don’t want the car; take it back!”
“What do you mean? You are the owner, aren’t you?”
“I don’t want it.”
“It’s worth lots of money.”
“Take it back!”
“I’ll buy it for one dollar...”
“Keep the dollar, and take it away—Now!”

As in so many things,
Insurance shows its ugly head.
“We need to meet at the hospital.”
“My son is well; I need assurance!”
“He’s made remarkable recovery.”
“Then, what do you want from me?”
“We need to settle payments.”
“Thanks for having delivered my son from death.
“I want nothing more; I am appreciative.
“You made the miracle possible.”

With no accounting to anyone,
And without phone GPS,
I make my way to the center of our town,
Purposefully taking the long round route--
By and through Love Lane—
The oak continues to grow.
I stand alone and in silence,
My mind full of confused thoughts
As I look at the effects of circularity
Produced by a bark
Enclosing onto itself,
As slowly,
As imperceptible
As space or time.

Like a vortex of water,
It transfers everything
Into a one-way tunnel
As if Destiny lost its grip on our future.

Nothing ever comes back—ever!

After a glance to the top of the oak,
I resume my journey to the town center,
And then back home.
Having completed the semi-circle,
I stand in front of the garage door,
On the very spot where the Mustang stood,
Grateful and thankful
That both--
My son and I
Survived the fatal vortex,
The better for it!