Foster Parenting

Published on February 6th, 2017 | by Dane Bauer Hassid



Gas Leak

This morning,
the smell of gas,
that aroma alarm,
sparked me awake.
With the phone
to my ear, I struggled
into my pants and called to you
get up,
get up,
put clothes on
we need to go outside
In the urgency
of that near-silence,
your answer didn’t register.
We were across the street
watching the fire trucks pull up
before your words filled
my chest,
turned my lungs
to glass.
But what did I do?
you had cried.
How I have wanted
all day
to carry you
like a child.
To hold you
instead of that phrase
how it echoes
and shatters.

“Gas” by Tom Page / Creative Commons License


and we are at the halfway point,
the coffee stop,
the fourth time I’ve filled the gas tank
this week – playing school bus
between districts
while two administrations bicker
via bureaucracy
over which taxpayers
owe this student
an education.
not ours,
not ours,
have you tried the other?

I think about sending
her photo.
A report card.
A glimpse of her singing with me and country radio
as the coffee and sugar
hits us. I want them
to fight over her,
to raise their gloves and duel
for the privilege,
the precious, unguarded miles
of burgeoning familiarity.


and sometimes, family
is patience, is the cusp
of frustration and exasperation masking sadness.
and sometimes, family
is the wine stain
on your liberation,
and sometimes family
is not written in the book –
is not a book
is not a map,
and there we stand
at the edge of the wilderness
and the sand in our faces.
most of us won’t survive
the next forty years,
but family is who you stand with
when you start wandering.

“wandering heart” by Jessie Lynn McMains / Creative Commons License


The social worker’s edict of
“no unsupervised dates”
leads us here,
to the porch,
overlooking the bentheaded lovebirds
at the sagging picnic table.
We, wizened before our time,
admiring all the budding things
from our place up here,
as we pretend for the sake of all involved
to be absorbed in the happenings of plants.


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About the Author

Dane Kuttler writes poems and cooks food in Northampton, MA. Her first book of poems, And Who By Nobody’s Son? was released on Choose the Sword Press in January 2016. She has toured nationally three times, won the Best of Blood and Thunder Award for a poem about hospice care and performed her work in concert halls, libraries and living rooms. When Dane isn’t engaged in one of her semiannual 30-poems-in-30-days sprints, she makes mischief with The G!d Wrestlers, with whom she has published two books, The Social Justice Warrior’s Guide to the High Holy Days (September 2015) and The Book of Solace (July 2016.)

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