WHO WE ARE

 All my life, in addition to manager, teacher, dog walker, night librarian, cleaner of tiles, rocker of babies, folder of laundry, dish washer extraordinaire, I wanted to be a writer.

Women are rarely one thing.  We can’t resist our innate talent for nesting, team building, nurturing, placing others before ourselves.  This is our gift.

Our hearts are larger than we know.  We learn this
by plumbing those depths in safety with women on similar treks.  

Not only can we write, speak, laugh, cry, loose old bonds which keep us tied, but we find, after many drafts, the titles we long sought rest in our own hands.
Gobi Desert Market

MATTER

Matter persists they say – 
not just the stain on your favorite 
sweater or the mole on your arm.
Molecules themselves have endless 
lives in a material soap opera.
This week one’s Christ, then Mozart
then Charles Manson.
That’s what they say.

Descartes believed he thought
hence he existed – something 
his laundress and wife doubted not
his dirty socks evidence enough.
Who would use his atoms next
be thoughtful or obtuse 
a tree, a bird, a slug?
I die therefore I live.

We’re each on loan 
from earth’s library
one size fits all
pretty or dull, fast or slow
joyful or sad.
Cinderellas headed to the ball
when the clock strikes twelve, 
we become someone else.

Relentlessly frugal
earth wastes nothing
in its global recycling.
So too must the light
which animates us
continue its journey 
becoming the sparkle in other eyes
or the ache in another's heart.

CLOUDS

Why can’t we eat clouds?
The tall white ones would be
vanilla like Turkish taffy.  Grey 
scudding clouds black as Necco 
wafers. Snow clouds pure as rock candy
whose splinters of crystal
melt on the tongue.
Green tornado clouds taste darkly 
of Key West and Matcha tea.
Dawn’s pink clouds are gossamer light
as cotton candy at the church fair.
Sunset cloud's tang colorful
and sweet as Life Savers.

How fine to dine on clouds and color.

GYPSY

A stranger stands ahead of me 
in line at the Post Office 
in a dusty black hat 
grey gauze hanging below its rim.
Her neck, also dusty, is
bent, the vertebrae like tiny peaks.
An old black jacket hangs from her shoulders.
As she stands in line, she tugs at the jacket
to straighten it.  Her worn black pants fall 
to just above the cast on her ankle.
Gauze wraps that too.
I am afraid to stand near her,
hang back as the line moves forward.
I cannot see her face but fear 
it may be ghastly.

Her turn comes at the counter.
I’m next.
When I glance over, I recognize her. 
She is the gypsy I’ve seen here so often.
Her dark penciled brows 
and bold rouged cheeks usually
paired with dark skirts and tops.
Today, hurt, she does not look herself.
She leaves a suitcase by the door
while she gets her mail.
That task complete, 
she straightens her jacket,
collects her suitcase 
and wheels it and her pain
back into the world.



depositphotos_150954514_xl.jpegOctober 11, 2021

SHADOWS

As I approach the river in the fog
a heron takes flight, dark winged angel.
“Good morning, Mom.” I say.
Since her death, I greet
each heron and feel blessed 
by the sighting. Mom’s love
of nature saved my life.
 
When sun sparkles
on saltwater and I feel 
the wash of waves,
Jamie, my summer brother, is near.
As teens, we surfed September breakers 
then collapsed onto the sand
laughing always
laughing.

All my old boyfriends are
dead (except for the one I live with.)
Maurie, lifted his 6’4”
frame into the boat like a wet otter,
his homely face offset by
a quick wit.  His farm town 
roots were exotic to this suburban girl.
He believed withdrawal would work.
Good thing we broke up.

John, a handsome bad boy,
drove his dad’s T-bird. 
He was my first male obsession.
He rose at Jamie’s funeral 
to hug me, share our grief
for old times, old backseats
old friends.

Ann died last year.  Forty years
of friendship, knitting and laughter. 
Each project and strange new style
prompts me to call her. 
In New Mexico, when Linda 
decided to drive - Ann and I  
jumped in the back seat.
I am still laughing.

100 QUESTIONS

A hundred questions 
cross my mind
	What was that song dad used to hum?
	What college did my mom attend?
	Where did Aunt Marge’s friend come from?
I failed to ask
	or make a note
	of many things 
	while they were here
	just within reach
        alive and near.

A hundred questions
cross my mind
              About Dad’s mom
              who died so young.
              I’ve no idea what she died from.

My favorite stories too are gone
               The battleship
               for whom Dad played
               Hail to the Queen
               a serenade.
               
               Salts stood attention at the rail
               Dad asked them down to 
               drink and sail.
	       He went onboard to drink instead.

These questions come
at oddest times
	  Old photos with the names now gone
          A tune, a food, a place, a song
          I wonder and will wonder long.               
	     
               

BANKER BOB

Banker Bob wears suspenders and a bow tie
is older than God
rents rooms to the newly sober
bridges no bullshit.

Old school AA he brooks no whining
insists newbies suit up and show up.
Never loses sight of the disease
that wants to kill us.

He is just a man
many years sober
doing what we are taught
saving lives.

Don’t talk, listen.
Don’t try, do.
Walk the talk.
Keep it simple.

Help another alcoholic.

32B

Abuse is subtle
Nothing friends see
I'm blamed for his mistakes
He credits my work to himself.
Observes I'm “almost” thin enough
Implies small things lacking
If only I were smarter, prettier, quieter
He laughs when I fail 
Photographs my clumsiness 
Ignores my success
Mumbles under his breath
the whispered threat
“I’m getting angry.”

He pouts childlike when ignored
Hovers over me in arguments
He buries the kitchen table in papers
Resists clearing it even for parties.
Holds my arm tightly lest I leave
The Christmas tree he promises to take down
remains up until Easter.
His hatchet for cutting up chicken
for the dogs rests against the hoosier.
It gives me pause.
He harangues me while I book vacation.  
I select the seats.  
I'm in 13A
He’s in 32B.


WAITING 1963

Each night I wait.
I watch out the window. 
I count cars
that appear on the road. 
See their headlights grow
then dwindle as they
continue past on 
two lanes heading north.

“If I count ten cars, he’ll come.”
“If I count twenty…”
I hope we will drive to the light
and talk and laugh 
but he may not appear.
I sit at the window until 
late, the night gone.
Disappointment’s my reward.

All evening 
I'm held hostage to hope.
My job – suspense, submission.
His – choice and power.