You Look Prettier When You Smile



Her tongue was sliced
split like a pomegranate
through the middle
leaving her snaked
a pool of blood forming
in the tray of her high chair
a commencement
of the indignities
her gender destined

A small, tender tongue
still wordless
stitched hastily back together
so she could learn to form
imperfect words
that she rained down
on indifference

Were they really trying
to fix an identified defect
that might prevent her speech
or preparing her
for a world that would prefer
she have no voice
but always smile


On Skidding Enthusiastically Past The Half-Life


Age ain’t nothin’ but a number
and back fat
and aching knees

Age is accepting
that you are plenty good and worthwhile
exactly as your DNA mapped you

Age is trusting
you’ve learned so much
and that lessons never end

Age is being comfortable
in the truth and abundance of gray
in life and in hair

Age is being frustrated
by all stupidity
especially your own

Age is accepting
there are no right answers
just considered choices

Age is appreciating
the beautiful gift that is the imperfect function
of our extraordinary bodies

Age is giving no more fucks
for the circus creators and haters
because your center is solid

Age is respecting
every person of every ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual preference
because they are a human and deserve it

Age is delighting
in a good nights sleep
wooed by the thrum of rain

Age is forgiving mother and father
for not always knowing best
but appreciating if they even ever tried

Age is the softening of jaw lines
unclenching of teeth
and being proud of your capable, vein covered hands

Age is knowing
to trust your decisions
even if they include wearing a bikini

Age is understanding people’s choices
usual derive from an attempt to minimize pain
and seek comfort

Age is respecting
you are just a passing mote on one blue dot
so you need to leave things nice for the next person

You Had One Job


Dearly beloved, it is the final day of NaPoWriMo 2019. The news has me by the throat, so I leave you with this instead of a kiss. Here’s hoping when we meet again next year, there will be less blood on the floor so we can dance more and keen less.


Move and dive
Grow a mustache
Buy a ball gown
Two sizes too small

Box it up
Upsize from your downsize
Tattoo a thigh
Go corporate
Loophole taxes

Mute the news
Smell flowers
Be gerrymandered
Selfie on an edge
Discount seniors

Get shot
On campus
While praying
Line dancing
Become something

Day 30

Domesticated Bliss


The ear raises
holds position
then folds in on itself
as the dog drops her head
back on her outstretched paws
and releases a sigh

There is nothing she needs to do
to protect her people
so she becomes a hot water bottle
curls her warm back
against her human’s stomach

In a house full of many rooms
and soft places to sleep
she prefers to drape
her head across
a woman’s ankle

This trust and certain bond

She will not be stepped upon
as she snores on the kitchen floor

She will not use her capable teeth
on human throats as they sleep

An interspecies contract
of mutual affection

Day 29

Spoil The Child


The little boy with brown hair, freckles,
and a delightfully crooked smile,
had cancer.
Tumors grew suddenly
and aggressively
in his young brain
causing horrible headaches
that made him cry inconsolably for hours
and feel very tired and cranky.
The tumors began to push against areas
that even altered his cheerful disposition,
so the small boy often felt irritable,
fearful and anxious,
throwing tantrums unexpectedly
that caught his loving parents by surprise.

The hospitals near the family
were unable to help the child
with his rare form of cancer
and referred them
to a specialized program,
with a good success record,
that was far away from where they lived.
They drained their bank accounts
to buy airline tickets
to fly back and forth
for treatments and procedures.

As the boy had very good parents
who were always thoughtful
and sensitive to the needs
of others,
they spared not the rod
and turned their son’s bottom red
on flights they took from their home
to the hospital.

For medical reasons,
their darling son
could not be sedated for flights
and would inevitably
begin to fuss, cry, and yell,
throwing his toys in anxiety.
His excellent father,
in order to ensure the comfort
of the people seated nearby,
would pull of his belt
and smack his son
until the boy finally would quiet down,
which would only happen
after the child was beaten
into unconsciousness
as he was otherwise unable
to stop himself through willpower,
the fear of God, or sterling character
because it was the tumors
working on his brain
causing the meltdowns.

since the brown-haired boy
had such remarkable parents,
everyone was always able
to have a peaceful, pleasant flight
(with one, small, freckled exception).


Post Script: To the little boy and his family that are featured in a video gone viral on the internet about an incident on a plane, I stand with you and send my love and support to you. No one really knows what is happening in the lives of others. How about we try and create a more wonderful world for everyone by judging, shaming, and criticizing less and instead be helpful, compassionate, and loving towards one another?!

Day 28



The view was spectacular,
the house planted just above the river.
Not far away,
the line of an island,
mostly submerged
in the middle of the clear water.
Blue herons had made it their home,
every tree laden with bulky nests.
Eagles glided above the deck
and sometimes rested on branches
in the backyard.
The small pond that separated
the house from the river
was full of plump fish.
Turtles sunned themselves on the banks.
Toads leapt out of the way
of bare feet in the silky grass.

Inside the house,
doors were slammed,
words were spears.
The man, always holding a cocktail glass,
kept his guns in easy reach.

All that splendor
wrapped around
the rage and fear.

The view, from outside,
was spectacular.

Day 27

Love Is Love Is Love


First line provide by my friend, Andrew Hager.


He asked for a gravy boat.

If they were going to register
for a china pattern,
they should make sure their set
included a vessel with the singular duty
of dispensing.

Just a few years ago,
marriage and registries
had seemed unimaginable,
him resigned to bachelorhood —
best man instead of groom,
an uncle but never a father.

What are the odds
that you get lucky enough
to find a person
you would like to listen to
and look at every day
for the rest of your life?

And if you do,
what are the odds
that your love is the kind
your State sanctions?

Day 26