Good Night


A six-inch strip

along the edge 

of the king-sized bed

is allotted

for the adult 

female body 


The dog

claims the vast center

of the wide mattress

stretched sideways

paws twitching

in dreamy chase


A fair exchange

for the nursemaid

and friend

whose love 

stretches farther

than any good night’s sleep


NaPoWriMo 2022 – Day 16

like everything else


sometimes a pizza is just a pizza

and sometimes a pizza is an apology

consolation, love, forgiveness

desire, companionship, respect

friendship, a pledge

wrap the bees in fur coats

and Gucci shoes

and they’ll ruin everything

with honey because they are stuck

on their queen

will thick crust alone

destroy the consumer

or is the sauce tainted

the pepperoni so spoiled

it poisons instead of feeds

enough nectar and pollen

camouflages errant bees

allowing them to slip past

guards and penetrate exotic hives

if they remain sufficiently drenched

sometimes a pizza is Gucci shoes

and sometimes a bee is tainted sauce

they are what they are

and very much not

just like everything else

NaPoWriMo 2022 – Day 15

Once Removed


My mother stored her loaded rifle

under her bed

so she could grab it quickly

and take murderous aim

at the beavers and woodchucks

destroying the retaining wall

between her pond and the river

My father was a hunter

and I had seen the carcasses

of his kills

all the way back

to when my only way 

to express emotion was through tears

I never accepted the necessity

that you had to end the life

of healthy animals simply living their lives

because you were somehow inconvenienced

Until the groundhog living under my shed

destroyed all my hollies and newly planted garden

Homeownership seems to have shifted my commitment

to a live-and-let-outdoor-pests-live philosophy

I will stop short of the shotgun under my bed

I’m more the hire-a-hitman kind of person

one step removed

plausible deniability

I’ve selected the fixer who claims to live trap

and remove furry offenders 

to some glorious other land —

perhaps the same farm 

where every parent tells their child

their missing pet now lives —

where my industrious groundhog

can tunnel and feast forever

with no bullseye on its waddling back

NaPoWriMo 2022 – Day 14



I made many mistakes

when I was learning how

to become a person

Even though I know

my, at times, self-centered behavior

was developmentally appropriate

for an adolescent

I’m still appalled by my inability

to have recognized the suffering of others

and offered meaningful assistance

Why didn’t I go sit and eat lunch

with the girl who had dyed her hair

and was so quiet

who was rumored

to be suffering abuse at home

I have a long list of such regrets

I wish I would have been braver

more confident

less afraid all the time

more capable of helping people

who really needed someone

to stand with them

Instead, I struggled to just hang on

in a home filled with screaming

and pitched pots and pans

sunk in my own feelings of hopelessness

that the awful would never end

I wish I could have known

that someday I would leave

and make my own life

where cookware is used for cooking

and love isn’t wielded like a weapon

NaPoWriMo 2022 – Day 13



The road noise competes with birdsong
One, the dull hum of daily convenience
The other, a joyous call to roots and starts

Without wheels
I would not likely be here to hear
The birds chirping in the crepe myrtle

If my ancestors we’re anything like me
They would have been dinner for bears
Without wagons and trains

Why spill time
On wishing for ways of being
That would make me vanish

Instead of searching for paths
Where birds and tires and bees
Exist amenably and salubriously

NaPoWriMo 2022 – Day 12

Your Existence


You existing is extraordinary

Every damn birthday should be celebrated as special
not just the years people consider major milestones

Attention should be paid

What day could hold more significance
and be more worthy of recognition
than the anniversary of your birth
the day of your DNA reveal
with those eyes that share more than you might like
the lovely color of your skin
the glorious birthmarks, moles
and dimples
your delightfully short fingers
and those lungs that work, even when you sleep
oh, that spirit
that spirit and pluck
ushering you through thickets
and dance floors to now
to now where we see you
and love you
and can’t imagine a life without you

You existing is extraordinary

Attention should be paid

NaPoWriMo 2022 – Day 11



She has two tubes

coming out of her belly

one placed when she was six

one when she was twenty-six

The 20-year-old g-tube

she accepts

as a piece of herself

like her shoulders

or belly button

a ring finger

She wages war daily

against the peritoneal dialysis tube

furious at this translucent line

that tethers her to this life

The PD tubing

is her personal flotation device

preventing her from drowning

in the vast ocean of renal failure

It provides just enough buoyance

to keep her nose

slightly above the rough chop of waves

She is afraid

and tired from treading water

as she struggles

far from shore

far from any shipping lanes

for an improbable rescue

and return to steady ground

NaPoWriMo 2022 – Day 10


I carry more weight now,
every year adding extra to me

I started off sturdier than a lot of kids

Life required that of me,
because, even way back then,
I needed to manage
an unwieldy amount of heaviness

Sure, my physical shape
has grown some as I’ve aged

But it’s always been that psychological load
that could really slow my step
make it hard to shift my mental bulk
out of bed some mornings
and take up the space
I should in the world

Over time, I’ve learned
the mass is a necessary byproduct
of my lived life

It is ballast
that I can manipulate
rather than be manipulated by:
or surface at will

NaPoWriMo 2022 – Day 9

Motherless Bird

Near the base of the sleeping dogwood
laid a little bird with fiery feathers

There was no mother bird
hovering protectively
in branches nearby
just the frail, newborn bird
struggling to breathe
vulnerable to foxes and chilly nights
beetles and lawnmowers

Nature can appear
to be callously indifferent
especially to tiny fluffs
whose hearts are only flutters
who have no parents
to fend off predators
and carry them back to the nest
if they fall

But not all lonesome little birds
are devoured
as nature is often divinely sweet
and can bring motherless birds
to birds that can mother
and love and fiercely protect

The fiery little bird
under the dormant dogwood
found just such a home
and survived forest fires,
racoon raids, hurricanes,
overzealous loggers, earthquakes,
and every other imaginable
and unimaginable peril
with her steadfast gaggle

NaPoWriMo 2022 – Day 8

Best Medicine

how can I write
about what music does to me

how nothing can more quickly
alter my mood
calm my heart and slow its beats
than a voice
like David Gray, Rufus Wainwright,
The National, Neko Case, David Byrne,
Phoebe Bridgers, my friends
singing Decemberist lyrics

or how a good riff excites my breath
and my body
compels me to move and sway and bend
and dance
to Vampire Weekend, Walk the Moon
The Wombats, Weezer, the Foo Fighters

how going to a concert or music festival
standing with a crowd
as the wave of music flows
over us collectively
and we start to sing along
and experience a mass baptism
that brings a tide of transcendence
moving us from despair to hope
within a short musical measure

how I see the stranger next to me
and love them because of their love
of the sound we are sharing
and the way it is making us feel

how can I write
about the best medicine
the cure

NaPoWriMo 2022 – Day 7