Category Archives: Poetry

Armistice

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Swing through the chaos that goes cellular
overturned chairs and broken
heirlooms
upright
pianos
and medal-ridden jackets paraded
everything
in pieces
and hospitals
and central lines
vomit and pills and tears and shouting

But it is history
gift or curse
full or empty
it depends on the moon
or zodiac
or if it Thursday
or maybe Sunday
or it rained
but mostly if only one call was made
to make a thing happen
….any thing

People have died
and others have not
some walk away
and some dig in
fortify foxholes

Every closet
a rainbow
of unified colors
dishes aligned
and broken
and aligned again

Battles may be routinely lost
but skirmishes
with countertops and dark loads
can be won

There is no lasting peace
no peace
unless you’re savoring
seconds

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An Uneasy Green

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There was pond scum here
Coating the water’s surface
She circled
Trailing a path
Of desiccated leaves
That obscured all evidence
Of the exceedingly plump groundhog
That called this hill home

She’d once written a poem long ago
About a groundhog’s destruction
And her raking pond scum into a trap
Altering the surface
But not what lurked underneath
The redwood-wrapped house
Overlooking another body

Half a country away
And still hunted by water-loving vermin
She’d learned to see the beauty
In the floating green fur
But the smell of decay and rot lingered
Even after she removed herself
Far from the original source

Eyed Up

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Standing at the edge of the soccer field
She swung her rope
Jumped
Jumped again
Varying her speed to vary her heart rate
Intense bursts followed by leisurely hops
She kept her eyes on her son’s practice
His perspiring brow mirroring her own
As he sprinted towards the goal

Other eyes were on her
Some of the moms
Some of the dads
Some dads’ eyes lingering
Assuming she performed for them
Versus her health
Her form fitting yoga pants and sports shirt
Selected by her for comfort
And to insure her clothing didn’t obstruct her workout
Kept her safe and cool
Moved well with her
And made her feel confident
Must really have been slipped into
They believed
To entice men to stop and stare
Excite a biological imperative to ogle each curve
And assess her attractiveness
Her motives
Her worth

How shameful for a busy mom
To multitask on a beautiful day
Attend her son’s practice
And still fit in some exercise
Before stopping at the store
To pick up her family’s own groceries
As well as those of her elderly mother
Swing by her mom’s place to drop off the bags
Carry them all in and unload them
And encourage her sweaty, antsy son to sit by his grandma
And swap stories about their day
As she threw out the expired yogurt and milk in the fridge
Print so small her mom could never spot the spoil
Change her sheets
Fill her mom’s pill box for the week
And make sure she had everything she needs

Finally, setting out her trash cans on the curb
Before climbing back in her car
To rush home in time to prepare dinner
For her two hungry boys and hungrier husband
Put her own groceries away
Then run her other son to swim practice
And remain poolside to praise his progress
Before heading back home and throwing in two loads of laundry
Paying the bills
While helping both boys with their homework
Fill out permissions slips for upcoming field trips
Clean up after the dog in the yard before the sun set
And throw a ball for their ancient spaniel to chase
Scratch her belly and giving her a treat
Pack everyone’s lunches for the next day
Fold the now clean laundry and set it atop appropriate dressers
Load the dishwasher
Wipe off the counters
Ask her husband about his day
And talk about his frustration with his boss
And the state of the country
And their shared distaste over the unfathomable resurgence of high-waisted jeans
Finalize the schedule for the upcoming weekend
To determine which parent is taking which child to which game
As they perfectly conflict on Saturday
Before she set out her clothes for the next day
So when she gets up before the sun rises
She won’t need to turn on the light
And disturb her husband as she gets ready for work
Sets out the cereal boxes and bowls for the family
Rinses blueberries and places them in the center of the table
Along with a note, “Love you all. Boys, please turn in the signed permissions slips that I put in your folders in your backpacks or you won’t be able to go on the trip to Philly. Have a wonderful day!”
And heads out the door in the still dark
To go make money
To help pay for the team fees and the groceries and the gas
And veterinarian bills

Please
Let us judge this mom
Let’s put pictures of her jumping rope on social media
Let’s assume she chose to stand where she stood so everyone could best see her
Instead of where she had room to jump and still see the field
And let’s talk to all of our friends about her disparagingly
Criticize her for her ostentatious show
Of fitness and a concern for her own health and wellbeing
As she carries the weight of her family
On her capable, well defined shoulders every day
With enthusiasm and love

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Life will do what it does
lull us
then toss us airborne
to plunge untethered

Her blond head on the hospital pillow
as she wanders out of our reach
her mother, bedside
calling her home

Another’s cells gone rogue
…the sort through treatment options
decisions to make that alter
marking what now becomes
a time before
a time after

The one keeping to quiet corners
having walked another
beloved to the final
beat of his limitless heart

I’m surrounded by heroes
in the grocery store
who have suffered greatly
but still buy strawberry jam
and avocados
bake pies and grill corn

They have shown grace
and disintegrated in fear and grief
alternately
bedpans have been thrown
fingers laced gently
regrettable words spilled
mopped up later
or later still
or never

We stand firm
lay prone in puddles
get back up
repeat
repeat

This is the only way
Dark and beautiful

July 2017

 

 

first

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(for G.)

one day you just get lucky
and there in the alley behind your house
is a woman with a rake
scraping leaves out of crevices
and forming crisp piles
on the cement

she’s very pregnant
dress straining against the pull
of a baby eager to be born
her hair a mass of tied back braids

when she turns
you wave
and life is altered

there are scratch cakes
and the kind of laughter that makes you hurt
the sisterhood thing locks
that softness covering formidable steel girding
never anything to forgive

you watch each other unravel
repeatedly
reform
placidly lovely
or wild

you tell kind lies
about bad haircuts
and antiseptics truths
about all the rest

you both fall asleep sure
every damn night
that your backs are good and got

Astro Was Too Difficult to Say

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I searched for you
wanted to bring you home
and into our hearts
give my children something I never had
help them learn about dogged devotion,
joy, attachment
the responsibility that inevitably comes with love

I didn’t expect your moose-iness
or that you’d be part muppet, part Barry White
or that my son would want to die if you did
that he would create a whole religion based
off of your patience and unwavering fidelity
that when the world became far too overwhelming
the only chance he had to regain peace
was waiting in the fur of your neck
and the deep quiet of your dark eyes

NaPoWriMo Day 30

100 Years

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She watched them on the treadmills
and stairmasters
jaws set and eyes fixed ahead
moving rapidly nowhere
hoisting weights and snapping ropes
rowing in place on the cement floor
muscles grateful for the challenge
and reprieve from ergonomically designed chairs and desks
protein shakes clutched in hand as they exited
carefully temperature controlled buildings
and navigated the short walk
to their cars

Life lived in comfortable box after box
everything easily accessible

She sometimes wondered
if we are happier and healthier now
then when we woke and hunted
breakfast by climbing the hill
in search of berries or rabbit
watched the sunrise from
the banks of rivers
as we collected water
diving in and swimming when warm

Vaccinated to safety
we view our world through windows
we run in place
breathe the purified air
eyes fixed for 100 years
to the screen ahead

NaPoWriMo Day 29