She watched them on the treadmills
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
She wanted to jump out of plane
and drop heavy through screaming air
see the ground rush towards her
feel her heart beat against her ribs
and know she and Earth
would meet violently one last time
if she didn’t pull the cord
So started every day
with a choice
to keep plummeting
or slow her descent
and turn her chaotic hurtle
into a controlled approach
NaPoWriMo Day 28
Every miserable day
and good one
near the water
or in a hospital
My manta of gratitude
for functioning legs and serotonin uptake
and every last hug
for a soundtrack
and good enough health
for those I love to make it to sunset
Chaos and uncertainty
are too tight socks
and leaving deep ruts
but limbs intact
if a tad blue
When I manage to roll them off
a more seamless state slowly returns
The heart relentless
doing its work
NaPoWriMo Day 27
By the glow of fish tank, he’d sit and compose
a letter each night. Sweetened prose
and lines of verse, perfectly penned
in his neat script. He’d bare his heart
to the woman in gray yoga pants and purple
sports bra who ordered a grande, coconut milk,
mocha macchiato every Saturday morning at 9:37,
the black-haired cashier wearing the small, gold
cross at CVS pharmacy who worked
the evening shift on Tuesdays and Fridays,
his harried neighbor with three boys under
five who brought him a plate of cookies
every Christmas Eve, the regular driver
of bus route 32 who smiled and sang and laughed
as she shuttled her passengers down York Road,
his primary care physician who so intently asked him
about his health and well-being during his annual
physical, the transitioning woman at the bakery
with the red lips and lined eyes who knew
his regular order by heart, grabbing a bear claw
up with tongs and slipping it into the waxed bag
as soon as the bell tinkled when he pushed
through the door, and his blonde and tan cousin
from California that kissed him on the lips
when they were both twelve.
Seven letters a week, full of passion and promises,
to seven imagined loves. Seven leather portfolios and seven
pens. The words stringing out, stringing him to them.
Ink dark and indelible as any adorning marriage licenses
or restraining orders.
NaPoWriMo Day 26
Should I focus on my size?
My eyes or hair?
How I’m shaped like a rectangle?
Bones sturdy enough to pull a plough.
Strong, straight legs bookending knees of butter.
Two feet with ten toes and sufficient arches.
My glorious, murderer’s thumbs living in the shadow
of fingers with knuckles undamaged
despite a childhood cracking habit
that my mother swore would transform
my capable hands to gnarly claws.
According to a CT scan, all my organs rest rightly.
Nothing extra. Nothing missing. Nothing out-of-place.
My brain and spine are not so pristine. A tad lacy,
but not ostentatiously so.
In recent years, my hair and I have reached an accord.
I let the curls reign unchecked.
My skin is creamy and pink except where
slashed with scars, large and small.
I smile with my whole face.
The blue and sometimes green of my eyes
gets swallowed when I laugh.
What I like the most about myself is my shoulders.
They carry everything,
even when I’m certain they can’t.
NaPoWriMo Day 25
He apologized for not stopping over sooner,
as he’d promised, to drop off the medication.
Sitting down on the offered bar stool, he slumped
back against the kitchen wall. He just got out
of the hospital, he explained. Couple of back-
to-back heart attacks. Only fifty. And the pain,
he said, hadn’t been all that bad. Intense but brief.
Figured he’d just overdone it at the gym, upping
reps, weight, and time on the elliptical that morning.
He showed me his bruised arms, said it felt
like they shoved a nail through his right wrist.
It was dinnertime. I offered him a slice
of pizza we’d just pulled from the oven,
not wanting to be impolite. Grease glistening
on his lips, I saw myself stitching shut
his arteries with each bite. Another victim,
killed by kindness.
NaPoWriMo Day 24
When truth provides
no real comfort,
hope wraps her
like sturdy arms,
murmurs alternative facts
with conviction in her ear.
Sometimes, she takes refuge there:
a home with unlocked doors,
words pretty as sunrise,
futures rich and enticing as crème brûlée.
NaPoWriMo Day 23