Sometimes, she takes refuge there:
a home with unlocked doors,
words pretty as sunrise,
futures rich and enticing as crème brûlée.
NaPoWriMo Day 23
Sometimes you need to move seats,
change your view, to change
I’ve spent 25 windowless years
in a heavily windowed building.
The work done gives me glimpses
of a different world, one much
kinder and more caring than
what flickers on television.
I see hope on the papers
I push. On display: small hands
and hearts about to alter everything.
Don’t fear the message of the moment
being broadcast … or the messenger.
The fleeting old. They are already lost.
Who I work for matters most.
I put my trust there, in their
and inclusive composition.
Sometimes you need to move.
Tuck the napkin tight under your chin.
Grown or not, grease will find
its way to your silk tie, soak in
and leave its mark. The world’s
most beautiful chocolate cake.
Let them eat it. And when they
become obese, send them for a walk
on the golf course. A swing and a miss.
Policy requires flexibility. Who knew
It would be so hard? I once invested
with an unethical broker who lost
my humble nest of eggs. Maybe
he misplaced them on his yacht?
But we get to keep the things
we like: mother bombs and pre-existing
is only theory. Where’s the evidence
a tantrum in North Korea melts ice caps
and endangers the sabertooth?
If a giraffe birth and murder
can be live-streamed, it’s time
to choose what’s behind curtain
number three. The price is not right.
No syndication rights available. The
remote remote should remain lost
under the cushion. Turn it off. Learn
to read. The answer will not be found
wrapped in gold leaf. Instead of saving
some, save it all. Buy…nothing
you can’t scratch and sniff or squeeze.
Once upon a time, in a galaxy
far, far away, humans had humanity.
Sword was pulled from stone.
The public demands a sequel. Suspend
NaPoWriMo Day 16
I imagined her in college
or backpacking in Belize
working some 9-to-5 job that she loved or hated
so that she could earn enough money to cover her rent
and the cost of clubbing with her friends
making art and living in our basement
joining AmeriCorps and teaching children how to read
spending hours wandering in museums for inspiration
rarely leaving her room because she was so engrossed in creating new apps
or never being home because her social needs were so high that she was always out
in the world and we wished at least once a month she’d stop long enough to eat dinner with us
as a young, single, loving mother
on a boat in rough seas with Greenpeace protecting whales
researching grad school programs and stressing over paying back student loans
single and ambivalent about the status
obsessed with locating and meeting her birth parents
working in a tattoo parlor
preparing for medical school
skating in the Olympics
building a tiny house with her girlfriend near the edge of a lake next to the greenest forest
base jumping in every continent
All is less than optimal
it is not the future
that any parent imagines
I didn’t envision
the organ failure
the speech therapy
and special education services
wrapping my arms around my tiny-in-frame but adult-in-age daughter
as she buried her head against my stomach
her body shaking
as we went to visit
the program she’ll enter
when she graduates from high school in June
My language is foreign to my peers
they struggle to understand and respond
mishear my hope and optimism
as acceptance or surrender
to this abrading future
Although I’ve learned to mine the joy and beauty
in the oddest of overlooked cracks
no dreams have been conceded
as I attempt to swallow with some grace
each of these real days
February 3, 2017
When he pulled on his Union Jack socks
and clipped the bow tie in place
thirty years ago
he didn’t know
that night would lead him
to banana spiders spinning webs
outside his bedroom window
a back lawn crawling with cicadas
their song as loud as a jet’s engine
Planet X spawned dreams
germinated in third grade
three moons of Pluto discovered
two babies named
one kidney donated
a strawberry topped mountain saved
When he first saw her on the steps
of the Yale blue house
hands veiled in white cotton
a pearl button
resting against each clear wrist
he didn’t imagine
nebulas and dark matter
could occupy the same space
he understood relativity
and still had absolute faith
in gravity’s pull
By sixteen, I’d watched my mother work hard at her day job
as a clinic receptionist, supplement that meager income
waitressing at night and doing seasonal work at the apple farm
on weekends in the fall to keep her four kids in sneakers, jeans,
and peanut butter. When my great, great aunt died, leaving me
with one less dedicated adult in my life but a $7000 inheritance,
I already knew not to blow it on a car, Doc Martens, or blow,
but to settle it in stocks like they taught us in 3rd grade,
requiring us to make a good investment, chart its progress
in crayon weekly, watch our fictional $100 blossom in an economic
boom. It was a college seed. A just in case. An I’ve Got Plans
for My Future move. It was tuition, rent, and ramen noodles
should my other degree funding options fizzle and fade. A tanked
economy and inept broker had crushed my $7000 to $3000
by my senior year at university (so much for elementary lessons
in diligence and prosperity). Time to cash out while there was still
any cash to out. Now 21, somewhat schooled, and nearly degreed,
I bought a backpack and a plane ticket and headed to Europe
with my soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend, because, before I never could again
due to job and family and mortgage and inertia, I wanted
to get lost on roadways where I couldn’t read the signs, frustrated
by transit systems I didn’t understand, and eat crepes prepared by a street
vender outside a train station in Paris that were so good I wept. Before
life could crush me from $7000 to $3000 to Nothing, before the myelin sheath
covering my nerves could turn to lace, before all my careful planning could
leave me grounded and housebound, I needed to invest richly in sheer audacity.