Friday, February 19, 2021

The Snows

Snows come

the first of them joyous, 

though also a trick, well-played.  

Green now gone, wild life strays 

gray stays 

Bleak settles the bones deep 

on doleful winter faces

cheer sought, 

seemingly unattainable 

Nothing for you here, 

except all that comes with


eye on first growth

patient yearning for more and better spring 

Thursday, February 4, 2021




I used to collect sticks at random,

one from Princeton campus when I was 18

I kept it for 40 years until I lost it.

another I found in the woods next to a house I loved


It took me five years to not miss the house

I practically had a breakdown when we left

houses are not collectible, nor savable


I saved a tuft of my dead cat’s fur

it is tucked into a small cardboard jewelry box in my dresser drawer

I thought I could summon his DNA from that tuft

and that he would return 

during the night like an alien visitor


I had another cat.

he had a heart attack one day and died in my arms

it happened so fast

there was no saving him.


I stole river stones from Bittersweet Falls 

to mark my dead cat’s grave 

When we moved from the house I loved, I stole the stones

from his grave

I piled them on a windowsill in my new house

the stones felt smooth and cool in my hand as if they’d always belonged to me and 

I hadn’t stolen them at all


I save photos on my phone.

I have so many that the Verizon guy rolled his eyes

then he explained how the Cloud could help me with my problem.

I still don’t believe him.

I’m afraid to lose the photos. 

what if I lose the people?

the photos will be all that remain 
so I hoard the photos and 

hope for the best.


My mother and I correspond via U.S. mail

Mommy sends me cards that she orders from the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters

I send her artist cards that I buy at the co-op

her cards cost $.49 each

mine cost $3.00

both she and I like cards with birds on them

the cost of the birds is irrelevant


I save these cards from my mother;

she is 92 years old

each time one arrives in the mailbox whether it is my birthday or Christmas

I think “I am 68 years old

and receive cards from my mother.”

I say it out loud for emphasis


Her handwriting is still Catholic- schoolgirl-holy

my dresser drawer is crammed with these beauties

her beautiful DNA is on them


When she is gone, the cards will make it seem as if she is still with me

like a cat reincarnate

or river stones piled high on a windowsill

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The Opening


The Opening

January 21, 2021

Come into my house

sweet people

little ones with stories

I have missed you

Strangers no more

time and space reclaimed

we shall grow to know each other better  

Between politics and pandemic there has been much 






Come to me,

new friend

let us cultivate the thrill of our novelty with

bold humor

new music

forget work and responsibility for a while 

make curry

drink deep dark wine

skip school and go hiking in the wild

Come back into my life,

old friend 

my Constant

Stream of thought and being

always known,

too long forgotten  

all because of mutual misunderstandings

Skewed ideals 

Quick tempers


Devious plots

Angry fires

I promise now,

hand on my heart 

if it convinces you further

Come into my house

I will remember kindness

share softness 

dispel your fear 

feed the hunger

listen to your stories 

Monday, March 18, 2019

For Now

For Now - Read on March 17, 2019 at Mary's, Baldwin Creek,

Published in Spring 2019 Zig Zag Lit Mag

For Now

A phone trills, our neighbor speaks,
an ambulance has been summoned.
Embarking on a swift drive north
        to Chittenden from Addison
My calm surprises me
I know right where to park, too

There you are, Bed #63
suited up in a cotton gown.
Machines beep in S-O-S rhythm
needles pierce veins amidst a veil of wires
yet you smile and say hello.

Reaching out, I touch your ankle
it's all I can think of to do, so
I hope my hand feels warm
and I wonder, does such a gesture
        ever save a person's life?

Doctors speak in a language of mixed messages,
which we absorb in increments.
I'm reminded of those books about
        Mindfulness and the Now, and
I realize it'd probably be helpful to consider
it all -- for future reference.  

Eileen Brunetto

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Man and Dog in a Van

published in Zig Zag Lit Mag, Issue 3.  

Man and Dog in a Van

His hippie-style beard was what caught my eye. He looked as if he strummed guitar for a living, or was on the verge of opening his own health-food store. Each morning on my way to work, this stranger passed by me in his green-and-white Volkswagen bus.
 I was twenty years old.
The first time I waved, I gave a Native American “how." The next day and from then on, we waved as if we were engaged in a modern version of a primal dance. My secret boyfriend.

As a Talbot’s/worn-out-jeans-wearing hybrid, I often felt torn between convention and rebellion. I was a legal secretary in a historic building surrounded by cobblestones and old-growth maple trees, yet I loved my progressive rock musicians and blasted their albums whenever I could. I aligned more with the bra burners than prim college girls, who wore matching sweater sets. I appreciated a person who showed up every day; but I was an idealist to my core.
One morning, as our cars passed each other, my friend, instead of waving, turned his vehicle in a wide arch and began to follow me. Oh, brother, I thought, I asked for it, didn’t I?
I pretended I didn’t notice, stealing glances of him in my rearview as he escorted me all the way to the Stafford post office, where I picked up the office mail.
            I pulled into a spot in the post office parking lot, and he turned in next to me. A total klutz, I summoned all the gracefulness I could muster as I stepped out of my Chevy sedan. It was time to make a good impression now that I was face-to-face with my hippie.
I couldn’t help but smile as he extended his hand. “I’m Fred,” he said, grinning.  “I’ve never known anyone so forward she’d wave hi to a stranger. Whatever made you do that?” he asked.
            A head taller than I, tattered jeans hung on his lean frame.  He wore a light Army-surplus jacket. Then, he leaned back against his van.
            I introduced myself to Fred. We talked about our morning drive, where we had gone to school, and what we’d eaten for breakfast. I had an English muffin. He had Cheerios; he crinkled his nose and said, “Yeah, I eat them every day, but they have a weird aftertaste, don’t you think?”
            “You don’t wear gloves. Aren’t your fingers freezing?” he exclaimed.
So he had been noticing—down to the tips of my fingers.
            He asked me where I worked. I nodded toward Kings Highway, where the prestigious law office was located. He worked at the Landford Animal Shelter. I typed all day; he took care of animals. I felt an urge to apologize for my ordinariness. Secretly, I thought myself a free spirit despite the fact my livelihood was ruled by daily commerce. Not to mention I was engaged to a young man I had known in high school—a telephone lineman, hunter, fisherman, and not exactly a devoted animal lover since it didn’t matter much to him if he shot a deer with his bow and arrow. He was more concerned with getting the deer.
Nevertheless, I was impressed by Fred’s line of work. He takes care of animals, I sighed, so he must be a good person.
As a high school girl, I fantasized about my future. I would live in New York City in a Greenwich Village walk-up flat with creaky wooden floors and thick-paned windows. I would decorate with antiques, hand-me-downs, and soft colors. I would meet and fall in love with a Paul Simon–type, someone who was sensitive and had a passion for life and the arts—cute but not too cute. We would walk the park each afternoon, and I’d accompany him on his music dates where I’d watch and listen from a table way in the back. Afterward, we would return to my place where we would talk and make love late into the night.
Fred seemed as if he might fit into my fantasy. What didn’t fit was me, flirting with him despite my recent engagement.
 If only my girlfriends could have seen me in that parking lot, they’d have had a fit. “You’re engaged for God’s sake! How could you?” they’d cry. I could just see them shaking their heads and clucking their tongues as if I was the worst sort of Jezebel.
I could have talked to Fred all day, but I needed to get to work. I wrote my phone number on a scrap of paper and stuffed it into his hand. I arrived at work and dropped my bundle of letters on the mail table, cheeks flushed as I tore off my coat and began sorting the mail. I thought of Fred and hoped I would see him again.
            A few mornings later when I arrived at the post office, Fred was waiting for me by his van. The back hatch was open, where his Saint Bernard, Wiley, filled the back of the vehicle. Both dog and man greeted me. I petted Wiley as he slobbered onto my jacket, but I didn’t mind. Fred seemed so proud to introduce me to “the family.” I didn’t know what Fred had in mind, but I was glad he had returned. What if he asks me out? I probably shouldn’t be talking to him. But do I care? I’m not sure.

            Fred grew quiet. He gazed down at my hands. Then he tapped the diamond on the ring of my left hand with his index finger.
“I didn’t see this before. I guess we shouldn’t see each other, should we?”
 Please come see me again. I heard the words in my head, but they didn’t come. Instead, I stood there for what seemed like fifteen minutes, the same amount of time as our first meeting.
I wished I could travel back in time to the day I had gotten engaged. Part of me wanted to undo the ring, the guy, the married life I was headed into. But this was just a silly notion, right?
Fred, my fork in the road; my spirit guide. It took me years before I understood that the young girl, the one who waved to strangers, had always been free to choose.

Monday, February 13, 2017

In New Age Journal - Today - my piece, "Evolution of Prayer"