Friday, May 27, 2022

Juan Samuel’s Teeth


This evening, no different

a pot of tea

family stragglers gathered

around a table

it was always casual conversation


guess what? she said. 

Juan Samuel came into the

post office today

oh he was so nice 


I’m sending a package to my mother, he said

Spanish accent, pronounced 

his English, perfected 


so young

so far away from home

Juan, the Phillies second baseman

a fan favorite


he has the nicest smile and the prettiest teeth


a little embarrassing to think of how she glowed

she seemed starstruck, bedazzled. 

I bet he thought the same about her


I know I was dazzled by her 

my entire life

we all were.  

Friday, April 15, 2022

White Sheers


Curtains appear one by one

at the windows

like a candlelit ceremony


dressed in white,

sheer and light like snowfall

steam iron heat

tap water sprinkled from an amber corked bottle

blessed by her constant labor


children gathered inside 

safe from winter’s wear

a warmth given freely by this woman   


***

so many seasons 

visitations 

only this, the first time she seems elsewhere 

for a moment she cannot find me, her daughter 


she has turned her attention away

 toward the window filled 

with woods and spring birds

and then to me again 

back toward my voice 

toward life


pulling the hospital bed curtain.

safely around us,

as on the first day,

which held only she and I


Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Black


The dying 

come and gone so quickly 

though there was no ease;

that concept is a rumor


you’d know what I mean 

if you’ve ever witnessed 

tragic immediacy


there there, he was an animal, 

you always knew this day would come


cause of death 

blunt force 

heart trauma 


for now, I practice detachment

acceptance 

that’s what Buddhists do


build a pine box

adorn with thistle

consecrate with sage 

(though you laugh and say

he would have hated that)

respect the cairn above

the welcoming earth below


grieve for months

isn’t that tradition?

it seems so unhealthy, unwieldy


funny how no one notices 

the wailing widow

grieving mother 

perpetual mourner

woman dressed in black

Monday, January 31, 2022

Night Walk


I wish I had a friend

who liked walking in the dark

she would come knock for me at the door the way 

my seventh grade friends did when we went to the lake in winter

after I’d washed the dinner dishes 

left to dry on their own 


snowy sky

skates slung over our shoulders 

we would make our way to the 

frozen lake 

the wood fire 

the boys 


as a young mother,

children off to sleep, 

I and my neighbor friend 

(who is long dead,)

would meet out on the sidewalk

“synchronize watches, ladies” 


humidity down

oak leaves at peak growth 

perfect measure of 

gossip and wisdom 


how to get rid of a sinus headache

“wonder how much the new people paid for their house”


gypsy moths crunching away 

so much natural decimation 

the only other sound, 

low timbre of our voices 


these days I’d be satisfied with a brisk, brief neighborly walk 

my adventurous friend and I would breathe in the crisp cold night

lungs strong

report on our days 

philosophize

(free-form the way I did as a child)

excited talkers

serene listeners


I notice a woman standing at her kitchen window 

she’s washing dishes

lost in thought, 

lost in the golden light and the steam 

wishing for stars. 

Friday, January 28, 2022

Anne’s email

 “53 is nothing these days. 66, I’m not so sure.”

Anne Rice in an email between she and I. 2008 

Conversation about her novels. 

Long Life Rant


If the goal is to achieve very old age

what does that mean

to a woman’s essential worth? 


Is it only a number?

shouldn’t quality and charm be deciding factors in this aging success?


she wants to know 

will this old living feel good 

will there be friends

purple lilacs in a vase

yin yoga?


a gold-plated aging trophy 

and her own table on which to display this award


she doesn’t pray 

as old women are known to do

except for her children’s 

safeness

happiness

and that they will outlive her

of course,

all of which obviously and directly relate to her own happiness, 

the actual award,

sweet selfishness she proudly owns

by stealing the lilacs from 

a neighbor’s late spring garden 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Light Snow


Neighbors 

one-by-lonesome-one 

venture out 

bash the ice of driveways and walkways 

wielding pick, shovel, broom, boot


the sound of it often confused with romantic snow 

swoofs, crunches, muffles 

night noise under foot 


this ice-bashing

heralds winter’s early phase  

December’s pretty nod 

a trickster that precedes loathing

eventual heartsickness  


yet the ice-bashers carry on 

until the melt

when skylight pales

to a shade of hopeful gray