Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The permeable universe.

I'm getting to know you through the pictures
you take and those you share
and mystery
and words re-paint and re-tell your story
day after day.

Our craws' scratchy calls
our narratives
may not be recognized as our lives and
daily chores
but more as calls to prayer
to action
to a common vision
of life
across many fences.

I went to see what Erin
and Carmen posted on Blogger
before i wrote this post;
walked the neighborhood of Facebook
eager to learn how my friend is recuperating.

This permeable universe
equalizes our concentration,
hopes and dreams
and needs
spill easily into each other's white space.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The tense of the moment.

I move toward my task
and before I know it, my immediate purpose
has changed.
Something happens without my knowledge.

Then, as I spy my image in the mirror
at the end of the corridor
I straighten up
hips and shoulders undulate
with a cadence
I recognize as mine.

I'm older than my parents were the last time I saw them
older than they appeared in any photograph
they took in their late years. I knew not
what their thoughts were
when I chose not to write
not to visit
not to care enough to recognize their
old age pains.
I'm sure they forgave my sin of youth.

My children, my parents
and grandparents
all move in my body, down that corridor,
longing for a
moment of recognition,
that is neither the past nor the future
but a present
fully conscious
of the
weight of this moment.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Note to self, hunger will be your downfall.

When nasturtium in raised beds
protected the cucumber plants from
insects and birds
too eager to taste summer,
they failed with slugs.
Slugs, longer than fingers, fatter than toes, ate everything on their path to
colonize each boxed harvest. How did they crawl all the
way up to the top of the box?
What makes one species take over the world?
Insatiable appetite. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I used to dress you.

I chose colors and fabrics and decorative flourishes
one thing layered on another
a doll moment between us
you looking prettier than anyone I knew
a big bow on your head the final touch.

I was filling our lives with beauty's possibilities
every time I dressed you.

Beauty fades like the sun, Mother used to say.

Then, after you came home from school in tears,
and had no explanation to give,
I noticed a discomfort in your eyes
as I combed your long hair
and placed that big bow on the top.

After that, you insisted on dressing yourself,
skipping the bow, the ribbons
and all the frilly things I had bought for you.

Did the bow caused undue attention?
Did you hear your grandmother's voice as I did?
Maybe, you no longer needed me to make you feel pretty.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Coming and going.

I corseted myself and left home
early in my dawn chasing dreams
still running their loops
from yesterdays
to tomorrows.

Traveled miles and miles in
the dark, going and coming
sorting the whole way
piles everywhere

didn't amount to much.

Home still feels so far away
a dream
we must
to travel these twisty roads.

Monday, February 11, 2013

In the end, we talk about endings.

A gathering of new friends, each
just not sure what the other might bring
to the table.

How was the visit with your daughter?

The answer goes somewhere else:
Who won the chowder contest?

We came to enjoy the prize-winning
chowder after our book meet
feeling immunized against food memories
like daughters tap-dancing around hot cookie trays
and spilled tea.

And your last doctor's visit?

I'll know more after the tests results.
I keep taking my pills and try to lose more weight.

We  laugh, about daughters
escape fiction, skinny doctors who
read only charts.

In the end, we end up talking
about what
it feels like to count days
so close to the end.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

You smell like your days.

What was I thinking
that I'd live 
to tell
and that all the
and the soot
would be washed
from my skin?

I still smell like the storm of 58, the one that buried us alive, beast and men
huddled in a cage, wearing all our clothes day and night, our legs mottled with burn marks for
all that standing by the fire, the fire that had to be kept bright and hot else melting  snow would douse it forever. We broke up chairs and baskets and bed posts to stay warm, 
killed all the small animals in our care
our stock of olives and nuts barely nourishing us
until the day came, was it days or months later,
when we shoveled ourselves out
smelling forever of
olive pits
soiled papers
and all the shit
we ate and burned to keep ourselves alive.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The times when we didn't take pictures.

Remember Tallahassee, the best six years of our lives!
I was quite anxious the whole time!
You seemed happy, you said.
Well, I kept a calendar, counting the days when we'd get back to a normal life.
You're exaggerating!
Not exaggerating, ruminating on how something felt in the moment experienced.
You had the best smile ever, every day for six years. Everyone envied us.
I envied everyone else, those eighteen year olds with great figures, those who left after two years of graduate work, those whose lives were richer and more meaningful than ours.
All our friends envied you.
For what?
You were the perfect wife, mother, never complaining, always gracious...Wait,I have this picture...
I wanted more. No, that picture was taken way before Tallahassee and...
More what?
Our own place, for one thing. We have no pictures of those times. Do you know why?

(to be continued...

Retracing our steps.

Memory is a faded photograph, people, places, events
sometimes crisp and bright. sometimes grey turned black
waiting for interpretations by the next generation.

What happened to that tree in that corner you ask.
It fell in the storm of 08, or maybe 09. I know it was there during that Memorial Day BBQ
when this picture was taken. You were busy with the BBQ and I took this view right from the living room door.

 Monterey cypress graced two thirds of our view when we first arrived; before the big storm knocked one down. It hit the chain link fence and we had to replace that.

Was that the time  when the water line broke and you had to dig and try to find the break to get repairs done... The year you went to France!

No. It was after Dad had cataract surgery; or was it the carotid surgery? You know that I'm learning anatomy the way I learned auto mechanics, after something breaks down and...

I could swear these trees were there every time I visited!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


This is how we write our story:
a river bed channeled
through another swale
its pulse
trees and grasses
bent to our will.

of wind
on still water.


Saturday, February 2, 2013


Spasms of creation.

The ocean
keeps history
with sound
and splash.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Rules for old ladies waiting...

I have ten rules of life, maybe less
or is it fewer...I forgot
forgot the date my mother died
and many other important things.

I have rules for things that still matter
rules to go to sleep-with classic radio
and to wake-with espresso coffee
and to pray to heaven and the dead
to drive slowly- watch for deer darting on the side.
brush teeth often, after each meal
and to be grateful when it's sunny.

Do you remember feeding me
slices of peeled fig with honey and crushed
pistachio, one slice at a time
a game
until we got sick of

We tried to break every rule then
not knowing that  rules come in medicine jars.

Daily-over unslippery mats
I use no-tear shampoo
and watch my step
so not to end up
wet and naked
on the tile floor.

I rather prefer
the same weather
the same food
the same schedule
of deliveries
to order my
life into
a path I can easily follow
but I feel quite new when something
out of the ordinary makes me forget all the rules.