imagination graduation

the younger generation
Z or X or millennials
are coupling without children,
begets now terminated at begot

we can only imagine our grandchildren now
their births and birthdays
holiday presents and road trips

I’m making a cake for my granddaughter
shes’ named after me, you know
and I drew hopscotch on the sidewalk in chalk for her to play

yesterday I built a blanket fort
under the ping pong table
for my grandson,
I named him Jack

I slept in that fort last night
until my hips hurt from the floor
and I had to go to the bathroom;
at least imaginary grandchildren aren’t disturbed by my midnight rumblings

perhaps if we had taken things
like climate change and school shootings
more seriously
our children would want children

instead, we use our imagination
that pretended the problem wasn’t ours
to pretend to have grandchildren that are
figments too young to go mad,
too soon to go sad


to be is not to be
that is eventually the answer
to know that I will not be
because you are: Death

already you sing my song
and I meet you in the harmonies
I see there is a coda ending
wrapping it all up on the theme
of me
and my living
and my loving
and my singing

the Breath within my breath promising
to be the Breath within my death
still singing
why do I always let you have the lead?

the Breath within my breath

holding a breath after the exhale
is to pause, and hold emptiness
possibility and hope
creating space for new
no need to panic
breathe in God’s love
two now one

the first step when falling in love

she packs yellow in her pockets
in case she has the chance
to scatter sunshine
like butter on sourdough toast
watching it spread like the wildfires in the woods

the lemony hue needles its way through the linen
soaking into her skin
where her periwinkle freckles welcome it;
opposites on the color wheel
spinning together
complimenting complements

this is what falling in love looks like
not practical or prepared with gumboots and an umbrella
but capricious,
skipping along
singing a new and pleasant canary-like song

there’s a new beat in her heart today
for she met a forest ranger
who is not a wolf
and is not afraid of her penchant to burn
and who drinks sunshine
like she carries in her pockets,
the kind you can’t get at any old storefront
and certainly not on a day with clouds

this is not the love of fairy tales
where the kiss is shared at the top of a skyscraper,
this is the love that leaves a trail of daisies in its wake
flowered crumbs to find her way into the forest
not out
where she checks her pockets and finds
yellow exactly where she put it
dripping now like honey from her fingers
she is her own forest ranger
in her own forest
scattering sunshine because she can

winter solstice

we kiss the solstice hello
an embrace of darkness
and all that is holy there
the fallow garden
the dancing sheets
the baking bread
the beating heart
the daffodil bulbs under the winter snow

we sit on the beach
at the reservoir
and watch the moon rise
over wintry tides
a cup of hot chocolate in the thermos
and we make a sandcastle
and bless the sacred shadows
of a home that will wash away with the next storm

I’d like to linger for a while
my hand in yours
your heart in mine
as the moon glides into the night
for this is where dreams are born
in solstice balancing
and this is where gratitude is potent
in the now
in the gray
in the cold inside my mittens
in the empty branches of the oak:
to say “thank you” here is

we walk back to the parking lot
with candles, not flashlights
and prayers
oh, so many prayers
as a coyote howls her own supplications
the bare branches of the oak
sway in a nighttime rocking, a Mother’s soothing lullaby
for winter solstice is the fullness
of knowing
that we start from where we are
not where we wish to be


beating a dead horse

there once was a girl from Nantucket
who went to Home Depot for a bucket
after beating her horse
that was already dead, of course
but a dead horse cannot fit, so spellcheck says duck it

my mother is a fish

oh Addie,
you rest in power
the privileged kind
a dying wish that for your family becomes
a death wish of sea monster proportions

the dirge of your daughter
is for her child as well
and the nails of your coffin
cannot keep the book of Addie closed
even for a night

you plucked the minister’s bed
a stench even before death
that oozed in your sweat
and your children too
a curse of verse and platitude

oh, Addie
the dead woman drowns
floats, in a coffin boat
a tainted fish
reeled back in to be roasted on a fire

oh, Addie
where behavior and intention meet
whether noble or nefarious
your children wash their hands
of you;
and your husband,
smiling through fake teeth and faker blessings
grooms a bride
found with the shovels borrowed for your burial
rest in power
oh, Addie

old and new normal

once upon a time
when all the poems rhymed
there was a porridge called normal

for breakfast folks imbibed
as poets verses scribed
and days unfolded generally quite formal

by lunch there was a yearning
but at jobs the folks were earning
the cash they would need to keep up with the Joneses

for the afternoon the clocks kept ticking
the minutes passed with predictable flicking
for the jobs they had, they often bemoaned it

once home the drinks were poured
they all imbibed for they were bored
the certainty of normal lacked inspiration and diversity

until for breakfast they did plan
along with poems that were banned
some porridge mixed with flax, creativity, and hyperbole

a bit of critical thinking in the mix
colonial problems needing to be fixed
who defines what’s normal began to change

deconstruction was enabled
flourishing for all was never tabled
inclusion for all expanded normal’s range

but now we talk new normal
which means we are standing at a portal
where humanity values all who are self-aware

and the poems, like the breakfasts
are a bit challenging with their fresh twists
but now normal means transforming, and not stuck there


the labryinth sends the invitation
the pilgrim accepts
first a circling of steps around the perimeter
a sacred container of this traveled life
then a bow at the entrance
before the one woman parade to the center
this peregrination requires a heartbeat for its stride

heal toe
heal toe
thump thump
heal toe

she treads on dread
she gaits on what’s made her wait
she tracks on flack
she trails on wails

heal toe
heal toe
thump thump
heal toe

she marches a high step
she saunters a salsa
she skips without tripping
she drudges through muckery

heal toe
heal toe
thump thump
heal toe

the labyrinth sends the invitation
the pilgrim accepts
both are changed
though both are in step

heal toe
heal toe
thump thump
heal toe

time capsule

along with his dog tags
they gave her his watch
hands stuck in perpetuity
behind broken glass

she took the ribbon from her hair
and tied it to the buckle
kissed the inside of the leather
which still smelled like him
leaving a lipstick print there
and wedging her diamond in
behind the shattered glass

burying it all in his cousin’s yard
by the light of a sobbing moon
the home they planned to buy on his return
which would not be now
neither home nor return would be now
or ever

rest in love, she whispered
the watch settled into its earthen tomb

she never heard his “I do”
she never heard his “I do”