nothing to see here

I woke
with spittle on my tongue
a fire in my belly
a prayer in my pocket
but not a lot of hope

I trudged
through a day meant for Sabbath
but loaded up with the firewood that stokes
a fire in my belly
until the burn is a burn that burns

I managed
to swallow the words
with spittle on my tongue
that would sooth your burns
or at least comfort you a little,
that spittle

I slept
still holding all my money and
a prayer in my pocket
saving those hopes
for another day
for another you

eternity now

she buried ambition in the dirt
in the cemetery
not by the lilac bushes
but with the bodies,
a rotting corpus of potential and desire
reeking of risk and rejection

she asked me not to visit the cemetery
which is how I knew what was buried there
but I went anyway
and left tulips already cut
without a vase or water,
just tulips lying upon the dirt
the most appropriate tombstone

she passed up promotions
said “no” to love
never rode in an airplane or a train or a sailboat
didn’t have a library card
and didn’t keep a diary
she was never in the room when someone was born
or someone died
until it was time for her
to be buried in the cemetery
in the dirt;
it was winter, and no one took flowers
or paid for the tombstone:

a neon colored sign that will eventually fade,

eternity now


the geraniums have been listening

to Leonard Cohen


I tried to introduce them to

Billy Joel

but they were not interested

in more than a broken Hallelujah

so we all sit in the evening

sipping sunsets from our wine glasses


for something we can’t imbibe

and holding on tight to all of our petals


clay woman;

the womb of her belly
earthen dirt mixed with water
bled on the sheets
during the fire of passion
and whispered in the wind
love, love, love
as his hands shaped her
into his desire
and she dried and cracked and broke
not having been watered

dust woman;


my mother ironed my school shirts

white blouses that go with plaid skirts

and tucked her love in the pockets


now I’m the mother who irons rarely

trying to raise my kids so fairly

making sure to buy clothes with extra pockets


and when the day is ending

and I am missing or feel I’m fending

I treasure what I find in the laundry pockets


so now I am collecting

what others think is for rejecting

the lining of your work pants’ pockets

the office

the new coat of paint helped

what did Jessica call it?  tidal wave?

its blue, light blue, with a teal accent wall at the entrance

Judy is working on putting up sheers in the doorway

to blot the light so I don’t get migraines

I have a big girl desk now,

the old one was a child’s desk

a big child, but a child’s desk

and my big girl desk is turned so instead of facing the wall in the back corner

I’m facing the people who arrive,

no one puts Teri in the corner


but the big thing that changed

is that after fifteen months

I finally chose


to be subordinate to the empty chair in the office

the place he used to sit

used to type

used to be

used to send all those e-mails from

the chair everyone knows is empty now

that chair

I no longer will be

subordinate to.

because that chair is empty

and my chair has me

and I am enough.

the diner

the girl child wakes first


she’ll need her own lunch

also gluten-free

she reminds you the importance of buying cage-free eggs

you remind her that all her frees really don’t come free


the oldest boy child wakes next

and beats the girl child to the counter

all carnivore

needs lunch for two today

he is eating with his companion at the senior center

his treat

he’s chosen bacon mac and cheese, and peach pie


the youngest boy child wakes last

and is the last one to the counter

which he calls an island in the kitchen

he’d like the leftover wings from last night

and a large glass of milk

for breakfast!

whatever happened to toast?

his lunch today,

your mashed potatoes with green olives and sunflower seeds

and the peaches not in the pie


for yourself it is just coffee

whatever they don’t eat

but you draw butterflies on each brown lunch bag

you don’t care that they are all teenagers now

this is your diner

the only diner they’ve ever know

and in this diner, the doggie bags come with doodles by mom

psalm 1

I thought God was going to be here

I set the alarm, and everything

this is how psalms get started

but is it real?

the pink lemonade and limeade colored graffiti lined street

ten steps of a labyrinth slice

the cunning leading the exuberant

first fox, then bear, by his side girl child

what transcends is motion

outrivals ambition

leaving monarchy behind

the adventurers who can’t get lost

in the looking glass, called labyrinth
with Kevin Peterson’s own thumbprint in the fox’s fur

this is not a zoo portrait

but a portrait of a zoo visit

and all three animations are visiting not only the zoo

but this portrait

indicating the allusiveness of the Divine Spirit of Adventure

reminding not only of the creation myths called Genesis, of which there are two

but the child on Christ’s knee,

oh let the little children come to me he pleads and exhorts

in Christmas red and green





welcome home

I’ve been keeping all the adjectives

in the barn out back

but the wind that welcomes home family and friends

blew open the doors

and the adjectives all got away

still welcome home

so I must go out and round them up with the horses

which will take a while to saddle and welcome home

I’ll need the big wagon

but while I’m gone you are welcome home too

not in the barn of course

but here at the picnic table with the yellow welcome

home pantheon

and the jar of adjectives to use only once

because they spoil

I’ve put some on ice that you are welcome to use until I get back home