Hour Twelve – Beauty



Listen – I hear music!

In the park.

At the pub, in their outdoor venue.

At the festival, everyone

with picnic dinners

and beach-style chairs


Look – we have friends visiting!

I hosted my book group, in person,

on the front patio.

Last night we went to a

back yard BBQ.


We are gathering. Again.

Gathering – cautiously.

Remembering – the old ways.


May we be strong.

May we be wise.

May we know-

the beauty of each other.

Hour Ten – Tiny Bubbles

Tiny Bubbles


I didn’t expect a full guffaw anymore.

I was thrilled with a little side-ways

grin towards the end.


The nursing staff helped

set up the Face Time

chats with the ipad.

I told her she was a

very cool Nana these days!


Sometimes that would elicit

a bit of a smile.

Then she would tell me

her woes. I told her how

very sorry I was.


For the Pandemic.

For the broken hip.

For the Assisted Living

and missing her own home.


The last time we were allowed

to visit Mom, it was outside

with masks on. She told me she

didn’t need that damn thing

and left it off. Harvey got her

to sing “Tiny Bubbles” and recorded

it on his phone.


I can’t say I would full-on chortle,

remembering that day. We’re probably talking

my own kind of side-ways grin.

And . . . a few tears any minute

if I don’t stop myself.





Hour Ten – Treasure




This morning I reflexively

shoed away the squirrel

from my garden. I assumed

he was digging into my

newly-planted flower pots.


After breakfast, I peeked

out the bathroom window

and was shocked to see

the presumed thief. He was

gathering strawberries, and leaving

them on our table in the courtyard!


He obviously took great care. Not

one of the precious berries

was smashed. He placed them

out of the sun, under the umbrella.


What a treasure for we humans

to enjoy this afternoon!

Hour Nine – Baked Beans


Baked Beans


Dad’s recipe:

2 cans of B&M Baked Beans.

Add – some combination of

brown sugar, molasses, and

mustard powder.


Dig out the special crockery

only used for this purpose.

Nothing fancy. It was a round

casserole dish with a lid.

Brown colored, with a faded

yellow stripe.


The important thing was

to get the beans baking in the oven

on low heat, before the

afternoon sun penetrated our kitchen

on those hot, August days.


On occasion, I’ve attempted a

vegetarian version of

Dad’s specialty.  Sadly, I

don’t have anyone around

to ask for a taste test opinion.


My surviving brothers aren’t

nearby. The grandchildren

never tasted Dad’s cooking.

Mom’s gone now, too.


Perhaps I’ll search for my own

homely, baked bean pot – and start

a new tradition!

Hour Eight – Riptide




like a river after a storm

strong, unseen currents


leave me gasping for breath

for safety

for some glimmer of hope


the decision feels like a riptide

searing the fabric of my assuredness


and my solidity feels tenuous

along this shoreline


my strong banks may shudder

like a river after a storm


the decision feels like a riptide

carrying survivors

far away from shelter


farther still – from the breasts

of our grandmothers and aunties

Hour Seven – BBQ



On the way home from the picnic

we both mentioned how long it had been!

Back yard BBQ.

New acquaintances.

Friendly questions: Where do you live?

How do you know (the hosts)?


What may have seemed normal, now

is still feeling strange.

Our Covid life has been so

isolated. Now . . . we slowly

remember the sweet pleasure

of social interactions.


I packed our cooler with veggie burgers

and fixings.

Tray grilled fish she brought home from Alaska,

and some kind of meat.

Chris brought a potato salad and vegan

carrot muffins.

Joanne and Phil made a big green salad, and

someone brought strawberries picked

that morning.


Remember potlucks? Our house full of

friends, everyone eyeing the table full of

delicious food.

Remember sharing food?

Meeting at restaurants, then

going to a movie?


Thus far, we’re sticking with the outdoor

events. Luckily – Summer has finally



When troubled times continue

tearing us apart in our country –

banding together with old friends

seems the best antidote!

Hour Six – Reunion



I didn’t know you then –

Sixteen and pregnant.

I didn’t know you

in the years after – drinking

too much to try and

forget. Crying every time

you saw a small baby.


May I say – I’m grateful

to know you now!

When you tell me your story –

of finally meeting your daughter

as she was dying at age Forty– I

want to surround you with the

compassion you never knew.


I want to thank that nurse you mentioned

who was so kind, as you came out of delivery-

and said lovingly:  Oh, you’re just a little thing!


And – let’s agree that if you had been allowed to keep your

baby – you would have done the very best job you knew how

to let her spirit soar!


Don’t worry about answering this letter. We’ll talk

when we get a chance.

I know you’re busy with your grown kids and your grandsons.


I cherish the photos you’ve sent and the

positive health updates.


I honor the light and love in your heart.



A Friend





Hour Five – Patriarchy



He planted Sunflower seeds

in the space behind

the courtyard.


I’m busy watering the

vegetable starts, keeping

my satchel of small garden

tools close at hand.


We finally got the deck repainted.

Now – after our historically wet Spring,

we sit outside in the sun with friends.

Wine glasses are graced with the Pinot

they brought from Oregon.

Cheddar cheese and crackers quickly disappearing

from the platter.


What we cannot digest.

Will not accept –

is the Supreme Court ruling this week!

It seems they want us returning

to knitting needles in back alleys.

Fingernails pressed hard into our

palms, as we pray for deliverance

from this damnable Patriarchy.




Hour Four – The Troubles

The Troubles


She was proudly Irish

But never spoke of

the strife at home

known as

The Troubles


Julianne married Tim, many

years her senior, and

sailed away from Cobh Harbor.



Sailed away from village life, work

in her father’s pub, and the nuns

who tied her hand behind her back

to cure her of the sin of being



Ellis Island – or the Hell Hole – as

she told it.

Endless train ride

across this wide country

and a strange new town in Washington State.


The babies came. Some

didn’t make it.

Endless meals to prepare on the wood cook stove.

Four children in a one-bedroom house.

Later – grandbabies to care for.

Later – burying her Tim.


There were some good times, teaching step

dancing in the parish halls.


But, always . . .

The Troubles


Hour Three – The Arrangement

The Arrangement


I’d like to have

an arrangement

with you.


Could we be two cellos

playing side by side?


I’d like to

play a duet with you,

side-by-side at the

piano. Fingers occasionally

touching. Our music, rising

and falling. In love.


May we tune our


to perfect harmony.

Accept the cacophony of

everyday strife-

and play through all the storms

life brings to our stage.