“Do not defile it with cliche. It is unnameable.” —Isabella Huppert, I Heart Huckabees


My second grade teacher was paralyzed from a stroke

around the time I went to college. My mom and I still visit sometimes.

Her husband diligently brings her what she demands:

Tea, a magazine, a gift for their guests. He lifts her from her chair.

She doesn’t want to do physical therapy, it hurts.

He is so patient, so so kind

Watching, I said to myself,

Yes, like that. 


My own folks, too, not to say they’re perfect

But they know how to handle each other

My mother stern and frazzled, my father

Always playful but always getting the job done

They fight, and they make up

They say things they don’t mean, but

They know how to say sorry.

So I learned a little more than most

Like that, yes, something like that


It doesn’t seem impossible, not when it’s all around you

But anyone can forget after too long on the wrong track

So I’m huddled under a blanket heaving

Hiding my eyes so I can uglycry with total freedom


But you don’t try to drag me out, you don’t try to dive in

You pile every stuffed animal we own

Gathering me up in a fluffy stuffie bundle hill

A group hug of mutual concern from our happy menagerie 


Some of those stuffies came from exes but you’re never been threatened

They are our family too 

They each have a special power that only you and I know

and I’m sobbing now but it switched and there are small giggles

I’m crying peaceful in a comfortable heap of my history. 

We’re adults however we want

and we’re here for whatever is needed

yes this, like this, just like this.


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