Monday, January 31, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 18

Dear Eve,

I need to tell you a secret.

It is of the utmost importance--

I can sense that you will understand completely.

There is something leeching out of me.

I cannot tell my family,

and I don’t think they have noticed yet.

They will only make fun of me more

than they already do. They call me Dory,

like the little blue fish in Finding Nemo.

The way something shiny distracts me from my tasks

and I veer off course without looking back

forgetting all about the wet laundry laying on the hardwood floor,

or the half-eaten meal

cold on the counter hours later,

or the car running, door open

and me tearing break-neck down the block

chasing the doe who stumbled

into our suburban neighborhood unannounced.

I am simply making sure the police don’t succeed

in using their tasers to stun her.

I know what that feels like, and it isn’t pleasant.

Believe me.

But anyway, I have deviated too far from the subject at hand

(surely more proof of the pudding).

Let me get back to this substance

that seems to be oozing out of me.

I first noticed it seeping from my scar,

which is the very reason I know you will understand me.

I believe our scars have fallen in love.

It is not clear how they met, but I have been told

they are planning an exorbitant wedding

and are contemplating naming their firstborn Moe,

which I think is an imbecilic idea.

But we have plenty of time to convince them of that.

My scar is S shaped and about six inches long.

It is a bluish-gray color, swollen and dimpled.

I try to avoid looking at it

because it reminds me of a caterpillar crawling

along my belly. I am sure at any moment

it will pop its furry head

out of my collar to tickle my chin.

I swear I’ll bite its head off when it does.

Anyway, again I digress. This green and viscous secretion,

which at first was just a trickle

around the edges of my scar,

is now beginning to gush

soaking my clothes so that I have to change them

several times a day,

not just my shirt but my underpants and sometimes even my socks

when it has begun to pool

in my favorite black boots,

the ones I got at Kmart with a coupon.

I am hoping that due, in part, to the impending nuptials

and the possibility we will be grandparents soon,

you might consider having a word with

that tiny white X on your chest, the one

right above your heart,

to see if you can find out what is causing this mysterious flow.

I am trying to contain it as long as I can

so my family won’t recognize my discomfort or even notice

the witch is back.

She is not riding her broom this time, but her cauldron

is full of hot sauce and something that looks suspiciously

like a cat with only two legs and one ear.

I am convinced you understand my fears and will do your best

to help me in my finest hour of need.

Or at the very least, maybe you can write a play

about our scars

and their fairytale beginning.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 17

May the Morning Ice Melt In Time to Explore Their Present

Snow and ice abound

surrounding our homes and our hearts.

An icy landscape we can’t seem to escape.

This wintry mix

infects me

dejects me.

If you want to know the truth,

it brings me to my knees.

But the girls,

the brave ones,

they shine brighter.

I feel a melting inside

when I breathe their air

see their joy

feel their love.

I pray they feel it, too.

Winter retreating

leaving us to rejoice

in the sun.

Friday, January 21, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 16

Who were you in my dream?

Were you the owl flying so low over our car at dusk

or the red-tailed hawk in the tree on the lane

eager to show us how easy it is to fly?

Were you the snow-covered brook

murmuring past the house that Ira built

waiting for us to notice how ebb and flow

still smooth the stones even through the thickest ice?

Or were you that gentle curl of birch bark

lying near the path,

reminding us again how life comes full circle?

I keep asking but you don’t answer,

who were you in my dream?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

31 WInter Poems: Poem 15

My mother has always used religion to explain our lives,

lists of things we couldn’t do

commandments and punishments

sprinkled here and there with peculiar exaltations.

I’ve never felt like I quite measured up to their expectations--hers or God’s.

I seem to remember sitting

on the tiny wooden chairs

in my Sunday school classroom,

the accordian doors closed

protecting the pulpit from our too-loud voices.

While we made tombstones out of Playdoh

to roll away on Easter morning,

I examined the paintings of Jesus

staring down from the walls around me--

wondering how it was possible

that I could have been made in the image of God.

Feeling not so much like a photocopy

but instead like a fax of a fax,

so that even the outline is an approximation.

Friday, January 14, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 14

and me.
Brave Girls, all of us.
Showing up to prove we belong.

At least that's why I'm going to be there.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 13

Screw It

i'm thinking right now
might be a perfectly good time
to say screw it
for telling myself
that I am doing it wrong.

i'm thinking it's time
to make up my own rules
and my own shades of brave.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 12

photo credit: pixomar


sometimes I can feel the ferocious woman pulsing inside me

waking wild eyed from sleep

to face a brand-new day

ready to explore winding roads that line the earth,

wearing corduroys and cowboy boots,

saving conversation for strangers on diner stools

dancing fearlessly in a crowd of revelers,

strobe lights glittering above me while I move in slow motion,

never tiring of the buzz and the beat

diving into the ocean,

swimming deeper past fish and coral and sunken ships,

remembering every sacred breath I have taken.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 11 and 1/2

Like a marble window, the mountain devours my secret. No memory of my reflection.

31 Winter Poems: Poem 11

Inspired by the lovely Stef and what comes out of magnetic poetry:

The sun sets upon the ocean like a perfect slice of red velvet cake. Delicious.

Monday, January 10, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 10

For Katie and Jesus

Here is evidence they existed:

the tilt of his head

her black-and-white dress

a red necktie

40 pairs of high-heeled shoes

love notes from a piano bar

a glass of champagne

a room doused with gasoline

ardor engulfed in flame.

Lives extinguished

and only love remains.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 9

Shultis Farm Road

only whiteness in front of us,


expectations at the end of the unknown path

senza parole

suddenly the road opens before us,

unkept perfection

speaking across seasons

no barriers,

untouched by reason,

constantly flowing

the eyes do what they can

embarking on a journey

cosa vuoi che sia?


unburdening assumptions

Saturday, January 8, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 7 (and 8)

I am a silvery strand of web
spinning in the sunlight high up in the tree.

I am the bright red wing of the bird perched before flight.

I am the tall strong branches of the oak
bending slightly in the breeze.

And the acorn that has fallen to the ground below.

I am the orange impatiens bowing toward
the earth in prayer.

I am all of these things and more.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 6

I'm all out of words.
They must have slunk away
while I was dancing for a mermaid
who was born on this day.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 5

photo credit: Michelle Meiklejohn
A blueberry bush for a tombstone would have been more appropriate for Mary
than the silent, somber slab that sits above the place where her head must lie.
Something catches inside me when I stop to imagine her there, suffocating under acres
of thick brown dirt--the only other covering for her bones, some thin, brown grass.
I prefer to remember her as she was, kneeling gently beside me,
picking wild blueberries on the path that led to the dock
where her small boat roosted and rocked with the tides.
Always, she showed me that it was best to eat the bluest berries
right then and there, saving the sour globes
for the pancakes and muffins we would bake together later,
silently telling me it was alright to take what we want
and protect ourselves from the rest.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 4

self portrait by: mccabe russell

Dear Diary,

Why did Cinderella bend to the will of her wicked stepsisters?
What made Snow White eat the poison apple?

Why didn't they simply say, "NO!"
Then again, why didn't I?

Maybe what we accept
gives us the backbones for our story,
even when it's wretched.


Monday, January 3, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 3


I stare at their faces in the photograph.

Two young girls,

so much alike they could be twins,

standing on either side of their father.

Pressed white dresses with

shoulders starched like tiny wings.

He sits, arms crossed, on a wooden chair

dragged from its usual spot at the table

to this place beneath the rose trellis.

When I peer into this garden scene

my body is flooded with sadness

at the loss between them, its weight

shadowing their eyes

their downturned lips

his lazy smirk.

A mother

a wife

somewhere in the world

too tired, too broken, too ashamed

to stay.

Her departure already shaping them.

I imagine the way they must

vigilantly listen for her voice.

Darning their socks, shining his shoes,

washing her red enamel cup again and again.

Their unknowable future blooming before them.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 2

the cold hard shovel

rears it’s ugly head

breaking the snowy landscape

Saturday, January 1, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 1

First Since 1638


a serious red

eerie and bright

on your descending node

bring me

your warrior’s light

and a brave heart