Jul 30


After Aunt Beth died
I vowed to never 
get close to anyone
ever again.

I learned the pain 
of loss, and for my
seven year old brain,
it far outweighed 
the joy others bring.

I struggled so much
to distance myself,
but never succeeded.
And now I hurt again.

I barely knew you, we
were third or fourth cousins,
my dad was one of
your grandparent first cousins,

but you were so young,
just seven, one day 
you were here,
and then I came home
from work and you weren't.

I can't imagine how
your siblings feel,
or parents,
or grandparents,
or aunts,
or uncles,
or first cousins,
or friends,
even some of
my first cousins
were really close
to you and your family,
I can't imagine
how much more pain
they are in.

I hope no one
tries to distance
themselves like I did.
Jul 22


It was a hue
​somewhere between
​pink and orange,
bright, but not
​with the unnaturalness
​of neon, more like
lit from within.

Him and I
​sat in the soft clover
​while the two
of them sat
on the wooden swing
​as the four of
us watched the
colors evolve
on the clouds.

Jul 22


In my freshman English class
​we were asked a question:
Are people as a whole Good?

​The class was split in half,
some citing acts of selfishness
and cruelty to proclaim
that people are not innately good.

​The rest spoke of acts of
​pure kindness and heroism
​to prove that people are good.

​I was with the people who
believed people are good.
​I stated that everyone
​thinks they're good,
even Hitler thought he was in
the right, that he was good,
that everyone tries to be good.

​My teacher cut me off
​because I was making it too
​complicated by bringing up
​that everyone has a different
​view of what is good and right.

​Ever since then I haven't
been able to stop thinking
about how different people's
​perceptions of good are.
There are some general perceptions
of what things are right and good
Jul 19

Summer Cousins

I was so disappointed
when I found out
​we weren't cousins.
​I love you just
​as much as any
​of my cousins,
and just about
everyone I love
​I'm related to somehow.
​I thought that since
​we aren't related,
it would somehow
change the love
I felt for you.
I didn't realize
that family doesn't
​just include those
you are related
to by blood.

​Mom saw the hurt
​and confusion
​flowing through me
and dubbed you
​our summer cousins,
a term that said
​that we were related,
if only for the summer.

​I love that you are
my summer cousins,
and I'm so grateful for
​how you've changed
​my understanding of
love and family.

Jun 05

My Grass

Sometimes I'm afraid
I love too much
that I give it out like
it's nothing important
like it's as common
as the grass in
my small Vermont town
because I meet people
who protect their love
and keep it hidden
the way the grass is
protected in D.C.
so that no one
can walk on it.

Sometimes I fear
that someone will
take the love
I give so freely
and destroy it the
way a tractor's tires
tear up a muddy field
and rip out all the grass;
in D.C. the grass
is surrounded by
little chain fences
to keep it safe.

But sometimes I worry
that I don't love enough
that I build walls higher
than airplanes can fly
to protect my grass
in an area no one can
even catch a glimpse of
instead of roping it off
in a way that people
can go under or step
over to reach the grass
a way that they have to
Jun 01

After You Passed

It's your birthday today.
​You would have been fifty-two.
I wish you were here
so I could give you a hug
as I wish you Happy Birthday.
It'll be ten years in a month
and a day since you died
and in two months it will
be my birthday.
I'll be seventeen.
I turned seven a
month after you died.
I'll have spent most of
my life without you.

I wish I'd gotten
to know you better.
Children don't really 
get to know adults.
All I have is stories and
a few childhood memories
of fun with you,
I didn't learn that your favorite
color is orange until you died,
​and I didn't learn the exact
​shade of basketball orange
until years after that.

Even after you died you helped me.
I used to get anxious,
I would feel someone watching
me even though I knew 
no one was there.
It happened more often 
at night and when I
May 23

Simple Words

You use such simple words.
You described the fight
against ISIS as one
between good and evil,
but good and evil
are words that should
never be used to
describe human conflicts.

Humans are such a mix
and jumble of emotions
and motives and perspectives,
and everyone can justify
all their actions,
and bad is subjective
and the definition of
good depends on the person.

So tell me how
you can describe such
a complex conflict,
made complex because
of the fact that
we are human,
using words that
five year olds use.
​Explain to me how
simple words can convey
​entire lifetimes of complexity.
May 17


You ran with
reckless abandon,
your two year old
legs pumping
as hard as they could,
not worrying about falling.
We took you to 
the little playground,
You went down
all three slides
before heading
to the swings.
I lifted you
on and pushed
you gently,
Sarah said you
were grinning
the whole time.
When you decided
you were done,
you gently slid off
and ran back
to the slides.
You decided that
the best way
to get up
was the rock wall,
so I'd lift you
as you'd walk
your feet up
and Sarah
would grab you
at the top.
You'd laugh
and shout "Weee!"
on the way down.
When you went
into the little
plastic structure,
you invited Sarah in.
When Sarah said
she couldn't fit,
you insisted
"Yes you can"
When I stuck
my head through
the door you giggled