Mar 15

kindred

when i walk into the library
my body is tense, my fingers sore from scrambling over my keyboard
i find a table, much too central for my liking
and settle in
already feeling irritation take its seat beside me
reminding me of deadlines and long essays waiting to be written

i do not notice the elderly woman 
bending over the shelf of children's books behind my chair 
her hair is stringy and white
knotted in two buns on each side of her head
she is missing several teeth 
and the ones she has intact tell me of her age

but i do not notice these details until she pulls back the 
other chair at my table
i smile quickly, not taking my fingers from the keyboard
somehow, i glance down and see the books she has in her bony hands

"tasha tudor: around the year"
"tasha tudor: pumpkin moonshine"
and many more
Dec 19

the barn cat

today i drove past two farms on an old dirt road
my tires slid and scraped in slush 
my blue prius was splattered with snow and dirt
i didn't mind

there was snow on the ground 
and clouds in the sky promising more
my front seat was covered by an old flannel blanket 
leaving room for my dogs and their wet paws
my hands were warmly gloved, firm on the steering wheel
when it is cold, i am alert
awake.

halfway past the second farm
a small black shadow scurries alongside the snowbanked edges of the road
i slam on my brakes, slowing down
peering out my windshield at the young barn cat
his fur gossamer, deep black against the snow 

he moves quickly, trotting, but not at a full run
tiny paws weaving daintily around piles of slush and somehow managing to remain
impeccably clean
his tail waves straight up in the air, balancing
Jul 20

seen in roanoke


today i saw three children
they were not much younger than i am
sixteen, or maybe seventeen years old
sleeping under an old concrete bridge

their shoes lay hapharzardly next to them
the soles of their tired feet grimy and bare
i thought of how hard, how unforgiving 
the stone must feel beneath their heads

then i walked
in clean shoes and socks
into an art musuem 
so sit leisurely and look at paintings
to sip some tea and write in my new notebook

but no matter how hard i stared at oil on canvas
brush strokes in oranges and pinks
all i could see was the dirty grey pavement
a heavy feeling of guilt
and tired heads resting 
in a quiet admission of defeat. 
May 28

july 26th, 2001

the walls are midnight blue
hotel sheets are rough against my skin
my fathers face is panicked
his mouth tight and blood leaving his cheeks
when he smiles, i can see even at two years old it doesn't reach his eyes.

outside, mama is screaming three am scary sounds
dad has sweaty hands and sweaty eyes
the car makes screeching sounds on the empty road
as we drive away.

the drive is long and cold and 
i'm wearing pajama shorts and goose bumps on my legs
once a police officer in a shiny car stops us
motions to roll down the window
asks if we know we are speeding
in my sleepiness i hear jumbled explanations
"....baby came early...trying to get to hospital...emergency..."
i know that word is a bad one.

the officer frowns, looks at me, says
"you have another baby in the backseat
don't wrap your car around a tree."

hours later, i must have slept
May 28

inspired by rupi kaur

May 21

seconds


lately it is easier and easier 
to forget the value of a single second
or one
uneven
heartbeat

the way everything keeps moving
scrambling on and on
mystifies me
a hand against my chest counting the time
with each hesitant thump
Apr 09

lost sunday evenings

these sunday evenings 
i make lists of things to do so i don't have to think about how 
you used to come fall asleep on the sofa 
in late afternoon sun
we'd wake up a few hours later and laugh quietly 
while you cooked rice with chicken in a heavy pot 

i'd wait for the hours i got you 
in the dark winter weekends we found peace in my small kitchen
last spring i drove you home late one night
and you stopped me on the dirt road by the pond 
rolled down the windows and looked up at an april sky

i can't think these things now because i can't breathe in all the way when i do
so instead i drive for hours with my windows rolled up
go for long runs (but not on the dirt road by the pond)
and avoid my kitchen 
where we spent so many quiet sunday nights. 
 
Mar 14

how it was

Feb 14

a night in february

i am driving feeling the weight of your warm hand on my shoulder
it rests there, your ring finger twitching once in the way it does when you fall asleep
my high beams are on making snowflakes hurl themselves against the glass
i can see each of your eyelashes the size of a single flake
your chapped lips are slightly parted in slumber, your head turned to face me 
you told me it scares you how often i say i love you 
i try to explain that this sleepy world is like a red wine slipping bitterly past my lips
it stains
once i write you into a poem, how am i supposed to write you out? 
 
Dec 29

to be awake in winter


i feel delicate 
like snow crumbling onto handmade mittens 
vast blue eyes behold the brittle twigs of 
winter trees

my fingers and toes stretch, reaching for all 
available room
i am allowing myself to live 
to take up hours of space in a world where hours are not limitless 

i wonder if the birds outside my window whisper as we sleep
they have seen the change winter wind whistles between my bones
in a barren world
what light is there if we are not awake and loving? 

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