Loose Scraps of Paper

The loose scraps of paper, on which she enjoyed writing, were liable to fly away if someone left a window open.  But she firmly believed that fresh air blowing through the screens was the best– and certainly easiest– way to keep a house clean.  So she allowed windows, and even sometimes doors, to be left open all hours in her household, and she trusted the breezes to loop her ideas back to her when she needed them.

Meanwhile, the cobwebs gathered in the ceiling corners, and at this rate would be pleasingly haunting by Halloween.


Box of Paradox

The word “cherish,” which I had etched in your ring,

always makes me think of cherries,

so I think cherishing

you is round and red and


Right, as in correct,

as in, I wish we didn’t hurt each other

with our words, as we sometimes do, because

it is those small moments

of coldness

or kindness

that pattern the matter.


You touch the tips of the fingers of your one hand

to the tips of the fingers of your other hand, as you say,

“We will probably never understand each other,”

(because I like being quiet and alone more than you do),

which really cuts to the stone at the center–

and not in a painless way.


The box we have drawn around ourselves,

while imaginary,

still does confine us, and it is delicate.

I want to be in it with you,

and I need to hear that you do too.

Wanting to Paint Tomatoes

#100daysofillustratingmypoems day 2

their red is an orange is salt and earth and wetness and is obscene.

tomatoes smell like toes dug into moist dirt, like vinegar seeping into crusted bread,

like bugs and leaves, and they look orange like the sun, like they are purring, there where they peek out from behind a leaf, a parchment thin leaf, and I can see that they have been drinking in the sun because they are golden and filled, heavy with juice.

the color of the tomatoes wants to come onto the canvas and be spread like seeds, like blood, and smeared in blocks, blocks that are tomatoes, smooth tomatoes that drop into my palm with gravity inside their skin.

Follow the Hands

Last night I dreamed about

Dad, a gesture he used to make

with his hands, and it brought back

the tenor of his voice, opened up a whole

pathway of memories and I was so close to

the forgotten jokes, it was like I was with him again,

and I knew I should’ve grabbed a notebook in the dark

and written it down, because now I can’t

remember the gesture.

The End of Time Will Come

The end of time will come one day,

and it may be during our annual Christmas Eve party.

All the guests will evacuate the house

through the basement door,

into the darkening afternoon-

our friends, family and neighbors,

crunching through the snow

in their dress shoes.


We’ll huddle in the brush

at the back of the property,

eating cookies with numb fingers

and sharing a bottle of Beaujolais

(which someone will have surely remembered to grab

from the buffet table on the way out the door).


Our knees will smell like mud

as we scrunch up, communing.

our knees will smell like mud

A Member of the Audience

It is hard to believe that

we are the occasion

for this pageantry,

this crescendo,

these smiles and makeup and grand


all this effort,

this art.

Broken and rough–

we don’t seem to be

the final version

of anything,

whisking around

our scrambled


steam rising

from our milk hearts.

At our center are

unknown substances.


Snow Play in My Late Teens

We laughed on a pillow of snow,

having fallen backwards into deep

powder under the black sky.

The tips of my hair and the scruff

on his jaw collected snow

as we rolled around

like puppies.  Tumbling with a handsome

boy in the muffled night, alone,

in the middle of a field,

and it still didn’t seem like enough.

What I Want To Do with Words

I want to refract more light,

shine it out and

bounce it



graze a basketball and feel the


as it springs back.


curved palm catches the ball,

and everything happens at once, the rubber and the squeak and the drip dribble loose wrist strong arm ballet of motion, sweat flinging out,

that is what I want to do–

unlock memories, the little red wagon,

or the smell of peonies,

and cause someone to

cry in the car

in recognition of


they actually


I Was Mostly Kidding About the Vacuum

I am sorry I was not friendly

to the repair man

who came today to fix

the oven.

He offered to help me

carry the grocery bag in from the car

as he came up the driveway.

I didn’t even expend the effort

to smile when I said

“No thanks.”

I questioned his judgment

on the reason the igniter broke,

and whether it really was the igniter

that was broken,

and he looked at me,


and said, “I do this for a living.”

I covered my cheeks,

“Sorry, I tend to offend people

with my questions.

Even my dental hygienist.”

After punching the request for new parts

into his computer, he turned to leave,

asking me, as he walked, if there was anything

else.  “Well, do you know how to fix vacuums?”  I asked.

“Because we have three broken appliances, and it’s

really discouraging.”