white terry robe of snow
slowly sliding south
down the shingles

the eave’s nurtured icicles

white terry robe haunting the kitchen
slowly sliding south
down morning’s conjecture

the counter percolating coffee

You walk in
I melt

Good morning, you


Ride The Wrong Train

“Be aware of your surroundings.”
“Wait, slow down.  We need to know where we are going.”
“Let me look at the map.”

There is a push for every pull.
There is a strangle hold for every soft touch on the shoulder.
There is longing with every release.

Ride the wrong train.
Walk down a different street.
Rush, the days can be short.

Dec. 23.  I throw on yesterday’s clothes and rush out the door.  I am not even sure where I am rushing, because I am not even sure where the path begins to the place I am rushing to, but I have purpose and adventure on my mind.  I rush.  I can’t remember if I bothered to brush my teeth before I adventured.  Dec. 23 is one of the shortest days of the year, and I was not worried about anything else, except this:



I did not remain aware.  I did not know where exactly I was going.  I most certainly did not look at a map.  And, (drumroll, please), I had no idea which path led back to the rental house once my escape, err, beach walk, was over. But I most assuredly resolved not to tell my “pay attention to your surroundings” husband (who was probably just getting out of bed) about my, uh, path finding folly.

The steps that lead to the public access parking lot, and a westward walk on the road was my choice to wend my way to the rental house.  On the third step I find a large whelk.  A real beauty.  I pick up the shell, and the creature inside is wiggling.  I wish I had taken a picture, but I considered this situation a sea creature emergency. Here I go rushing again…I ran back to the water and pitched the shell back to the sea to what I hope will be a long, satisfying whelk life.

Maybe I should have explained to that wiggling creature to be more careful and aware of its surroundings.  The public access steps, or the public, in general, is no good place for a whelk, but on Dec. 23, it was surely a good place for me.



1 Haiku/Identity

Rye bread, sunny day
Strawberries and sandwiches
Old friends, sweet silence



Red Thread

A thin red thread     zig zaggy     hangs from the hem of your favorite skirt or cuff of your best blazer.  You are careful,  But the whole garment starts to unravel. You bring the skirt to a seamstress or the blazer to a tailor.  They are busy.  So many skirts and blazers to repair.  You must wait.

When you do get to pick up your favorite skirt, from afar it looks perfect.  Just like new.  You try on your best blazer.  Just visiting an old friend.  Maybe the thread color doesn’t quite match.  Maybe you notice a tiny pucker or pull.  That favorite skirt or best blazer is not like new.  It is not as perfect as you thought.

You can’t remember if the skirt was ever that great.  You can’t remember if the sleeves of the blazer were always a tad long.  Maybe you imagined your favorites. Maybe you didn’t.  Maybe the skirt was the right length.  Just below the knees. Maybe the blazer was the perfect fit.  Across the shoulders.  Maybe you are over thinking the whole zig zaggy thread problem.

Wear the skirt.  After all, you are told,  this was an expert seamstress.  Wear the blazer.  After all, you are told, this was the best tailor in the city.

You realize you may never feel exactly the same again about your favorite skirt or best blazer.  But this is what you have to work with.  A thin red thread hanging off a hem.



Master Gardener

Plowing through another separation
the paragon of letting go
grows into some
silent master gardener
farming good-byes.
the dog and I walk
around the lake
thinking a tick might attach itself
and maybe want to stay.


Poetry Apprentice

The story my mother told me goes something like this:  When she graduated from high school, her father told her she had to make a choice.  Either get married or go to college.  He was not paying for college if she was going to get married.  She chose marriage over Brown.

She also, however, told me she should have been a nun.  This proclamation never made much sense to me no matter how many times it was stated.  My mother was not Catholic, or any other denomination I could discern.  She drank, smoked profusely and gave birth to 3 children.  I never witnessed any sort of repentant behavior that even remotely gave me pause that my mother would have been suitable for convent life.

What my mother lacked in true religious fervor was robustly atoned for by her love of all variety of writing.

When she was in sixth grade she was given a poetry book for perfect attendance in Sunday School.  Yep, Sunday School.  I was told that this poetry book was the only good that ever came out of church.  I do not know if that included the Bible.  I was a preschooler, who was I to question.  Let me rephrase that.  I was a smart preschooler; I did not question.

The book has always looked like this.  I never asked why or how the cover was lost.  My mother would have had it about 48 years, and I have had it about 28 years.

Being a compliant and good natured child, my mother set about instilling in me a love for all manner of writing as well.  While she made it abundantly clear David, the oldest child, was her all-time favorite, I was the youngest, the only girl and of a sensitive nature.  This sensitivity mixed with my mother’s authoritarian rule actually made for a healthy contrast where poetry was involved.  Instilling her admiration for poetry would not be difficult, because her enthusiasm was contagious and oh! she could recite with such passion and soul.

We dove right in, my mother and I.  And I am pretty sure I was the only 4 year old in my neighborhood who could recite around a hundred poems from the 19th century.  I recited “The Duel” (Eugene Field) on command:  “The gingham dog and the calico cat, side by side on the table sat…”

When I was quiet or withdrawn, my mother would look at me.  “The world is too much with us; late and soon.”  (Wordsworth).

If she needed me to help her:  “Will you walk into my parlor? said the spider to the fly.”  (Mary Hewitt).

When she finished a book that she really enjoyed, she would recite the whole of “There is no Frigate like a Book…”  (Emily Dickinson).

And every spring:  “Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.”  (Joyce Kilmer).

Thanks, Mom



Poem In Your Pocket Morning

Put this poem in your pocket, I say
He looks at me
Like you would look at some docile crazy person

My husband analyzes profit statements
not poems
My husband writes spreadsheets
not essays
My husband attends conferences
not readings

But, oh, he reads me
and slides the poem in his briefcase

Now You Dear Things Grow/Earth Day 2017

Now you dear things grow
said my mother after planting
holly hocks, bachelor buttons and anemone.
What funny names, thought Little Girl me.
Now you dear things write
said NaPoWriMo asking for a georgic,
a poem about agriculture or rural affairs.
Don’t know much about agriculture,
though I hear it’s called Monsanto now.
Rural for me is more suburban.
I think my husband is afraid if we own
some land I’ll morph into a reclusive
goatdogunicorncat lady
though I hear unicorns are owned by Starbucks now.
I can write about affairs, though.
Not those, get out of the bedroom
and into the dirt.
You know, that soil we supposedly all return to,
though I don’t see how, as many are encased
in cement in land that is becoming a
whole lot more scarce than death.

A Host of Golden Daffodils by Wordsworth
was recited so often by my mother
Little Girl me thought it was written exactly for
the hill full of daffodils just before the
bend that led to Mansfield State College,
which I read the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
is considering closing, because apparently
no one wants to go to college next to a hill
with a host of daffodils.

But the annual chant was
Now you dear things grow
by my mother
and grandmother
and great grandmother.
Or was it a command?
All three women, tempered dictators.
Now you dear things grow
probably was a firm decree.

My mother proclaimed
me hyper-sensitive and overly empathetic.
Inferior traits
that turned my voice of
Now you dear things grow
into a wish or hope
maybe a request, if I’m feeling bold.
There is a bias toward nurturing and
tending possibility.
To plant, to peer over the soil each morning
with ephemeral anticipation is mine.
Big Girl me says
Now you dear things grow.
It is more than a whisper.

Now you dear things grow.
Now more than ever.
Mercy and grace.
Restraint and forbearance.
Kinship and connectedness.
Now more than ever.
We can grow!
We can grow!
We can grow!



You Gave Them To Me

It’s better to descend than ascend.

So first you must reach the top and claim victory.

Nope, victory is overrated.
Besides, who says victory is at the summit?

I agree “summit” is a state of mind; however, the high road provides the best view.

The high road is windy and cold.  Stay below for the bright forsythia and green moss.

There is great comfort in closeness and confined quarters, but it is the horizon that provides direction and is best viewed from an apex position.

The sun rises just over the deck.  No reason to worry about that pesky horizon.

Some see the horizon nearer than others.  The sun rises and starts new each day, climbing high in the sky and only setting when it is time to rest; until rising again.  Climb, Sun.

I see the sunrise on the deck.
The moon, too.
You know why?
Because you gave them to me.
All of them.
Sun, clouds, wind, stars…
All mine.
From you.
Time to climb in bed…


Mrs. Baldwin

Picked every one of them.
So lovely and intoxicating.
Pinks and purples
With the sweet scent of Spring.
Easter perfection on a stem.

Picked every one of them.
Perfectly in a line along
Mrs. Baldwin’s front sidewalk.
Presented them to my mother
With the open innocence of a preschooler.

Except, no.
My mother marched me across the street.
Mrs. Baldwin opened her door
And saw a four year old holding every one of her perfect, sweet smelling, Easter colored hyacinth in her little hands.

Still a bit shocked at my mother’s abrupt rebuke and
the forced pilgrimage back across the street,
I mumbled an apology.
Mrs. Baldwin, smiling, gracious and patient
Unlike my mortified mother.

A deal was struck between the two women.
The pilfered bouquet was split in half.
I considered this a victory
The price of which was having to listen to my mother.
“Never do that again.”

I admire every glorious, perfumy, delicious hyacinth.
Thank you, Mrs. Baldwin.