Working conditions

He said he would install a/c
in the room in which
I work in, but
I said no–I think I need
to be truly miserable to write
or the words come out anemic

He has not spoken to me
all day
since then
disgusted–or at least thrown
by my logic
which he says
has no basis outside of emotion

I wonder why he does not
go with the flow
and the reality
of living with me under a storm cloud
for 29 years
after all
I have a good umbrella.

It is cool under there
and safe from blinding suns.
He must admit
that the rain
has done an amazing job
with the impatiens




Thoughts one upon another
rolling over rocks over water, oh
give me a sheltering branch
taste and see if my thoughts
are bitter or sweet
or rotting on the vine

Jesus, I need Your hand
like a wing around my bare sores
beaten down and tired–
heal me please with your tender care
remind me why I need you daily
oh cover me in sweet grasses
and help me not to forget


Every step the stones loosen
on this road I fashioned myself
thorn and burr on each side
and a rising tide
I press on–trying to stay upright
keep my feet from slipping
one arm raised–a hand
outstretched to feel Yours

A matter of life and death

She said that ever since
he had been gone
she felt like
a half pair of scissors
since they took him away
and put him in the ground

For two months she was
scared he could not breathe
knowing not to say this
to anyone, because
it sounded crazy even to her

Six months out she learned
how to mow the lawn, and hired
a man to dig up the garden
where neither of them
planted anything

In the winter he cleared the snow
and salted the stoop and the walk
up to the door of her car, then
they would have coffee together

By the second spring
she watched him
spreading grass seed
and noticed the way his hair lay
against the nape of his neck

That autumn
they planted tulips together

tulips for tissues

little girl lost at home
wanted nothing more
than a white fence around a
garden, a cottage filled
with children
and a man whose eyes
brought the sun indoors

fairy tale princess, don’t be sad
your cottage is made of plaster
but it keeps you warm at night
and when you dream, the sunshine
does not forget you, coming
to you in visions, warming your
body like you need

do you suppose the garden to be
filled with fanciful creatures–
fairies who wield swords
battling dragons that threaten
to turn off the sunshine–
don’t cry–you know you
can beat them, if only you
look your monsters in the eyes

hydrangeas and daffodils remind you
that this is what you wanted
the fence can be painted over
and the tears dried–
tulip petals for tissues
beware–you don’t grab
at the poison ivy
with your small hands

beware of warm breath, the
dragons that look like princes–
you are safer in your make-believe
gazebo, this splendid tea laid out
on toadstools
and smiles–
all your smiles that bring the sunshine
with no help at all

you have it in you
to shine, and
cottage, garden, fairies and slain dragons
are all yours

The white rose

White rose.png

It did not surprise him, hearing them call her ‘White Rose’ seeing
how quickly she wilted under scrutiny. Her tender petals dewy
in the morning, soft as a hare’s ear, then out in the heavy sun
with an interlude of rain, finding some of them upon the grass-
others curled up on the edges, worn and finished. This rose,
this damsel he kept his eye upon when she would allow it, without
turning him away from her door, said, ‘it is you, ’tis you’ and smiled
knowing somehow by the next rising of the sun, her time
would be finished, and her usefulness, gone