Monday, June 27, 2011

What If

Clifford sits on the edge of the bed, a dirty blanket drawn around his legs, the legs that no longer serve him. The legs pulled from the wreckage, shattered, along with the windshield, his plans, his dreams, his determination. 

It had been an ordinary Saturday. Mowing the backyard, cleaning up the barbecue for Sunday when his brother-in-law and sister would come with their daughters, Teta and Juana. He'd pulled steaks from the freezer and picked green beans from the vines that crawled through his neighbor's fence. He'd made  homemade ice cream in honor of their Mama, long gone from cancer. 

All that was left was to get cookies from the bakery in town. What if he'd said never mind to the cookies or called his sister to pick them up on their way over. Or just pulled out his mother's old recipe book and tried to make them himself. What if he'd taken the bike instead of the pickup or just turned off the radio instead of leaning over to change the station.

What if when his family came, so full of love and pity, what if instead of finding him in the wheelchair they saw him on the floor, asleep, forever. No more pain. No more what-ifs.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Love Is

love is exciting, painful, scary
it creeps up, surprises
overwhelms with possibilities
challenges the heart to trust
to open up
to take chances

love comes in colors
red, like lust, like fire
like caution
blue, like fear, cold hands
loss of words
yellow, like sun and shine
and butter and buttercups
and being safe in someone's arms

love is essence
of memory and hope
and kindness
love hurts and heals
appears by chance
exactly when it's needed

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I can quit checking my email, if I want to
I can quit playing scrabble, if I want to
I can quit buying junk at thrift stores, if I want to
I can quit hanging art on my bedroom walls, if I want to
I can quit listening to NPR, if I want to
I can quit caring about politics, if I want to
I can quit . . .
OK, let's get serious. I can, but I won't. And that's that.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

True Love

They met when they were only children, fell in love immediately, and committed to a lifelong relationship. They raised a big family, all birthed by George, of course. Mary would diligently lay her eggs in George's pouch where he would fertilize them, then patiently wait for them to hatch. Life was not easy but satisfying.

Friday, June 17, 2011

On the Edge

She wants to lean forward, to breathe in the muskiness of salt and fish and seaweed. She imagines taking a step forward, crossing the boundary between freedom and safety.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Log Jam

Sometimes the thing you want to avoid 
becomes the thing you most need.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

For Our Sins

Bless me NBC for I have sinned. I watched public television six days last week. And on the seventh day I went to see an independent film about saving the whales. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Gatherer

While she wanted to think she was a born writer, in reality she was a gatherer of people. As a child she’d gather friends on weekends to build circuses or act out plays in her grandparents’ backyard. Later, when she had to go away to the church orphanage, her room was where the other girls would come to do their homework and talk about their secret desires to meet boys. (They only got to see them at the Wednesday night prayer meeting and the Sunday morning worship service so the rest of the week their imaginations would run wild.) When she was old enough to get a job and live on her own, women friends from the coffee shop would come over every Saturday night, bringing bottles of cheap wine and platters of cheese and crackers. And then one day she got up enough courage to go to a workshop on writing and found her true calling: gathering women to write their stories.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Between the Lines

she looks for clues
knows nothing lasts forever
that when it ends
she will leave
better off than when she arrived

Monday, June 6, 2011


Lueders, Texas

Trains, real and imagined, float around in my brain. There's the apocryphal childhood story of a boy who crossed the tracks too late and lost both legs. Or the train that I took with my grandmother to Kansas City to see a doctor who would diagnose her cancer as untreatable. Or the 3:00 AM train that roared past the bedroom window of our small garage apartment in Ft. Worth. Or the train to LA that empties passengers into Union Station with its Dutch Colonial, Moderne, and Mission Revival Style.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I Am

I am wise and loving
I wonder if the world will become kinder
I hear ravens outside the window
I see yellow jonquils and purple iris
I want to make children fall in love with words

I pretend to not care
I feel sad when I say goodbye
I touch my granddaughter’s hand
I worry about the future
I cry when I remember my father

I know that I’m old
I say “Try everything once”
I dream of a small house full of red and yellow
I try to be patient
I hope to live forever

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


addiction comes in many forms
some more problematic than others
I could be doctoring my morning coffee with bourbon
or scrubbing the bathtub 10 times a day
I could be driving myself to bankruptcy
on the Shopping Network
or adopting stray cats and dogs
in contrast, checking email or facebook every hour
is not so bad