This is the worst day ever!
She says, and tonight
I just don’t have it in me
to claim what I know,
that this is not true.
So, World, hear our complaints:

She hated that she
couldn’t run fast enough
in the snow and I
started yelling, because I
was late for a call.
I detested that the snow,
as soon as it fell,
started melting.
Her brother hums
at the dinner table, so she
must stop humming, or
hum with him, obviously,
both impossible options.
My toenails are ugly,
we agree, and I have no time
for a pedicure.

When I tried hiding from myself
in the bathroom
I was there already,
and just wouldn’t leave.
And when we finally
went sledding down Capitol Hill
(Yes that is a thing and
we take it for granted,
so don’t interrupt
our enjoyable rant)
her toes and her nose and her ears
got cold!
Oh, what a dreadful day.

Snow no show

Will it or wont it
snow on the first day
of spring?
Our house is full of
anticipation and
logistical concern,
all washed away
by a meek morning rain,
as I remember
a glorious winter,
the best I’ve seen,
when snow was hip high
and only the brave and me
left the house.
Our whole world drenched
in the muted orange
of streetlights reflected
by snow and clouds,
the supermarket shelves
emptied – just in case,
and a cop, in his running car
sitting on a street corner
having an eye on
nothing. The season
for mischief is summer,
he says. Break-ins are
much more pleasant
when it’s warm.


You sing
with your choir.
You ease into
the tunes
that resonate
with you,
remind you of
childhood and swimming
in the gentle stream
on a sunny day,
while the fish
are doing their thing.

But what if your calling
is bigger,
goes further?
How deep can you go?
Will you do what is needed,
what no one else does
like you do it?
Barely holding up
in the face of a storm,
not knowing how much
more you have in you,
but standing there
where life has placed you
for now.

Before spring, the sparrows

The sparrows have returned
building their unkempt nest
in a nook by our bedroom window.
All we see are a few
rags and sticks and the birds’
constant coming and going.
They don’t know
they are not wanted here.
But even if they could
entertain such a thought
they would still have to
return, as soon as they feel
the promise of another spring
in their hollow bones,
would build another ramshackle
nest to breed another generation
of brown background birds
drawn by something
much stronger than wanting.

A woman’s work

When they had a housekeeper
Emily Dickinson wrote
hundreds of poems
in a single year.
But when they didn’t
it was up to her, to bake
social cakes, with 15 pounds
of butter and countless eggs,
for feasts too large
for her comfort.
Squeezing a poem in
here and there,
she baked attentions
to be delivered to her neighbors,
and loved decorating
her famous gingerbreads
with flowers
and lowering them in a basket
from her window, up in the clouds,
never showing her face
to the children,
who burned with excitement
for both, the sweets and
the mystery.
Her father would only eat
Emily’s bread.
So she baked.

Forever and the other forever

She had been there forever.
Since they placed me
gently in her arms
under the bright hospital lights,
not a day passed without her caring
about me.
Even when we were
oceans apart, especially then,
when I was in the desert
and drove to the payphone
once a week to tell her
all was well,
even when we fought or she
didn’t call, waiting for me
to break down and call
while I was too busy to notice.
There wasn’t a day
without her.
It has been years
since she fell
into the next forever
and I am growing
impatient: How long
will this one last
and is she
wherever she is
still forever

Flying Wishes

One silken summer night
I was lying on my parents’ balcony
looking at the stars,
as they were slowly lighting up
with the darkening of the deep blue sky,
when a meteor shower
started raining down on me.
I wished and wished
and ran out of wishes,
before realizing
that my meteors
were birds, whose
velvety bellies were
illuminated by the street light
in front of the house.
They flew off,
unaware that I had
woven my wishes and
my wishlessness
into their wings.


“Mom, why does your new boss
collect unicorns in his teeth?
Unicorns aren’t even real!”
“Dad says, you are good
at folding people. How
do you do that?”
My son has amazing ears.
At dinner he runs
to the piano
to play a melody
he just heard
in the kitchen or
in his head.
At breakfast he turns
our simple conversation
into something wild
and wondrous.
“Tell your boss
he needs to floss.”