Posts for June 10, 2021


Sweet Fruit

“Orange sherbet…”
was the last thing she wanted
and maybe some pineapple

She could take no food by mouth
we swabbed her poor dry lips
and moistened her tongue

I hope it was the first thing she got in Heaven

This is too hard for me to write.


In this memory it is Christmas time

In this memory it is Christmas time.

I am behind the bureau 
in our childhood bedroom.
White-walled, bunk-bedded,
colorful hearts on my blanket
and yours
And I’m quiet, listening to our mother
tell company about the time I woke her up
on Christmas Eve.
Santa hadn’t come yet;
no presents. 
I thought she should know.

You are not with me
in the pile of stuffed animals
and discarded socks where we’d hide.
You do not hear the lesson
on being thankful for what you have
regardless. You ran first.

Two men of the same checkered cloth.
Yours shirked off
as the caterpillar decides
to molt
instead of cocoon
and replaced like a new fur coat.

I watch you and your new husband
this cold winter morning,
and stoke my bitter coals for warmth
though my heels
like a match dragged across a brick wall
are on fire from leaving.
I pull your heart blanket tight,
and think I’ll call our mother.
Tell her Merry Christmas
and, by the way, Santa 
didn’t come this year either.
I think she should know.


But I thought you said…


we’re sitting

on the porch

on opposite sides of a table that

at least in my memory

has been


so both of us can see the beach.


He’s shuffling papers,

my month’s worth of writings.

I’m waiting for him to speak.

He winces.

Long weird pause.


“Well,” he says,

“when you applied we thought you’d be our star,

but I don’t know what the hell to say about this pile of…”


and, bless his heart, he pauses again


“What the hell were you thinking when you wrote this crap?

We both know you’re better than this.”


And this time the pause is mine. 


“Well,” I say sorta tentatively,

“I guess I was trying to do what you said.”

“What I said?”

he says without so much as a beat for breath

and then he waits.

“You said,” I say, “that we should spend the month

throwing out everything we already knew

and do our best to write

in ways that were new

at least to us.

And so I did.”


Another pause,

this one punctuated by my papers

sliding across the table in my direction

just before he says,

“Yeah, well I’m so sorry you wasted your month here.

Nice try.

You can go.”


I gather up my writings

and, standing, turn toward the beach 

just in time to see a submarine surface.

I turn back to look at him

and he says,

“It’s no big deal.

We see them surface here a lot.

Sometimes people write about them.

You take care, now.”


Dear Friend

your suffering has stopped,
and I’ll suffer for losing you
until the end,
in silence I will suffer,
holding all that you were,
old band shirts,
sun burns, baked spaghetti,
Romeo and Juliet, lip balm,
walking through the neighborhood,
sitting on the long steps leading into town,
smoking in the gazebo,
getting caught riding with boys,
spending days at the pool,
nights at the bowling alley,
when old, the wise know
it was a life time



my best friend at five
lived in a blue house
between the orca-backed hill of my home
and the gating grate of some stranger’s fence
with bear-shaped dogs for filling.

             robin’s eggs
             on the scuffed concrete,
             back then,
             were the wildest treasure.

             they aren’t a color
             you can hold anymore.

             my friend said he’d fallen in love
             like a cartoon, hearts for eyes,
             but i believed in catfish from the creek,
             ravens built like gargoyles,
             how many pillbugs can curl with the lift of a single stone.
             what can you even see
             when you say such filmy things?
             five years old, all you know is being hit with light and wonder and chewed-up tennis balls,
             yet you think you can leave me like that?

those dogs would bark like demons were itching their throats.
i thought today of all the years they have been dead.


Paper Pearls

I found a poem 
on my phone
from deep in the heart of January 2021
Momma clam shell
holds three tight
safe against the world
Precious pearls
paper pearls
ready to roll
into life circumstance
Breaking heart 
broken burn
Maternal angst
stands alone



clippers, scissors, & razor blades 
the smell of alcohol &

i am a fly on the wall & 
these Black men feel like

today’s topic is fatherhood &
how papas rolled away like

i sit in my barber’s chair &
witness Black boys actin’

straight edges line stories &
define a strength that stands

tales turned to sermons &
Black men rise to their

laughter, music & truth
as seeds of self-love are

i am a fly on the wall &
these Black men are my


Making Friends

I made some new friends today,
most of which I’ll never see again.

It’s strange how after a day,
it felt as if we’d known each other for years.

And it’s strange how that day
seemed to go by in minutes.

Contact info was exchanged,
though it probably won’t be put to use.

We all went our separate ways,
faces already slipping from each others’ minds.

For a moment,
we shared something together.

And though that moment may be over,
what we shared remains.


Multiple choice

For this exercise, write a change
poem – or don’t
write a change poem. Write instead
something other
than what you were assigned
at birth.


The End of an Empire

when they finally come to Earth
and look upon the red dust of civilization
wondering what could have brought humanity
to ruin
they will find three things
The Fast and the Furious Franchise