Posts for June 16, 2022


Daddy’s Shirt

Thursday, September 18
9:00 am
Deep in Daddy’s closet, my cell phone vibrates for the third time.
This time I answer.
Hey, Tim.
Pam, we need to dress your father today.
Can’t find his new shirt. It’s here somewhere.
Maybe he wore it.
No, he was saving it.
Got one here he can use.
No. I’ll bring one.
By two.

2:00 pm
Inside the home that is not a home
but a house made to look like one,
I hug Daddy’s clothes like they are him
until Tim came for them.
I surrender
new cotton t-shirt and briefs,
fresh-laundered, pressed white shirt,
tie that teased out the undertones of gray-blue eyes,
travelers-creased, slate-gray wool pants,
1.5-inch, mahogany belt,
silk sport jacket patterned subtle pink and lavender rose,
white socks (elastic loosened at the top),
and size-13AA dress-black, tennis shoes.
Uh…we don’t need the socks and shoes.
A piece of me breaks deep inside.  

Friday, September 19
10:00 am
I slip from outside cool crisp Fall air
to inside heady funeral scent—
Stargazer lilies and myrrh of roses.
Take a hard left at a sofa that does not invite,
and without knocking interrupt family business—
Tim, long blue-jeaned legs stretched
across desk top and his father, stiff and straight
in black suit, talk computers.
Found it!
Found what?
I hold out the plastic wrapped white shirt.
He’s already dressed.
I don’t mean to make more work for you. I’ll do it.
Umm…we can’t disturb the body once dressed.
Why not?
Bobby, diener who collected my dad from his last breathing place, steps through the doorway and saves us all.
I’ll take her, Tim, to her father.  
Only he’s not my daddy anymore.
His spirit that filled and colored his six-foot frame,that voiced
stories and songs, that engaged in a glorious foot-race with Death
left a few days ago.
I found your shirt, Daddy.
And my Daddy answers the way spirits still hovering do
…and I did as Daddy would do.  

See you tonight, Tim. Oh, by the way. I got the shirt on him.
Tim unfolds legs from relax to tense and hits the floor running
with me close behind, plastic-wrapped white shirt behind my back.
Daddy laughs in me.  


My Swedish Sister

After four years
three months
You are home.
The weight
seven thousand miles
of ocean brought
Suddenly lifted
We can breathe again
We can laugh now.
Bittersweet tears
For all we’ve had to
All we can’t catch up
Savoring every moment
I long for the day
I don’t have to miss
Don’t have to worry
Because no one
Can touch us

when you can just


Hosta Poem 2

Sum and Substance
was named Hosta of the year in 2004–
can grow up to 3 feet tall,
it’s showy chartreuse leaves 
can spread out 6 feet–
a giant bouquet for a mythical beast.
Mine is under a large Japanese maple, 
bright like a Chinese lantern 
glowing in the shade.



Life comes and goes

pet dog was big brother
thirteen short years
enter topsoil through shovel. 
Life comes and goes
stargazing asking what careers
little did I know
you’d be t-boned in a couple years. 
Life comes and goes
I wrote verse after you left 
when we stopped harmonizing 
and you went into cardiac arrest. 
Life comes and goes
spoke on your porch and smiled
how was I to expect
midnight marauders would leave you defiled? 
Life comes and goes
your attitude seemed unroutable
until a careless driver
left you lifeless and inaudible. 
Life comes and goes
repetition is for the amateur poets
but I’m downtrodden by those coming, going
so I express rhythm for those who shaped my flowing. 


Words From An Erasure Poem 2

Ignorant, unimaginative consolation.

He held his tongue. Pain

was unaided.

His memory made her cry.


She despised his unawareness with fire.

“I blame you.”

The bed stood patient.


At the Stoplight

The face in the car
next to me at the stoplight
has seen a world
I will never know.


Mediocre Composer

Bugbit and paisley-eyed,

I recede into violet waves;
A syncopated calm and squall cycle.
God is a mediocre composer at best,
Beats like heart arrhythmia and 40 hour keyboards;
Though I can’t complain about his paintings.


Bless this food

The deer runs in front of my truck so suddenly
that braking only prolongs the
under my tires.
I stop in the middle of the two-lane road, 
four school buses stacked behind me now
with kids’ faces pressed to the windows
to study their teacher sobbing over a dead deer.
Two bus drivers drag the carcass into the grass
as a sheriff arrives to direct traffic.
He tells me someone heard about the strike on the scanner,
is on the way to haul the deer to the processor.
its death isn’t entirely meaningless. 
Could be one of those kids’ families that will eat venison all winter.


Illustration Ideas

A large stork like bird reads to a child
Two flower laden deer look at each other
and read each other’s minds
Let’s get out of here.
An auburn haired lass
sits in the magnolia in awe
as petals take flight among the hexagon glitter
Short chubster animals
dogs, cats, bunnies, mouse-
all nicely dressed,
hurry to the library to return their books
while babies, real dolls,
some blank faced and knowing 
others with mischievous smirks 
watch from the walls
wondering will this ever come to fruition?


packing for summer camp

sleeping bag, flashlight,
a mother’s apprehension,
books, sunscreen, swim suits