Posts for June 23, 2022



I was born in 1967.
my mother Ruth in 1940
my grandmother Yvonne in 1919
my great grandmother Eula in 1896 (I knew her well)
my great great grandmother Isabelle in 1870
my great great great grandmother Sarah in 1845
Sarah would have been 20 in 1865.

Today I watched a bird fly
from Kentucky to Indiana,
a peaceful glide, over the river.

157 years, 5 generations ago,
my great grandmother’s grandmother,
Eula’s (I played on her front porch) grandmother,
had the freedom to cross the river.


Truth Be Told

The truth, an unspoken thunderstorm
Crashes upon us in a lightning flash

You thought you were clairvoyant, wait, there’s more
To meet the eye, your ears, what you thought you knew

Your waking understanding shot to pieces
In the wake of a storm that never ceases

Had we only known what Lady Liberty tried to say
We may have foreseen the hidden horizon
Darkening clouds profess their warning
For you, for me, all of us

Now- POW! This is the TRUTH!
Did you catch that last flash?

One…two…three THUNDER!
Rolling Thunder brings the truth
“It’s not too late!” she cries
Then the downpour of recognition


Fake Flowers

We changed the fake flowers on your grandparent’s grave
Climbed up the Mausoleum’s rolling ladder       
          met eye to eye with their drawer
Checked out their dates: births and transitions
Took down a fake bouquet you put up for a holiday weeks, months, years ago

Who are we changing the flowers for? 

Chilly marble echoes marrow deep in still dead stories
Famous names, frozen bishops and archbishops,
Estate owners, namesakes of Peninsula Townships the
Athertons, Burlingames, Giannini founder of the B of A

All stiffs ~ now dreaming in drawers
some await the second coming
others have already seen God
some know fire and some still stuck in Purgatory

Your grandparents did well sold their business for $6 million in ‘65
Low profile heirs, dabbled in California real estate
Your mom never went to the finest schools
          she did take an ocean liner cruise to Italy in 1937
          married a Half Moon Bay laborer who served in WWII
Your uncles, vino pushers, investors in a ‘soft’ ride

You float on a lily pad gifted from the woman in the drawer marked with fake flowers
As you arrange the bouquet I watch your hands balance the green ferns just so
to try to make it look real

It’s easier when Family cuts a sweet piece of the action
No need to beg for low rent, food stamps, or rent storage to save someday items for a someday dream

Standing next to you I feel the chill, the exclusive devotion outsiders not included
I witness an elite primo plot where bugs and ants can’t readily feast on the bones of those who did well, played the game, got the dough big time

As we leave the cemetery we stop by my parents’ grave
A big ‘D’ marks a tombstone where two loved ‘til death did they part’
          Now in the ground one atop the other . . .
          the ants crawl in, the ants crawl out

They didn’t do well enough to warrant one of them expensive
          California dreamin’ drawers . . .  
          Wonder where my bones will be placed?


Sunset Drives

There’s something
to be said 
about a red evening sky 
a song that sits just right 
between the moments 
where light and dark meet
everything about the day 
falls flat and curves with the earth 
under the hot pavement 
rolling along to the vibrations 
leaning into you
breathing you in
the salt on your skin 
rectifies all that matters 
and I’m lost.


Long Ago Summer Nights…

Before conditioned air.
Sundown supper picnic
then Dairy Queen for
cone chocolate dipped.
To the yard, our
summer living room.
Chasing fireflies,
clicking balls in a
game of Croquet,
sipping mint iced tea
to the crackle of boys’
backyard fireworks.
Silent peek at the
screen, drive-in
movie blocks away.
Scent of roses,
Citronella, game of
Canasta by candle light.
Sky searching constellations.
Only retiring for bed
in the pitch black dark.

-Sue Neufarth Howard


Showing up for a funeral

The altar was in front of an alcove-
a recess with stones, a cross and a hill,
a thick black wire running in to the space-
probably to provide suitable lighting,
but reminding me of a snake.  

A focal point as the pastor yammered,
glossing over her ninety-four years,
moving on to his opportunity to evangelize,
he was undoubtably racking up some points in heaven.  

A couple in front leaned in together,
taking up less than two of the joined chairs.
They seemed to want to join with the speakers,
but instead, quietly held hands, and held back
while “Amen!” rang out around them.



Caution can be a cane
on poorly
lit paths,

Fear will send you back
to the perch
having you tie the tether yourself

Yet, without warning
a glacier’s roar may have you
jump over the candlestick

Be ready


twenty four

hot flashes calling for
sweet tea in early mornings
never water in southern blood
dallas sunrise leaves eyes vacant
mind-numbing hours lost to skies
idleness left to the deep soul
waves below sink ink blotted pages
once pondered mysteries left to time
vacant eyes calling toward home
once-irish blood on southern ground
mirrors dangling in cloudless skies




In Colorado, a woman’s father cages his body
over hers when the ground collapses underneath them. 

His lifeless torso clefts against her cheek. 


On a porch, the white pregnant cat strains
to give birth. Her interrupted gestation 
wastes the fur now sinking into her
ridged-bone ribcage. From the door-frame—
shadowed in an eave. She yowled once,
then yawned, licking one paw
before the time came.


In Colorado, a deputy will note
how weakened rock may have played a role
in the father/daughter’s accident.
Recent heavy rains suffused the soil.


An overwhelmed cat, shocked by illness,

or by the sudden many, can, at times, consume
her blind litter.

Her eyes will wince

in hungry concentration.

Both A. and B.

The moral is twofold: Nature can be cruel–
call it instinct–and sometimes things just happen.



i need it 
to rain 
for if it does 
i will know 
that i am not the only one