When the bitch said ‘no’

When the bitch said ‘no’

She’s a tiger, flying
strawberry with cloud stripes.

Spear-cut teeth, she shreds flesh
into ribbon paper lilies.

Her paper mache claws bury bodies
of atrophied tree bridges.

Zeppelin lungs breathe her flame
into sunscape funeral pyres.

Her sniper swift tail preys
on the courage of prairie winds.

The magic in her every stalking prowl
fashions mountains of broken glass.

She’s a tiger, flying away
from cages and crystal roofs.


An elegy for Ignorance

An elegy for Ignorance

It was a process.
Like snow blanketing
the ground before turning
slush, dirt-caked, then melting
away completely. If it’s gone
long enough, you want it back.
Forgetting the marrow-chilling cold
and black ice roads,
only remembering silence.

Losing Him was like that.
I’d known him my whole life,
from my sterile birth, white
and pink swaddle, the doctor declaring
“It’s a girl!” and nobody questioning
not He, not me, that I was.

Treats at 7-11 after a preschool ballet
recital and it was He who asked my dad
what lesbians were. Girls
who love other girls. Unnatural,
forbidden, like the slushies
mom won’t let me have.

He was there with me in Sunday School
when whitewashed flannel graphs
taught me about us, Jesus, Moses,
God of fire and brimstone, so much

love held my hand up high. School
teacher called on me and I said
no, I’m not racist but,
affirmative action is. White
dirt-caked lies we all believed.

On my first day of college He was
waving wildly, everyone noticed.
It was the last time I saw Him.
I met new people who knew
what and who He was:
the “God-given” privilege
of being the invisible same.

He was always cradling
me in what I didn’t know
(what I don’t know). I want Him back
sometimes. Before the slush,
dirt-caked, melted away.
How quiet
and painless
the white was.

Ode to ‘ganket’

Ode to “ganket”

You’ve been crushed
beneath small heels
covered in mud;
strangled, your floppy neck
unable to breath;
deserted in a Target aisle
unknowing of where you were; smeared
with jellied snot and ketchup, yet here
you are Magic Blanket,
your sour milk breath
sighs comforting silence.
Your princess skin
of cotton candy, wadded up,
dries alligator tears
and salves playground wounds.
Does she speak to you,
Magic Blanket?
Perhaps she tells you,
in half-formed words,
about her silver balloon
floating into the clouds
I wasn’t tall enough
to save. Or the boy
by the tire swing
who cracked a mini fist
against her head,
the rainbow wound
matches you. I know
she speaks to you,
Magic Blanket.
When your frayed forehead,
bowed, touches hers,
sitting cross-legged
on the Lego-strewn floor.
You, Magic Blanket,
are a better mother than I.


My marriage

My marriage

One thing I know is marriage.
My marriage, which dawns anew
every morning with the February light
filtering through half-open blinds. My eyes
are weighted, trying hard
to drag me back to sleep. “NOOOOOOO!”

Her toddler protest, not really a protest, a staunch
affirmation of her tiny place. I’m awake now,
awake enough. To hear your muffled response, quiet
words, between the open and close of the refrigerator door.

Your side of the bed is cold, you’ve been awake
for awhile. Since you heard the insistent voice,
“Da! Da! Da!” from my side to hers
leaving me warm to dream a few moments longer.
It’s been like this, you know, since she was small.
You getting up in the morning

with her. You get jelly-smeared fingers, diapered
protests, wet kisses. All to allow me
a few more moments, of unfettered sleep.

And when I awake like I did
today, from a slumber under soft down
with one foot out in the cold — I can hear,
you and she talking, muted, in unaffected
conversations …
And I know my marriage,
how it dawns anew.


is a snow angel
shaped from flakes,
brushed aside
by the warmth
of insulated bodies

has snow wings
with bones
made, outlined
with sticks
and stones
straining to burst
into color
or flame

has a halo
of sunlight, star breath
to dissolve her
beneath its
tug-o-war gaze

isn’t seen by them
as anything more
revealing nothing
but serpent tongues,
a colorless impression
passed over

comes between some
fog rising,
light falling
her reality shattering
their glass darkly

is a snow angel
free to be

is a snow angel
who may
one dawn

I prefer to be shoved

A blogging prompt for every day of the month of December? Totally. I will hopefully find a few spare minutes to make up the first 4 prompts that I missed. Today’s prompt from Reverb Broads: What is the one thing you finally did this year that you always wanted or said you were going to do, but in your heart of hearts never thought you would actually do?

I had a baby.

Maybe I should rephrase the prompt slightly. I always wanted and said I was going to have children. But in my heart of hearts, I never thought I would actually have one this young.

A lot of things went through my mind when I first saw those two little lines on the pregnancy test. “Oh my god, I’m pregnant.” “It’s probably a defective test. Maybe I should do another one.” “I’m too young to be a mom.” “I’m barely a wife, how can I possibly be a mom!?” “What am I going to tell Tim? We aren’t ready for this.” “How am I going to finish school?” “That’s what I get for watching Babies.”

Notice none of those things are “YAY! I’m having a baby! Just what I’ve always wanted!”

I’m sure that many people look at this and shake their head in disdain. How could I possibly not have been immediately joyful about something as wonderful as this? Don’t I know how many people would give an arm and a leg if it meant they could have have a baby? Do I not realize the number of women who suffer from fertility issues and will never experience this moment of realizing I carry a life inside me?

I know this. Which is why I’ve never really talked about this before except to my husband.

I found out I was pregnant and joy was not my immediate feeling. My first feeling was complete and utter terror.

You know what? That’s okay. It’s healthy.

Those first few weeks were difficult. I took four pregnancy tests because I just couldn’t comprehend what was happening. (As an aside, the dollar store pregnancy tests are just as effective as the $14 drugstore ones. Go cheap.)  I didn’t tell my husband right away. I kept it to myself for a full 24 hours. (Not the most brilliant idea I’ve ever had.) We’d only been married for three months. We lived in a dumpy apartment. We were just getting used to living together and now we had to prepare to welcome a new life. Neither of us were finished with school. We had no money.

Done bun, can’t be undone.

So we talked. And we planned. We scrimped. And we scraped. We prayed. And we praised.

Long story short, we are here. Almost a full year later with my 3-month-old daughter who is a total blast–mostly she has warm clothing and parents who love her. We live in a 4-bedroom house in a great neighborhood. Tim has an amazing job that meets our needs every month. We have food in our fridge and gas in our cars.

I am finishing up the last of my transfer degree and somehow we will make it work for me to finish my bachelor’s next year. Tim is in school full time, working full time, and also being a full-time husband and father. Our families have been incredibly supportive and loving, helping us whenever and however we need it.

Looking back I think “Eh, it didn’t turn out so bad.” My doomed picture of a starving baby screaming in a dingy apartment with a mother who left her dreams of school behind in the dust was–just slightly–melodramatic. But it wasn’t unnecessary. We were unprepared. Is it better to realize that you are wholly unqualified and unprepared to care for a human being or to think that you have it all together only to have a rude awakening once you are holding that screaming infant in your arms? We weren’t ready. But what better way to get ready. Is it more effective to slowly wade into a freezing pool, trying to convince yourself to dunk your head under the water and never really succeeding because it’s just soooo coooold or to have someone just shove you in and get it over with?

Realizing you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Realizing you aren’t prepared is the first step to being prepared. Realizing you are scared is the first step to being brave. Realizing there is an obstacle is the first step to overcoming it.

You need a steady career. You need to own a house. You need a nest egg. You need good health insurance. You need to be out of school. You need to be married for awhile first. You need this, that and the other.

Don’t have a baby too soon or your world will end.

That is what you hear. Everywhere you go. From almost anyone. Somehow, somewhere, our society has shifted into this mindset that everything has to be just so before you are allowed to have children. But what IS just so? I get my house and my career. And then decide I need a bigger house and more money. Then I decide I should have my retirement fund started and I should get some traveling out of the way (because that’s impossible with children). Pretty soon, I’m 36 and I’m still trying to convince myself to dunk my head under the cold water.

I think I prefer to be shoved.

Plus, baby cuddles are far more pleasant than cold water.

It’s Like A Dream- I

It’s like a dream now–faded around the edges. I can see it and feel it and hear it. But I almost can’t remember it. It’s a blur, you see. Of orange fleece and shy smiles. The way you looked at me made my skin prickle with glee. A rainy night, an apologetic hug, and then late night giggling about what I thought was.

Then there was a party. On a cold and windy day. You watched me carefully and I pretended not to care. It was a silent flirtation that screamed to us.

“Forever. Forever and always.”

Twenty-six hands and we still found each other; quietly congratulating ourselves on the sly way our fingers danced towards the other. I never wanted to let go.

But I didn’t know you. I didn’t know about you. I just knew I wanted you.

So later, when pipe dreams and cold cement clattered around us, I felt my last grip give way. And then I was falling. Deeper and farther than I ever had before.

I didn’t want to say goodbye.

when i wash the dishes

white bubbles swished
back and forth
between my fingers
as i washed the dishes today
the plate
was so dirty
i had to scrub and scrub
and scrub
but no matter how hard
i scrubbed, i couldn’t
stop thinking
about you
i can’t just love you
because i am beyond love
i am in passion
with you
you are in me and
around me
through me and
surrounding me
everything i do today
i do for you
because of you with you
and to you
if it weren’t for you
i wouldn’t be here
scrubbing this plate
watching the bubbles

one year

Can we dance under the light of the same moon? Will you think of me when the sun peeks over your horizon, soon to make its way over to greet me?
We danced. We’ve danced together under so many moons, and many more moons to come.
The delinquent connection of two souls into one, dancing
dancing until the sun comes up, now peeking through the shades
to see me
with you.

Can we walk down the same sidewalk, even if it’s cracked.
Cracked sidewalk. Overgrown sidewalk. The same sidewalk
into the place we call home, our home.
Loud music, drowning our sleep.
The smell of drugs, drifting into our world.
But your heart is my house
and I’m always home.

Will we think the same thoughts, bubbled together.
If thoughts are love and bubbles last forever.
If thinking is breathing and together is never apart.
If we are perfect and the same is two–better than one.

Can we touch the same rock, found by the side of the road.
We touch her, we can feel her. We found her
while dancing
on the side of our road.
It’s a beautiful road
with beautiful rocks.
I wouldn’t want it
any other way.

Will we see the same time, at the same old sites.
Less than one or eight or two or twenty-four.
However you count it,
we see it the same: never enough.
We always want more and we have
forever to get it.

Do we see the same stars?

Can we dance under the light of the same moon? Will you think of me when the sun peeks over your horizon, soon to make its way over to greet me?

Can we walk down the same sidewalk, even if it’s cracked.
Will we think the same thoughts, bubbled together.
Can we touch the same rock, found by the side of the road.
Will we see the same time, at the same old sites.