Monday, December 30, 2019


The last lucid conversation I had
With my father went like this:
I took his hand--
already so white,
already so cold--
And said thank you for
teaching me how to . . .

His eyes popped open then
And he finished my sentence.
. . . to communicate?
I laughed and said yes.
Of course.

I can't remember now, three years later,
What it was I meant to say that night
With the snow falling quiet
Outside and all around.
But I'm glad I said what I did.
My father and I,
We communicated.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Blue (for Lisa)

It was a hard December this year.
Ornaments that usually wrap warmth
Around me like a quilt 
Made me cry instead--

The clay angel I made with Becky
In her kitchen while snow fell soft outside
And the radio hummed soft inside—

The enamel rocking horse ridden by three little boys 
My sister-in-law sent me
From New York the Christmas after 
We had lost a fourth—

The pipe cleaner elf sitting on a 
Tinsel chair that hung from my childhood tree
When my father, unknowing of his future,
Scrambled in the moment to create designs
For teams of teenage boys with stiff crewcuts,
Drawing x’s and o’s on a yellow pad of paper
While I sat on his lap and wondered what
This strange map meant--

At first I tried to unhear the song 
Of losses that curved through this December’s air
Around me until finally I accepted it,
Placed the notes of that song on the altar 
Of my heart and allowed it to be what it wanted,
What it needed to be.


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Be Still

Stop folding that mound of laundry
and give yourself permission 
to lie on your bed like a snow angel
for as long as it takes
to watch this evening's moon
through your window
rise slow--as slow as silver--
up from the darkening trees.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

A Short Thanksgiving Prayer

Be happy in your home and children
and your people and your king
said Odysseus before continuing his journey.
So I am taking his advice
because I am happy in my grown sons
this Thanksgiving season--
in the way they sat around their mother's table
and talked and laughed in voices
that rose and fell and rose and fell
like the waves of a wine-dark sea.