Monday, April 29, 2019

At a Rest Stop in McGuireville, AZ

The desert here smells clean
like air scrubbed  with sage.
The desert here smells sweet
like citrus blooms that fill your dreams.
The air here smells fresh
like a western rain after noon's heat.
The desert here smells like memory
of a station wagon filled with my
brothers and my parents and me
passing this way on moonlit journeys
when all of us were young.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

If You Stayed in Bed This Morning . . .

This is what you missed:
A watercolor sky, washed with pink
The air thick with pear blossom scent
A coffee klatch of sparrows, planning their day
The feel of a road beneath your feet
A fleeting taste of spring

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


And now the ground that was
flat and bare brown is a green
quilt of thready stems--
lily of the valley shoots
twist and uncurl upward,
reinventing the garden
with each morning that passes.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

In My Backyard

The yellow sumac--I planted
in memory of Marilyn,
whose backyard was filled
with sumac she treated like family.

The snowball bush--I planted
in memory of Becky,
who believed its flowers in coffee cans
were the only acceptable offering on Memorial Day.

The butterfly bush--I planted
in memory of my father and our trip
to Normandy's graves when the shrub's long purple
blooms were in honey-fragrant season.

The lilac bush--I planted
for myself in memory of all
the Anns I have been and will be when
another April rolls down the mountain.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

April Moon

A full April moon
is the Pink Moon
is the Sprouting Grass Moon
is the Egg Moon
is the Fish Moon
is the moon that rode low
over my street in the
dark of this morning
and made me marvel

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


I understand the biology behind Spring--
The green sheen of the male mallard
Attracts the female and so life goes on and on and on

But is so much excess strictly necessary?
The giddy chatter of robins?
The scent of a sun-warmed hyacinth?
That glistening goblet of a yellow tulip there?

Seriously, I can almost hear the gods say
Well! As long as we're at it,
Why don't we put on a real show!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Things I Thought Would Last Forever

My knees
Stratton's fruit stand on Orem's 8th North
The volunteer orange poppy in our backyard
My crush on the British royal family
The Hawthorne tree my parents planted
The restaurant where my parents ate Italian sausage sandwiches
My great-grandmother's house on the shore of Bear Lake
My kids living nearby
My dad's voice on the other end of the telephone line
Notre Dame

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Beware the Hawthorne Tree

Beware the crimson Hawthorne tree--
Not because of its circlets of thorn
Or it blossoms that smelt of death
in London when the plague came
and reaped her streets.

Beware because a faery may lead you beneath
And when you emerge, blinking, seven
Mays later, you'll discover the blossoms,
which you dreamed of deep in winter,
have already bled from the tree.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

What My Father's Mother Said

My father's mother had fourteen children.
Seven boys.  Seven girls.
She was a farmer's wife and
Spent hours in the kitchen
Spinning flour into bread.

When my second son was born
I thought my grandmother would
Be in love with his red roundness,
So I asked if she'd like to hold him
And she said,"Not really."

Well. Who could blame her?
After that many loaves of bread
She was done with feeding, done with caring.
And yet, somehow I have a photo
of her holding my baby on the sly.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Happy Accident

If I'd had a GPS
on that trip to Arizona
I would have turned north
instead of south when I left

If I'd had a GPS
I would have noticed
much sooner that I was on
my way to Nogales instead of

If I'd had a GPS
I wouldn't have made a late
U Turn in Nogales
just as dusk drenched the

If I'd had a GPS
I would have been in Phoenix already
and missed the earth bursting with bloom,
exploding against a mauve and golden

like a murder of crows.

Thursday, April 11, 2019



Today while driving to Hires
to eat a hamburger (even though
I often think about giving up meat
because I once looked straight into 
the eyes of a long-lashed calf)
I nearly ran over a stray red journal,
red and limp from rain, lying
in the middle of the street.

I swerved to avoid it as though
it were a human being in a wet red sweater.

Well, of course I dodged it 
with its possible recounting of kisses and 
and fights and trips to the grocery store 
at midnight for a pint of coffee ice cream,
as well as the scores of Jazz games watched,
because what could be more human
Then the words of human?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Pieces of My Life

Sea glass

These are the things I have in
the memory box my husband
made from the wood of a
much loved peach tree.

The notecard is filled with words
my grandmother read to me
on my wedding day.

The ornament is from my mother
in memory of the baby 
who didn't make it.

The sea glass is from the beach
where my brothers and I watched
our children grow up.

The cotton, which I picked beneath 
a low-slung Carolina moon, is from
the field next to the home where
my granddaughter lived.

Sea Glass

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


When I looked in the mirror
this morning I was surprised
to see I still had long hair.
I didn't recognize myself. 
Last night I dreamed hard
that I had shaved my head like a marine.

The dream felt real enough to eat.
I was full of regret but 
also resolve to live this
new way with less of me
because what else can you do?

So! I was happy to find myself
unchanged in the weak light
of morning--at least for now.
The mirror will surprise me again
as it always does and then I will 
start at the things it nakedly reveals.

Monday, April 8, 2019

A Poem a Day

First thing. I am not a poet.

Second thing. I admire poets immensely. (I'm looking at you, Wade and Lisa.)

Third thing. I attended a poetry workshop taught by the above Lisa this weekend.

Fourth thing. April is National Poetry Month. Yes! It's a thing! 

Fifth thing. I'm accepting the challenge to write a poem a day and post it here.

Sixth thing. I suck and I know it.

Seventh thing. That was a disclaimer because I'm REALLY SCARED ABOUT DOING THIS.

Eighth thing. But yeah. These are just drafts, written quickly.

Now that I've established all that, here's today's offering.

The Odyssey

I thought I remembered what happened
in The Odyssey, which Miss Nelson made us
read in AP English the year I was 17.

But now that I'm reading it several 
lifetimes later, I am discovering 
I barely remember any of it.

Not Calypso and her "gleaming, glittering" chair.
Not the horse-lord Nestor's eldest daughter, Polycaste,
who rubbed oil on Telemachus's skin.
Not Nausicaa, who welcomed salt-stained Odysseus
to her father's kingdom.

Instead I remember the boys in my class 
with their surfer boy hair and their 
pachuli-scented jeans and the way all of us
stared out the classroom window past the 
track and the field and the streets and 
the blue, blue mountain to the west

Wondering, perhaps, what our own voyages
might be.