Thursday, May 31, 2007


I saw her from a distance
poised sleek and graceful
her coat light against
the green foliage

The road stretched straight
simmering with heat
she crossed before me
and I slowed

watching for her mate
and saw instead
a spotted fawn emerge
hesitantly from the trees

then dash madly
in his mother's wake
spindly legs flying
over the concrete

I rolled by cautiously
and saw them hovering
together in the trees
looking back at

a tiny awkward twin
stranded on the other side
of a strip of speeding cars
waiting for rescue


Monday, May 28, 2007

Flying with Lily

I dreamed...
  • I was lost in a city
  • a mugger wanted my cell phone
  • I was screaming
  • my phone broke
  • a policeman wouldn't help me
  • I ran into a factory
  • there was a wedding in the basement
  • the bridegrooom stole my cherry wallet
  • he used my credit card for his honeymoon
  • I was locked in the basement
  • I had no phone, no money
  • Tony came to save me
  • we escaped
  • Tony disappeared
  • I was flying with Lily in my arms
  • a golden retriever was flying with us
  • bad guys were chasing us
  • we flew around the city
  • I was afraid to fly over the water
  • Lily was cold
  • the water was endless
  • we were getting too tired to fly
  • I thought I might drop her
  • we flew inside a hamburger stand
  • no one was hungry
  • the bad guys were outside

I tried to wake up

  • my mother was home
  • we heard glass break
  • she got into my bed


Sunday, May 27, 2007

I hurt myself

...with anger, with doing on angry impulse what seemed right and turned out badly. Should I be sorry for saying what I felt? How can I apologize for truth? I would take the words back now, but they are in the air, and I can't grab them.

Who was the foolish one? Who counts the cost of ice?

Sister, mother, grandmother and still olliesmom

Memorial Day

I was sweating in the shoe aisle at KMart
not wearing combat boots
but desert hot, sweating, sweating
my red tee shirt damp on my chest

My uniform was black capris
not khaki or camo, my leg ankled
with a light bulb chain
that hung like dog tags

The man ahead of me in line
was opening his pool
for the holiday weekend
and buying party ice

The checkout girl admired
my nose ring while I paid for
sandals which would
never see the desert sand

I turned on the air in the Cruiser
and pulled into the line of cars
people hurrying to swim
and have a beer with their burger

The sun glinted on the roofs of shiny
speeding cars on hot pavement
no desert drab, no tents, no dust storms
no drone of tanks and humvees

Thunder sounded in the distance
not the thunder of guns or ieds
but the rumble that brings
cool rain and dripping eaves

over a wide white porch
with a swing and the chatter
of children and a breeze
to stir the green leaves

I stopped at a drive-thru
for an icy root beer that
beaded the paper cup with sweat
and reached for my cell phone

to be sure that all was well
at home and say that I would
be there soon and there was
nothing to be afraid of

Thank you from Barbara
Mem Day 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Family Dinner

The old folks were in polyester
flowered shirts and saggy pants
pretending to be ordinary people

pretending to know us when
God knows who they thought we were
- the servers, the chefs, the caterers

they ate with gusto
the chicken, the bright peas,
the lemon meringue pie

they wanted iced tea with no ice
so they got their money’s worth
not knowing the price of the meal

we answered their questions
their over-and-over questions
each of us in turn

giving different answers
to the same questions
we made up answers

we made up stories
we showed photos of grandchildren
they pretended to remember

and fathers and brothers and dogs
still alive for those who had outlived them
who counted the cost of ice?


Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Million Bells

...are ringing in the wind that has darkened the day, ruby and topaz blooms, violent greens.

  • Eli was a dandelion puff rolling on the cut grass, under my legs now, waiting for thunder.

  • I have done nothing for my birthday I didn't feel like doing.

  • I hardboiled eggs and ate one. Just the yellow part.

  • I ate French toast with strawberries for breakfast and filled my eyes with Bradley Moak.

  • Egan had two ice creams and a lollipop at the school bazaar. His tongue was blue.

  • I don't know what Maddix and Lily did.

  • T-rex zapped people with a hand grenade.

  • Lauren found love.

  • Tonight I will put on some jammies and watch Desperate Housewives.

  • Maybe with popcorn. And some Zero.

  • I will restart my life slowly. Tomorrow. This week.

  • I'll see how it goes.

  • Maybe I will try harder.

  • I don't want to promise.

The Birthday Girl

A Crowd of Cows

Under a tree in a Florida pasture, they are jostling for space in the shade. They are brown suede and black velvet, sleek and soft-skinned. We glide by in our red Mustang. My cheeks are getting sunburned. The wind makes a snarl of my hair. I am holding a straw visor on my head with one hand.

The cows have a tree and they all want it. I want the sun and the wind and to go so fast I leave my life behind. I can almost hear them politely asking one another to move over a little. No one says anything to me.

How long do they let cows live before they eat them?
Not longer than 60 years I'm thinking.

My birthday 2007

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Playhouse

The door stands open on a plastic room
crowded with brown and brittle leaves
there is no echo of happy voices
the children are gone

The yellow slide curls down to the empty air
the swings hang limp
there is no dancing in the wooden tower
no toys in the sand

There are no rosy cheeks,
no silken hair, no tiny sneakers
No one is laughing
in this little empty house.

Grandma C.