Friday, August 18, 2017

The sun helps

We all sleep in the sun. It helps all of us.

The sun helps
Almost anything,
The exact right temperature
Between 60 and 65
With breeze
Which wafts,
Shakes the leaves
Of the ash
The linden
In the backyard.
Oh and the sun
Almost everything
No matter
The rest of it
All the time.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Soft landings

Do you want to apply?
There’s an opening
At Soft Landings
In Des Plaines
Or Joliet.
A temptation
I am unable to manage
Though if I had a company
I might name it
Soft Landings.
I dreamed the other night
I got a phone call.
They asked me
To be
A floater Bishop
For the Province.
“We’ll figure it out”
They said.
“You don’t need to tell
Your husband.”
They said.
He’ll find out
Soon enough.
“That’s not the way
Bishops' work”
I said
“Bishops’ don’t work
That way.”

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Senior year

Next transition

Mothers post pictures
Of their living rooms
Completely covered
With final must-haves
To make it through
This next year.
In our case
This final year.
We wonder
What comes next
Though we know
It will be a surprise
It has always been
A surprise
The very definition
Of surprise.
She will pop out
Of her version
Of a jack-in-the-box
And we will never have seen
It coming,

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Part of a priest's life.

The bride and groom
Often seated me
At the reception
With the religious
Elderly aunt from Florida
As if we would have
The most in common.
There was also the wedding
Where the bride
Wore a headpiece
Of neon condoms
At the rehearsal.
I have not officiated
At a wedding
In years now.
I have attended
A few.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Walk with words

Charlottesville? Really? Now we're back to writing it off as "southern expression." No. No. It is all of our expression if we let it go.

So many times I think
I could do better
Than that,
I could do better.
Then I hear
Of Tiki torches and flags,
Or rainbows
In the streets.
My feet,
They would not
Be able to march
In any parade
So I walk with words
Even though
They seem
Not enough,
I think they may have
To do
For now.
It was never
My plan.
It is still not
My plan.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

We breathe the same air

It is difficult to be in relationship when someone has determined you do not breathe the same air.

She has determined
What I need to do
And be.
My view
Of the Universe
Is rarely
The same,
Even though I know
We breathe
The same air.
We occupy ourselves
With different things.
The sand hill cranes
Visit her
In winter.
They fly overhead here
In fall and spring.
We notice different things
She and I.
The cranes
Are vital
To me.
They carry
That same air
Soon enough
They will fly
Or maybe
Not soon enough

Friday, August 11, 2017

Too slowly

My daughter is home and invites me to have a pedicure with her. It is time, well past time.

Someone else
Will pay attention
To my toes,
On feet
That slowly
Begin to return to me.
It is time
For a pedicure
On feet
That slowly
Oh so slowly
Too slowly

Thursday, August 10, 2017

From here to there

The difficulty of moving

So much of life
Is organized
Around where we live
Where to move?
We know where to shop
For groceries
We know
Where our doctors are
We know the hardware store
We know
Our Walgreens
We know so much of life
Our church
Our people
Every trail is laid
From here
To there.
Every trail
Every path
We need no GPS
From here
To there.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Things come in stages

What does it really mean to be righteous? It's never been a word I've applied to myself.

Within the course of two weeks
Last spring
Two professionals
Called me
For the decision
Not to drive.
It still took me
Another six months
To give up
My driver’s license.
The second car
Is still in the driveway.
Things come
In stages.
I may indeed
Be righteous
But I won’t be fully so
Until that second car
Is sold.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Every year it seems we notice different things.

The cicadas
Seem louder
This summer
Or perhaps
More constant.
Fireflies are fewer.
The insect world
With the light
And temperature.
I don’t remember
If I was noticed less
Last year,
And this year

Sunday, August 6, 2017

East of Paducah

We will pay attention this year, No cornfield. Still, we will pay attention.

Where was I
At the last eclipse?
Age 24
Living across
From a cornfield
While Annie Dillard
Teaching a Stone
To Talk.
I don’t think
I noticed
Anything unusual.
An eclipse?
They happen,
Part of the natural order
Of things.
This year
We will have a motel room
East of Paducah.
We will pay attention
Some things,
Even natural things
Require attention
Even if
We don’t live across
From a cornfield.
Even if
I don’t write
Like Annie Dillard.

Saturday, August 5, 2017


As we get the house ready for sale, hopefully next spring, we look for the things which need doing. We thought the mulberries were invasive. Apparently not. But the buck thorn is.

The mulberries
Are fine trees
To have.
When our daughter
Was small
She and her friends
Used to eat them.
Now it is only the birds
That eat them,
Spread the seeds
Grow everywhere
Around the edges.
The tree trimmer says
They are ok,
Not on any list
Of banned trees.
Now buckthorn
That’s another story
We open our eyes
For buckthorn.
Buck thorn
Is everywhere.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Tree trimmer

We have made a list and are checking it twice. Ok, maybe checking it three or four times. Tomorrow is the new roof. Next week, the tree trimming.

The tree trimmer came
Admired our mountain ash
Reassured us
About the crab apple
Told us he would do
As much as he could
In a day
For a certain fee.
We wait for him
Next week
After the new roof
Is accomplished,
The new screens
And shutters scheduled.
How can this be?
How can so much happen
In so little time?
We so rarely
Get so much done
In so little time.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Taking a break

When we encourage people to do what they will, and they do...we should not be surprised.

Taking a break
From church.
He says
Then I realize
I am church
In some form
Or other.
I realize
I may never see him
This is not quite
What I meant
Though maybe
In the long run
It was.
I pray from a distance.
He finds church
The birds sing
On the Prairie Path.
Church is found

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Turned in my driver's license

Thanks, Joyce!

Finally did it:
Turned in my driver’s license
With the help
Of a friend.
Finally did it.
I could not bear
To mail it in
With no replacement
State ID
In hand.
I have not driven
For almost two years.
I already knew
I would not drive
I guess these things
Take time.
I walk the house
Practice with the cane
For the time I fully leave
The walker behind.

Sunday, July 30, 2017


Holding hands with friends and family. Sometimes oversleeping helps to bring things to the surface.

We overslept three times
This morning
Awakened to wonder
How to join hands
With the larger pieces
Of things
Of course
Are so much larger
Than we know.
Every time
We awakened,
We named the dream
Whose hands
We held.
The circle
Was so much larger.
I wonder
If we oversleep
Four times
Five times
A million
What it will bring

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Darn home

I think I know what home is. I don't. Even more, I don't. Even though it's been over a year since I've had a seizure, and the medications seem to be right. I still don't know where I'll wake up. Darn home.

Where is home?
It appears new
Every day.
I would like
It to stay
In one place.
I work
To make it so.
Make it so
Make it so.
Still it moves
Darn home
I never know
Where you will be
When I wake up
I think I know
Where you are
When I go to sleep.
Darn home
Changed again.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Spirit animal

Adventures at NIH

As I walk the halls
Of the hospital
My stuffed sloth
In the front
Of my walker,
The British woman
Asks me
If she
Is my spirit animal.
Oh no
 I reply
This is Rosemary.
My spirit animal
is a black panther.
Pleased to meet you,
She says.
We continue
To walk
Past the nurse’s station.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wheelchair professionals

More airport adventures, There are professionals for everything, I wonder if there is special training for wheelchair professionals.

My beloved
Was not allowed
To wheel me
In the airport.
I’m sorry sir
That is only for
The wheelchair professionals.
I’m sorry sir
You must show
Your ID
To the wheelchair professionals.
I stood in my braces
In the security container.
The wheelchair professionals
Made sure
I wheeled through.
My beloved and I
Came out
The other side.
My beloved and I
Got on
The plane.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


I am not happy with this. Or maybe happy is not the right word. I have resisted writing about this. I did not title it walls or wailing because it seems I might use those titles for another reflection. Still, it seemed I should write something. So this is it for today. My something.

The wall demolished
Which made Germany
The Wailing Wall
Oh yes
The Wailing Wail
It allows
If we build another wall
Either from one side
Or the other
No matter who
Pays for it.
If good fences
Make good neighbors
As the poet maintained
The neighbor piece
The good piece
Still means we have to see
Our neighbor,
As the Germans did
With family
On both sides.
We wail
We are so familiar
With walls.
We build them
All the time.
We put prayers
In the chinks.
There are always
There are always
And always
May we wail.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

No more adventures

With laughter comes deeper comprehension.

He tells me
“No more adventures.”
My beloved says
“How dare he”
“How dare he
Label your hospital stays
Your falls
Each one
Does indeed bear a note
Of tragedy.
Each one
Might have been
I see
Each one’s point.
I have to laugh.
With laughter
Comes deeper
No more adventures
As if
I set out
Like Robin Hood
Every day.
Every walk around the block
Is an adventure.
I have to laugh.
With laughter
Comes deeper

Monday, July 17, 2017


Only a few more perennials to plant: milkweed, bee balm. Then I think we're done. Meanwhile the kitten watches the robin.

The fledgling robin
Figures out
What he needs
To eat
Spreads his wings
Fluffs his tail
Scores a linden berry
An ant
A dirt bath.
Looks pleased
A few spots
On his chest.
The bare garden spots
Are his
Until he figures out
To fly south.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

On to the next thing

Here we go. Digging up dirt around the fountain, adding mushroom compost, planting bee balm for the bees, butterfly weed and milkweed, and some grasses we found at the nursery.

On to the next thing
Perennials around the fountain
Lavender and grasses
A few Echinacea.
They should have been planted
Last week
But thanks be to God
It poured rain
On Thursday
So they held off
For the weekend.
Now it’s time.

Friday, July 14, 2017


Every day has its mission. Some are more interesting than others. We are trying to decide who will be our next roofer. As I said, some missions are more interesting than others. The roof mission is before the new shutter mission.

The mission for today
Is to scope out
A roof in Bartlett.
I wonder if they will know
We are not prowlers
To stake out
Their home
But are only there
To see their roof:
Its style
Its composition
Its pitch
Its color.
Will they know?
Will they even
Be home?
And if they notice
Will they care?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I don't want to do this anymore

Nothing will be a favorite with everyone.

The preschool
Offered many activities.
One day they dipped their feet
In black paint
Walked across newsprint.
The teacher
Carefully wrote
What each one said
About the experience
On their newsprint
“it’s wet”
“It’s squishy”
“It’s cold”
My favorite:
“I don’t want to do this anymore”

Grease traps

Everyone, everything, has his or her own field of expertise.

My beloved
Is the church expert
On grease traps.
I never knew
Such things existed
Knowing him.
These are no
Mere drains.
The kitten
Is the house expert
On catching flies.
Not just any flies
But house flies
And pantry moths.
Her eyes pick up
A wide range
Of flying things.
We watch them
I am not as interested
In grease traps.

Monday, July 10, 2017


I have never seen "connection" on any list of spiritual gifts. Nonetheless, it seems to be one of mine,

Everyone is gifted.
My gift seem to be
Getting people connected
One with another.
Oh you need a place
To work?
I say
Oh you have a job?
I say
Oh you have an office?
I say
Possible connection made.
On to the next one.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


My siblings and I learned to shoot up north at the cabin. It was not my favorite activity. I have never liked loud noises

My father
Took survival
We all learned
How to shoot and clean
A gun.
Guns were not toys.
Guns were never meant
To be taken lightly.
Guns were not meant
For hunting.
My father built
A fallout shelter
Before the Cuban Missile Crisis.
My father took survival
We learned from him

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The world spins

Everything moves,

On days such as these
I watch the sun
In and out
Behind the clouds
When really it’s the clouds
That move
Or maybe it’s me
That changes position.
On days such as these
Everything moves
Even me
With compromised feet.
On days
On all days
The world spins
The clouds move.

Friday, July 7, 2017


It's all relative

I am older.
You’ll notice I didn’t say
It’s relative
After all.
Older means
I take the color test
On the Internet
And test age 87
So I take it again
And test age 25.
I am actually
In between.
Such tests
Like IQ tests
Are meant for fun.
To be sure
Some days I feel 87
And some days
I wake up

Thursday, July 6, 2017


I was first introduced to Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi in an introduction to psychology class at the local community college. He described the term flow coupling it with imagination. I have been grateful ever since.

Like the river
Like the stream
Like the rivulets
In the garden bed,
Like the words
On the page
Which might prefer
To be left inside
But insist their way
Flow, I say,
There is no way
To flow,
To be left
But insist their way
And out
Like the river
Like the stream
Like the rivulets
Like the words.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


I wonder if grandparents live on farms anymore. A whistle might scare the cows.

Someone gave the child
Behind us
A whistle
For the 4th of July.
We think it was
A grandparent
Who ate potato salad
And left.
The whistle stayed behind.
We think
It will be wrapped
For the next trip
To the grandparent’s farm
Only to be discovered
With joy
When the child unpacks
His luggage.