Monday, September 30, 2013

Lost poems

I read an interview Maria Shriver did with Mary Oliver.  It was a wonderful window into one of my favorite accessible poets.  Like many poets, Mary is at work on several poems at a time.  Mary, it seems, is never without a writing implement and paper, even at night.  I admire this.  This is not me.  I lose poems all day long. 

They litter the streets we walk
When we don*t have a mind
To catch them,
To open our hands,
Not let them slip
Through our fingers.
When we simply do
Other things.
I lose poems
All day long.
They cover the floor
Of my office
Under the altar.
They walk the aisles
Of Trader Joes
Or sit on shelves.
Sometimes I read a poem
Someone else has caught.
I think:
That poem
Might have been mine.
I am glad
Caught it,
Picked it up,
Took it off the shelf,
Brought it home
And fed it.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

I have been known to leave my wallet behind

This morning felt like a comedy of errors.  Every time another thing happened, I reminded myself to remain calm.  The wallet was not lost.  Somehow I knew it was not lost, or stolen, or strayed. Somehow I knew I would find it and slap myself upside the head and say Of course.  I forgot I put it in the car before talking with a parishioner in the parking lot.  Of course.  Now I am home, awaiting the outcome of last night*s ankle mishap.  My husband and daughter will be home soon, I hope.  Me?  I am calmly sitting in a chair, writing this, eating a Portillo*s hot dog, which is not a healthy lunch option  My wallet is in the kitchen, next to the stove, with my sunglasses.

I have been known
To leave my wallet
When my mind
Is otherwise occupied,
Like this morning
In church.
I traced
And retraced
And retraced
After I searched
Every possible place,
I found it
Where I*d carefully placed it.
After a scavenger hunt
Of every place it might possibly be,
It was
Of course
Where I had placed it.
Not accidentally
Laid it down,
Mind you,
But instead
Placed it,
Carefully even.
I have been known
To leave my wallet
This morning
In church
I took care to place it
On the front seat
Of the car.
Only then
Did I go searching
Everywhere else.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The order of things

I often get reminder notices from my brain.   I have not had a generalized seizure in over a year (Yay!).  I know the medication helps, but I also know I have learned to pay attention to the warning signs.  I continue making plans.  I also realize plans may need to change.  I keep my prayer list next to the places I go to chill out.  When I drive, I travel familiar routes.  This allows me to explore the wilderness with my clients.

I shower and dress
For a funeral
Then realize
My brain has ordered
A different day
Than the one
I had planned.
I change back
Into my pajamas,
Pray for the people
I will not see
This is a lesson
I must learn
Again and again.
Today I may pray
With the windows and doors
Open to the world,
Me in the blue recliner.
Today I may pray
A different way
Than planned.
Such is the order
Of things.
Sometimes it is different
Than I had planned.

Friday, September 27, 2013


We find ourselves waxing nostalgic.  All three of us.  Nostalgic in three different ways for three different people as college decisions get closer for the second (the last) child.  We make lists of colleges from most expensive to least expensive, from most selective to least selective.  This morning I determined the school on a mountain is Tennessee is the closest to Roselle.  This is not so strangely comforting.

The closest school
Is on a mountain
In Tennessee.
I remember
In college
I took the Orient Express
From Paris to Athens.
My father told me
He could get anywhere
In the world
In 24 hours.
I thought this odd,
Very odd.
Why-ever would he need
To come see me
In Athens
When I would be home
For Christmas?
Now the closest school
My daughter considers
Is on a mountain
In Tennessee.
It is less than a day’s drive.
This is
Not so oddly

Thursday, September 26, 2013

More to be done

I adore the light in the fall.  This fall I adore it more, if that is possible.  In my office under the altar I see the crooked pine out my window as evening falls.  The sun angles different in the fall, more sideways somehow.  It illuminates different parts of things.  This fall I see there is more to be done. I know I only see a small speck.  So I start with the speck.

There is more to be done,
Much more.
I have been given
A tiny glimpse
Of all it entails,
A glimmer,
A sideways shimmer
As the light angles different
This particular fall.
There is more
To be seen
In the fall light:
The crooked pine illuminated
Just so
Out my office window.
There is more to be done,
A possibility or two
Out my office window,
On the bench
Under the pine.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


This story arrived in my inbox this morning, courtesy of Inward/Outward.  It got me thinking about cookies and tables... and other things.  Like sharing cookies.  Like the larger table we all share.

Because the tea shop was crowded, a man took the other chair at her table and ordered tea. The woman [already seated there] was prepared for a leisurely time, so she began to read her paper. As she did so, she took a cookie from the package on the table, and noticed that the man across from her also took a cookie from the same package. This upset her greatly, but she ignored it and kept reading. After a while she took another cookie. And so did he! This unnerved her and she glared at the man.

While she glared, he reached for the fifth and last cookie, smiled and offered her half of it. She was indignant. She paid her money and left in a great hurry, enraged at such a presumptuous man. She hurried to her bus stop just outside. She opened her purse to get her fare. And then she saw, much to her distress, that in her purse was her own package of cookies unopened.

Told by Walter Brueggemann
Source: Voices of the Night

I believe it is time
To share my cookies.
Simply time
To share.
Yesterday we sat in my office,
Declared it is time
For both cookies and table
To be shared.
This was meant
From the beginning.
My table
My cookies
Our table
Our cookies
The dinner bell has rung.
Dessert has been served

Woe to those who leave the table.
Woe to those
Who find cookies left
In our purses.

Joy abundant to all
who remain at the table.
Joy abundant to all
Who share
The last cookie.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Free car wash

I attended a funeral reception for a man who used to attend the last parish I led as vicar.  I remember the free car wash at that parish, how it was a lesson in freely giving and freely receiving for all involved.  I remember the driver of the motor home who tried to give $2 bills to the children involved in the washing.  They steadfastly refused.  I remember the motor home driver asking for a tour of the church, and then trying to leave money in out of the way places in the building.  Finally he donated a case of water we could hand out to the folk waiting to have their cars washed.  

Of all the things I*ve helped orchestrate
In thirty years of ordained life,
My favorite
Is the free car wash.
Absolutely free.
We did not take money.
It was not a fundraiser.
If someone wanted to join us
They could.
But it was free.
Absolutely free.
We did not take money.
No money changed hands.
It being a hot day
We sprayed each other
With water
And laughed,
Handed out cups
Of cold water
To those who waited.
We washed BMWs
And vans,
Even a motor home.
It was free
I tell you
Every time I tell the story
It is lauded as a wonderful effort,
Never to be repeated,
Never emulated
As far as I know.
I tell you
Absolutely free.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Suggested poetry

From time to time, since I have often purchased books of poetry from Amazon, I receive suggestions in my email on who I might read next.  There are many poets I have never heard of. Some mornings, like this one, the suggestions are not helpful. I sampled the beguiling and magisterial poet.  I would name his poetry, simply, creepy.

I awaken
To suggested books of poetry
In my in-box.
They were written by people
I didn*t know
Walk this earth.
They carry titles
Which entice me
To taste a poem,
Just one.
This morning*s collection
To be spit out.
One poet is named
Intensely ethical.
Another review claims a poet
Beguiling and magisterial.
Of course I would have to read the books
To even begin to understand
What these reviewers mean.
I sample a poem or two
From the list.
Today is a day
To drink coffee,
Eat my breakfast cereal,
Meet with a client or two.
Today is a day to think and speak
In simpler language.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

School choice

We are embarked upon the college journey once again, this time with our daughter.   I remember my own journey, its twists and turns to arrive at this particular place.  I hope it will be the same for my daughter... in a good way, of course, but with enough of the unforeseen to make it interesting and surprising and yet, of a piece, every step of the way.

We knocked another school
Off the list
My daughter*s list
Holds familiar
There is no telling
The futures
The list holds.
I used to be married
To the rare person
Who knew from beginning to end
The process he would follow.
Most everyone else
Near and dear to my heart
Has walked this way,
Then that,
Then found
Outside Eden*s gates
Wandering unknown territory
With a bite of fruit
Left to be chewed and swallowed.
I used to be married
To someone who knew
From beginning to end
The exact path
He would follow.
Now I am married
To someone else.
I wouldn*t have it
Any other way.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hospitality and love are free

Nearly thirty years in the priesthood informs what I do as a counselor in my office under the altar, next to the Parents' Day Out (PDO) program.  Of course it does.  I offer what I can, when I can. As I grow in the combination of priest and counselor and spiritual director and writer, I find I can offer more and more, even as I can receive more and more from others and from the world.  My own therapist/supervisor/consultant/spiritual director reminded me of this recently.  I pay for the sessions with him, but the hospitality and love are free.

There is plenty
To do
In my office
Under the altar.
First sessions are consultations
And free.
I have raised my regular hourly rate.
Since the ATM machine delivers
Twenty dollar bills,
I continue to charge
In multiples
Of twenty.
The church rate has now gone
From three-quarters
To half-price.
I do not take insurance.
I will never take insurance.
Confessions are heard
Completely free.
I continue to charge nothing
To care.
I still care for those
Who have moved on.
They are tucked away
In the corners of my heart.
Hospitality and love
Completely free.
They will keep me occupied
With plenty to do
In my office
Under the altar.
And above.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Begin again

I found a book at Logan Airport.  It was number 18 on the best seller list.  I have not been paying attention to best sellers in recent years.  They are too often a disappointment.  Research shows this Logan Airport book has been on the best seller list for over  a year.  Really?  The title caught me: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.  How could I not reel it in and at least look into its eyes?  It reminds me of the time I discovered The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders (years ago now) and bought a number of the books when they went on remainder.  I gave them out as Christmas gifts that year.  One, maybe two, of the recipients was as enchanted as I was.  It seems to be the way with books.  Best seller lists are often not the best source for me.  Until, of course, they are.

There was a time
I read new fiction
Even in college,
Translating Homer,
I fit new books
Between those pages,
Gobbled new authors
To find the few
Who spoke to my whimsy,
Turned the world
Upside down
Inside out;
Authors who said
Think of it
This way
That way
Practice a headstand
While reading.
Don*t go to sleep
Until you find the end,
Begin again.
Fly cast
For books.
Pull them in,
Look fully into their eyes,
Let them go.
Begin again.
Begin again.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The dark. The gray. The wet.

It has been awhile since I have done anything before 7 AM.  This is practice for tomorrow when the doorbell will ring at 7:30 AM and our house will be presented for cleaning.  Of course this means doing a major pick-up tonight.  This morning it all feels, well, jungly.  Is that a word?  We do not live in a rain forest, but still it is warm and wet and gray (now), and green.  Like a jungle, almost.  Thankfully I did not awaken with an 8 foot long crocodile under my bed, like that man in Zimbabwe.

This morning brings the dark
The gray
The wet.
I would sleep in
But the dark
The gray
The wet
Invited my daughter
To stay asleep
Past her ride to school.
I become her ride.
Of course I drive
A different route.
There are at least
Three different ways
To school,
As many as there are drivers
Who live in this house.
Turn here
She says
Go there
She says
There are fewer lights
This way
She says.
I beg to differ
Oh I beg to differ.
Stop yelling at me
She says
In the dark,
The gray.
The wet,
We make it to school
I drive home
Decide the dark
The gray
The wet
Demands a mention.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Vocations week

Back into themed therapy weeks.  Not even just therapy weeks, unless I count myself in this week*s mix. Which of course I do.  Life is in the air. Life brings change and transition with it.

This is vocations week
In my office
Under the altar.
Everyone I see          
Is in
Active transition.
Everyone I see
Above the altar,
On the street,
Is in active transition.
Life is in the air.
Death is in the air.
They go together
Hand in hand.
This is vocations week.
Everything does not fit
On a resume
I tell them.
I tell myself.
I tell anyone
Who will listen.
This is vocations week
Under the altar.
And above.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Often I forget

Today I ponder what I wrote yesterday and the day before.  And the day before that.  Most often what I write has to do with what catches my attention in the morning.  Simply that. I wonder about returning to preach occasionally, and where and when and how that would be.  I remember my seminary preaching professor who declared: Every sermon is not a sonnet.  My sermons have never been sonnets.  Neither are my poems.  With the exception of the haiku, and an occasional villanelle, I write freely and shortly. Sermons too.  

Often I forget
What I wrote yesterday.
Once it is released
Into the world,
It becomes part of the whole.
It becomes part of the mosaic,
Or perhaps
It is grout.
No telling where
It will end up;
No telling
If it will be stone
Or binder
Or maybe
A place holder
To be discarded
When something better
Comes along.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A sermon or two

Years after I graduated from college and seminary and became a parish priest, a college friend bemoaned the fact that I was not writing poetry anymore.  I told him all my writing energy was devoted to producing a sermon every week.  He is not a church person.  It made no sense to him.  To my friend sermons were momentary vehicles. Poems are somehow the real thing.  Now I blog every day.  It is somehow homage to the fact that God is working everywhere, all the time.  I hope to capture a bit of it every day.  Now I have friends who bemoan the fact that I am not preaching.  These friends are fewer and fewer as time has gone on.  As clergy we do not hear one another preach anyway.  Now, after leaving parish ministry in 2007, most folk have forgotten I ever did preach.  Now I also remember that I landed in the pews of one parish that knew how to really listen to sermons.  I consider new possibilities.

In the midst
Of dropping off
The forgotten key at school;
Considering new recipes
For kale;
Watching the cat
Asleep in the sun;
I think perhaps
I may have a sermon or two
Waiting to be preached
To a larger gathering
Than one or two.
After all
I did this for years
Almost every Sunday.
I think a sermon or two
May be in hiding
Around the corner,
Waiting to jump out,
Catch me by surprise.
I think a sermon or two
May demand
A thing or two:
A soapbox
A pulpit.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The One Lost Sheep

Good sermon this morning on Jesus going after the one lost sheep and leaving the other 99 behind.  I always liked the story.  Still, I will always think of this man who showed up for a few Sundays, then disappeared over the summer.  He called me one day, irate that I had not gone after him, and left the other 99 behind.  I still wonder where he went.

I remember the One Lost Sheep
From two parishes back.
This man strayed
From every congregation
In the western suburbs.
He landed in mine.
He was disturbed that no one
Had found him
Over one summer.
He called,
Said he was
The One Lost Sheep.
I had not left
The other 99 in the wilderness
To find him.
We were no good
I had not been Jesus
To him.
I still think about
That One Lost Sheep.
I wonder whether
He was ever found,
Having strayed from every parish
In the western suburbs.
Even mine.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Me and the prayer shawl

I am here in my prayer chair, my writing chair, the chair I bought over 23 years ago now.  The cat is sound asleep on the bag I use to collect the CSA vegetables every Wednesday.  I make sure to return it to the exact same spot between vegetable collections.  It holds the heat of the sun during the week.  I am not sure how the shoes appeared in this poem, except that they are part of the picture.  I may complain about my daughter*s pile next to the front door.  My pile is behind the bedroom closet door.  Yes, we are related.

Me and a prayer shawl
In the blue chair,
Next to the cat,
Asleep in the sun.
He sleeps
On top of the vegetable bag.
It couldn*t be better.
I know this place at home.
The pile of shoes
Beside the front door
Has grown.
All the shoes belong
To my daughter.
My pile lives
In the closet upstairs.

Me with the prayer shawl.
The cat.
My beloved sleeps
Next to the closet
With my shoes
Not so neatly.
Most likely
It could not be better.
It is sufficient.
It is good enough
The way it is.

Friday, September 13, 2013


I have had this happen with childhood friends.  I find myself wishing it was different.  I know we all move at different rates, different speeds.  Sometimes we stand on the bridge or dam (and wave).  Sometimes we are the ones that move on.  Sometimes it*s tough to tell anyone, even ourselves, where exactly we are anchored. This should probably not be a surprise, yet still it is. Sometimes I would like to tie tells (strips of cloth) to the backyard trees to figure out which way the wind is blowing.  This poem, I think, should have been about sailboats.  Too late now.

Sometimes it seems
More time passes
For one
Than another.
It is hard to tell
Where I am
On the time spectrum,
Whether I have gone ahead
Or been left behind.
I simply know
We no longer live
In the same zone.
Now I wonder
If we ever did.
We tell stories
About ourselves.
It seems perhaps
Too much water has gone
Under the bridge.
Someone stands
On that bridge.
Someone is in the water,
Floats with the current
Like Poohsticks.

Too much water has gone
Over the dam.
Someone is left
Standing on that dam
Waving to the one
Who has moved on.

I wonder whether the person
I remember
Has changed dramatically
Or whether it*s me
On the bridge
On the dam.
I know
It could go
Either way.

One more meeting

There is nothing like lunch with an old friend, a friend with whom I can breathe.  Nothing like it to look forward to.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Remember who I am.  Remember who she is.  Lay the past on the table.  Weave new dreams around the salad.

One more meeting
Then Sweet Tomatoes for lunch
With a friend
I have not seen in years.
One more meeting
And I can breathe in,
Not have to start over
From scratch.
Breathe out the almost ten years
That have happened
Then begin again
Like everyone seems to do
Come September.
Take a breath
Take another one.
Keep breathing.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How do you do it?

I attended prayer group yesterday.  This was my first time with the group.  It was different from other prayer groups I have attended.  This prompted the beginning of today*s poem.  Then I thought about my family in a restaurant.  Usually we all order different things.  Sometimes the food is particularly good.  Sometimes it is particularly bad.  My beloved always wants to share his, and have a bite of mine.  Sometimes he says This is awful... want a bite?  Every family has its jokes.  This is one of ours.  Still, in the best spirit of sharing, it is best when it goes both ways.

I want to ask
How do you do it?
Truth be told:
I want to be asked
The same.
Usually I find the good questions
Go both ways.
They contain
The longing to know,
The yearning to be known.
I desire to share
What has been offered
On the plate
That is my life.
How do you do it?
Would you like to try
What I am having?
I*d appreciate
A sample
Of what*s on your plate.

It looks delicious.

Try a bite of mine.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mission creep

My beloved gave me the title for this poem.  It is a term apparently attributed to many US political endeavors overseas.  It is no less true here at home.

In this,
My recuperation week
From intensive walks
On old home turf;
In this,
My week returned
To the place I now
Call home,
In this week
I find three new meetings
When I only knew
About one.
The very simple offer
To assist with pastoral care
Grew into two more meetings
With absolutely no telling
What will happen
Next week.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


If I'd really thought ahead, I would have brought my hiking boots.  I didn't.  I spent my time in Boston ten steps behind the other three in the group.  I only tripped and fell once.  It*s amazing what counts for accomplishment.  It*s also amazing what counts for freedom.  I declare today a free day.

These feet
Walked the Freedom Trail
On Saturday.
These feet
Are completely done in.
They do not want to walk
Anywhere at all
This week.
They may limp short distances.
Really they do not want to walk
At all.
These feet
Are happy
To be propped up
For the morning,
Next to the cat
Asleep in the sun.
These feet
Are free for the morning.
Completely free.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Making connection

Miles to go before we take the plane tonight.  Still curious to me how this place feels like home.  Yes, I did live here before... but there is something about the water that connects everything... even the drainage ditch behind the house in Illinois.  Today brings three more connections that I know about, but I imagine there are always more connections to make.

The river flows outside our window
Sixteen floors up.
It is Monday.
We will check out
Of this place
Before we check in
To three more things:
To fly home.
This home business
Is curious.
I used to be anchored
On the other side
Of this river.
Rivers flow
As they always do.
This river somehow connects
To all the rest,
Even the drainage ditch
On the other side
Of the backyard fence
At home.
They*re all connected
The home bits and pieces
Are all connected.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Looking at college possibilities this weekend.  I had other plans for Sunday morning.  My daughter wanted to attend the church on Harvard Square.  It is the same one at which I preached a candidating sermon for a position at a parish in Boston over twenty years ago now.  Today was homecoming Sunday.  We sat in the back.  Turns out the person sitting two pews in front of us is the daughter of a friend.  Of course she is.  Draw us in, indeed.  Draw us in.

I sat the other side
Of the pulpit this morning.
Last time I saw it was twenty years ago
On a winter night.
A homeless man approached
As the table
Was set.
I watched from behind
The altar.
The man approached me
With grace,
Told me how he was so sorry
He had missed my sermon.
Thank you
I said.
And now it*s time
To go sit down.
Communion is about to begin.
Today we sat in the back,
My daughter and I.
It was homecoming Sunday here
Just like it was
Back home.
The choir sang
Draw us in the Spirit*s tether
Just like the choir sang
When I left East Lansing
23 years ago.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


We arrived in Boston yesterday to look at colleges.  We are staying in a hotel in Cambridge.  Our room is on the 16th floor.  It overlooks the Charles River.  The rowers practice on the river.  All night I dreamed of churches.  Yesterday Jane Greenspan died in Cape Cod.  She was a pillar of St. Luke's and St. Margaret's (SLAM) before she died.  I dreamed all night of people coming and going.  I forgot this place feels like home.

Cambridge feels like home.
The rowers are rowing
On the Charles.
I remember I learned to kayak
News of people
I have not seen in years
Reminds me
Of our inter-linkage,
Our inter-lockage.
I dreamed a dream last night
Of the church I left,
Now closed.
It was filled with people
From other churches
I have served,
All in the process of leaving
And arriving.
They spoke about
Their travels,
Rowed up and down the Charles River
In teams.
They kayaked
I awoke this morning
Found out one left us
From Cape Cod.
This place feels like home
Even the kayakers
Take their part
In the whole.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Get your crab apples later

Today has been a day of reversals.  My calendar was gone this morning.  Where could it be?  Who or what was to blame?  My beloved packed it with his things this morning.  No one is to blame.  It was lost and now it is found.

The coyote was clearly eating something.  The chipmunk was chirping.  I do not speak coyote or chipmunk.  Turns out the coyote was eating crab apples.  Turns out this is a normal perfectly natural thing for coyotes to do.  Who knew?  Not me.  Now I do.  I want to invite the coyote back but he has gone.  Maybe he*ll return over the weekend when my beloved is home.  I have told him about the crab apples.  Of course this does not mean the chipmunks are safe.

I thought the coyote
Was eating a chipmunk,
A perfectly natural normal thing
For a coyote to do.
I wanted him gone,
Out of my sight.
Not in my backyard.
When I looked further,
The coyote had been eating
Crab apples.
The chipmunk chirps told everyone
Coyote in the backyard
Steer clear.
Get your crab apples
These were not chipmunk chirps
Of grief,
Of loss.
These were chirps that announced
Coyote presence
Get your crab apples


I think the coyote was eating something small.  As I watched him, a chipmunk chirped incessantly. Wild kingdom continues to live in our backyard.  I would prefer everyone ate lunch somewhere else.

Wild kingdom continues to live
In the backyard.
Right of the crab apple,
Behind the garage
A coyote stands
Plain as day
Right as rain
Bold as you please.
Thankfully our cat
Lives indoors.
The coyote and I
Stare each other down
Except neither of us
Stands down.
Points made,
We both leave
At exactly the same moment.
He might have walked through
Any of three open gates.
Instead he slips through a hole
Under the fence.


I would prefer to have other things occupy my mind.  When something vital, like a professional calendar, goes missing, all the creative spots go missing as well.  They are taken up with anxiety. My daughter and I leave this afternoon with a friend and friend*s mother to visit schools in Boston. We all have different ideas of what such things mean: trips and college visits et al.  Meanwhile, the floors are being cleaned downstairs.  I cannot locate my calendar, which has our flight arrangements clipped into the front of it.  I think I must have put it somewhere safe.  Right.

I sit upstairs
While the floors are being cleaned
Underneath me.            
It began
It continues
As a day
Of discombobulation.
I try to settle
In an upstairs chair,
In the bedroom.
This room is already clean.
My calendar
Has gone missing.
I know it is somewhere
Perhaps I can blame
The cat.
I consider the implications
Of a calendar
Lost in thin air.
I reconstruct it
In my head.
Again I settle back
Into the green chair.
I would like to write creative things.
Not this.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


We have all had versions of this conversation.  Sometimes we are the questioner.  Sometimes we are the listener.  Sometimes we give advice.  Sometimes we don*t.  Sometimes these conversations are on the phone late at night.  Sometimes they are over the dinner table.  Roles are reversed. Sometimes merely hearing such things out of our own mouth, out of the mouth of a loved one makes a difference.  Sometimes the shift comes overnight in our sleep.  I have learned there*s no telling exactly when.  I have learned... to put in the time... and wait.

How can I make her see a counselor?
He asks.
You can*t.
I say.
She could see my counselor,
He says.
No, but you could see
Your counselor,
I think to myself.
I know this is going
Nowhere at all.
I have had this conversation
I know the lines by heart.
I know we will have a version
Of this conversation
Strange enough
I know it is actually
Not hopeless.
A shift will surely come.
It will not be my shift.
It will not be her shift,
But his.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A cold that refuses to be called Common

Sometimes an illness claims a life of its own.

Yes this counts
As an end of summer
It has me dragging around,
Hoping that a hot shower
Will make a dent.
Yes this counts.
This cold has me by the throat
And nose.
This cold says
I have blamed
Mere allergies
Too long.
Call me by my given name
It says,
Accuracy is paramount.
I am not a simple spell
Of allergies.
I will not be called
I am your End of Summer Cold.
Hot showers be damned.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

One more step

And so it continues.  I watch my friends drop their children off at college.  I think we*ll be doing the same with our second child same time next fall.  Right now it*s the 250-500 word essay for the Common Application.  This is something which did not exist when our son applied.  Then again this child writes her own book, even as the first one did.  It does not fit in 250-500 words.  No one can write their book in 250-500 words.

Every day brings one more step
In letting go.
At Christmas
His senior year
In high school
Our son gave my beloved and me
A book on parents
Letting go
Of grown children.
Every parent
Every child
Writes his own book,
Writes her own book.
Has advice to give
The other.
The letting go happens
One step at a time.
This advice
Is not in book form.
This advice I think
May even be