Friday, September 30, 2016


New braces!

The butterflies are here
Flying on my thin ankles
My thin calves
They fit
Finally they fit
I am grateful
The butterflies are here
Blue and flying.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Icee bear

Summer job.

As a teenager
I spent one summer
In a bear suit,
An Icee bear suit.
The fan inside the head
No longer worked.
It was hot.
Really hot.
Did I mention
It was hot?
Yes,I had other jobs
But nothing compared
With the Icee bear.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Seizure stories

Yes, I have more stories. The difficulty with the post-ictal state is that I don't remember most of them.

I collect stories
From the several
Emergency rooms
I have visited
After a seizure.
I now have favorite stories,
Though some
Not so much.
Seizure number two
The one
With a possible concussion
Brought a doctor
Asking me
Who the President
Of the United States was.
How sad
I thought
He doesn’t know
Who the President is.
To be helpful
(I try to be helpful)
I told him.
There was the ER visit
They wanted
To send me home
In a cab.
Thank God
My beloved got there

Monday, September 26, 2016


The family now tells me stories of the speech therapist loudly asking me where fish live. It is now a family joke. I would like to be a rainbow trout.

When I was in the hospital
The speech therapist asked me
Where fish live.
Being in intensive care
And not focused
On fish
Or water
I did not respond.
Now I think
I would like to be
A rainbow trout
And live
In a fast-flowing

Sunday, September 25, 2016


From Brain Pickings this morning. The rest is from me.

What I could,
I changed;
What I couldn’t,
I endured.

Dorothy Vaughan
NASA mathematician

The birds in flight
On the bookshelves
Remind me
Of possibilities
Even as I sit in the living room
In the blue chair,
The walker
In front of me.
Then I read
This quotation
From Dorothy Vaughan,
An African American mathematician
In the 1940’s.
I am amazed
At her endurance.
If she could do it
So can I
So can I
So can I.
The birds continue flying
On the bookshelves.
I fly
In my own way.
I change what I can.
I endure what I must.
But always
I fly.

My decision

Rather amazing. Decided this morning to take my pension and not apply for disability. It was easier than I thought it would be.

Not disability.
There are advantages
To being 61.
Already I feel better.
I know I do not
Have to prove anything
To anyone.
Those years were earned.
My brain
Is my brain.
My feet
Are my feet.
The decision
Is my decision.
This is my decision

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Waiting to leave

Watching birds is in my genes

The birds mass
To leave
Line up on the wires
To figure out
Where everyone
They count
Each other
Figure out who is first
Who second
Who will lead
Who will trail
The flock
When the time
Really comes.
In the meantime
They line up
Practice counting
Practice massing
Practice figuring
Practice waiting

Friday, September 23, 2016


Figuring out the littler things to be grateful for. Now we have more light, thanks to my Beloved.

My Beloved replaced
All the burned-out lightbulbs.
It is amazing
What comes clear
With more light.
I know
Not so amazing
With feet that barely work
I couldn’t do it.
I am grateful
As I watch him
On the ladder.
I tell you
Even as I know
This is an odd topic
For a poem.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Learning what not to write

Happy Autumnal Equinox.

There are many things
I want to write about
Yet now that I know
More people are reading
In Turkmenistan
In Pakistan
All the Stans
And beyond;
I shall keep them
To myself
Leave them for later
Much later
Perhaps keep a journal
Offer those things up
In prayer
Tell them to the cat
In my lap.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Mitten throw

Each of us is not in charge of everything.

When people visit
We clean off the table
Pick up the living room
Make sure the piles of things
Are behind the chair.
The kitten is herself
Too small to blame
For everything
Out of place.
As I write
I see the mitten she uses
To play the game
We call
Mitten throw
In the doorway
Between the kitchen
And the dining room.
Soon that mitten
Will find its way
Into the water dish
Onto the stairs
At my feet.
We are not in charge
Of the mitten.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

In this bright room

Perspective. Things seen on-line are never the same as in person or perhaps "in plant." This is the same part of my family as the one that cataloged Minnesota birds. Of course "pictures" are themselves one step removed from the plant or bird.

In this bright room
I read the email
My brother sent
With detail
Of watercolor botanicals
In the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum,
Detailed portraits of plants
By great-aunt Emma
Step-great-grandmother Agnes Williams
So detailed
He says
Every rootlet is defined
As if painted
With a single-hair brush.
In this bright room
I am reminded
Of members of my family
I never knew.
I am told the plants
May be published
But still
They won’t be seen
The same
As that rootlet painted
With a fine-hair brush.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Video seizures

More waiting

Three days
To two weeks
Of video seizures,
I may be released
As soon
As three days,
As late
As fourteen.
How will they tell
What is enough
Where the exact spot
In my brain;
How will the tell
Where the exact spot
Shows itself
In my brain;
Will they tell?
How will they know
Where is enough?
What is enough?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Knitting ladies


Years ago now
When a vestry member complained
He did not understand my sermons;
Years ago now
When other vestry members
Who did understand
Offered me
A sermon coach
She taught high school English,
A sermon coach
She was so serious
She did not understand
Years ago now
I declined that offer;
And the ladies
Who sat every Thursday
In the narthex
Offered to rank my sermons
Like competitive ice skating
With cards in back
Of the church
10’s and 9’s and 8’s.
The knitting ladies
Knew humor
They read the comics
Every morning,
As they knit
Every Thursday evening,
Prayer shawls
For all in need of prayer
Even me.

Rubble of hope

We are all rubble

Today is Holy Cross Day.
I mine my religious friends
For signs of remembering this
Signs of the True Cross
Found in the rubble
Of Golgotha.
We are all rubble.
I remember the questions:
Would you rather stand
At the foot of the Cross
Or wait
For the Stone
To be rolled away?
To see
Who will come out?
I know every Sunday
Is Empty Tomb day
Still I wait
For signs of Life.
I wait
Mine the rubble
Of Golgotha.
We are all rubble.
All of us.
The Tomb is empty.
The stone at the entrance
Has been pulverized
Into rubble
Of hope.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The kitten

It may go both ways

The kitten
She has found me
On the sofa
Soft and breathing
A slight purr
She nestles against my leg
Her paws
The color
Of salted caramel
Maybe dulce
Con leche.
The kitten is a comfort to me
I may be a comfort to her
As well.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Saturdays are for sleep

Everyone has different ideas.

Saturdays are for sleep
Though it seems
There must be more
To them.
I watch the hours move
On the clock
On my watch
On my numb toes.
I listen to the turtle
Bang his plate
Against the glass
Of his tank.
He believes Saturdays
Are for turtles.
He knows
There is more to the weekend
Than sleep.
Blueberries he says

Friday, September 9, 2016

Blue recliner

Ode to a chair as old as dirt.

I arrive downstairs
To find the chair,
The blue recliner,
In the reclining position.
My computer lives
On the desk
To the recliner.
I manage to climb in.
The grandfather cat
Wheezes and snores
In his cat bed
Across the room.
We have talked
About replacing
The blue recliner.
It is now at least
Thirty years old
As old
As the turtle
As old as dirt
We may
Have to put it
In the will
In the reclining

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Here I am

The passage in Genesis in which God asks Abraham to kill Isaac is one which my beloved and I have spent hours discussing. What kind of  God is this? What kind of God, I ask you?

Here I am
Whose call
Will I answer
When the call comes
Whose call
Will I answer?
Here I am
Here I am
Here I am
It’s not so simple
Here I am

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Some places are noted thin spots...Iona, Santa Fe, to name a couple. I think there are thin spots all over the world. Thin-ness may be found everywhere.

Can be found
All over the world
No matter the spot
No matter the understanding
No matter
The people
No matter
The weather
No matter the sun
Or rain.
Has its own
Particular feeling.
It has its way.
It will continue
To have its way
There it is.
Here it is.
It is not meant
To be explained.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Nothing like living with a turtle

I am home
The turtle stares
At me
He hopes I will get his message
Opens and shuts
His mouth
I am home
With the turtle
He stares
The way turtles do
I understand

Saturday, September 3, 2016


My delightful daughter has scouted out a new pedicure place. It is time.

Before I fell,
Spent hours on the floor,
A month in the hospital
And now weeks
Learning how to walk
With more weeks
To go.
It is now time
To pay attention
To my toes.
The polish applied
At the beginning of March
Is halfway grown out.
Hello toes.
There you are.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Apple Cable Penny

And now my beloved tells me the second word was really table. Really?  Really? What the heck? No wonder I didn't remember it. It was the wrong word.

She wants me
To carry these three words
The other brain exercises
Was the most difficult
For me.
My beloved forgot
Even though the brain exercises
Weren’t for him,
He tried them anyway.