Thursday, April 30, 2015


30 of 30...and we're done!  Today's poem follows the "write a poem backwards" prompt, in that I unearthed a poem I wrote a few years ago, flipped it around, cut half of it out, and gave it a title.  Another great April of poetry!  Thanks for visiting! 

Adding Up

Life’s cosmic calculator,
the weight of seconds
multiplied exponentially by the seasons—
always a before,
an equation from birth,
We are each of us a sum,
total undetermined,  fifteen percent tip
not yet figured in.  Don’t you understand?
You can’t ring it up
until closing time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


And we're caught up, with one day to go! 


Years become predictable.
I walk through the garden, naming
each early sprout:  fleshy purple heads
of balloon, flower, hydrangea’s dead wood
sprung with delicate green, pruned
rosebush the color of old blood,
allium pale green-blue and spilling
out of the ground like a fountain, peony,
clematis that never blooms, dependable
mum. Last year’s eggshells
dot this spring’s black dirt, a cycle, a flow
I am still not accustomed to.
Things have places.  The scenery never changes,
just shifts through seasons.  I know where
in the yard the wind is strongest, where the leaves
collect all winter, what will need cutting
back this month.  Cut it back, and it regrows.
I am here to see it.  I have regrown several times,
different but the same, some years
more blooms than others.  I used to think
I was a sunflower, short-lived, on fire,
blazing through the riot of August and September.
Now I wonder if my roots have caught too deep,
If I’m something else after all—if I’m just
the clematis that never blooms, that doesn’t like
where it’s planted, waiting for just the right
conditions.  Will this damn thing ever
shoot purple stars like it’s supposed to,
will it ever rejoice in the black dirt, sun, rain,
the cycle of being permanently planted?


Bridge poem. True story.  Still don't like big bridges.


It was on the I-24 bridge
over the Ohio.  I shot out
of the trees on the Illinois side,
revved the engine into the sky,
bridge beckoning, white curved girders soaring,
and I looked down.  Then it hit—
all that empty space,
no safety cushion, only the spinning tires
and the bridge and 200 feet of nothing
between me and the Ohio, dirty and brown. 
My head went floating,
my palms sweaty, the car suddenly
too enclosed, the sky too close, no ropes
to grab, my shirt sticky on my back,
breath not enough.  I cracked a window
and the emptiness rushed in.  The guardrail
wouldn’t keep me from flying off—
gravity always wins, the car a red missile
poised to drop, the interstate narrowing.
 I kept my eyes
on the opposite bank, Kentucky
and mortality speeding toward me.