Sunday, January 11, 2015

Domestic Art

There is
about laundry, eyed, hanging on a line outside, blowing in the wind,
to it, the fresh scents of the air, the grass, the soil.
Like each
article, its own story, bodiless
but embodied
by the breeze, or words
with sunlit possibilities, written as a list, channeling a draft,
generating poem.

Too, something about hanging each item separately, shaking
it out, clipping—
Then, linen, cotton, single socks,
sheets, side by side, mingling, evidencing kinship, in flight
with each gust, unruly, billowing like flags of capitulation, shaking
in surrender.

Or seen in a neighbor’s yard:  an ink black nightie, too sexy
for an old lady, (not viewed as condemnation, just noted as a curiosity)
alongside doilies, embroidered, flowered pillowcases,
her husband’s underwear.

There is no shame in laundry.  All is clean.  Though the children giggle,
make fun, sense that privacy is on display.  Delicacies,
                                      like stolen candy.

Dried quickly on a Midwest summer day,
a woman
with basket hoisted like a baby on her hip
comes out to change loads.  The children scatter, not wishing to render
help.  This means a few moments of silence for the mother.  She works
slowly, enjoying a time of neither ennui nor enthusiasm, gradually
works her way toward the end, sighs, folds the last item, holds it up to her
face, smelling the fresh, crisp aroma of her labor, inhaling the possibility
of a poem.

Friday, January 9, 2015


I have a home   I have memories of an earlier home
I have children   I was an only child
I have the near constant hum of noise
I remember the sounds of fighting
and chilled silence
I have loads and loads of laundry  washed
and unwashed   I did not learn how to wash
my own clothes until I was married
I usually have dishes in the sink 
I had tea parties with my dolls
I have art supplies  I used to draw Betty
and Veronica from the Archie Comics
I have a Bundt cake pan  
The first time I tried to bake a cake  the eggs
hardboiled themselves
inside the cake
I have a husband who cooks  We ate out a lot
I have books  
Books were my friends
I have help 
I felt alone  
I have love   I wanted love
I have fears   Fear grew inside me
I have imperfect vision   I wore huge glasses
I have responsibilities  credit cards
and no savings  
I never thought
to worry about money
I have routine   I enjoyed making lists
I am divorced and remarried  
I prayed
that my parents would stay together
I am an ex-piano player  
I hated practicing the piano
I wish I could still play
I have a busy mind   I had an active imagination
I have holes in my memory   I learned early
to fill in the blanks

Poets & Writers
Pink. Girl. Ink.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


She wakes to the sound of the phone ringing,
though it is not early. 
She should be up.
Her mother on the other line
says, Turn on the TV
Something about her mother’s voice tells her
she should also wake her husband. 
Together, they observe the second plane fly
into the second tower. 
In real time.  The reporters.
had been reporting on the first. 
Had not
expected this.  Their shock and confusion
exposed as they simultaneously
to report and sort out what they
are seeing.  As the girl watches, something
both unfamiliar and frightening
to stir; it takes up residence
her womb. 
She is young, expecting her first child
but now something else kicks
inside her, as new and strange as the small fetus.
Innocence souring. 
All her beliefs
about how life should be

were on that plane.