Do you know, I was just thinking
Looking at myself in the bathroom mirror
Electric toothbrush buzzing in my mouth
While admiring the sparkle and slight wave
In my just-washed-today hair
I was thinking
Wondering, really
When in the history of all that is holy
Did God become that demanding school teacher
The one we both admired and feared
But mainly desperately wanted to give us
An A+, or at the very least, an A
With a smiling “Well done”?

On second thought,
I don’t really care when
In the history of the divine it happened
But when and why it happened to me
And, mainly, urgently,
How the bloody hell do I banish
It, her, him
That school marm master
Whom I am always trying to please
And never quite succeeding?

Forth and Back Mash-Up

The post read, “If you love America, stop criticizing the President and start praying for him.”

  • Pollution is less and millions of people are out of work.
  • We are told the cure could be worse than the disease.
  • Don’t be afraid but don’t touch anyone.
  • The beautiful quiet screams away my peace of mind.
  • I love my home and can’t wait to be free of it.
  • This all feels very new until I remember, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”
  • We are one nation (whether or not under God), un-united.
  • Mom’s grandchildren are FaceTiming with her more often and she feels more lonely.
  • No one knows the troubles I’ve seen and I am very, very lucky.
  • I sympathize with my father’s frustration and hate his violence.
  • I have fewer obligations and more expectations.
  • The media loves bad news and this is more than media hype.
  • Hope is essential and false hope is fatal.
  • That malaria drug has shown some effect and no effect.
  • We are social distancing and we are not doing it enough.
  • I love my son and I am furiously disgusted with him.
  • I care more about Notre Dame burning last year than churches closing this year.
  • I love writing and too often dislike what I write.
  • My old woman’s body refuses to respond quickly to my young passion for my new husband.
  • I criticize the President and I pray for him.

Shout Hosanna and Crucify Him.

I believe. Help thou my unbelief.


Like revenants
haunt me

unusual words
for their novelty

shadowed my conversations
for most of a day
stopping my tongue
with its rude insinuation
that I say too much

Then there was that ghastly ghost
(Victorian, surely)
hovering over my writing
whispering of dangling modifiers
and lapses of decorum

From the vault of the sky
fell into my mind

Not always welcome
(Though I do rejoice
when that too solid spook
fails to recognize
one of my more ephemeral phantoms)

Ah, sweet viridity
Plucky crwth
High flying hoise
Required retronyms

How I long for those innocent ghosts
daring me to let them breathe again

Now my thoughts revert
too often
to the more recently deceased

Date nights

Ah, I search for times lost
naught now but
remembrance of things past
and, mayhap,
(dare I hope)
future’s revenants?

Garden Ritual

I take his hand
Always his left hand
As together we walk
Through the door
Onto the back porch

Pausing before the sacred space

With measured tread
We walk the green aisles together

Past the welcoming incense of herbs
Rosemary, sage, parsley
Thyme, marjoram, oregano

In quiet respect
We approach the vegetables beds
Where peas congregate
Shooting skyward with silent noisiness
Potato plants break from their earth caskets
Cold crop choirs sing their lusty leaves
Candle leeks and onions light our way

With softly murmured devotion
We move through white robed azaleas
Past their crimson co-celebrants

Under the towering spruce
Second to none in reaching for God
We settle onto the small bench
Next to the arching bridge
Over the small spring that runs to the pond

In the shade of the back garden
The garden that only looks natural
But was built carefully
With his skillful hands

Here we rest
Speaking quietly
Of Lenten roses almost gone
White and purple redbuds
Lifting their not yet leafy arms to pray
Lowly Virginia bluebells
Bowing their reverence

We walk on
Down the chipped path
Past the pond
Where juniper and violets
Dwarf hemlock and Japanese maple
Reach for the baptismal waters

Pausing to inhale the blessing
Of arched Carolina jasmine

Past the witch hazels
Renowned wound soothers
Bright primroses
Upright peony acolytes
Solomon’s seal
Grace our worshipful journey

Sweet succulents welcome us back
To the shelter of our porch
To the door back inside

Re/freshed and re/healed
Ritual re/newed
We re/enter quarantine.


Chalked hands roped waist helmeted head
Clear day long drive steep scramble rough rock
Careful necessaries impatient wait eager dread dreadful joy

On belay
Cracks and crevasses
Bumps and lumps
Three point contact

Lean back
+++ Away from the seeming security of the rock face
No real safety in hugging close

Safety only in separation

Lean out
+++Over the void
Trusting – am I mad?
+++In small finger holds, tiny toe grips

Lean out
+++ Look up
Search the next move
+++ Depend on life knowledge skill
+++ Dare death
+++ To drop me

Halfway up
+++ Suspended between here and now
Tethered alone
+++ Face to the rock back to the void
Heart beats hard against gray ribs

My shirt is wet
+++ So are my panties
Hard rock quiet under my finding fingers
+++ Sweet butter pulse in my grasping groin
The rhythm of my fingers
+++ Steadies upward for my hard hold
The pulse of my groin
+++ Surges upward for my waking womb

I lean out
+++ Strong and sure
+++ Suspended by fingertips
Over the void
+++ Laughing
+++ Confident
+++ Terrified
Turned on

Pan Dances

[Once again, I am participating in a “writing rodeo” for National Poetry Writing Month, led by the irrepressible Rebecca Bratton Weiss. Fittingly, this year’s theme focuses on crisis. I will do my best to create something in response to each daily prompt.]

Now we dance – each alone
to the unruly unholy untune
of the pan pipe

In our lonely rhythm
it is easy to hear
the emperor’s nakedness
easy to taste
the prancing dancing goat legs
lightly tripping the light fantastic
‘round ratings
and boastings

Ah, history so easily hides
his mincing minuet
that began this dance macabre

The naked emperor
danced our invincibility
pranced his superiority
chanced our health
minced no words of praise
for his fine clothes

Round and round he whirls still
high kicking his slant eyed innuendos
twisting his inheritance
jiving past his advisors
bowing only to himself

While alone we dance
to the tune of loss
the rhythm of fear
the chords severed
that tethered our lives

We falter,
wanting to sing together
waiting for a choir master
who listens for the tune of now
and teaches the needed harmonies

We look for lyrics
that sing of hope

While the naked goat god
over too many graves


In our back garden
the quiet primrose

(Eyes raised high will miss it
Eyes following footsteps will miss it
Eyes hurrying will miss it
Eyes seeking splendor will miss it)

Small flowers
Yellow, red and white
Barely peek above
Mounded leaves

Whisper spring softly

While high above
Boisterous trees
Shout out showy blossoms