Wednesday, March 25, 2015


My bedroom is the same,
as one year ago--  
darkness mixed with night light
casting static on the walls,
snow-clouds lowering the ceiling,
jets roaring overhead,
delivering night-riders to warm beds.

And I’m lying here next to my son who is one
year older now.  I’ve aged a century.
He nestles his head
into the hollow of my armpit. 

My husband’s voice drifts from down the hallway
reading The Velveteen Rabbit, our daughter’s favorite.
I catch the blurry words, Fairy she had gone--
then silence.  

My baby sucks his thumb,
fast,     slow,
at last, rhythmically.
A sigh escapes into blackness.
Squeaking away from the mattress,
tears trace down
my temples, tickling my neck.

One year ago,
she lay in her bed,
not hearing the rain. 
Head throbbing, purple
pain pounding out of her skull,
lightning taking a snapshot of misery.

One year ago
we did not know 
the forecast—
Even now, it is not clear.
Why our family,
why her?

She was forty-three.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Brain Science

Sunday afternoon at the Minnesota Science Museum
Claire holds up a four-pound plasticized human brain
pointing out the parietal and frontal lobes,
turning it over to indicate where the medulla once
connected to the spinal cord.
She balances his brain like a ripe cantaloupe.
This once pearly, now clay-gray wad
of tissue held a million thoughts,
both conscious and involuntary,
of a man--now dead.

When Claire turns her attention,
I poke my finger between
the flowerets of cerebral cortex,
dig up the memory of
his first dog, Ginger,
tease out the forgotten scent
of a Norway pine where
he sat in a deer stand,
waiting like a rabbit with a gun.

Claire glances at me
and I hide my hands,
knowing my transgression
of reading, like braille,
another man's mind.

I whisper into my
muddied palms
"How did you die?
Do you regret what
you've become?"

The lid squeaks as
Claire closes the temperature-
controlled mock-mausoleum
clicks the padlock shut,
punches out for the day,
drives home whistling
"Let’s Go to Hunting"
as if by magic.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hard Scrabble

kneading under umber moon
this torpid eve-dusk

morning, sharp and spry
we chew our fruited baked rusk


This is a Coin poem I wrote a year or two ago. 

A coin poem comprises: 

  • a rhyme pattern of a-b c-b or a-a b-b
  • two stanzas of two lines each stanza
  • syllable count of 7 & 5 per stanza
  • the content should be a like coin, opposing ideas juxtaposed against one another

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Twenty Questions for Ego

1. Who gave you your nickname? 2. Does it still fit? 3. How has your identity evolved over the past five years? 4. Do you feel you belong to an identifiable community or do you fly solo? 5. Which caresses your ego more: flattery or affirmation?  6. When was the last time you took a bath? 7. Have you ever foraged for mushrooms? 8. Did you find a Destroying Angel? 9. Did you taste it? 10. In your theology, does grace have meaning? 11. Should it? 12. Why didn’t your parents name you Chris? 13. If your name is Chris, wouldn’t you rather be Gene? 14. How old were you when you spied your first gray hair? 15. If no gray hair yet, when do you anticipate going bald? 16. Do you find life is one impossible question after another? 17. Have you ever free-associated with the word “hinge?” 18. What about free-based? 19. On a jejune note, do your socks match? 20. Why is that?

--a prompt from Jim Moore

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


This is how death looks:
on Earth, a beginning and
an end.
But from the top of the sky,
it's a circle.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Bless me Father, for I have sinned
Five years since my last confession
Envy, anger, my transgressions
Of my faults, with haste rescind
But there’s a fault, unfairly pinned
It was not due to indiscretion
Bless me Father, for I have sinned
Five years since my last confession
On Baltic Sea, of clothes, I skinned
In frigid waters, I was freshened
There’s joy indeed, free of possession,
Not a stitch I wore nor was chagrined
Bless me Father, for I have sinned
Five years since my last confession

Friday, September 5, 2014

Little Story about Susie and Dar

The girls were bored and at a loss
To find a treat that did not cost
An arm, a leg, no more a dime
They chose confectionary dross

They pulled two nickels from the grime
And gave them to the clerk part-time
He took the coins, he let them drop
Into the drawer, like bells they chimed

The girls ran from the candy shop
Their hearts aglee with what they'd got
Susie reached in, to her surprise
A fist of icky greenish glop

Back to the store with angry eyes
The girls cried foul, they did despise
Their hopes of candy were not met
The clerk endured their cruel chastise

When Susie said, "You are in debt!"
The clerk's raised brows began to sweat
"Please, Miss, you see, I didn't mean,
to cause you all of this upset."

Miss Sue, she counted to fifteen
Then calmly said, "What do you mean?"
The clerk, named Dar, a smile spread
On lips up to his eyes of green

I found your face, your golden head
Your lilting voice and what you said
It charmed me so, I wanted more
I tried to speak, my voice, it fled

The trick I used, I do deplore
I never meant to make you sore
If you'll forgive, let’s make a plan
To quell our silly little war

Miss Sue, she liked this scheming man
She asked her friend, "Oh, please, Dianne,
If you would hasten to my house
And straighten up the white divan

Dianne, all-knowing, did not grouse
She promptly scampered like a mouse
She cleaned the couch, and baked some bread
She hoped the two, they would espouse

Which they did, in weeks, were wed
Their love it tied a tidy thread
But when Dar makes a sweetened sauce
Sue fears something else instead!


This Rubaiyat, a Persian-form of poetry, first appeared in, April 2013