Down here, sand slips free from the shape
it took since last rain,
a low creek creeping up the bank
sloughing away any illusion of permanence.
The soft, fat hide of the earth glistens, catching the stray glint
and tossing it back, wild and wide.
Something buried in the thawing deep
scratches away at its carapace.
I press my spine against the old skin
willing it to split even though it is early still,
even though it will leave me raw,
Another frost sure to come.
Continue reading “Canopy Bed”
Riding the dizzy spell
I grip the wall to keep from falling.
You guide me to a solid place
hold me steady
searching my face
and something under it
how is your heart?
Continue reading “Dizzy Spell”
The first one tells fart jokes.
The second refused to vote for Hillary.
“I just couldn’t,” he says. “Too dirty.”
The third brought a gun to a spat with his wife
and now visits his kids supervised.
The fourth hates his parents still, over four decades in.
The fifth – well. The fifth moved his folks
into a condo down the road so his girls could grow up with them close.
The fifth leads the pack for several long laps.
Continue reading “25 Men, 50 Dates, 4 Months”
May 24, 2013
He twines black ribbon around his wrist. With a yellow strand, I mirror him. Weave slips around the thumb and passes through open channels between fingers stretched wide. Twice around and across, the dressing lays itself over the bumps of knuckles where once we counted days of the month. He is finished with both of his before I am even halfway around the first. His fingers turn my hand and graze my left palm just before mummifying its living flesh beneath warped satin dressing.
Continue reading “Lacing Into”
“But it’s no use now,” thought poor Alice, “to pretend to be two people! Why, there’s hardly enough of me left to make one respectable person!”
I was 14. He was 19. I didn’t know him before that weekend. The boys who took me to the party at his house went somewhere and left me with him. He had a reputation, I later learned, for getting girls drunk and raping them. He added pure grain alcohol, I later learned, to whatever he was serving me.
He told me he was someone else. He locked me in his room. He took off everything but my shirt. He raped me. It was my first sexual encounter. I didn’t report because I was scared my dad would be mad at me for drinking at a party. That’s the kind of worry a 14-year-old brain can understand. I couldn’t yet grasp the enduring shame of staying quiet when I could have helped stop him from hurting other girls.
This happened in Bethesda, Maryland in July, 1988. Everyone at the party knew what he did, including the boys who brought me and the one I had to beg to take me home. I wonder how they might they tell their #WhyIDidntReport stories about that night?
Continue reading “Hardly Enough of Me Left: #WhyIDidntReport”
“Would you rather,” he asks me, “never be able to use a public library? Or lose the dog forever?”
“The library,” I say. As long as they exist for everyone else. I could live without them. Besides, my friends could bring me books.”
“Would you rather,” he asks me, “never be able to read a book again? Or lose the dog forever?”
“The dog,” I say. “If she’s going to a good home, I would miss her terribly but she’d be okay.”
“Would you rather,” he asks me, “never be able to read a book again? Or the dog dies?”
“Neither,” I say.
“You have to choose,” he tells me.
“No, I don’t.”
I reject the false choice. No situation in this world demands such a splitting. I claim it all. My love is vast. Like Whitman, I contain multitudes.
Continue reading “Not a Bit Tamed, Untranslatable”
The line between. A light spilling through. The friend dressed in flowers gazes up at a ceiling of filigreed wood. She describes her new love of colored pencils, writing one word across a page over and on top until the word is laced into a web of color. The expression carries her to tears. She folds her sorrow into a page stitched with threads of graphite and pigment and calling.
She can hold the prayer on the tips of her fingers. A weight anchoring her to the dark place breaks free. She lifts toward light. Continue reading “Fishing for Plenty”