Warm foamy chocolate with tiny marshmallows we tried to sink
Served in milk blue china cups to fit our young size and miniature table

You washed our hair in the kitchen sink
rolled it on rags
polished our shoes for church
Laid out our Sunday dresses with Belgian lace

I see you sweeping the brick linoleum each night after supper
Under the marbled gray Formica table with stainless steel legs

We ate three bites of everything–and to this day
there is nothing we don’t like

You pushed us out the back door

we ran in the woods

played all day outside

You guided  small fingers over the keys on the Steinway piano

You played us to sleep

Now you age but one would never know it
Your lovely smile lights up a youthful face

If Daddy was a Rock,
You are Pure Joy!

My Mother
My Amma
My sister
My friend

Vigils

May 8, 2017

vig·il
ˈvijəl/
noun
plural noun: vigils
1.
a period of keeping awake during the time usually spent asleep, especially to keep watch or pray.

I’m a vigilante if it means keeping vigils.

I have risen at four for over a decade.

I watch. I pray.

This morning, I pray for my seeds to sprout, for two friends who are in the midst of tragedy, for my mother who grieves, for my children and granddaughter. I pray for those who ‘cover’ me and those whom I cover.

I preached a funeral on Saturday for a mother of three. I talked about Jesus as the Mother Hen who gathers her chicks under her wings. I spoke of how primal mothers are.

Jesus covers us. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us.

We are to do this for one another.

Ocean Resonance

May 7, 2017

The oceans sing like the whales
In deep vibrations
They are bass

Waves, moon, tidal pulls affect them
but they have a sound of their own

Like each of us
They resonate with voice

Germinate

May 6, 2017

Zinnia seeds lie in my wrinkled palm like eye lashes
My life line cradles them as  they cluster in the present:
Age 62
Planting zinnias in my backyard

The gypsy forgot to mention this miracle
As she sat across from me, holding my hand
She mentioned men, money, not seeds, not germination

I sit close
My arm around the patient
Sing hymns in her ear
Hug her thin shoulders

“That’s tops” she says
After “The Church’s One Foundation”
Like its a radio hit

She tries so hard
Strains to listen to her past
Intermingles word salad with clarity

But she makes perfect sense

My grocery list is funny
Here’s its extent:
Saltines
Razors
Tide
Two kinds of mustard
That’s it

I am single
I eat peanut butter
And found two jars for sale
I sometimes shop at Dollar General
I watch my budget
I am cheap

No olives
Pickles
Fancy cheese
Or pot roast

The mustard is a splurge

My Mother Grieves

May 2, 2017

My mother–who once displayed a bumper sticker on her Cadillac–‘Joy Happens’
Sits across the table from me at Applebee’s
We eat our Asian salads complete with endame
“Like a butter bean” mother relays
She weeps

My mother–who feels things to her bones– wipes the tears from her eyes
And shows me a dress in a catalogue
“Get it”, Daddy would always say

She can’t play the piano
Her fingers instead turn the pages of a book
One murder mystery a night
She feels guilty for sitting
I tell her grief is work

Hobo Saturday

April 30, 2017

My dad,
Who dressed in suits and ties all week
Was a hobo on Saturdays.

Mixing stripes and plaids
He dressed for the woods
And headed out with his stick
To hunt arrowheads

No longer interested in killing anything
Quail or squirrel
His bird dog languished in her pen

But Daddy thrived

Armed with topographic maps
A good imagination
He found where Indians lived
He searched their trash piles
Spotted churt and flint

Brought home his bounty
Of bird points and pottery pieces
Perfect quartz arrowheads
Made the women necklaces
Placed the others in a bowl

My daddy was brilliant
And passionate about a few things:

His God, his family, the garden he designed,
Golf, arrowheads, music, fried okra and crowder peas.

My dad died one month ago today
And I miss him
But cannot be sad
He taught me so much
How to bait my own hook
And rough up the roots before planting

I thought of him yesterday
Looking down from heaven
I dug up earthworms
Set out marigolds
Four tomatoes
I could see his hands guiding mine

Today is Sunday
I missed church
But I worship God
Who created my dad and
All things bright and beautiful.

Paul.
You are stronger than I.
I hear your words but I no longer believe them

I seduce fate
Love is impatient

It has been six years..
And I am weary of waiting
I will run towards my future
Like a toddler to her dad

I will wear sexy clothes
I will stomp in high heels
I will smile, then turn my head
My shoulder will be bare
My legs smooth
My lips and nails pink

Fate is meant to be tempted
Teased
Love is impatient
And I was born to please.

I stand in the McDonald’s parking lot
Greet a new day
The eastern sun glows on my face
The air is warm
A breeze blows my fears away

I think about all that is new
All I’ve never seen before
And glance down at the ant near my sandal

“Santo Santo Santo” I pray
Arms raised
I don’t care who sees me

What I care about is this one ant
And wonder if we’ve ever met