Thursday, May 8, 2014


Celebrating Mother's Day and the upcoming Listen to Your Mother show by re-posting some of my motherhood-themed poems this week...

My sixteen-year-old boy arrived at the hospital at 6:30
that Saturday morning to sit with me.
He sat between the window and my bed, his long fingers
curled around my own IV-taped hand.
And he was beautiful,
his lanky body bent over my bed, partially
shadowed by the window-framed sun.

He had gotten up so early just so he could sit with me
before his track and field meeting at school,
but I couldn’t move my morphine-heavy
eyes and lips to talk to him.
It seemed like I should say so much,
but I could only manage a few I-love-yous and
you-don’t-have-to-stays. But he did.

I kept drifting out and tripping up in my own
bad dreams and staples and tubes. I couldn’t
quite hold myself there with him. I kept wandering,
two nights back, to my mumbling pre-surgery prayers.
And I realized I could have done better.
Instead of my weak now-and-at-the-hour-of-our-deaths
and acts of contrition, I should have just said,

Look Lord, Here Lord, I made this boy.
And that would have been enough.


Celebrating Mother's Day and the upcoming Listen to Your Mother show by re-posting some of my motherhood-themed poems this week...

I wanted to say
When I saw
Your blue eyes brim
That the waters
That flood so fast
And rush past your lashes
Are the same ones
That spill from mine
That they come
From the same stream
Of love and regret
Of grasp and release
Of swell and stab
Are the same tides
Of contracting and pushing
Of me and other
That clean
And then roil
The bonds
Between child
And mother

Monday, May 5, 2014

Motherhood on My Mind

As I prepare for the Listen to Your Mother Spokane dress rehearsal tonight, and look forward to spending Mother's Day 2014 with my mom (for the first time in 10 years!) and all three of my sons, I definitely have Motherhood on my mind.  I think this week on the blog I will re-share some of my motherhood-related poems from the past. Let's start with this one:


My earliest world is
One of shapes and feelings
An awareness that
Everything in that little
Apartment is everything

Daddy is working late
Something called swing shift
I am eating chicken pot pie
And following her movements
With my young eyes

She is busy
I think she is folding
Laundry and carrying
Inside her what will
Be my little brother

She is always somewhere
Within reach
There is a cord that ties
I am for her
And she is for me

We are 

NaPoWriMo Post-Op

OK, I think I'm done beating up on myself for not writing a poem each day for NaPoWriMo.  Here's what I've learned from my crazy April:

  1. If all I ever focus on is what I haven't gotten done yet, I can never truly give my attention to the task at hand.  In theory, I know this.  In practice, I am not so good at remembering this.  Thanks for the life lesson, NaPoWriMo!  
  2. I enjoyed the writing I did manage to get done, even if I wasn't always thrilled with the results.  
  3. I had a lot of fun reading what other NaPoWriMo participants came up with each day.  Wow!  So many people devoting a month of their lives to poetry--inspiring!
  4. I'm really good at beating myself up for not writing enough.  I've decided that I should perhaps redirect that energy elsewhere, though.  Hmmmmm...What could I do with that energy?  
  5. Right now, my writing process is slow and that's OK.  There have been times in my life when I was able to crank out 30 poems in 30 days and actually like a lot of what I came up with--I'm looking at you, 2009!  But right now, my wheels are turning more slowly. 
  6. I want to write more than I have been lately. Writing and reflection time is good for me, but I will ruin it for myself if I turn it into a should (like you should eat fewer carbs, you should grade those papers before you watch Mad Men, you should have more patience with your kids, you should vacuum out the inside of your car).  
  7. I am TOTALLY all in for NaPoWriMo 2015!  No ifs, ands, or shoulds about it!  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Incised Moon (NaPoWriMo Day 25)

Incised moon
Presents herself
In pieces
And knows
Her power
Must be

She is mindful
Of her potential
To pull
That which
The Earth
Cannot hold.

Remembering that
Two bodies
So attracted
To one another
Will bulge and break
The waters
If they are not

She allows
The fullness 
Of her faculties
Only twice
In a cycle
And exerts
The most influence
When she reveals
As Nothing
Or as

Incised moon
Knows that
The sands
Cannot withstand

So she reigns
Over the
In-between times
By portioning
Into halves
And quarters

It is Day 25 of NaPoWriMo!  Having just completed a fortnight of constant paper grading, I remain behind.
All week, I have been playing with NaPoWriMo's Day 18 prompt, and finally got something finished today. I hope to tackle today's prompt in a more timely fashion.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Personal Growth

The discovery
that the cute boy I knew in
high school--who  flirted

with me just so he
could try to talk me into
writing his research

paper--is now a 
bald man, prompts the fifteen-year
old in me to smile

and the grown-up me
to fall over laughing on
my middle-aged ass.

I still have some catching up to do, but just in case I can't, I will point out that each stanza in this poem is in haiku form, so in a way, I wrote five poems today, right?  
Today's NaPoWriMo facebook prompt was to write a poem about an old flame. Since I've been married to the same man since I was 19, I don't exactly have a list of old flames, so this is what came to mind instead.
Image from

Friday, April 18, 2014

Foundations (NaPoWriMo Day 18)

Put your head on the desk
and stop raising your hand
No one likes a girl
who shows
how much
she knows

The worst thing that you can do
is disappoint the grownups

Corn is a vegetable
Middle school boys will ask you to dance
Low fat cupcakes will make you skinny
A smart girl like you should major in business

Don’t worry your body
will naturally go into labor
on its own

You can prevent most problems
by worrying about them
before they happen

You will never be the kind of mother
who bribes her son with hotwheels
to get him to shut up
while you shop

If there is a hole
don’t ask questions
just fill it

If your husband is unhappy
that the junk drawer is disorganized
you should apologize

You will always need
these anti-depressants

Once you tell a story
about yourself
it becomes the truth
and you have to believe it

I'm still playing catch-up.  Though it's day 18, I've used NaPoWriMo's day 16 prompt: write a 10-line poem that is all lies.  I did 10 stanzas instead of 10 lines, but stuck with the lying.