When I was 18 and new to city life, nothing was the same. I grew up with the fear of God instilled in me, accustomed to pageantry, stained glass windows, long wooden pews, the smell of incense, and the sound of steeple bells. All the mortal and veniaI sins I lied about in the confessional; all the blood I drank in every Mass I ever attended.

Even before I saw the storefront, I heard gospel music overflowing into the street. I stepped a little closer; a plain white cross hung in the window.  My nose to the glass, I saw rows of plain chairs. There was a thunderous glad-clapping of hands, the staccato of feet, and people spilling over into aisles. Something stirred in me, something opened the windows of my soul.

to live one’s life
in tall canopy trees
earth’s pull
my bare feet grieve
for the forest floor

—Ribbons 14.2  2018




They were too young to really understand the meaning of ‘divorce’. Looking back they may recall the rustling in the underbrush and the sparrows chirping. Flower petals, bruised and smoldering, are heaped in a circle of stones. And the house brick by brick has crumbled baring a waning gibbous moon.

all the kings horses
and all the kings men—
ten thousand drumbeats

I see them through the rear view mirror,  wide-eyed changelings pressed against the glass.. When the road forks and we split apart my heart makes sounds of cicadas shedding. Poppy fields, heads nodding, blur past in a smear.

out of the dawn
a wren’s ruffled song
—blue wild indigo

    —Blithe Spirit Vol 28:1 2018





Fifty-eight school children are selected to gather on the playground.  Fifty-three of us form a circle and the remaining five become the ‘stem’.  A nun is the cross at the beginning of the stem and leads the first prayer, ‘The Apostles Creed’.

Looking back I mostly remember how restless I was standing there, switching from one foot to the other, anticipating my turn to lead a prayer, making goofy faces at my friend, willing it to be over, as the fifty-nine prayers dragged on and on. I thought I’d die of boredom.

Mardi Gras beads
kicked to the curb
Ash Wednesday
when you were ‘Hail Mary’
and I was ‘Glory Be’

—Presence #60 2018





Math is my favorite. The flashcards are easy. They try to trick me by slipping in a
picture. I tell them it doesn’t belong. They say it’s not a picture. It’s the number 4.
I shout TUNING4K TUNING4K. We go through this every day.

After math we do colors, Blue Green Red White. I know what’s coming next. I won’t even look. It smells awful. I run from the room gagging. They avoid that color for awhile until one day they test me and display yellow daffodils on the table. I go berserk.

I hear angry voices late at night. They want to send me away. I am scared. I hide in my secret cupboard until morning.

I have been trying really hard to fix this. If I go to the music room at math time and bring back the tuning4k repeating 4 4 4 maybe just maybe they will let me stay. But I will never ever give in on that smelly yellow.


the other side
of the moon
in darkness
I pinch myself
to know if I’m real


B H S Blithe Spirit November 2017




It’s not like the darkest night or the black wings of a crow. In the beginning it dawdled and crawled snail-like until I stood face to face with cords of wood, everywhere I turn, more cords of wood. I feel locked in, unable to run. Meals without color are dull, one flavor running into the next.

I sleep-walk arms outstretched to feel the halting vibrations of an upcoming wall. I’m aware of how often you slink away as I speak. I’m always counting steps. And yet, my fingertips have eyes. the wonder of a baby’s breath, your indelible voice, how I run in dreams, the soughing meadow grass, that wet pine scent, the magical melody of raindrops on my tongue, butterscotch pie, the warmth of the sun, wind chimes, the sweet juice of a mango, talking clocks, the tallness of time, the sound of your frown, longing for an embrace, your electric touch.


ground ink
poured in her eyes
memorize the contours
of my face


Published CHO October 2017



Long braids she unravels at bedtime, gray strands reaching all the way to her waist. The way she tilts her head back and inserts eye drops into both eyes at night. The way she unhooks her bra revealing a long jagged scar on her chest. The way she removes the hand stitched pad from one of her bra cups.

I slide over, lift the quilt to the crisp air and invite her to the warm side,
my feet fumbling for the skin of her legs. I sleep soundly until daybreak, when aromas of cinnamon toast and oatmeal waft up the stairs.

I am older now than she was then. I wish I could be with her again,
and tell her how she lives in me, her eyes, her breasts, her fearlessness.


before the wind
carries her away
I bury
my grandmother
under the lilac


Blithe Spirit August 2017





At first light in Autumn it is common to awaken to gunshots. It’s
always hunting season somewhere, either for man or animal. To
some it’s survival. To some it’s sport.

a rusty sheen
on the oak leaves
hunters moon
the leg he drags
into the thicket


At dawn in early spring, a doe, her nose in the air, slowly emerges
from the thicket, lightly steps to a grassy place, sniffs and sniffs,
turns and dissolves back into the brush.


fawn hoofs
are all that remain—
are always lurking
are always hungry


At dusk in early spring, a lone coyote with yellow eyes, stands at
the edge of the wood, coat matted, mouth slack, long tail hanging
down. He slinks away over the ridge.


loping rhythm
of a lone coyote
winter’s ribs
bedside—dad’s last words
‘there’s nothing left of me’


Contemporary Haibun on Line (CHO) July 2017