from the second floor, leaning over the banister

How many times
did I stand
at the top
of those stairs,
listening to one-sided
phone conversations,
trying to assign
names and faces to pronouns
to determine a subject:
someone I knew? or, better yet, me?
Eavesdropping on secrets,
confessions, predictions- most of them riddles,
but sometimes a name or a phrase would stand out
and my rapt little ears would
savor, devour, chew
and consider and store it away. This is
a reminder to self of how easily
words can tear holes
in the fabric of love
and to expand the definition
of improvisation
to include ‘to parent’
as a common synonym.



There were words spoken
out of turn
and a sharp twist of truth sprang out
ugly, unwanted, embarrassing- the very thing
that was supposed to be disguised
appeared boldly and she-
left voiceless and without
the opportunity to shift
her weight in preparation
for attack- tripped backwards, slipped
behind her words and left
without us noticing, while her body remained
at the table, quietly listening
to nothing at all, her eyes
carving alibis
into each breath

Frog Noses

Mommy holds
my hand
very tight
asks something about a ‘prognosis’
makes me think of frog noses
I giggle, she squeezes, brows
furrowed. I bite my lip.

Later, licking swirly soft serve in a race
against the hot hot heat, she stares
over my shoulder
fist tucked
under her chin, her spoon
forgotten halfway to her mouth.

I want to tell her
she’s dripping on the table-
she hates when things are messy-
but I keep quiet, scared
of her sighs, of the silence
and of her empty eyes.

Tiddley Pom

I recently spent several days going through boxes in my mom’s barn with her and my siblings. Among the many treasures we unearthed in the process was this “story” – a poem I wrote (or dictated, rather) when I was four years old. This is no example of child genius or anything- I just found it amusing, so I thought I’d share. (the title is no doubt inspired by “The More is Snows” from the original Winnie the Pooh books, of which I was definitely a fan at four years.)

I’ve included a photograph of the original below.

What I know
What you are
how I wonder
what you are
said a friend
to a other friend
now I know what you said
so they played in the yard

mother came out and said it’s lunch time
it was darkness then so they went bed

but a person said
to a friend
“you can have overnight,
but first you have to call
your mother on the phone.”
Soon she called her mother on the phone
and asked her mother and mother
said yes and said to her mother, “wait a minute”
told friend she could have an

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