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.

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Heavy

This air is heavy with
the presence of ghosts, with the echoes
of shrieking laughter and hysterical
tears, of creaking footsteps and loudly
stubbed toes. Now, beyond
the luxury of space, the emptiness
becomes a jarring reminder of
absence as, for once,
she has the house
all to herself.

despite best intentions

I’ve been confusing the white blossoms
of spring with branches burdened
with snow. I remind myself this
is the season for change, not
hibernation, but still I cringe
when I glimpse your shadow
in her smile and translate the shape of those lips
into transactions made in my absence.

I’ve been mistaking petals
for snowflakes, but believe
me when I say I won’t misplace
the memories of this
singing bowl whose voice
reverberates through my
bones when it rests
in my hands, vibrations reminiscent
of a promise, a (com)promise that clings to
lungs like drops
of condensation.

She said,

“We ran
away as kids, but now
she leaves
me alone with
the horrors
of a shared childhood
and how can I
blame her, really, except for
when the nightmares come,
tearing a scream
from the fist-like place
inside me
where even I don’t dare
explore.”

(For the record, this is not an actual quote.)

10 ways to say goodbye

1. See you next Tuesday!
2. I regret nothing.
3. Tell me when you get there.
4. When will you be back?
5. If you need me, you know I’m just a phone call away.
6. Your secret is safe with me.
7. Can I come visit?
8. I will never forget the night you lent me your sanity and steadied my hand.
9. This isn’t goodbye.
10. When the train pulls away, it’s you I’ll be thinking of.

 

train

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
overnight.

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