Poetry Archives P-Q


I wrote you a poem once
and it was a raw thing
jagged and forceful and direct
and even knowing how easily
you don’t blush
I think it might have made you

and then I thought about
how little right I have
to feel those things I wrote
much less actually write them
so I softened some of the edges
and scattered some of the focus

I let it stew a while
and it definitely mellowed
and became something other
as I moved my hands away
from places on the keyboard
they probably shouldn’t have gone

and after much glossing over
and working around
I had something close to what I meant
that when read the other day
sounded very much like “how are you?”
which is really all I want to know
The Perils of Adulting

My dog saw a lizard the other day
barely caught a glimpse before it ran
under a shrub and disappeared
and she froze
ears at full alert and eyes unmoving
from the spot where she had seen it last
shoulders tensed and tail high
and haunches twitching ever so slightly
ready to spring the instant that lizard
dared show itself again
and she waited

And I just held her leash and waited too
trying to remember the last time
I let myself want something that badly
Poetic Failure

I sit up straight
in a comfortable chair
my clean arms
healthy liver
clear head
and well-mended heart
neatly arranged

I sit up straight
dismayed by the empty space
around my feet
where should be a tangle
of grudge and venomous despair
that has all
just washed away

I sit up straight
bearing the shame of contentment
a pretty face
the knowledge
that I am not my tragedies
that they are not me

And from where I sit
the view from
my washed and unbroken window
is mostly beauty
not all
not all at all
but mostly

And I can see my life
as a sunrise
and I can see my life
as a sunset
and in between
I guess I might as well
go smell another rose
The Power of Bundt Cake

I stood in a discount store
mesmerized by
a six dollar time machine
as it brought forward
fragments of images
of things that all
smelled like childhood
smiled as I thought
about bringing it home
and when we talked later
I told you
I bought a Bundt cake pan today
and you knew exactly
what that meant

We sat in a thing
between nostalgia and awe
as we reached back
reliving on the tongues of our minds
Bundt cakes from
our mother’s kitchens
and when you said
you liked the cinnamon best
how freeing it was to say
I like it too
but the lemon is my favorite

all the while knowing
the first Bundt cake I made
in our home in my new pan
would be cinnamon
but for the first time
not because
three older louder sisters
liked the cinnamon best

I will serve you
cinnamon Bundt cake
at three-thirty in the afternoon
just like our mothers did
in the years before we ever knew
there would be us
and when I set
the round white plate before you
it will be every snowball
I never got to throw
at your laughingly retreating back
as you ducked into
the fort where I wasn’t allowed
because as you never tired
of reminding me
I was just a girl

Our fingertips will brush
as we reach for our forks
to make up for every time
we never got to hold hands
rollerskating down the hill
that our parents warned us about
or maybe
we won’t use forks at all
but will instead hide in a blanket fort
built with living room furniture
and imagination
and eat Bundt cake
with our fingers
maybe it will start to rain
and we will pretend our fort
is a pirate ship
a deserted island
a dungeon in the castle
of an evil king

And then maybe years from now
when one is gone
and the other is looking back
it will seem
like we had more time
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