Sunday August 13, 2017
From Nannies On Call
Big sister takes my hand and leads me down to the river where Luna’s drinking river water. Pap says that humans can’t drink river water but Luna can. Something about her belly being strong. Something about the power of mutts. Big sister says that Pap is better pals with Luna than he is with Mama or us. Says that he understands beasts better than people. I don’t know. I think he’s okay. Big sister says watch out, when the moon’s full and Pap drinks a bit of boxed wine.
Monday July 31, 2017
Mona in the bath tub on her knees, scrubbing.
Finds a collection of black mildew. Furrows
her already furrowed brow. She curses his
name under her breath, Fucking Dennis and your fucking
lack of purpose in this life except to make me
fucking miserable. She hasn’t washed herself in
a week. She’s protesting. Maybe one of these
nights Dennis won’t try to stick his dick in
when she’s asleep on the couch. He tells her his
mother is going to inspect the bathroom and Mona
laughs as if she cares. But here she is, in the tub,
on her knees, bleeding for a man who does not bleed
for anyone but himself. And his mother.
Later, the kitchen tile is spotless and the food
is on the table. Dennis lies and says he’s
been working hard all day.
Drinking. Complaining. Leaves out the only
parts that are true.
His mother pulls a sprig of rosemary out of her mouth
and spits into the tomatoes. Mona’s lips turn upward.
Dennis throws a chicken leg at Mona’s face.
I told you my mother hates rosemary.
Thursday July 20, 2017
from an email
People have been taking care of me my whole life. I was lucky. I got a good sister. One who sees me, needs me, shows up brings her friends, laughs at my jokes, heart beat frees me. And I got lucky still. With a good brother who calls me and carries me and picks me up at the airport and takes me to and from the beginning and to and from the end. And then I didn’t have to worry. Because my mother’s skin sings olive oil and resilience. And my father fries me up an egg with a zucchini flower and tops the plate with garden tomatoes and hugs me long and tight.
Sunday July 16, 2017
the Artist’s Way
Sarah won’t let me walk under the ladder.
She stops the street with her
I don’t care about anything like
She doesn’t need any more bad luck these days.
We don’t worry about stepping on cracks.
Our mothers’ backs are much too strong for that.
On the street we move into the wind slowly.
I have to remember to snail down to enjoy it.
My feet are always trying to take me somewhere quickly.
They might be showing off their stride.
I could stop more to take in all the alley mattresses left behind.
I could snap a photograph to keep a memory like that.
Sarah believes in a mustard yellow cozy that one day, if nothing else, I hope she gets in spades.
Sarah doesn’t ask for much.
But she deserves all the kitchen mugs on their tiny hooks.
And a little peace.
Tuesday July 4, 2017
At the time I didn’t think I chose a side.
How could I,
twenty five years later,
(writing that makes me feel something wide)
I realize the tent of a womb
is never far from the heart of a daughter.
I’ve always believed myself to be
sense of right and wrong right on the
tip of my tongue
my spirit soaring fire and water
in equal measure.
Maybe it’s the confusion of a young
circling Mom’s legs
caught locked out
in a downpour.
Friday June 16, 2017
La Dolce Vegan
When your mother brings home Steve, the third potential stepfather, you are immediately sceptical of his black goatee and reddish, greying hair. You know that that is not how nature works. Steve is the “assistant manager” (oh-kay) at the mechanic on the corner of First and MacDonald. His brother is the owner. His brother, according to Michelle St. Bernard, is almost a millionaire. Something about good investments, or the stock market, or Atlantic City. You and Tina kick each other under the table as your mother giggles at Steve’s jokes. You get a few of them, and want to laugh because they are not half bad, but you don’t. Out of solidarity with Tina. Out of mourning for your father. Steve says something about the spinach and rice pilaf and your mother says something about Popeye. Tina’s eyes light up.
Tuesday June 13, 2017
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
Kit can’t stand the new shoes Lou brought back from Iceland. She hates the way the toe catches on concrete and splits the difference between leather and sole. Lou tries to tell her that they were custom made and one of a kind. Kit thought about hiding them in the laundry hamper, pretending somebody stole them. She couldn’t throw them out. She wasn’t a monster.
Lou has been bringing home gifts more and more lately. Obviously trying to atone for taking her away from all her friends. When Marnie got sick, the sky opened up and took some more things that Kit didn’t want to give away. Gave her some things she didn’t need, stuck with a stepfather who didn’t want to stay.