“which are past their upright peak” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday February 27, 2019
7:14am
5 minutes
Tulips for Barbara
Ann E. Michael

It’s okay if you want me to leave you be.
I know that it might feel like there’s nothing left to say.
I’m sorry I’m so sorry please forgive me please please I’m sorry.

These are the lines that I practice
piano scales a thousand moments a thousand days
You are held in my mind’s eye
the Wizard of my Oz

I turn forgiveness over in my mouth
a bitter lozenge
it sinks to the bottom of the well
it settles

I send you another letter
this time I say none of the lines
I’ve been practicing
I try something new

Yellow tulips on the table
past their upright peak
a few petals fallen
scattered ashes

“First Sunday in May” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday April 20, 2014
10:23pm
5 minutes
Blue Cross Broad Street Run sign

The first Sunday in May is Penny’s fiftieth birthday. She’s going to take the ladies to the King Eddie for high tea. They are all going to dress their best, but in shades of Spring. Penny specified this on the invitations, which she wrote by hand and delivered in person, each with a single purple tulip. She invited twelve ladies in total but three had to decline due to previous plans, so there would be nine of them. She hasn’t done a birthday high tea since she was fifteen, and that was entirely pushed upon her by her mother. Funny, she thinks, that now, when it’s all said and done (said, “I’m sorry for causing you so much grief, Mother…” Done, the permanent move to Florida). Penny looks up the high tea menu on-line and decides that she’ll pay for the whole thing and though the ladies will try to stop her, they won’t. She’ll insist. At forty two dollars a person, Penny just couldn’t assume that each of the ladies would be willing to pay that for tiny sandwiches, Devonshire cream and buttermilk scones spread with elderberry jam. They wouldn’t drink champagne. They’d drink tea. Penny closes her eyes and tastes the Ceylon.