Saturday, December 30, 2006

What Every Girl Needs

a compost!

My sister made this for me as a Christmas gift. A perfect way for the urban household to compost (and guaranteed to keep the rats out!) I was planning to try my hand at gardening this I can spend the winter collecting coffee grounds and egg shells and strips of newspaper to prepare. Some gifts, are truly perfect.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Vet's Wife and Homeless

She’s standing on a corner
her cardboard sign in thin letters
looking like she could be ahead
of me in line at Target. Just a pink coat
and a flimsy sign, no vet missing
half a leg, all her teeth.

I wonder where her husband is
wonder if he’s on a couch somewhere watching
T.V. waiting for Rhonda
to come home with some pocket change.
They’ll head to the movies,
shake their heads at all the poor saps
who handed over coins.

These are the stories I create--
my yellow reassurance
so I can shake my head and drive forward
without a thought to the night
that drifts in like a black tide.

But it’s all just good fiction
mine and theirs.

That our shoulders could touch
in this grey world while we slide
past with slanted eyes, wondering
what will save us.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Poetry Thursday: The Streets

is scrawled across the playground wall
in loopy letters, on torn notebook paper
crumpled in balls, across the windows
shuttered by cinderblocks in the lost
brick houses.

Calhoun. Baker. Stricker.
Calhoun. Baker. Stricker.

This trio of streets
makes a crooked U
a territory, a calling card
Whoa CBS the kids chant
beats falling off their hands
like the skip of an irregular heart.

This is home
this spot on the map
a strand of hair on a head
compared to the rest of
the wide and glorious world.

No one needs the Mississippi
or the Amazon, no one dreams
of France or Nepal.
These distant specks could be
Mars or Atlantis
so out of reach
from everyday hands.

But there will be some
who crave a slit of sky
trace the constellations
with an index finger
stroking the curve
of the earth.


This is the world.
This is the beginning.


Monday, December 11, 2006

It Could Happen

It could happen anytime, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
It could you know. That's why we wake
and look out-- no guarantees
in this life.
- William Stafford

It could happen
that you return from work
on a sunny, winter day
expecting to take
your children to the park
but instead your son,
only three years old,
is dead.

It could happen
that a car hits
your baby boy in his stroller
drags him down the street
knocks your mother over
and speeds away.

This morning could be your
last good-bye. Your last
I love you.

It could happen
in a moment or tomorrow
or fifty years from now.

Nothing is promised.

We ease back into this
treacherous world
and grab what we love
with white knuckles.

It is not forever.

This filmy life
slides right through our fingers
we hope for the chance
to say
thank you.


This story has been weighing on my heart the past week and a half as it happened to one of my colleagues. The poem is probably too dramatic and sentimental, but how do you write about the death of a healthy three year old run over by a car? The injustice of it stings and I can only wonder at this world we live in. But Stafford's line kept popping into my head, " guarantees/ in this life." No guarantees. I can only hope to live more appreciatively of the blessings in my own life while I think and pray for this family who has been struck by the worst.