#46

when i was a child
i very much wanted to be famous -
so that everyone would know
how special i was.
at four i decided 
when i grew up
i would marry johnny cash
so i could make him happy.
they seemed such useful goals.
now,as an adult,i only want to be more reflective -
so that the people who love me 
can see how special they are instead.
and if i could -
i would marry my husband again -
this time not trying to make him 
anything different than he already is.
i know i got a much better life than i deserve.
when i go to bed at night,
i try to think of new ways to pay it forward.
sometimes it's just shutting up.

#45

i don't know how i became a stranger here -
walking the worn aisles of the market -
recognizing no one. 
i found myself -
where mount tam meets the pacific -
at a point in life up until which
i'd only ever tried to lose.
it was something.
being found -
instead of found out -
at the beach
in a quiet town with a loud heart.
i almost raised my hand as a visitor -
at the same meeting that had saved me -
when i had nothing to inherit
but undeserved grace.
instead i took a token - 
a marker of sorts -
to remind me that i belong 
here with the wind and the salt and the sea
where being recognized is trumped
by being known. 
you can feel home in your bones,
like marrow carrying breath to the heart.

.

#42

i dont drink but tonight
i wore a missile toe and mimosa t-shirt
with the arms cut off
to qualify for the ugly sweater party.
all of my friends are beautiful.
they donned their santa-riding-a-unicorn sweaters
and acrylic reindeer shells
and tried to neutralize their exquisiteness with Tacky - 
but it is just impossible.
one friend showed me an app 
where she could wipe her screen with her index finger
and she swore it was erasing our wrinkles.
i could not stop laughing.
not because i couldn't tell the difference
but because i thought it was so damn funny
that she would try to erase the wrinkles
on a photo
of something so imperfectly perfect already.
plus it was the way her finger rubbed back and forth
naive almost, the finger,
i could barely take it.
friendship cannot be measured in cocktails poured
or hors d'oeuvres served
or even sweaters worn.
but little fingers on screens
and white elephant re-gifts
and the magic of reading the bill
held out three feet in front of you...
one eye closed for squinting
the other shot full of love.
girlfriends are just the best.
there is no other way to say it.

#40

Forty is a magic number
like 7 and 11 and 13.
Forty is when you are closer to fifty
that you are to twenty
and you just cannot believe it.
It is also when mean people start to not matter
and your real friends show themselves
and your occupation is only part of who you are.
It matters who you love when you are forty -
because you realize you may be half way home
or on the back nine
or however you say
to old to screw around anymore.
It matters who loves you back now also -
more than it did before -
because who has time anymore
for half-assed love affairs
and broken promises
and the greatest insult of indifference?
Forty is great because you really start to care
about things that matter -
differently than you could
when you were thirty -
and you've lived enough life to simply reply
"because i said so"
when someone asks you why.

At 46, I'm thinking 'hells to the yeah'
just watch me put in some crest strips 
and hit Facebook -
i'll write a poem all about the life.

#39

i watched a child reach for a star
and i could understand how she thought 
she might make it hers.
i watched an elderly man 
                    shuffle
a little to the left
        to clear a path for youth
and i could understand
how that might sting.
i watched the crease under your eye 
          disappear
when you stopped smiling -
and i realized i might lose you.
there is nothing like time
to heal a wound
and to inflict one. 
i know you are mine
and that you'll be mine forever -
but there is a certain finality
to the crease under your eye
when you are not smiling -
and it makes me realize -
forever is not long enough. 

#33

it seems like every night
i am chasing the minutes left
wondering what happened
and how it is i missed so much.
at one time they were so little
and every single day seemed to last forever - 
i was just so tired. 
now i am wide awake
and they are big
and 2 became 12
and 4 is 14
and i keeping asking them to stop.
stop growing.
stop leaving.
stop breaking my momma heart
at the very same time you fill it up.

i think it is awful that
if love its a verb,
it's easy to be too busy to love.
i'm signing up for do-overs.

#31

the rain is back
this time like a no nonsense bag lady
collecting hours 
and their passing.
i wanted to say something important today
but there was turkey and cranberry mold
funeral potatoes and green beans
crispy onion, corn  and cream -
plus cookies and cake and pie.
that shut me up
like a million lazy minutes
and all i could say was
thank you.
when we decide to age together
and i mean really age -
without all the trying - 
i hope you will remember that i am cute.

#29

last night i played hooky -
not on purpose -
but because how do you stop
or even think to stop
and write a poem
when you are living right
in the middle of one?
He is 92 and was married for 67 years.
What's left of her, besides memories
is tucked away in drawers -
clip-on earrings, vintage prescription lenses
empty bags
in side of empty bags.
socks.
he wants me to have some pieces of hers -
gives me gold and diamonds
precious metal and stone.
i want the tarnished chinese wiseman
in the costume jewelry drawer.
i will wear it
i say
until you move into my house -
old man.
we will grow young together now.

#10

my children are growing away.
it is not so much an "up".

and i want to run after the leaving -
though they are right here beside me -
to ask them to stay
please stay       don't go.

but they are curious in their growing away -
this becoming of gentlemen -
so that sometimes i must step aside also
to catch a glimpse of their newness
from a distance.

i witness them then - 
these young people in my children's bodies -
carving out legacies they didn't ask for help on -
calculating equations,
cracking jokes,
making men.

#7

it's hard to feel lucky
when yesterday's shadow
cast its hook into morning
and not even sleep could break the silence.

i died a thousand deaths
even before 
the graham cracker and chocolate coma
took me.
there is never enough sweet 
to fill the hole 
of your leaving.

i believe in rainbows and unicorns
and the impossible likelihood
that there will be a day
very soon
upon which we will again
fall in love.

I Am Forgiven

When I am an old lady, I shall not wear purple. But a fishing visor and a polyester vest I have stolen from the employee lounge at Walgreens. I will smoke cigarettes and cackle like a bird, the insides of my practical walking shoes lined with rubies, because they are pretty and my feet have earned it. I will drive an old dodge truck and fill it up with items discarded, at the end of somebody’s garage sale, all that unwanted bounty. I will buy fake flowers and tie them to my rusty old bumper, bend the metal stems around my windshield wiper and watch the dirt stained blossoms smear the water across my window when it rains. I will not care so much but in the quiet crevices of no longer needing to know, or shine, I will deliver sermons on gratitude through the silence and I will fix my load of broken things and pass them on to someone with many teeth.