Returning Home

I haven’t seen you with your hair down
parted middle, pulled behind your ears
in a while – you’ve been away and the
roof is crumbling and a decade is gone.

See how the grass has grown up wildly
and now we have to lift our legs high
to carefully meander through; thank you
for never complaining about dandelions.

Have you opened your upstairs closet?
You’ll want to fasten a ponytail for this:
when you left were you running toward
or away and is that why you rarely wrote?

Home again. Our front window is broken.
This is and isn’t the right time to review a
former life and old limbs trimmed so you
could flourish year-round away from me.

For thirty years I watched you, held you.
There is no surprise within my pine walls
to see you grown, waving new branches,
but you did return, if only to say goodbye.

(August 18, 2019)



You and your cocker spaniel
and when Erin passed, the spaniel
that you owned after her.

The dam and her filly who,
as a young girl, I would clap beside
the fence to see her run.

Once your husband passed
and you could no longer care for
the horses, you kept goats.

Two maybe three years ago
I was home and walked over and
found you remembered me.

Everything around you had gone
to the ground, except the plants
springing up from your yard.

As I grew into a woman you became
just Sylvia, living in the last home
on acreage in the neighborhood.

I sent a Winnie-the-Pooh card
the Christmas after I’d seen you.
No reply was received.

Then I dreamed of you. It happens
in my family when time closes; I will
check when I return home again.

(August 4, 2019)


Praying to Ancestors

Thinking the Dead have the answers
– that if we could speak to them
they would give us the knowledge
we have not yet acquired in living –
I pray to a formerly flawed human
who I long thought of as a saint,
asking for guidance, asking for help,
forgiveness and wants of the living.
I summon my ancestors, my father,
men I once loved who left too soon
when all I had needed was to ask
myself the admittedly trite cliché:
what would you do if it were you?
What path becomes best if breaths
become numbered? Well they are.
Here is the funny thing: the dead
and the alive, as it turns out, we
tend to share the same answer.

(written in 2018; edited for


Red Nails

Painted this morning, I
began to wonder

whose back can I scratch
and when I do

will this aid my quest to
take the world

and turn it into a place
I, too, can own?

Create for me such a role;
I will hold the

pen between my fingers and
sign my name!