Over the Falls

Like a breath inside
a pill bottle
that my father tossed
off a bridge into
the Niagara River and
then into the falls.
They got married
not far from there;
she wore a pillbox hat
when it was time
to go away. I wasn’t
there then, in 1965,
but I was there
in 2010, when my
father said goodbye
to her small hands,
her one pointed ear,
everything that
could be burned,
and was, and sent it
over the falls
“in a barrel,” he
said. I was startled.
I was glad to be there.
Later, we had pizza,
or beef on weck, or
we walked over for
the nightly fireworks,
or maybe that was
the night he said
he was too tired.
So much happened
later, and since.
But a part of me is
still on that bridge,
watching the water
converge, make the
shape of a heart
at the spot where
she went away —
the last place
I ever saw her,
my mother.

For the PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 12. Prompt: a poem for/about something that cannot be seen.



Death is a preventable fiction. I am blooming now
like never before, standing tall and so healthy that
surely I will be passed over. Only someone truly
cruel would look at my orange petals, the mosaic
I have made out of sun, to represent the sun,
and say I should not live to see December, then
another spring, another summer. I will be the first
of my kind, in our portion of earth, to make it
through to the other side—because I have
made myself beautiful. I have been useful.
The bee came again yesterday, but she was
slower, less hungry. Still, she whispered her plan
to me, how she will fly so fast, up into the cold sky,
that no one can catch her. I told her I will be here
when it’s safe to come back. I will feed her then.



Check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets every Tuesday p.m.


Goodbye to Goodbye (For NaPoWriMo, Day 6)

And this is the thanks I get for saying goodbye
to so many things: I am calcified, or made of
some type of sinew or jerky. Tougher.
Toughened. I’m not sure which is better:
to always be on the verge of tears, apt to
overshare with anyone who gives even a hint
of asking, or to shut that all away somewhere
in a private heart. I will not say I am wrong.
I will not say that mourning was better,
or that it is worse to live. (And living is
forgetting—you think it won’t be, but
it is. The good thing is that this becomes
less terrifying.) But I do miss some of its
crazy permissions, the feeling that if I was
up and moving, that was enough, more
than enough, and anything else was extra.
Now, there is less margin. Now, I am
expected to do normal things—and I can
do them. And I do them. And I enjoy them.
That’s the most surprising thing.



NaPoWriMo, Day 6 prompt: Write a valediction, which is a poem of farewell.




Deep in the vein of jam,
there is the sun, locked in
memory, how it coaxed hard,
green fruit into soft and red, then
bristled it all over with seeds, and
the tiny hairs that protected this
investment until the berry
was picked, cooked,
jarred, eaten.


Deep in the blood, there is the  
sound, a sluicing rhythm you can’t
hear, except late at night when you are
alone, or may as well be, your partner
sleeping, unable to tell you that the noise
doesn’t mean you’re going to die, which
is, of course, the greatest falsehood
love ever tells.


For NaBloPoMo and PAD Challenge, Day 23 (prompt: a deep poem).




Coconuts kiss you on their long way down
to sugar sands (here, at last, your clichés
are acceptable, even hailed as original)
as palm fronds gently caress your cheek
or playfully slap it—your choice, and you
also get to choose which type of cheek.
This is endless summer, a bottomless
sunset daiquiri that never leaves you
mouth-dry and filled with regret.
In the gift shop, many items are
personalized, and all bearing
your name, no matter how
unusual your name was
in life.

At last, Harbert and Micheline,
Wilford and Atalanta, you are #1,
and you have the license plate
to show it. By the way, you have
a bike to put it on, and it has
a banana seat and a flag,
and you will never look
ridiculous riding it.

Your spouse is here, and does not
tell off-color jokes or make any
embarrassing noises. Not all
of your friends are here,
though some might
arrive in another
twenty years
or so.

But you won’t miss them, because
there are new friends here, like
Bob and Sandy with their
perfect hair and polite
way of inquiring
about your

moments, how it felt to come here,
and whether you think there
might be a crack or a door
somewhere, a way to
escape, go back



For NaBloPoMo and PAD Challenge, Day 22 (prompt: paradise).



NaPoWriMo, Day 26: An Elegy

An Old Grief


I dance around the shape of loss,
these empty cups, these brittle bones;
sadness seeps into places I can’t name.

What is it when grief becomes
a slide across the sun, a scrim
so thick, the light diffuses,

footsteps down some other
hallway? What is the sound
when it’s all been said, when

there’s no more time for saying,
and life carries you like a little boat,
purposeful and aimless as a leaf?