a few samples of my poetry...

  Childhood Lost

I rummage through my childhood,
around dustbins and doghouses,
searching for enough scraps to build a solid memory.
Where is the cocker spaniel they said was my companion,
the one that died
from eating ground glass in raw meat fed by an intruder?
Where are the songs my grown up sister still sings,
and the stories everyone else remembers?
Where are the laughing cousins,
the crying babies,
the adults who bandaged our bloody knees?
Where is the Grace who knitted ill-fitting sweaters,
spoke italian,
and kneaded her own unhappy moments
into friday bread dough?

All i can remember
is an empty doghouse
and the back of a motorcycle
with the wind in my three year old hair,
when my dad was young and we lived on the highway.
American Sampler

Each stitch of her embroidery
she laid perfectly straight
end to end, black, blue, yellow -
a sample of her life. Cross-stitched
in the letters of her alphabet, she wrote
the pain of one dead child
and other bruises she wore
just below the surface of her skin.
When he struck her, she retreated
to her stitching, a woman alone,
a needle her only tool.

Standing at her threshold,
looking out over the plain,
she watched the slow movement
of telltale dust clouds on the horizon.
And when she closed the door
she would run her fingers softly
over the story in her stitching.

It hangs in a museum, now.
Visitors marvel at the straightness
of her lines, the gentle symmetry
of their design, imagine her
in her simplicity. They see
in her flowered border
a piece of time, the romance
of a land newly-settled.
Along the bottom, they read,
whispering the letters of the name
she left unfinished.


Today I turned a page of calendar
past the circled date of your release
and thought of you

trying to drown yourself of loneliness.
I peered past the ripple who you are
through muddy water to a riverbed.

You think you alter course with
drunkenness--a shrouded form
pretending not to hear me when i call--

but i know you as if you were myself
wading into cold and shallow eddies
of my own loss.

My taste in men lies
in those firmly embedded
in their wives, their lives
arranged like a well-set table:
forks and knives
in appointed places.
  Unanswered Mail

What is this silence?
My letters gone unanswered.
Do you glance at the corners,
turn them in your hand,
run your fingertips along each edge
in contemplation?
Do they sit, unnoticed, among
piles of grocery ads and credit card
solicitations? Do you
hold the crisp blue envelopes
to your nose, wondering at
the lingering smell of my perfume?
Do you open them slowly,
read my words and ponder over
the closings?
After all my cautious selections
of the just perfect words,
my agony over careful inuendo
and well-phrased off-the-cuff questions,
still there is no response,
no legal-sized envelope with
crisp, hard handwriting,
no funny card, no humble apology,
no angry goodbye. No hint
of your thoughts except this flag
still down on my mailbox.

I have also written a few articles about multiage teaching.
Maybe I'll post them here in the future!

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