More Honest Than Vows

Learning language in order to read One book . . .

We travel through a copse of meadow shrubs and leggy grasses unto a shared opening.

A heron rises on golden air from the shallows leaving only rippled hints of what was.

The watcher and the watched, intersecting and calling it love.

It's too cold for crickets and the frogs are finding a place, deeper.

I've collected the wood for burning but it's a little too damp to burn easily.

How terrible to hold the coming winter in the same hands as acorns and pinecones!

And yet . . . acorns and pinecones!

Where we arrive, out of the distance, the woods are familiar and filled with the songs of birds we know by heart.

Only, it is time that allows for shadows and seasons and the reclaiming of fallen things.

It is time that shackles the body to days and longing and the parameters of light.

Accordingly, that learned language becomes a knowing gaze.

And such a look pulls silk across my shoulders, shuddering to the floor.

More intimate than life – more honest than vows.

Black bean soup and a struggling fire in the fireplace.

Woodsmoke is my “I love you” . . . and I do.

A Little Wincing

Dawn hardly breaks despite a late morning hour. October's struggling light reveals an archipelago of rusted leaves dotting the unkept lawn. Clusters of windfall give proof that last night's storm was more than a dream. A chickadee and I chuckle over the idea of anything being more than a dream.

Everyone knows that waking at 2 a.m. is not as poetic or sexy as 4 a.m. No unraveling of the great memoir or the dismantling of men-driven power at 2 a.m. No profound peace. No prophetic expansion of consciousness. Instead, podcasts. A stiff neck. An inventory of acorns rolling off the roof.

Lately, the practical lessons of learning to skate on thin ice. What is this frigid thing? A layer of immobility covers a lake teeming with life. What love means while lacing up skates is different than what love means while doing the breast stroke. It is all overthought and not thought of enough. Tell me the story again of that lumbering bear finding her way through stars and northern forests and the cold caverns of hibernation. Tell me again about how she knows what to do because she can do no otherwise.

For dinner, black bean soup over brown rice, green onions, broken blue corn chips, and the smallest smattering of cheese atop. That's the thing with cheese – the full impact of flavor comes when used sparingly. A fine meal re-smelts all stories and sleepless nights and trails left behind by sauntering Ursidae. It's my latest hope anyway.

geese rising
against fall

and pebbles
in my shoe –

a little wincing
before home

Say Something

Say something that matters to me, to all of us.

Oaks turn green-gold and suburban maples begin to singe. Yesterday's rain drove through the night and continues unto a darker dawn. The elixir of rain, acorns, leaves and earth grabs me by the back of the neck when I open the door for the first time today. October arrives.

Grotesque white men in their anger and power leave indelible strangle marks around my throat. I watch those men writhe in the same way the school children did on the coast of Kenya when the demons were excised by the village elders. They pound and flail, spit and curse. Their indignant sputters reveal the blindness that has taken up residence. Blessed be the peacemakers, but where the fuck are they? Mine might be missing.

October's soup and apples by the bushel. I watch the creek push fallen leaves into frog-homes and over rock-cliffs. It overflows in this rain but we're all used to that by now. Soon enough it won't be rain and soon enough we won't feel at all comfortable with the way things are.

Did you hear her voice describe what she can never forget? They laughed at her. I vomited. Did you actually hear her? Not ALL white people, not ALL men, not ALL Americans, right? Baby and bathwater and all that...I'm running out of ways to keep violence at bay. Pretty soon I'll just be running.

The sedum in the garden lie flat under all their purple weight. One last rose bloom surprised the deadening of summer. How soft yellow can be! How pure in its reason for living! Sweatshirts, jeans and jackets. And all my pretty scarves. The beauty of October snaps open the breastplate like celery. My color leaks.

Say something that matters to all of us; would you?

In the Lake

A persistent rain at dawn. I sit in the garage staring at an incomprehensible world. Cowboy Junkies sneaks through the screen door and all of sudden it's easy to remember – my bedroom floor, studio headphones, a boy who wrote lyrics for the band. Quiet passion with a loud guitar. No need to return.

And also there was that boy who had to have me. In the lake. During the day. One year or 30, it's the same. Women work the land as if it might someday give us something whole and healthy. Yet we exist as what, helper to man? Your Bible, your Cain and Abel. Please write another story. Christ as a bird, maybe?

After a few storms, the rain moves east but leaves behind a thick, soggy air. The smell of wet earth, onions and Lake Michigan is invaded by too many mosquitoes. They land, bite and repeat as I cut the grass. Afterwards, dinner. Potato leek soup, salad and lemon bars.

Am I built to last?

Fighting for October

Waiting for October’s light, my priest in training, newly called to absolving indiscretions. How her red tassels would fall around his face, and how fiercely he would grope for fidelity.

Lately I am rolled like the sea – one minute surfacing in a weightless release – the next, brought ashore in a weedy pirouette of struggle. Days pass without a certain sense of grounding. Still: laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, and neatly tying up the loose ends of a homemaker's fray.

And patriarchy . . . the rancid air that crushes breastplates and gags pretty little mouths. Being angry is supposed to matter. Speaking up is supposed to matter. This rigid dichotomy of gender roles is not built for intimacy. Or happiness. Why are perpetrators protected? And why are they so often women, too? Where is the remedial empathy?

Power. Consent. Privilege. We need to become whole. Air needs to become breathable, crisp, October-ish. Speak, participate, to be believed. Our predators have ravaged through the centuries unchecked. Why do I have to ask for respect? The weariness of contraction is a thief.

The nuthatch and the chickadee take turns at the small feeder on the dining room window. Another chickadee hovers in flight, waiting. Acorns still fall, all day, all night. Nature as distraction and as every thing.

Magic and the Mundane

R.E.M., red lentil chili and summer leaving. Lately, starry nights lead to foggy, gradient dawns tasting like earth and damp leaves. I arrange and rearrange a sunflower bouquet to remind myself that sometimes a passive aggressive response is better than no response at all. I'm trying to make others happy because that is the trick, right?

A strange resurgence of mosquitoes. Bees abound now, too. The dog is allergic to bee stings, yet she snaps her jaws and swallows the bees whole.

I can't remember the last time there was anything to say. Where does the roiling and insistence go? The remains of orchid light slides away without so much as a word. It's all connected to this body – this way of being in the world – an entanglement of magic and the mundane. Language is arbitrary. Yet I pull it all apart and bring it close in order to fashion a thing I love.

bluejays / crickets / frogs –
summer's final say
slips through

On Love


Bits of Wandering Jew broke off the main plant when carrying it to a location more suitable. Some time later along the watering route, I saw these left-behind bits on the ground. Kneeling to clear the debris, I found them attached to the earth.

How very deeply purple this plant is; how easily it roots and renews!

Summer must give way to whatever is next. A grief still lingers over a lost month, swallowed whole by the impossibly soft and bottomless muck. Love heals. Seeing it clearly is the trick.

All of me is mine, she said. If I could kiss her to taste it, maybe I would believe it for myself. This and other little bits of honesty.

Acorns already. Green-hatted shot gun rounds, day and night, hitting the roof and rolling. Onto unstained decks. Onto cars. Onto arched backs working in the garden.

Cicada thin above it all. Michigan, I am so in love, except when you bury me in granite clouds and entomb whatever is left. But you know, even then, a love slanted towards the earth.

It's in my chest and I need to tell you; I need to give you what is yours. Two hands crossed on the clavicle.

Curling leaves, yellowing like a bruise from the edges in. For hours the Hairy Woodpecker pulls bark off the old oak. How summer is sighs.

October is wanting the now, not the after. How else would Libra keep in all in check?

Whisper your cold lips closer to my ear. Then, turn to hear what only I can say.







Just a Diddy

This part of summer is a little quieter. Bees sketch the red edges of rabbit-sized begonias and screaming blue jays finally find somewhere else to be. 

From the adjacent pine, chickadees take turns flying to the feeder suction-cupped to the dining room window. Lately chickadees are near while I take tea on the back deck and walk dewy trails in the morning and water the summer garden.

Tiny kamikaze acorns liter the deck and fall into tea cups. Tom Petty and Perseid and Poplar leaves, too.

On the way, Joe-pye Weed, White Clover, and the petite, buttery kiss of Evening Primrose. Milkweed seed pods are gathering their cache now, so it won't be long before it all flies into September.

Words cannot render the nature we know. I assure you, prison houses are built this way.

fallen birch
opening the church

Leaf to creek, pine cone to ground – inevitable meetings keep the coil in season. Less and less, the waft of lilies.

And yet. More and more, Summer's ukulele strums heart-chords, and I know all the words.


This Far North

On the island of bicycles and horses, we peeled the compass rose petal by petal. The craggy shoreline sprayed Lake Huron's dramatic memoir – sometimes angry, sometimes at peace. Pine trees stacked upon each other higher than any path and their dense green mounds kept reaching and reaching, clear against the sky. This far north, I could breathe. This far north, my blood buzzed with belonging or recognition or knowing.

At night, stars leaked through the blackness all at once into a great stillness. Huron's half moon slipped in and out of filmy clouds, but it was still easy to see every thing. No manmade lights were visible and no sounds other than crickets interrupted the silvery silence. One can hear one's own heartbeat in the unbearable immensity. How I imagine things to be has no place this far north; there is only this reality.

The Monarch has miles of milkweed bloom to visit this far north. Even along the windward side of the island, butterflies would alight against gusts and sway and breeze. Watching them feed, my mind was settled yet very alive. There was no agenda in observation, only presence. Only natural proximity. Only a holy passing of one moment to the next.

Previous wanderers stacked the lake's stones in cairns all the way around the island. It's a joy to come upon the first one, but something a little less after that. Every now and again, the smell of horses would tangle with the indomitable air off the lake. Belgian Drafts pull wagons and flatbeds up the lane. Their power ripples with every step and thusly, a wave of awe registers. Which other creature offers such radiance?

Up this far north, the lightening bugs flashed a bluer light. This glinting asked if a love could exist outside one's longing. The sages say so. I'm not sure what to think anymore. I'm tired of thinking it all through and would now rather rest in the excellency of light as it touches each branch and stone and grain of sand.

Yet thinking or not thinking, the tidal ebb and flow remains. On the bed, in this northern light, the process for allowing it all begs for gentleness and truth. These words are the honesty that keeps asking for a stage. Please applaud now.




Threading the Lungs

The sun setting behind my shoulders caused the screen to cast a gridded shadow over the pages. Words hopscotched from one tiny golden square to the next while I thought about how unusual it was to have the sun at my back this time of day. Westerly light is warming, sure. Yet it is the east's edge that slices corseted breaths. With long strokes he butters sleeping fields and threads the lungs of pines and oak. And after supper he teases silken indigo between his finger and thumb, gently coaxing the cover for fireflies and french kissing. What is unseen still has an indelible hand. I write around and under and through as it holds me by the throaty gasp.

My bed is busy with books these days. Blankets are heavy with words as they lie undisturbed beneath the weight. Work in the gardens has slowed to a pruning maintenance. What task can now equal the communion of green and black and golden mana? I watch the heron bow into the pewter sky at his feet. Though I am half-hidden, he lets me know I am fully seen. To consider his grace is to also be stunned by one's own recklessness. #sorrynotsorry #thisisme #love

The numbing creek rushes over my feet and around my ankles causing a shackling ache to clamp my bones. The constriction causes a headache as I move with kitten steps over river rock and shards of driftwood. Sometimes it doesn't pay to get your feet wet; sometimes it's more romantic in theory is all I'm saying. But summer does open up all kinds of space that might have been too condensed beforehand. Summer does breed magic and symphonic winds and that ineffable holiness that speaks for us when we cannot tell the truth. Summer can't help herself is what I mean.

Lucille Clifton and Strand and Oliver. Peepers and bats and owls. My spine bends towards the extravagant expanse. How I arch over the marriage of certainty and the lymphatic; how I finally collapse under the cumulous tide of racing clouds against untouchable blue! These are the words that are making room for light. For east. For love.



Corner to Corner

It wasn't until the storm clouds broke open that I realized I had been waiting for it to rain all day. A long exhale uncoiled as water spill over the eaves. Maybe it is honesty that is missing somewhere and the deficit looks like a smile and well-wishes. The rain curates a surrender – a quiet introspection of that which is not ever said anymore.

On the corner there were two mourners sitting on a patched blanket in front of a post of sorts, decorated with flowers and posters and offerings for someone loved. They were having a small picnic while looking down at their laps, engaging the dead at the last place they were seen alive. A blessing filled all the cracks and spaces in my throat. Yet after passing, a recognition of resemblance sent prickling shockwaves from my chest outward into the tips of existence and back again: I, too, return to the place where I was last alive.

I bring the writing and the conversations and the revelations.

I spread the quilt carefully on the grass as to not damage or kill what is growing.

I cradle the memories and count the connection as real – more real than the fact that I am sitting alone at the altar of my own making.

The red-winged blackbird's trill pierces the moment as he adjusts his balance on the cattail next to the highway on-ramp. And he's on the telephone pole that leans over the train tracks on 40th avenue. And he's sitting on the railing at Mom's house on Gun Lake. And he's at the neighbor's feeder, further in from the marsh than expected. This bird of seasons – here for the warmth, south when it all freezes. Because that is how it is. It's how Michigan is. It's how the living reaps what they can from the conditions of an unpredictable climate for survival's sake.

So maybe maybe I shake the grass and dirt off the bottom of the quilt, and fold its patches onto one another – corner to corner . . .

and maybe take the flowers off the post and set them in the passenger seat

and maybe I go home to put it all away

and work in the yard a bit

and go see a movie

past my bedtime

with my family

and count it all 

as living 





The greenhouse work is done and now the days are laced with a sinister ache. I rise early to begin the day with movement and intention and production. Yet, by 10 a.m., claws poke through the upper chest wall, exposing bloodied barbs to the world. And to me. Watering takes time and so does walking with the dog, cleaning this and that, and pulling the never-ending vines that choke out more civilized plants in the yard. But then the day elongates with a nothingness only faintly spotted with reasons to do things. Sleep is dangerous because it is far too easy to carry on a love affair with the black forgetfulness of unconsciousness. If you love me, give me books to read. Good ones. Ones that convert my festering diseases into time well spent.

What images have I built of you and what images have you built of me? The space in between is an interesting interloper. Say hi to her for me.

The dog curls up in the cushioned patio chair from which she can scan most of the quarter-mooned back yard. I see a young rabbit snacking on begonias just out of her view. Another record-breaking heat blankets the day but there is no cell in my body that wishes it away; winter is still so very close. There is less to be worked out, but there is more here. It's what I have to offer.  


Ending Pleasure to End Pain

A ghosted brightness flirts through the pines. Moonlight brings it all closer. The last birdsong fades just ahead of distant fireworks. Under the longer legs of summer days, I write west-facing as to feel each ribbon of light as it slips into Lake Michigan. Even at 10 p.m., obscurity is warded off by slight hints of something lighter. Something undefined. Something more blue than black.

Like a new song, our dance is nameless until the end. Maybe the next thinker will have it all figured out – the purpose, the process, the performance. Krishnamurti says that if one can look at all things without allowing pleasure to creep in, without wanting the experience to be repeated, then there will be no pain, no fear and therefore tremendous joy. Ending pleasure to end pain. The whole meaning awaits to be known. I guess that is last lyric to be committed to memory.

The heat climbed into the upper 90's which slowed the work. Tomorrow's heat will lead us to the lake after a long winter of staying far from reminder of what water can do. The boat people will stop by throughout the day and ask for drinks and toilets and lake-like conversation. We will sit on the dock and stir the water with our feet and walk back and forth to the house in consummate hospitality. How the day will burn.

In the room of windows off the back of the house, turkish lights are strung in scalloped dips from corner to corner. Night frogs and crickets crescendo and fall as if they were purring, asking me to sleep. Maybe I no longer want what I don't have. Maybe I forget the rest. And maybe the hazy, sultry truth is a mirage rising in the heat of that which I knew would return.





Tulips and Thistle

The shadow of tree buds stencil dawn against the moon. Birds begin to percolate, seemingly off in a westerly direction. 4 a.m. is not so dark.

Blushing layers become the gradient departure of night. At work, pink geranium petals fall into my hair. After taking off my shirt to shower, I find a few florid stowaways nestled in my cleavage. Soft against soft. A sweetness. Here against there. Before it's fully dawn I water the new shrubs at the back fence line.

It's cold enough for a fire. All night long a mole in the window-well chews through the new screen. We need to work something out if we are both to live in these overlapping circles.

With my hands in my dirt, a greater fidelity – an opening to that which connects to every thing. The girl said: let's just be friends. And the boy cried all night long. Tulips and thistle, no matter where we find ourselves.

Without the greenhouse work, familiar tentacles sidle and curl around the breastplate. This living parasite demands a name before its annihilation but it's hard to look at it. Rather, I can't see it. Or both. Of what import is the existence of one who only tends their own kingdom? Of what value?

Cold rain is expected all week, therefore yard work yields to internal matters. Dogs and meals and broken-hearted children wait for resolution. Lily of the Valley arrives, blooms, and fills everything I can think about with redolence. Spring opens but keeps a sweatshirt handy at all times.

Each year is different. Each month, each day. And so am I.




Gifts to Transfer

Sunday opens under mosaic cloud cover – a tender gray gilded with May's light. My body aches after pulling, digging, and cutting overgrown ivy from the weakening privacy fence. An old wagon wheel rimmed in rusted iron leans up against the fence causing the slats to bow. I work around it because it is significantly heavier than it looks! We moiled in the yard as a family to cultivate beauty. The boys took down the rotting picket fence on the side yard and dug new holes for posts. Lex and I hauled dirt to bare roots and removed broken concrete found under ivy overgrowth. The sun was fiery and for the first time in 20 years, I wore a tank top and shorts outdoors. I'm getting stronger, you see.

In the quiet of tea, I watch a mourning dove pick the grass seed I just spread. This part of spring feels so much like a season of gifting: hostas grow inches right in front of you, the tulips polk-a-dot the entire crescent-shaped yard with yellows and reds, and the birds sing around your sleep. It reminds me that I have gifts to give, gifts to transfer.

After all the work, we shower and go see the new Avengers movie. I can feel the day's efforts pool into my back but even the ache feels satisfying. A 12- hour greenhouse shift the day before mixes a high of sorts with utter exhaustion. All this movement for the body, my body – I really am alive. Mostly.

Bumble bees keep hitting the dining room window, jolting me from daydreams. I gaze out into the east, into the rising sun, into the light that opens me. Images, reflections, observations, ideas. What if I was close enough to smell your shirt? Let me see what it means to be without words.

The oriole sing-songs from a hidden place. What happens now? I leave the lights off and sit in stillness as long as possible. Soon enough the work on the fence will continue. And grocery shopping. And the greenhouse. But for now, the present has a serenade. 

What Fits

After deep winter nights, the stars begin to reel for attention. A crisp moon slices its way into the bedroom, telling tall tales of skinny dipping in summer lakes and stolen kisses just beyond the bonfire light. In the backyard, color begins to sway. Bluebells spread around the daffodil's late arrival, and the scent of hyacinth overpowers the tang of fresh soil. It is still colder than expected for almost May. But at least, daffodils. And this way of saying, “hey...”

The yard progresses now. Weekends are spent spreading dirt and planting. Frost warnings slow it all down. We do the work of springtime, but for whom? The manicuring of our existence benefits selfish delights. I am aware of how much more this land could be and in this way, the work is sometimes tainted.

A clear night is shattered by the pulsing dawn. I wake with a sore throat and a fever. When I am sick, he holds me and it makes me feel like I never want to let him down. But I will. With no otherwise, I watch the bluest sky blaze throughout the day from my bedroom window. Cardinals, sparrows, and jays at play. The neighbor kids exchange their Sunday best for play clothes. Kyle works on the sprinklers. From my bed, the patience of a puzzle teaches me what fits. And what doesn't. Yet I want the whole picture – the picture surrounding the picture.

Before her gig, I saw the color scuffed off her combat boots. Dad taught me how to properly shine a shoe and I'm good at it. With each swipe of the buffing brush, I felt myself letting her go. I knelt over the boots in order to shine with the correct force. And even though there is no god to hear my prayer, I felt the orison leave my heart and exit my proud mouth. She moves out soon and with the weight of the day pressing down on my blankets, I wonder what kind of vastness can grow in its stead.




Red is Red

The mystical has elongated into an underground frost. I walk around on the surface as if a daffodil is just a daffodil. The cardinal never seems to pace – he arrives, perches, surveys, and moves on. Red is red and not delusional about significance at all.

Snow falls on itself this late in the game. When spring arrives, I think I shall swallow the moon and walk around all glowy. Where the deck once was, mud and remnants from another time. Broken concrete piles into a pyramid under the white pine. When I asked about the opossum that lived under the deck, the man quipped: do you really want to know? In this marriage, there are a million things that work well and only a few that do not. Giving the nod and wink to remove the opossum is an undigestible bullet rattling around a rusting bucket.

BBQ pulled pork, garlic butter potatoes, and a spinach/romaine salad. The snow is leaving and perhaps by tomorrow the sun will arrive to tempt the tulips. A tiny wren hops about the new dirt, barely leaving tracks. Small things wend a way for love.  



Tangled for a Moment

Robins gather in the rain around a boulder in the backyard. And finally – crocus! The bark of the trees is stained on one side as an April wind bullies from the west. My daffodils have not bloomed but their green torsos now stand up from dormancy. The creek overflows and water keeps falling and moving and making a way. One sentence after the next, putting in the work of saying nothing again. Are you here yet?

Waking to sleet tapping at the single pane windows. The dog and I make coffee and a fire before anyone stirs. She curls in front of the fireplace like my favorite gingersnap comma. I'm happy when she's happy; that's the way love works.

And when I fell, he ran up the stairs and called out to me. I could hear him but couldn't answer. How tenderly he saves me every time – love works that way too.

A large pot of chili simmers throughout the storm. This snow and ice sets back my planting plans. I spend the day in the kitchen cooking for the week, stopping occasionally to spy on the sparrows visiting the new feeder for the first time. The robins are getting so fat, despite winter's effort to remain. Hot tea, curry chicken salad, and romaine – love wends a way in the bowls we serve.

The plants saved from the dumpster at the greenhouse are now planted and tended, awaiting better conditions. The pots take up space all around the dining room table and they make me supremely happy. Certain letters are never written, but that is love, too. Do you see?

By late afternoon, there is a lull in the storm. Ice melts off the roof and the old Subaru and the gazebo out back. L decides to sing Winehouse's “Back to Black” at the gig, after a few saxophone features. How worlds cross. How time stutters a bit. How we love our children even though they rise and dissipate into the world like winter woodsmoke tangled in pines for a moment.

I stoke the fire and remember January. I fold the clothes and remember vows. I take a nap and dream of the lake that calls for me. Love is like that too, you know?



There is No Otherwise


The first storm of April barrels through the dinner hour. Snow to thunder to daffodils to rain – Michigan is far from neutral most days. I take tea in the darker hour and hold the numen with both hands. Lips to rim to tea to mouth – the same thought arises every time and I swallow that too.

Morning unfurls a new coverlet of snow. It's a surprise after tending flower shoots and raking leaves on Easter. A fat robin joggles left and right through the deepening layers on the deck. Every year this happens after the softening begins. After the plans for gardens and dirt. After the thaw.

I cannot change my previous path. Yet, would I, if given the chance? I am fully me in any given moment and for reasons I cannot understand, there is no otherwise. At the bookstore today I remembered my affection for field guides. Did you know that the Cardinal flower can only be pollinated by hummingbirds or that the seeds of the Spotted Touch-Me-Not explode and spread in all directions when even slightly brushed? The books become my wildflowers. The image and the words and the weight make do. And I'm going to touch those seeds when I see them because that is me.

In tomorrow's greenhouse, I won't feel the winter or even think on its reluctance to leave. We'll ship the Night Sky petunias and fill bay #6 with begonias and pour dirt into 1000 flats before noon. In tomorrow's greenhouse, I will work hard and sweat through my shirt and sew hopefulness into a million emissaries I will never see again. My fingernails will be stained with soil and its black dust will cover all the freckles on my skin. In tomorrow's greenhouse, I will not think on past paths or how I will touch those who should not be touched; I'll just be Jessica in her own skin making the world a tiny bit greener. That is enough.

What if and Why Not

Lately, words in small bits.

Work in the greenhouse speeds up in a way that makes everything at home slow down. But the deck will be rebuilt and the fencing is to be repaired and the land needs more dirt, more “black gold” as they say around here. Dawn hints behind the tree line as I wait to be touched by light. The dog nudges the bend in my knee to go out – to pursue the rabbit and squirrels and Purrrl, the neighbor's cat, that she will never catch. It's like that, you know?

The unnamed swelling softens a familiar resolve. This morning's nuthatch, tufted titmouse, and lady cardinal jitter attention away from the vanishing blue stain of night. They say snow today. I will be cold in the dress I'm wearing to the wedding. Maybe I'll paint my fingernails black to hide the dirt that won't come out. Maybe I'll have wine and dance, or maybe I'll just get sleepy and walk around the edges the room looking at ghosts. I'd take a picture to share, but, you know. . . 

Etudes, concertos and Heiden's Sonata. Saxophones and hours and auditions. Her playing touches a deep well of pride and maybe ripples with jealousy. I wonder what if and why not. My daughter's passion and joy makes me a believer.

cap and gown / celebrate / Mayo Clinic

recollect / wait / move out

lily-born / my little girl / a star

Meanwhile, curried rice with peas and carrots, ginger tea, and haiku. The manuscript is ready, save for a title. My hardest part. I've been embraced and brought to the balcony overlooking the city. I'm too strong to be pushed now, but never strong enough to break away from the deep gaze into smoldering heat. When I'm honest, I know its all going to be left in ashes.

Rain turning to snow. The black dress feels good on me; I think it will be a fun night.