the play of light across her shoulder
her earrings and tiarra sparkle,
the lace so delicate, revealing
perfect skin beneath,
red lips and long eyelashes,
all the other women
stop in their tracks to admire her
she stands perfectly still
in her beauty
too tired to write about how badly
i've been sleeping, plumes of methane circle
my head causing suffocation and eventual death.
the brain is not meant to work so hard
to tired to play my flute or put away my clothes,
i thought about tomorrow when i will sit
with four of the smartest people i know.
intimidating is the right word so
I'll just go to sleep now and dream
on it, the methane cloud will rise
above me and glow yellow
under the Moon.
we're alone, my flute and me
the sound rises up with the warm air,
out the vents, towards
the blue sky,
up through the clouds and finally
meeting with the stars.
they will twinkle more brightly
and the scientists on the ground will wonder
if there are extra planets circling that they had not noticed
such are the mysteries of the universe,
that music from far away can change the
we can only know so much,
we think we know more.
She's six feet tall
and wears 5" heels on her first date.
that takes guts,
an uber professional, hot stuff
beautiful woman, technically savvy,
working for a company by the same name.
she's certainly looking him in the eye
to see if he'll make the cut.
if not, she'll look elsewhere,
as will he.
that is equality.
how is it that the Mother of the Family
is always the shortest, but the one who keeps us
all in line.
Stephen was raised to be a good man so
of course I love this woman,
my mother-in-law, Martha.
For 77, she's as cute as a button,
I hope I look that great when
I'm her age.
I'll take lessons from this Mother
of the Family, she'll teach me
that's the topic.
methane percolating up through air masses
while sipping margaritas.
two to be exact,
as the brain cells tumble through alcohol,
so does methane rise in plumes above gas lines,
we should care, methane being twenty times
more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide.
she tells me about plume inversion and meteorological models
all while eating chips and salsa.
life should be so rich that two women can enjoy each other
while talking science, drinking margaritas and at the very end
catching up on their children and husbands,
methane may be more important.
at dinner she described her old friends from Wisconsin.
Cat sweatshirts covering large bodies, man and wife.
she said in the last 2 years, she's lost her waist, that happens
when you're in your late 50's but she weighs 100 pounds
less than her friends, dressed stylishly with just the right
amount of makeup; she looks beautiful and you'd never
guess her eyes looked so dark and lush from a little
tastefully applied makeup.
we're fat by Boulder standards with our chubby bellies
from bearing children and still enjoying chocolate,
cheese and wine, but so glamorously slender by
a new generation,
taller, smarter, faster and more attractive.
just standing next to you reminds me of how small
I am, and that I'm shrinking more every day.
one day I'll look like that miniature old woman we saw in
that museum in Christchurch.
you said she looked like me.
something to look forward to.
it's just another day.
warm, blue skies decorated with splashes of yellow and red leaves
you rode your bike and I walked your dog.
I'm happy it's just another day,
loving you for the man you are, with a huge heart,
a love for Bella, and me, maybe in that order,
you make me laugh when I'm grumpy
and hold me in your arms, asking nothing in return.
it's another day of that, like the last 11x 365,
except that we're a little more grown-up,
know each other a little bit better;
you've lost a few more hairs and
some age spots have mixed in with my freckles.
the smiles are the same, I've perfected
yogurt making and we still look for a
house-husband to fix the house.
It's a wonderful day alot like the others.
Let's celebrate this day and promise
to make next year at least as wonderful.
a Ph.D. in physics does not promise mathematical prowess.
I am the proof of it, shying away from equations, dreaming
instead of molecules bouncing off walls in a stiff breeze,
I relate to them, they do not solve their equations before
moving to the next control volume.
I don't believe that Matlab programs solve problems or
that the inputs are correct, but I wish I could write them
anyway, with ease and then throw the results away
with a snort knowing the reality is so much different.
but we love equations, their solidity, their seeming
infallability, they are only because we don't understand
the underlying dance, we are removed fom it by
the sheet of paper, the super computer and the ego
that we can figure it all out.
I'd rather watch, stalking around the outside of the
house with an incense stick to see how the smoke
rises up at each corner.
they are walking towards the end of the earth,
the end of life as they knew it, carrying a child
who will never see her home again, toys left
scattered across the floor, blankets and extra clothes
cast aside in the rush to escape
they have no bed,
I have two beds in my house, three,
they have no food,
I have a refrigerator filled with fresh milk, fruits,
meats and vegetables, cheeses and salamis.
they no longer have a home,
mine is heated, I have blankets and sweaters
they will sleep in the grass, pressed against each other
I push away from my loved one for some fresh air.
now they are bicycling across Russia,
swimming, travelling by boat, car and bus
and then walking towards an end somewhere,
they hope to find food, shelter and human
they are stacked up in museums.
people used to drop them
on the stoop during a moonless night,
the dreary-eyed guard picked them up on his early shift,
tipping them into a box for the museum guard,
he arrived at 10 am when the sun was high in the sky.
what to do with human bones, left without a note,
a tag, a DNA signature, a story.
we make them up and let them rest,
accumulating with so many others, unnamed
and so, we call a funeral for them all, with fried
chicken and coleslaw, potato salad and iced tea.
we'll all say a prayer and bury them together,
the bones will return to the earth from
whence they came.
new treasures will populate the shelves,
until new bones force them to the side
awaiting the next funeral.
they are running for their lives
with the desperation of one people
allied against another, all fighting for
the same land.
For so many years.
children's faces are covered in blood,
dead bodies populate buses,
the windows blown out by explosives.
we watch in horror
across Israel and Palestine,
Sudan and South Sudan,
Syria and Afghanistan,
how many people have died
I hear his ragged breath, stifled sobs,
the painful sounds of a broken heart.
there are so many miles between us,
I can't hold his grief, I can't change what is
I can only listen on the phone, straining
to understand his words over a background
of howling wind as he crosses the Mass Ave
I have been there so many times,
in the cold and all alone, I know this place.
All I can do is be there listening
so he is not all alone, I am also
carrying his grief.
this is motherhood.
how many more.
blood streaming from bullet holes
arms and legs cast aside as from
how many more will we see
splayed across newspaper pages,
we turn away, numb,
numb, the President said that we
are numb, we are broken, we are beat down
by those whose gun is as dear to them,
as dear to them as what
newspaper clippings that showhuman limbs
bent in strange angles, faces torn to pieces,
their hearts broken by gunshot.
how many more.
how many more.
pages 1 - 45 are missing.
I look, incredulous
that a stack of pages could go missing.
how can one start a book on page 46,
half way through chapter 3
without the faintest idea of what
happened in chapters 1, 2 and
half way through 3.
I would burn this book.
I would put it out of its misery, this book.
it belongs to the library so a little yellow
post-it note will be attached telling its
I hope the library burns it on Halloween
in a huge bonfire, the flames lighting
up the faces of beautiful children.
four from the library
four from the used book store
fifteen released to meet other eyes.
such are the lives of books.
i smell the countless scents of readers
in these used books, invisible stains
from multi- colored fingertips,
brown eyes and blue, grey hair
and red, fast readers and slow,
the ultimate dilemma is which to
read first, accompanied by which
I played rain
in scales, arpeggios,
double tonguing and trills.
the rain ran down my tongue
into my mouth, its cold trickle tickled
the clouds rising up against my palate
and I sang out in rain drops
until a rainbow emerged
from the clouds.
I worked with one today,
side by side, cheek to jowl,
She's going on retreat this weekend
to Presbyterian camp, she's a staunch
I wondered who shares her beliefs and
found him on the first search for
She matches Trump in so many ways,
the pinched superiority, the fake friendliness,
I smell this a mile away, but we go on
and work side side by side
like good colleagues do,
we will never be friends, I will never trust her
like I would never trust Trump.
I learned from hard experience.
300 days a year she travels
to spread the word
the light shines in her grey hair
her eyes are bright and alert
she does this for love.
she does this to save them and ourselves,
to wake us from our slumber
before it's too late,
before the storms decimate our homes
before people lose their homes forever to rising seas,
before our food supply is threatened,
we are buried under feet of snow or parched in drought
she reminds us,
we must remember,
we must change.
how will you change,
how will I.