Tea Party

Place settings for four,
Mom brought violets
for the centerpiece;
dolls in their Sunday best,
me, in pigtails
and my favorite dress.

His voice always did startle me.

Grandma brought glue
for the handle.

If only my heart was porcelain.


Broken Flowers

There was a whole field
of lavender, waiting
when my bare feet tiptoed out,
careful not to slam the screen door,
careful not to cry.

It was kissed all better
at grandma’s
after a cup of hot chocolate
and bedtime prayers
upon grandpa’s lap,
peacefully sleeping;

sugarplums were only secrets
rolled and kneaded into poetry,
softly dancing in my head,

and oh, those wildflowers
did make me smile:

~he loves me, he loves me not~

pure heart,
delicate as those petals,
fingers entwined
in little girl wishes
upon a star

to the one
who always loved me.



At Fifteen

I was so much braver, then,
or perhaps, just stupid

and love was a poster
of this week’s heartthrob,
the lead singer of a band
or the guy who sat in the back
of first period algebra class.

I was the girl too shy to speak
that wrote the best notes
on pink lined paper
in multicolored ink
best known for Ms. Conrad’s class
when she read my note
that expressed my love for Clay;
a guy I had known since second grade
who didn’t know I was alive
until that confession was read
in front of the entire 8th grade English class,

but, I did get credit for perfect punctuation,
but, too many adjectives.

Not much has changed.

I hated school, especially Mondays
after the bad weekends
when things turned ugly
and I felt even more isolated
than usual.
I remember wondering
if anyone else worried about their Mom
and what may be happening at home
when the bell rang for second period.

Even when Mom took us and left,
I still felt out of place,
like something wasn’t quite right
in my head.
It was a mystery for decades,
why in the world I was so strange,
never belonged,
always a little off.

It took me years to discover,

I am not really THAT crazy,
I am just a poet.



Detrimental Pause

I still sense the aroma
of cinnamon and disgust,
musty memories

that linger

when I raise the window
for fresh air,

to pause,

to disturb this darkness
that never fails

to creep in
through the cracks;
those similarities

that arise in a sunrise,
in lyrics,
blades of morning grass,
swaying daffodils

and anything
that makes me smile

just to see it fade away.




Unauthorized Biography

I wonder in what universe
your myths were created;
biased recall
accepted at face value,

tales, twisted, manipulated
and hung out to dry
with your dirty laundry
pinned up and pitiful
as the fair-weathered farewells.

Love left, unreciprocated
and forgotten
as the counterfeit paper
between us.



In 1986

I don’t mind washing dishes
It gives me time to think.

Perhaps I can fit in
a few lines of poetry
between tucking them in

and waking up for work,

or should I pretend I’m asleep
so I don’t have to hear his voice
like razor blades grinding my ears
and the click, click, click
of that video game controller;

the chorus to Roseanne reruns
playing in the background.

Let’s face it-

Without those sleeping angels
in the next room, the man upstairs,

and these syllables
that flow, like flowers
through a slipping mind,

I would surely expire,
at 26.

Is it 5:30 yet?