Is It Any Wonder

I know time has passed because

My children are older. I refuse to acknowledge

The old woman in the mirror as me because

Not that much time has passed.

I know time has passed because

once there were tulips growing outside my door

and now there’s just snow. I know

time has passed because you don’t go from tulips to snow


I know time has passed because the last time

we spoke, news was something that happened

yesterday, and now when I think of you

there are just too many things I have to say

about time, the weather, my family

and the things about me that have changed.

I don’t know where to start.




When Jesus came to dinner

He was perfect. He complimented me

on my silverware pattern

although He didn’t seem to notice

I’d put the good china out.

Later, over coffee and cake

He’d admitted that He hadn’t been following politics too much

had been absorbed in tracking weather patterns

bird migrations

global things.

“If it’s on television, I probably

haven’t seen it,” He explained.



the man on the bus stop tells me

all about Armageddon

like it’s Christmas, or his birthday, something

beautiful and happy and

a reason to keep smoking

God will fix him in the end.

He offers me a cigarette because

it smells better than second-hand smoke

and I take it because it tastes better

than second-hand smoke. God

will cure us both of our addictions

in the end.




if I lose any more teeth I’ll have to

see a dentist. if I lose any more teeth

my husband will find out that I didn’t go

last year. The pointed nubs

in the corners of my mouth are easy

to hide—jagged half-teeth with yellowish cores

they’re just behind my dimples. I still look cute

because of those dimples, and so long

as I keep lancing the boils on my gums

I can still eat anything I want. But if I lose any more teeth

I will have to go to the dentist. one more toothache like the last

and I’ll probably die.


Justification for My Writer’s Block #3

somewhere in the Amazon

an old man with a pointed stick

is writing the second chapter of a novel

scrawling it into the dirt.

the first chapter is on my computer screen

cursor blinking steadily as I

admit defeat. I have only

this first chapter in me.

I wonder

if the old man in the jungle is as angry as I am

that this unfinished novel, no beginning

no end

came to him as this first chapter came to me

I wonder who will end up

with Chapter 3.

The Horse


there were eventually too many miles between us

to let it die

where it fell.


ironically, because I didn’t kill it

and let it hobble, burdenless, behind me as we traveled

I had a superior traveling companion:


one that didn’t interrupt when I spoke

never said anything itself.


The Man in the House


There could be corpses buried beneath

the mounds of debris and trash in his back yard—the neighbors

can only wildly speculate. There could be

a fortune in knickknacks or baseball cards

stacked in dusty piles on shelves inside the house

but no one ever goes in

and no one ever comes out.


When a cat disappears from the neighborhood, children whisper

that the man in the house got it, that he eats cats. Sometimes, though,

a cat reappears on its owner’s doorstep

well-fed and clean, and then children whisper

that that is the cat that got away, that the man in the house

likes to fatten them up before he eats them.


I thought I saw him once, opening the front door just wide enough

to push aside the dead leaves accumulating on the stoop

but it was so quick

it might have been my imagination.



I did something awful last night.


I wake to find that the vampire has taken my lover

leaving neatly-typed suicide notes in its wake

a hole in each wrist where the blood was wrung out

leaving just enough behind to stick flesh to the rug


The body I clung to as vicious as dogs

sleeps in the corner and won’t wake up, I pray

I’m sane enough to explain to this to the police when they come

that they’re sane enough to believe me when I speak.



The Spider in the Windowsill


It’s tempting to just squish it outright but you should first

pull off a leg, then another. First an arachnid

then an arthropod then a quadruped then a biped. Does

the level of intelligence and/sophistication increase or decrease

with each removed limb? How about if you

put a hat on the tiny, flailing insect,

give it a cane, make it dance on its two remaining legs

as it fumbles its way to death?


What happens if you remove all the legs

from one side, but leave the other intact?

does it run around and around

in a circle like a cartoon character,

a teeny tiny motorcar? Now what happens

when you give it a hat, a cane,

from the first exercise?


            Laundry Day


I wake to find that the vampire

has done my laundry, and he has turned

everything pink. There are crumbled bits of bone

trapped in the wrinkles in my sheets

smooth and white like chunks of St. Petersburg marble.


He seems so proud of himself, that he’s done my laundry

all by himself

(and without me even asking!)

that I pretend to be pleased with my pink sheets,

my pink clothes. I wonder

what he put in the wash to make everything turn so pink—

a red sock, a potholder, a cat

another woman


I think about asking, but I

don’t want to know.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.