Waking, I saw that by mistake in the night I had knocked my lower leg off.
There it lay on the dusty floor by the bedroom wall
like a pale, Caucasian ham.
How could this have happened?
Had I had an intense dream,
knocked it too hard against the wooden foot of the bed
breaking ligaments so that it fell with a thump on the floor
while I slept?
There was dried blood there,
partly wiped up, as if by me in my sleep.
This was significant.
Wearing a makeshift prosthesis,
I picked up and carried the severed appendage
asking around—had anyone heard anything?
No one had, or was overly concerned.
It would have to have this seen to.
I knew it was important to have all the parts.
That is all I remember, because I must have fainted.
And when I woke my leg was better,
though it clicks now when I walk.
Category Archives: My poems
Breaking some eggs
As if he wanted to know
better than just to hear me
call it out over the sound of the
dryer, that comfortable, clean
electric sound. But I answered
fairly loudly, but only just over the
general din: “No, I didn’t make it with
ham. I don’t eat ham anymore;
I didn’t want to make two, and
jam them both in that small pan.
Knock it off, will you, with the
lame questions? You said you were
making something for yourself.
Not about food, is it, anyway?
Out with it. What do you mean?
Play this game if you want, but
questions like that will get you nothing.
Reactions is all you want.”
Stirring the eggs, I glared at the
tile, splattered with months of
ugly grease. I poured the mixture
very slowly into the pan.
Why did everything
X- out the warmth?
Years of this, and I was finally, completely
Salt and lemon
arpeggios from the living room
and the fireplace fan runs.
My love is ill, and I am all heaviness
“One, two, three,” says the piano teacher.
“These notes come in triplets.”
Three notes, three months,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
I hope I’m in the right place this time.
Why is she looking at me? Is it my top? Hair?
God, where will I sit? What if I take someone’s place?
He’s too hot to sit by. He’s a nerd, but I hope he’s not a creep.
As long as I can stay far away from that weird dude from the Fair who kept staring at me.
I can’t get a read on the teacher. Looks boring. Sounds ditsy.
I’m going to be so lost in this class—it’s so dumb that I have to be here.
I so need to check my phone, but I have to see if they’re uptight here.
Shit—I’m sweating—why is the heat on, and can’t there be any windows?
At least the smell of that guy will cover mine—phew!
Did she say something to me? A question? What?
Oh, thanks. This text weighs a ton!
Now stop looking at me, just look away, will you?
I’m just going to write in my notebook. Something, anything.
I have no idea what’s going on.
A line of sixteen dots of light across the room from a half-raised window blind
Four crispy fish sticks with a dollop of mayonnaise, ketchup and sauerkraut
A row of fat binders on a high shelf, containing years of study notes
The soft roll of a patio door opening, and rain on thickening turf
A black dog expectantly angled below salmon in the pan.
A faraway train carrying a heavy, important load
A pool of yellow light on a quilted table runner
A spider descending along a green curtain
Three interruptions by a wondering child
Soft dark, as I move through, familiar
Unaccountable silence in my ears
A faded cotton pillowcase
Journal on the stand
Underwhere, Deer Luvs?
Oar and oar the splashing came
and drenched my spatial loves
they wepped and lepped and cride four me
to know releaf fr’above.
The waves were hi and kohled and dark
end awl were pail and whaling
till won bye won, the leeks were sprung
and downwords all were saling.
Goodbuy, fare deers
Prey cry no more,
End udder finial prayers
Life is crewel,
Sci for not
Desend thoughs long, lassed stares
If my solo canoe has just the right balance
and weight to lean close balance
reach blade push deep dip curl
balance, not tip
If waves come straight on
Straight on, spray, glitter cut, slide through
cut, not side wallow, slosh, lurch, tip
If weeds wave deep, copper brown, distant
distant deep, not squeaking, wrapping, tangling
deep, dancing, waving on
If current is slow, unambiguous, settled
staid, not shifting, tidal, whirling, pushing
If my arms, my wrists are strong
keen, clean, powerful, not trembling,
aching, burning, faltering
This poem is an adaptation of the Statement of Purpose of the Canadian Girls in Training (CGIT, a church based group for girls founded in 1915 in which I participated in the seventies).
As a foreign girl in America,
it is my purpose
to seek patriotism,
know the flag salute
And thus, with the help of public schools
become the resident alien
the economy would have me be.
Love in the second half of life
Will I overhear you only listening, your thoughts
better left unspoken, except to me?
Will you turn to me, eyes light up,
with bewilderment, and the shyness of a man?
After a while, will you hold my hand
Your warmth penetrating more than words?
Will I watch you talk with a brother, mother, daughter
Of old days and half-grown dreams?
Will I love the boy you were so long ago
Tenderly hold you wonder, and your pain?
Will we savor seasons, no more rushing?
Will time be flowing backwards, forwards, standing still?
How to Do a Memorial Service (in hindsight)
The widow should not be among the speakers.
I want to hear what you will say.
Do not wear brown, certainly not plaid.
I always loved you in earth tones, my Scottish lassie.
Do not let your kids sit at the back.
They can laugh as well as cry there, with their friends.
Do not mention the troubles you had together.
We did have troubles, and yet we stayed together.
Do not tell the congregation that the probability of death is 100%.
It’s the truth—I accept that now, along with you.
Altar calls at funerals are tacky.
Do not say “no thank you” when they invite you back to church.
I don’t blame you—I only went for the healing prayer.
Do not host a barbecue at your house after the memorial service.
You always did like a party; I don’t mind any more.
We should both enjoy our good company.