Category Archives: poetry


This is not untrodden ground. Many have

been here before. I

have been here before.

And yet I’m unprepared, because what everyone says is true–

it’s different for everyone.


Happiness makes me sad. Seeing it.

Feeling it. I listened to my family sing

Christmas carols on Thanksgiving,

watched them ham it up.

I went into another room and cried.

If he were there, he wouldn’t have been singing with them.

He’d have been standing off

to the side, watching.


When he sang, it was with his ukulele, and solo.

And beautiful.


I hear him singing, all the time.

There is no such thing as silence in my mind.

If words aren’t filling it, music is.

My brain sings,

not always in his voice, but often.

Clear. So clearly.

I hear every crack in his song.


I have learned how to push down

the memories that flare

up unbidden and precious.

“Don’t. Not now.” I can do it

and I do. I have to or go mad with sorrow.

Remembering hurts, and so does refusing to.

I don’t want to forget. Anything.

But most memories will turn into

ones I want rather than ones that were.

It’s how I’ll be able to remember without crying

the time he cut out coupons, thinking he could use them to buy toys;

how he walked his baby sister to her classroom, kissed her good-bye. Every. Day.

that he befriended every misfit in his world;

all the times I held him, making sure he kept breathing through the night;

His chaos. I don’t want to forget that either.

but I will. I will.


I had a son, and now he’s gone

no matter what anyone says of heaven or the other side of stone walls.

I open my arms and shout his name,

trying so hard to feel that presence still imbuing this house.

He’s everywhere I look. Every corner, every wall full of the life he lived here,

but I don’t. I try. Maybe he does too.

Or maybe it’s just too soon, and it just hurts too much.




Filed under poetry

The Little Things

Memories spill, pinged from the gray mush

passing for my brain

from the strangest sources.

The line from a book, a song lyric.

Coming across How It’s Made

while scrolling through the TV channels will pull out

The clear image of carrying him to his bed,

the warmth of his baby breath on my neck.

Watching him re-create with blocks

geometric designs far beyond his three years.

The light in his eyes when he got his first bulls-eye. The

fear there concerning bats, and non-vocal deer. The way

his hugs felt, so all-encompassing. I can almost feel the press.

Or it might be the weight of this sorrow.

Or it might be both.



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Filed under Family, poetry

Dear Brian

It seems you’re finally off the hook

I’ve a new ghost to haunt me, a new ghost to

visit with in dreams, a new ghost to

infiltrate every word I write, every thought

I have. Thirty years

is a long time to stick around.


Are you finally free? Or have you been

all along? Can you truly be free when

there are those left missing you?


Funny, how I think of you both in such terms.

I thought it when you died–Free!

And it was my first thought for him, too.

Why does life have to be so hard? Is it

organic? A consequence of being human. Or is it

societal? A construct of rules and mores never meant for our kind.


“You were born too wild for this world.”

I wrote that once, to you.

“You were born too brilliant for this world.”

That is what I wrote for him.

Wild. Brilliant. Can anyone be “too” of such things?

Why does that make one unable to cope? Unable

to be happy? Something’s not right, and I’m pretty sure

it wasn’t you, it wasn’t

him, it was

all the rules penning you in.

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Filed under poetry


I see pics of families online, their smiles and

good times, funny moments and

trying ones, first days of school and

last days of summer.

I smile fondly, share vicariously in their fun,

But my first, unkind thought is always

“Why do you get to keep yours and I don’t?”


Filed under poetry

Lizard dreaming

I stood atop a tall pine, upon the very highest branch;

The place where a star would go

On a Christmas tree.

Needles rustled in the wind

that tossed me gently back and forth, but I

held my balance. In my hand, a string.

Attached to the string, a lizard.

I turned slow circles, trying to teach it how to fly

It lifted its face to the wind.

I let fall the string.


I heard you whistle yesterday. Sharp,

abrupt, one shrill blast like you used to do;

Breath forced between teeth, tongue, lips.  Wind

in a lizard’s face as it tries to fly.


High atop that pine tree, standing in that place

a Christmas star would go, I had no idea

how to get down to the ground again.

The lizard was gone. Flown or fallen.

Free, or dead and just as free.

The wind gently tossed. How do I get down?

And I laughed, because I already knew how.

So simple. Even a lizard

could figure it out.

All I had to do was wake up.


Filed under poetry

Summer 2015

The thorn in my thumb hurts

Like the drag on a cigarette, nicotine

prickling, the protest of clean lungs, like

a needle in a vein


Who is she, this mother of ghosts?

Collector of their stories, teller of their tales?

I thought she was gone so long ago, but she

was only waiting to be needed again.

She is needed.

She is here.

She is vulnerable and in that vulnerability, powerful.

She is silent, but she speaks.

She speaks.

She’s speaking now.


Filed under poetry