2021-11-08T14:09:31-08:00December 30th, 2011|Musings on life|


You imagine it will dismantle you
to shed the rage

as though it is the supporting beam,
the fuel,
the thing that pushes back
against the sorrow.

But it is not an ally,
it is a sack of rocks
you wear as a coat,
making you grey
and small.

You don’t have to do it publicly
at first.

Test it on a tree,
write it down,
say it out loud
under water.

But don’t let your hands drag the memories
into another year
like a corpse
you won’t bury.

Unfurl those fingers,
You will see that the pain will not drown you.
With your hands empty,
you will float.

2011-10-13T22:56:27-07:00October 13th, 2011|Relationships|

Forgive me

I looked at you
and remembered
your dimples
etched into your face
forgive me
I have grown comfortable
over the years
but today
your gorgeous face
made me blush.

2022-03-08T09:40:32-08:00February 24th, 2022|Musings on life|


I didn’t want to write this poem.

I wanted to write the poem
about the angry man
who almost
went too far.

I wanted to write the poem
about the moment
just before he tipped
his troops
across the invisible line
that separates
one people
from another.

I wanted to write about the part
where he hears a baby cry
and the truest part of him,
without thinking,
reaches out
to soothe her.

In that moment,
he realizes how powerful
he already is.

The entire world is watching him
and he says to us,

We can be this for each other.
We can soothe, not strike.
We can share, not shout.
We can forgive, not fight.
We are all brothers and sisters.
We can do this simple thing.
We can be kind.

But the baby is still crying.

She is tucked under a mother’s coat,
shivering in a subway station,
a bunker packed with strangers
breathing the same fear
as sirens wail above them,
like a city’s own awful cries.

I didn’t want to write this poem.

But I won’t look away
as history leaves
another scar.

I will write for all of them,
even the angry man,
poems of hope,
and when they soften,
I will finally write a poem
of peace.

2021-10-14T12:46:35-07:00April 5th, 2021|Musings on life|

A foolproof guide to gratitude

Walk around today
as though you will die tomorrow
and you will see beauty
stitched into every face
and leaf and dirty dish.

Walk around today
as though you will die tomorrow
and you will forgive

Walk around today
as though you will die tomorrow
and you will grow numb to everything
except gratitude
for what you have
right now.

You can try to stay closed
but I will be doing it too
and when I see you

you will see how I see you

and you will feel so cherished
in that moment
you will have no choice
but to melt.

2020-10-10T01:24:12-07:00October 11th, 2020|Parenthood|

Another compartment in my heart

My son and his friends
are playing tag in the playground
when my son comes over
and tells me I should write
a poem about a bully
who came upon a tree
burning in the forest
and the bully
walked into the fire,
and the heat
burned away
all of his bad feelings.

I asked my son,
Does the bully turn good?

He looked surprised,
No, he dies, mama.
But he puts out the fire
and now he is the tree,
at peace.

I try to decide
if this is the most beautiful thing
I have ever heard,
or if I should tell my husband
about it later
in that whispery voice I use
when I am so worried about something
I don’t even want
the air to hear.

My son then says
I should call the poem


and he runs off
up the slide
trying not to be tagged

all the laughing and yelling
a strange and perfect soundtrack
to my efforts
to carve out yet another
in my heart
for things I never expected
to feel.

2014-02-01T22:47:02-08:00February 1st, 2014|Musings on life|

What the monk said

Make friends with yourself
the monk said

and I felt my skin snap
against my bones

in that way
when clarity punctures
the crust of old habits
and the world goes still
for a precious borrowed blink

a familiar clump of words
but somehow I knew
what she meant

see the good
forgive the bad
and don’t put yourself
up on a pedestal

I sat for a long time afterwards
on a bench in the wind
wondering at the genius
of such ordinary love.

2013-12-05T15:56:02-08:00December 5th, 2013|Musings on life|

Ode to Nelson Mandela

When in that cold cell
whipped by words and chains
did you grow your forgiveness
and what did the guards do
when they realized
you were vast beyond those walls
when they watched you walk away
three decades later
turn to them
and smile.

2013-03-24T13:27:31-07:00March 24th, 2013|Nature|

A thousand tiny lungs

We live on a park
which you would think
would be peaceful and it is
if you don’t count the birds

a thousand tiny lungs
in a relentless conversation
about worms and hawks
and there must be more
because they don’t let up

so I’m guessing they’re flirting too
talking about the weather
dissecting the weekend
goading each other to aim
for that poor bald head

and I read once that if you slowed
down a bird song
there are parallels between
that blizzard of notes
and Beethoven’s Fifth

but as I try to get some work done
while the frenetic chirping slams
into my thoughts as though they were
holding phys ed teacher tryouts
with all those plastic whistles

I realize it’s a silly analogy
for we don’t forgive the snowstorm
just because each snowflake
is a work of breathtaking lace.

2020-11-05T16:33:32-08:00March 12th, 2013|Parenthood|

What they don’t tell you in parenting books

I am determined
that you will eat your lentil burger
even though you’ve already spotted
the fries and you want to dip them
in ketchup so badly
you become a single-minded
blazing hot tantrum of fries-wanting madness.

I cannot find the page
in my head that tells me

give in on this one

so my rage at your unreasonableness
and the way your whine pinches my skull
spills out of my gut
and I can tell by how my husband
goes quiet that he knows
I have gone off-leash.

I need to yell
and possibly do some

but instead I announce to my family
that I am going to clap very loudly
which I do,
over and over and over
so that it feels like boiling water
on my palms.

They tell you in parenting books
that patience can give way to bone
that moments land
when you have no softness
left to give.

They may even tell you
that you will want to do
what you cannot do.

But whoever said deep breaths are enough
should try applauding for nobody
until their hands are fat and sore,

because only then could I find
that breath,

only then could I find
my hands,
cool and gentle
on your tired face,

only then could I find
my other voice,
the one I use for stories
that I make up in the dark
as I lie beside you,
and sing you to sleep.

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