SHORTS 

Here are some of my recent shorts, short shorts, musings and poetry.  Enjoy!

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FIREFLIES

They came early that year and we caught them

in peanut butter jars 

because my aunt Laura said peanut butter was essential for luminosity 

and we believed her 

Only we could catch them 

Only we were fast enough 

to chase down the light of midsummer 

and return it to the grownups as proof of magic 


"Keep them until midnight and then let them go," our mothers said 

or they'll lose their light 

or you'll get warts 

one or the other 


Instead we poked holes in the top for air 

spooned in enough peanut butter to last until dawn 

and placed them on our night stands

where they eventually escaped 


Sticky and hyped up on Skippy 

dancing and unafraid 

squeezing out their last bits of enormous light 

into our tiny world

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WE ARE THE NIGHT RUNNERS

There is a dog I run with at night. He isn't mine. He’s the dog of my elderly neighbor, Sara. He sleeps in her front yard with no leash or chain. No fence. He prefers the stars and evening air to the worn rug beside the wood stove. Like me he longs for the open road....

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FINN

It’s May and I’m in love. I’m in love with Leonard Russo who has thick curly blond hair and big blue eyes and gives me cigar boxes full of jewelry every day after school. And I’m in love with Victor Panchenko, who asked me for the last skate at the fourth grade roller skating party and leaves bouquets of wildflowers on my desk. I’m in love with them both, but I don’t think this is allowed. I'm pretty sure you should only have one love at a time and I’m just about to choose between them, when I unexpectedly fall in love with the boy next door. An Irishman, named Finn Bailey...

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THE GREEN MAN

No one believed in him. He was the stuff of fairy tales and old Abenaki lore. A fable most likely invented by our parents, to keep us out of the Hollow and away from the Loring...

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BEATRICE

     I grew up in the suburbs of Upstate New York in a pretty white house in the middle of a long winding road called Bayview Drive.  At the very top of Bayview was an abandoned lot where contractors had left their building scraps; cabinet doors, sheetrock, and plumbing pipes. Over the years, the neighbors contributed their own odd assortment of things like vacuum cleaners, hamster cages, toasters and birdfeeders. We called it the meadow.  Every year the meadow got bigger and wider and higher. ...

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LITTLE WORLDS

Do goldfish have hearts?  I believe they do.  

Tiny golden hearts full of secrets

full of passion and abandon and the stories of rivers.

Whispers of night and rain showers and things we’ll never understand.

And if Goldfish have hearts, do they weep? 

Do they grieve?  

Do they long for those who swam away and never came back?

Those who chased after nets and silver lures and the promise of home?

And if Goldfish weep, then are their tears made of salt water or something finer?

Something truer like dreams and visions and milkweed wishes.

Moonlight and echoes and winter wind.

And if one were brave enough and quick enough to catch the tear of a goldfish

a princess say, or a frog or one close to the edge

would it save them or would it slip from their fingers?

something so rare and precious and not of this world. 

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MEADOWLAND

Why is it always darkest before the dawn? 

Why do crickets sing loudest before the frost?

Why do I care about things that pass too quickly?

I want instead to be like the girl in my dream last night

the one with red hair and jam on her face.

Barefoot with freckles.

The one who took my hand and ran with me wild through the mud

and danced in the sea grass.

The one who whispered stories in my ear

even singing one out loud so I wouldn’t forget.

What if I left behind questions of light and dark

and the business of crickets for whispers and dancing?

Then would the dark fellows still try to tell me about the dawn?

Or would they take my hand and show me where the dragonflies live?

Boy in the Field

THE WIDE WORLD

I have always envied leaplings 

those born on the 29th of the cold and sunny month of February.

Exempt from the annual markings of time.

Less muss and fuss and cake baking and card writing

and crepe paper hanging and being reminded that years are passing.  

The less of all that the better I tell my neighbor’ s dog, Humphrey.  

He’s the only one I can talk to like that.

He doesn’t take offense when I say I don’t believe what the wide world believes.

Like counting years and four leaf clovers.

He just wants the sound of the rain,

the feel of the wind,

the chocolate off my chin,

his nose deep in my armpit. 

That’s how you really know a person. Humphrey reminds me.

Smell them. Lick them. Drink them in. 

Follow their scent through the underbrush

to a rabbit burrow, a fox’s den.  

Sit up late howling at the moon.

Fall asleep in each other’s arms.  

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CRACKS

My uncle owns a house on the banks of the Hoosatonic.

A small cape with lead glass windows and a cherry door.

Each spring when the river rises, he fears the cape will lose its grip

and float away.

End up in Paugussett, which is the worst thing he can think of.

 

One evening during the heavy rains of late April

He calls me.

Will I go check the house? he asks

Will I stay there?

He's always been good to me, the uncle, 

so I pack a bag and drive north, not sure what I'll find.  

A frog in the sink.

A coyote in the yard.  

Cracks in the foundation.

When I arrive, the house is still there

safe and sound

no frogs

no coyotes

no cracks that I can see

but the weathervane is spinning 

and the river is beginning to swell 

 

At midnight it breaches its banks

crosses the road

and pours into the yard

The little house shivers and begins to loosen

By dawn, I cannot hold it back.

I open the cherry door and let the river in

It comes bearing branches and silt

and the name I was meant to be.  

The name I'd heard once before I was born.

Before the uncle named me Bobby

and the cousins called me Squid. 

Blessed it whispered.

As the river picked me up

and the little house let go. 

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FIRSTS

Why don’t I remember the first years of my life?  

Why are they a grey and dreamy slate?

Slippery and elusive like the perch I caught last week

jumping from my hands back into the depths. 

Why don't I remember? I ask my mother.

She hardly remembers herself

But for my sake she tries

You crawled early. Sat up early. Walked early.

Didn't speak until you were almost two.

Such a quiet thing. Some days we hardly knew you were there. 

She gives what she can

But I want more.

More than crawling and walking and speaking. 

I want to know when the world first opened.

When the curtain parted

And in what order?  

Was it blue before magenta?  

Sweet before bitter?  

Sun before rain?

Was it the sound of the wind before the song of the mourning dove? 

If I could be a quiet thing again

Slow to speak and hardly here. 

If I could lay long enough and still enough at the edge of the water

do you think it would all come back to me?

The first butterfly

first crack of thunder 

first dream

first kiss.

All the firsts that flew past my mind and settled directly in my heart. 

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WHAT I WANT TO SAY

 

I want to say that

trillium is opening by the river bed
and robins have returned to the railing outside my window
and the small green plants on the forest floor are living again

I want to say that spring is the only time I feel you

and the feeling comes early and lasts through

the chorus of tree frogs

and push of wings at dusk

I want to say that after you left

all the breath that would have gone into my lungs went instead

into my arms 

so that even the lifting of the smallest weight

even a piece of paper between my fingers caused me to ache and long for you

I want to say that I remember the time before I came

Before I landed in this strange

beautiful place

when I waited for you and dreamed of

fire

and hunger

and the delight of first snow

 

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THE DRESS

I bought a dress this morning

Black satin

Pink polka dots

Thin crinoline poking out just above the knee

It's impractical

It's too much

It fits perfectly

Snug enough to stay up with no straps and I can still breathe

 

I tried to find fault with the dress

I checked the seams, the zipper, the hemline

I twirled around the dressing room to see if the crinoline itched 

Nothing

It was perfect

 

In the mirror, a little girl jumped up and down whispering Yes!

Giggling, screaming Yes!

Buy it! Wear it! Dance all night! Make me happy!

So, I bought it for three dollars from the lady behind the counter at the charity shop

the lady with the wig and long face

All day long people asking her questions, paying with nickels and dimes

 

Her eyes lit up as I laid the dress on the counter

Oh, I wondered who would buy it. It's so pretty. So unusual

Yes, I said. It's perfect!

 

I'm keeping the dress

It is my new benchmark

If I can fit into it next winter

I’ll wear it to the grocery store with a simple sweater and a pair of black cowboy boots

I’ll take it to a cocktail party

I'll make pancakes in it

Until then, it hangs at the front of my closet

and every time I open the door 

a little girl jumps up and down screaming with delight! 

 

NEW WORK - COMING SOON...

FINDING ARTHUR

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FINDING ARTHUR

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IF WISHES WERE

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PORTAGE

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THE WILD SEASON

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WINDY DAY PEOPLE

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COASTAL


 

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SHINE