Here are some of my recent shorts, short shorts, musings and poetry. Enjoy!
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
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....
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...
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...
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. ...
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, then do they weep?
Do they grieve?
Do they long for those who swam away and never came back?
For 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.
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?
THE WIDE WORLD
My dear friend's husband I don't know his sign, I'd venture to guess he is a Capricorn or maybe a Leo. Or possibly he was born at the very end of February in a leap year. In which case, when I’m 100, he’ll only be 25.
I have always envied leaplings- born on the 29th of that cold and sunny month. 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’ 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.
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 house will lose its grip and float away. End up in Paugussett, which is the worst thing he can think of. But it hasn’t happened. So far, it hasn’t moved one inch closer to the river.
This year he asks if I will stay in the house during the heavy rains of late April. Hurricane headed up the coast. He's always been good to me, the uncle, so I pack a bag, leave the city and drive north, not sure of what I'll find. A frog in the sink. A coyote in the yard. Cracks in the foundation. Something alive and in need of repair. If the house does decide to float away, I tell myself, then at least I’ll be there to see it. Maybe I'll even let the river carry me downstream. See what all the fuss is about Paugussett.
All week long the rains pound. Winds rip the shingles, shutters fly away and the house begins to shiver and loosen. By midnight, I cannot hold it back. I open the cherry door and welcome the river inside. It rushes in carrying with it the name I was meant to be. The name I'd heard only once before I was born. Before the uncle named me Bobby and the cousins called me Squid. Blessed it whispered. And then the river picked me up and the little house let go.
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
Diving deep and surfacing
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 all 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
All the firsts that flew past my mind and settled directly in my heart.