Things my brother taught me

Not all toys are mine.

Don’t wear your glasses when playing Batman vs Catwoman.

Always say I love you.

Don’t sing over the radio if you don’t know the words.

Hug each other like you mean it.

Always do that. Even if you don’t.

For Jeff.

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I don’t see color

I don't see color
they say but I do,
we are no stewpot
where everything simmers
to a bland monotone

as if a melting pot is a goal 
not an impossibility--
for every us there is a them

I don't see color
he says but I do,
my strawberry and cream
not the blackberry jam
usually his taste

as if women are on the menu
with dessert or sweet things--
and maybe we are

I don't see color
he says but I do,
as you are told the best way
to tell police to stop killing you
is quietly, peacefully

but not on national television

you are told your anger
is terrifying, uncontrollable

you are told to kiss the boots
on your necks

I don't see color
she says but I do,
blood staining pavement
first red then old penny brown
stinking of iron

as if old men can't be pushed--
only stumble on their own
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Full strawberry moon

A day named this
on my calender
ought to be heady, sweet
round with the promise of summer
& growing things

Not this bitter harvest
of a seed pressed deep in new world dirt
500 years ago

but we must taste
what was already planted
no matter how poisonous
the fruit

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If this is what is possible

This greening at the tips

This crocus open, irislike

And unexpected


I’ll welcome it

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I Read Job to Be Reminded

It is not God I should accuse
but us:

We were not there
when You laid the foundation
when You set the cornerstone.

We are flawed
with our cracked clay feet,
unfit for keeping.


I read Job to understand awe:

We had no voices, yet
or throats,
when the stars sang
and the angels cried out

to learn God answers
with more questions.

Worship is how we kneel
and admit it was not us
that laid the foundations,

that it is angels that shout
not us. Our brass tongues
clang discord
instead of sounding joy.

We have never ordered the morning
or shown the sunrise its place.

That smith of mountains
and mammoths
has more patience for us
than we for Him–

how we lose that path
over and  over
in that hunt for things
we think we need.

We have not traveled
to the springs of the sea.

How we tear each other
to feed a need more heated
than blood, hungrier than empty stomachs.

We have not entered
the storehouses of the snow.

We are not gods
but we coin them, newly minted
from gold flecks
sifted from lead & hoarded
to pour into familiar molds.

Gods that cannot ask us
where we were
because they are made
and ask only
for what we can give easily.

We do not know the paths to lightning.

 I read Job to remember
we can be more

but stretch out our hands instead
to grasp this less.


I wrote this six years ago, in response to another NaPoWriMo prompt.  I am using it again as is, because I doubt I can top this one.

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the crust

I make bread
not the way
mom and grandma did,
kneading until knuckles were clean
of flour

but with my Kitchenaid
with a dough hook

funny how that smell
of bread, still warm
cut open
spread with butter
and honey

reminds me of them
no matter how I made it

and I smile and sigh
before my teeth
kiss the crust

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End of March, beginning of April

I am a hunter
of fiddleheads and spruce tips
for a spring salad

in this time of snow still melting
on the north side of the hill
and leaves not yet raked up
at the edges of my lawn

this is the time of running sap
of mud
of crocuses deciding
it is finally true spring
and not the slow striptease
of dying winter

I am a woman of all seasons
but the promise/false hope
of all this softening
this budding

holds me

**** the NaPoWriMo prompt for today is to tell a story over time, with digressions.  Well, all of my poetry does that.  Here’s a stream of consciousness that meanders.  Hopefully nothing dams it.

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