Category Archives: Coping

Beware The Ides of March

Babe was a guy who owned a big tavern against a giant rock bluff in a town across the river from us
Dad took me there a few times, going over the bridge, sunshine becoming a foreign intruder when we opened the door to leave
My dad worked on the side bar-tending for Babe, that extra money probably a necessity for his family of seven with one on the way
Being only 4, I didn’t understand why this grown man was called Babe,
and I asked this man behind the big oval bar
He always gave me a kiddie cocktail, which sounded like kitty to me and I didn’t understand that either, he chuckled as I
Enjoyed the deliciousness of that red with the cherries and the orange slice on the teeny tiny colored sword that balanced across the top
On my tenth birthday my mom was still in the hospital with something they were calling high blood pressure
My dad took me to a supper club, just the two of us on a school night, and Babe was there
He joked around with my dad and laughed that my favorite meal was a bacon and American cheese melted on toast
Babe always seemed to be laughing, and as he left he said to my dad, “Beware the Ides of March with that one huh, Buck?”
I never seemed to get Babe’s jokes, so Dad explained that some guy named Caesar’s murder was predicted to happen on March 15th
Ides means middle, Dad said, and so some fortune teller told Caesar to beware the Ides of March
The fortune teller was right, and Caesar’s good friend Brutus helped to kill Caesar on March 15th
Babe was just being funny dad said, no one was going to kill me. Babe just likes to joke around
Being with dad, his only daughter, out where people always put a smile on their faces when they talked to him, was special
My Dad taking me to a restaurant all by myself on my birthday with my five brothers eating who knows what, at home, and Babe joking around
One of the best moments ever!
Even though I didn’t understand much of the joking, everyone was laughing, and it was my birthday
And I wasn’t so scared then that my mom didn’t get to come home for my birthday; like she promised

A Wish

If I wish really hard for something
Squinched up eyes shut in a whisper
Over and over sandwhiched between
Please oh please, God, pretty please
Wishing til’ it hurts. Will it work this time?

Mama says that life ain’t fair and no
Amount of silent hoping is gonna change
That wishes are just a bunch of tossed up
Dreams to God and he can only say yes
To so many. But if my heart’s in the right place?

Maybe last time I forgot to close my eyes, and
I didn’t capitalize God’s name in my thoughts
Or God is a lady and she’s mad I’ve been
Calling her father, But if God’s as nice as the priest
Says on Sundays, should all that matter?

I think that if God is a girl, like me, she’d
Understand better that my mama needs
My daddy to come back home now
That mamas need smiles on their faces
And if my wish gets a yes, I promise
I won’t ever ask for another thing, ever

Do You Hear Her

The voice inside her head
With its feigned familiarity
Sabotaging the real, the true
Intent on providing a constant
Reminder to quiet thoughts
Of the girl that is not valued
The woman who will never
Measure up, standards
Patterned long ago with
Scissors sharp wielded
In thoughtless attempts
To hem her into another’s
Dressed up expectations
The creation once appealing
Now her ugly undoing
Hushing does not silence
The voice, the message
Only in steady dedication
Stitch by careful stitch
Alterations made to muted
Self expression no longer
Muffled to silence under
Layers of guilt and shame

The Mammogram

Take everything off down to your waist please
Put on this gown with open side to the front
When you are ready we can get started
How’s the weather? Is it still snowing?
Only a minute to get the films ready
Let’s do the right first, lay it up here,
Relax your shoulder, a step forward
Head back, some pressure, one sec
Hold your breath, relax while I
Check the view, Ok, now left side
Same thing, lean in, little more now
She doesn’t remember me, last year
Needed more views, dense breast tissue
Doesn’t mean anything, this happens a lot
She has said, and done this thousands of times
Does her voice change with a view of bad news
Does she see it, often before the radiologist
The news we all fear while we both stare
No movement, small talk distracting us
I wait, in a one-sided hug while intimate
Photos of me appear across her screen
You can wait out there, over to the left
The radiologist reads them right away
I think of all the others before me
All the women she has seen, heard
News of a journey to wait in the next room
While the doctor comes down to talk to her
Was there someone she wanted to call first
Another woman, older, appears to be reading
From a Kindle, I politely pretend to watch the tv,
My x-ray tech is back telling me they are clear and I
Can change back into my clothes, then I am free to go