Category Archives: Family


Midwestern moist heat
Heavy, unrelenting
Lacking moderation
Dry, brittle grass
Yellow in its death
He, ashen in his
Calling me by name
One last time
Would he be ok
Scared, spooked
My yes answer
Belied the truth
A forty year habit
Had squeezed out
All beating and
Capability for life
The door, wooden,
75 years on hinges
Sturdy, stubborn
Oppressive humidity
Halting the key’s
Turn in the lock
Jammed, unwilling
Like his heart
Attempting entry
Standing in that
Startling brightness
August sun
Challenging surrender
A quarter century gone
Still I remember
That brass handle and
My letting go

Threshold 40

Perfectly indispensable in a world
Of throw away everything,
Already by mid life having
Been shattered twice, putting
Herself back together, better
Than the original, not simply
New or only improved, instead
Her qualities deepened into a
Finer patina of experience
Far more relevant than
To be placed behind glass
Safety’s sake, protection
From the touch of true love’s
Appreciation, her colors,
The depth of her hue and light
Requires care, the touch of
Joy gently, quietly lifting from
This resting place, proudly
Stepping over a new threshold
Her brilliance shining into
New rooms of hope, adventure; life

Where is Impanema

The radio always playing
In a manner too loud
For one person, but two
Floors, this old house
It must dim the echo
Of her emptiness, these
Songs I remember so well
His crooning, whistling while
Prepping his family’s meal
That vacancy of memory
Of his sound, the nightclub feel
A martini sipped slowly
His smoke gently rising from
An ashtray taking for granted
Health, like his favorite singer
Now gone too who sang
With a cigarette wedged
Between fingers, scotch
Waiting diligent on an
Adjacent podium while
Lady is a Tramp and
The Girl from Impanema
Cascade effortlessly
Across the stage
Cherished women
These melodies his gift
Keeping her company
In her hope to soon,
Be with him again

Farmer’s Market

It is dark, impending thunder, high winds;
Slate grey caution in the wall of clouds
In the imminent distance, momentary
Hesitation to head downtown away from
The promised safety of home, to the streets
Where farmer’s, bakers, florists, artisans
All specifically entwined, connected to
The wares that lay on or under tables, maybe
Being stored protectively on the organic seats of
Old Toyotas, beds of big American made Fords, Chevys
The lovingly cared for old Dodge owned by
My first stop, a gentle well worn guy who
Does not allow me to place into my bag uncovered
What he acknowledges are small strawberries
But he adamantly asserts are the sweetest
You will ever enjoy, as are his bulbous green onions,
Asparagus proudly standing in formation
For free he provides the knowledge of his years
About each purchase I make, as he speaks I hug
The memory of the uncle who similar in looks; manner
Called me Lester, to make me one of the guys; included
Like his wife who welcomed all with time, cookies
Pleasure always in shared conversation, her patch
Of strawberries and asparagus hidden down the hill
From the lines of perfectly hung laundry gently
Acknowledging the breeze and ease of hanging out
He is gone now, and what she was is too, but I
Visit them with my heart every Saturday morning
Stormy, rainy, sultry, or cool at the pool of hosts,
And hostesses of my local Farmer’s Market


It Can Happen Just Like That

The text came from my oldest child, away
At camp, seven weeks as a counselor,
I have the night off and a ride both ways,
Will be leaving for home at 5:00, he said
Oh Good, we will order pizza, I reply
Me, his mother who is surprised
At his seeking, embracing so much
Responsibility, this young man whose
Bedroom floor is no longer discernible
From Sanford and Son’s scrap yard
In charge of the comings and goings of
So many other boys enjoying the same
Accommodations and lackluster food
The camaraderie of shared experience
My husband leaves to be somewhere
With our middle child, after I had hoped he would
Stay so we could all be home together, but he leaves
And his large silver SUV pulls away from the curb
The youngest, bored and lonely for his brothers,
Waits in the driveway shooting basketballs
His new hoop, anticipation mixed anxiously
In the secret missing he feels in his older
brother’s absence, I wait less steadily
For my first born’s delivery by the 17 year old driver
Who had to see his girlfriend, and maybe
Speeding on those curves of the northeast
Iowa bluffs to get a few more minutes
With what could be the love of his life
My son simply along for a ride home
These thoughts make me abruptly stop
Before removing make-up, just in case
I would get the call, not vanity, strictly
Preparation for what could happen
I do this to ready myself for the worst
It is such sweet relief when I am wrong
In these times of assumption, my husband
Insisting this makes me crazy, or at least
Morbidly negative, but I point out my necessity
For doing this is insurance against being brutally
Shocked by instantaneous personal disasters
On the driveway, oldest and youngest dribble,
Dribble, shoot, miss, dribble, shoot, joy with the swish
These two lovely in their simple comfortable play
Watch how fast I can dribble mom, he happily chirps as
He propels himself down the drive, towards the street,
Feet scurry to keep up, the ball moving out of his control,
And there, in the absolute corner of my eye that is not
Intent on his motion, a mini-van, teal blue approaching
In perfect unison with the legs and arms that are trying
To prove their worth, my vocal chords strangled in guttural
Terror scream his name without my conscious direction
Teal blue van gorgeously bouncing to a screeching halt
Silver SUV not blocking the view of a child bolting down a driveway
My sons safe, and all the vehicles driven by hands
That cannot cherish them, will keep driving down our street,
And giving them rides here and there, and my heart knows
My husband is correct, leaving my make-up on won’t
Protect them from all the things that can happen…just like that