For Everything

For all the times you’ve ever refused to kiss me, refused even a hug, I am still full of contentment and joy in the company of you. For all the explanations back and forth, the why’s of my physical expression of affection, the why’s of you being selective and sparing of the same, I think I love you more. For all the things we know so far, and all the things we’ve yet to learn, I am certain this will be something built to last. For all the times I say I love you, I never mean it less.

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Nightmare

Five years passed with
nothing wrong.
Stopped the meds
and feeling strong.

First visit back
results no good.
Did we do
everything we should?

Have to wait
and look again
anxious hearts
remember what’s been.

Five years Mom’s been
cancer-free
but was it truly
meant to be?

Hopefully it’s
just a scare
we all must hope theres
nothing there.

Controlled Chaos – Or – Friday in Mr. Schatter’s Second Grade Room

For Andy Schlatter and his 2017-’18 students.  Thank you for letting me join in the fun.

Finish your breakfast
come to the rug
tell me good morning
I’ll say it with love

Time for math
we’ve finished our game
check with your friends
are the answers the same?

Off to the library
a story and books
if you can’t find it
the teacher knows where to look

Read by yourself
or read with a friend
some always wish that
reading would end

Empty classroom
lunch is bliss
but I wouldn’t wish for
a whole day of this

Out to the playground
the kids scream and run
it’s outdoor recess
and we’re all having fun

Until somebody pushes
and the other one shoves
and someone ends up
with wet muddy gloves

Back inside
to sit at our desks
quiet music plays
as we let our brains rest

Then to the rug
where without fail
read aloud promises
a very good tale

Writing is next
though some try to delay
they complain about
writing nonfiction today

PE is next
the kids run in the gym
no matter the game
they all want to win

Tired and hungry
it’s finally snack
there’s only one juice
and they all want it bad

The last thing we do
at the end of the day
is free choice time
and everyone plays

Time to clean up
it’s a quarter to three
but nobody listens
or seems to hear me

Ring the chime
and wait for their eyes
listen and smile
as the noise slowly dies

Three o’clock-ish
we walk out the door
the chairs are all stacked
and we’ve picked up the floor

Parents and siblings are
waiting outside
some of the kids
have to go wait inside

Back to the classroom
the end of my day
it’s all just controlled chaos
but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Don’t Understand

I do not have
many friends
and that is okay.
People aren’t nearly as
interesting as they
believe themselves to be.

I thought you
were my friend
but now I’m
not so sure.
You’re still interesting
but you don’t
understand.

You ask
“Why don’t you
go out more?”
Say
“He doesn’t love you.
Just go find
someone new.”
But it’s
not as easy
for me
when I seem to
see through people
so quickly.

Yes
I’m in love with
my best friend.
Yes
I know it’s one-sided
but I also know how
rare it is
for me to feel
so invested
in someone.

I don’t want to
let that go.

With the Future

For Leila Grace, with love from your cousin Caity.

I often hold hands and walk
with the future.
She leads me along
and tells me we’re both princesses.
I ask if her baby brother is a prince
since we’re princesses.
She responds by saying it’s
just pretend.
I guess Owen doesn’t get to be royalty
this time.

I often sit and paint
with the future.
She adds leaves and apples
to the stem of my rose
and invents new flowers
of the simplest kind
in all different colors.
I ask her what her favorite color is.
“This one.”
She points to
a different color in her paint set
every time.

I often sing and dance
with the future.
She hums nameless tunes
like the ones I used to hum
the secret songs known only
to the very young
that mean nothing and everything
all at the same time.
Today she is teaching me
how to jump
and my mother takes her other hand
so we can help her jump higher
that a three-year-old ever could
on her own.

I often talk
with the future
and she tells me
anything is possible
but some things are
just pretend.
I look at her
and I can tell
the future is bright
intelligent
and practical
with an infinite well of
creativity and curiosity
and I cannot wait
to see where the future
takes me next.

Beside Me

I couldn’t stop crying, and you just sat with me.  We were both exhausted beyond consciousness, but adrenaline raced through me as my anxiety took over.  You talked of the mundane.  Of your aunt.  Of your cat.  Of the time we’d spent together the day before.  Eventually, I calmed enough to sleep, too tired to do anything else, and we said goodnight before drifting off.

It was way past when you normally go to bed when I got home from work, upset and irrational.  A family party was why I was so lucky to find you up, and I was grateful for your presence.  I still am, every time you send me a message.  Every time you call.  I can only hope you continue to stay with me, beside me, no matter how far away you are.

The End of June

By the end of June
the air outside burns your lungs
and it becomes incredibly
difficult to breathe.

By the end of June
storms roll in
with an angry wind
and a terrible sort of beauty.

By the end of June
it’s hard to do anything
and no one really
wants to move.

By the end of June
the frost has killed the
summer roses you would have
picked to put upon her grave.

By the end of June
it’s the middle of December
and we’re all a little broken
missing a mother
a daughter
a teacher
a friend
and it takes a little while
before dancing feels okay.


For June Marie Poodiack, my dance teacher and friend of more than twelve years.  I’m grateful to have known you for so long, and I will miss you every time I dance.

January 31, 1972 – December 16, 2014

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Radio Silence

It’s like I’m
always getting
your voicemail
except without the
personalized greeting.

Calling it four weeks
hurts less than
saying it’s been
a month
since you messaged me last.

It scares me
how quickly
time can seem to pass
without you here.

This radio silence
this static at the
other end of the line is
slowly unraveling my seams.

Four weeks
and I worry about you
a little more
every day.