Abortion Denied She had dreams as big as yours— of college— fine clothes— a useful career— but, someone grabbed her heart, that junior year. He said, “I Love You,” and she was trusting enough to believe his thinly sliced Promises, Kisses and Caresses. The upshot, a baby girl came along. The boy soon drifted away, a small boat, unmoored. There was no high school graduation with diploma in hand, proud parents beaming. Home alone, her daughter fussy, bottle bubbling, angry on the stove, and later, after the baby finally fell asleep, she, our dropout, stood before the mirror, imagining a glorious satin cap and gown, tassel flipped to one side. It was then she saw herself, standing beside a dusty road, dressed in sloppy jeans, hard hat, and fluorescent vest holding a Road Closed sign at fifteen bucks an hour that she wished she had noticed way back when. j
A Reckoning The poinsettia has died— I tried. As best I could— Anyone would. Bathed in natural light— Warm and bright. More Christmas joy brought— I thought. Auld Lang Syne and table set— “A cup of kindness yet.” Cupid launched his arrow— Some thought the aim too narrow. Easter’s promise. He cleansed our sins— Life everlasting and everybody wins! Saint Patrick listens to March say— “Corned beef and cabbage okay?” Mother’s Day we all know— Do miss her so! Memorial Day, too high a cost— So many brave young lives lost. Juneteenth, America's shame— Slaves yes, too many to name. July 4th’s quiet celebration— Little enthusiasm in a wounded nation. As for me— What will be, will be. The poinsettia has died— I tried. j
Compilation We are the stories we've read, the words we've written, the songs we've hummed, the tears we've cried, the clothes we’ve worn, the miles we’ve walked and the smiles we've initiated. j
More Hyenas Sometime during the night while everyone slept, an intruder dared invade the village perimeter. Nose to the wind, sifting, learning, knowing, he found a child, untended, and carried him off. When the tired sun rose again, lighting the darkness, a mother screamed, a sister sobbed, a father, outraged, consulted the elders. They sat, solemn, listened to a mother's grief, a father's anger, a sister's innocence. They discussed the matter. The sun climbed higher, the heat oppressive, the light blinding. Finally, at dusk, the elder said, "To make our village safe from the hyena we need more hyenas." The village women wept. j
Crystal Clear The meaning of a poem should be untroubled water— clear as an icy mountain stream, not just a string of pretty words tiptoeing through the debris of ruined romance, a Rosetta Stone needing to be deciphered, or a phone app to be pondered. I have no time left for translation. j
Solitary Confinement Let's pretend Covid cannot touch me here, In my imagination. There are no mandates, or quarantines, or swabs, or masks. It’s a place filled with delightful and dangerous thoughts— a hawk of poor vision, a frozen flight of students, an enemy drone, breathing down my neck. j
Narrow are the Base Paths Our Heroes Race Around. Quick is the Laughter That, Follows Our Love of Jokes. Thin is our Forgiveness For Apologies Unmade. Voracious is our Appetite For French Fries, Cheeseburgers And Apple Pie. Paltry is our Patience For Red Lights In Commutes. Solid is the Constitution Our Democracy Rests Upon. And Wide as the Mississippi is our Demand for Guns, Kevlar, And Yes, ever more Guns. . . . j
A Mother Hen's Prayer
Would I could, I’d spread my wings, feathered ribs, across the sky Oh, let it be. to shield America’s children from gun violence, and the lawmakers who father it. Oh, let it be. Would I could, I’d spread my wings Across the sky. Oh, let it be. j
Red-tailed Rescue: an excerpt from chapter six
“Actually, Kate said, “I think it’s impossible to like school too much. If you want to know the
real truth, little buddy, I love school. But, I’m not fond of broccoli, I abhor war, and pretty much
detest the New York Yankees. They think it’s perfectly okay to buy all the best players just so
they can win the World Series every year. Their attitude really stinks. I want to be a veterinarian,
a writer, or a librarian when I grow up. Since I don’t have a brother though, I may end up as a
rancher when Dad gets too old to run our acreage. Ranching is in our blood. And you are?
Orville had remained silent during Kate’s lengthy family history lesson and her pointed editorial on war and baseball; but nonetheless he appeared keenly interested, taking it all in,
politely bobbing his head in acknowledgment and understanding. Orville clearly understood Kate was introducing herself to him, and when she stopped talking, he tried his best to respond to her last question appropriately.
He opened his beak, blinked his eyes, and a sound remarkably close to Oorrvuule flowed out. “Hunting is my family blood,” he added.
. . . j
Unanswered Prayer When I was a boy Mother insisted I attend Sunday School and Church each Sunday, though she never once stepped through the door. I occupied a pew beside my sisters, and thought about baseball, rocks, golf, fishing, and just about anything else but our Lord and Savior. One fine morn there was a special feature—a woman came from afar to play glorious music on her harp for all to hear. Wait a minute, i thought. Harp is a light Irish beer, and I'd much rather have a cold glass of it right now than her and that danged harp. from the Wonderments and Such collection . . . j