A second chance at work, a shared meal in the classroom, a helpful stranger at a rest stopNovember 2023
An Indian immigrant, an oil-company man, a bicycle-riding nomadOctober 2023
My mother and I were alone the night / our house burned down. I was nine that summer, / and the smell of smoke clung to my clothes. / And after the fire a tree in the yard / grew crooked with scoliosis, its back bending / away from the remains of the house.October 2023
Yes, it’s cruel. An unseemly gluttony. / Trapping the ortolan buntings, forcing / them to gorge in the dark, mouthfeel of seeds / their only comfort in that closed, blank space.September 2023
It started with the mouse in the grass by the sidewalk, ants / crawling on its face. Aidan wanted to touch it. I drew him back / and held him. We talked about the gray fur and the tiny ants. He asked / if the mouse was going to go home to his mama and daddy. / No, I told him, the mouse won’t get to go home again.September 2023
We took our kids to City Hall Plaza / with its dead-on view / of South Mountain to watch / the moon eclipse our sun / in a certain way we’d been told / wouldn’t happen again / in our lifetime unless we traveled / to a far-off part of the globe.August 2023
My insomnia began just when my baby girl started sleeping through the night. Anytime my head hit the pillow, my heart pounded like a million galloping horses, and I would tremble and sweat and eventually get up and stand on our back porch to beg the gods for peace.July 2023
The waiting room was mostly full of pregnant women that day, and then there were the rest of us. It made me feel sorry for the ultrasound techs, who must spend their days bouncing back and forth between rooms with babies and rooms with not babies.July 2023
Poems About Parents
I failed at wisdom, nurture, / nature, separation, and calm. / I excelled at role model, if what / you wanted was wretched.
— from “Old Mom,” by Jessica Barksdale
What my father didn’t know when he drove / ten-year-old me in the bed of his pickup truck / to gun shows & shooting ranges, initiating me / into the art of the hunt, was that he was actually / teaching me how to write poems
— from “Portrait Of The Poet As A Child,” by Elizabeth Knapp
In my memories my godfather towers / over me, his deep baritone thundering / above us as we sing hymns during Sunday / service.
— from “Small,” by Courtney LeBlanc
My brother calls to say he’ll meet us / for lunch in a few hours, not to wait for him / if he’s late. He’s got to pick up Mom. / And though the crematorium / is near our hotel, he’ll take her ashes home / first.
— from “Waiting In Cars,” by Jackleen HoltonJuly 2023