fellow travelers

she was sitting, impotent
in her car, when it struck her –
Sisyphus was probably an
extreme commuter, too.

in all likelihood, he lived around
the corner from her
and drove a slightly battered
Dodge Caravan

with political stickers jammed
next to peeling sports decals and
a cutesy stick figure rendering of
his nuclear family unit:

wife Merope, sons Glaucus,
Ornytion, Almus and Thersander
– and a wobbly circle representing
the family’s pet boulder

no doubt, he traveled the
same curvy parkways she
traversed, the ones that flooded
from slight rains and

seemed only to veer
directly into the path of
bright sunshine at all times
of the year – a preternatural stonehenge.

he was surely the man
weaving across every
lane but never moving ahead
as she crawled forward,

the miles clicking
slowly down
but the minutes
piling up:

the GPS not really
taking either of them
any closer to
their final destination

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Life, from inside

always looking out

from the inside of my life

the world beckons

threadbare

I want to have
something
to say. To you.
An unraveled thread
to hold you
near, because
when it. Breaks. I
will forever
lose a place:
For my heart
to be held
and safely bared.

Nancy

Nancy’s husband died Sunday

and a sad shadow fell across

my memories of the pure happiness

with which Nancy loved her Donnie.

For Nancy, there had never been

a time before Donnie. They had been

married forever, or so it seemed.

Nothing came between them, and

nothing was more important

than each to the other. Nancy would tell

me so, big smile across her tiny face.

And now there was just Nancy and I

felt like maybe the world was

a little bit worse off without their

wholehearted love in it anymore.

It was certainly not going to be my

contribution to society.

Survival

she eats her lunch alone,

in a noisy crowded cafeteria

the sentencing of Nassar

playing in the background.

“this is not my story,” the judge says

“this is the survivors’ story”

which she hears above the din

head buried, tears slip into her soup

because no matter how much

time passes, some wounds

never heal – no matter how hard

she fights to overcome them,

some injuries linger on in

her mind and her heart

and it takes all her energy to

lift herself, to eat her lunch and smile at

the co-worker, the janitor, the cashier,

to carry the ancient unresolved

pain of her own silent survival

do the math

two girls, one about to go to college
a chronically ill dog
countless bills and things that break –
one indivisible momma
three hours short on a good night’s rest
thirteen chocolate-covered almonds
five heavy cups of coffee
just making the 124-mile round trip
daily, home to office to home
and again

Stuck

i don’t want to be

just another #metoo
so i mostly keep quiet

and pretend not to notice

other people discovering
what I’ve long sensed –

people are more

than they seem –
and now, no matter

how many stories

are told, I can’t find
my tongue

swallowed years ago

by my own family,
shamed and humiliated

by my existence