She had just clicked off the remote and closed her eyes. “Oh no,” she thought. “The house is settling.” She had lived in her red brick home for nearly nineteen years. She had paid a fortune for termite control, bees entering through the bathroom window, wasps on the back porch, and now there was a new noise. Unrecognizable. Could it …
They quiz her, the two bards, as if she is a liar, her
suicidal ideation fascinates them, cigarette smoke
swirls toward the ceiling and she wears a sundress with
patterns like Picasso. She reads her famous poems,
pushing up her eyeglasses. In one, she was too ill
with madness to take care of her daughter. Suicide always
on the runway like Burt Parks and his Miss America Pageant.
Jump! No, she will not jump.
Pills! No, she will not die of pills.
It’s the terrible “locked in the garage” till you die.
She, blackened, like the burnt pancakes in the griddle.
We can choose how we go, but not how we’re remembered. – mh clay
Mother had a knack for buying beautiful things.
Why she gave them to me, I haven’t a clue.
Look at this gilded saucer, is it?
Fringed with gold, blueberries, des peches,
And crunchy apples bequeathed.
Look at the hand towels that swing in the downstairs
Powder room. Five of them, knit by hand. Colorful,
as alive as Mother is dead. Floral bouquets you can
But wait! What am I doing with her souffle pan? White
As her corpse, and when I try to read the maker, all
I see is something akin to Cosi Fan Tutti.
“May the wind be gentle as you traverse the seas.”
Mother be true to me. I will watch for you when
The Full Moon lights up the sky and visions
Of Autumn Leaves fall like stars on my patio.
Hold and remember. – mh clay
Park at Kremp’s Florist.
Pack a picnic lunch
if you so desire.
Feast your eyes, with
or without binoculars
across the dust-filled
A crane is reaching for the clouds.
It has no wheels, but treads like
an armoured tank.
It can go as high as
a 20-story building.
Will it tip over?
Nay, the back is weighted
down. The job of the day
is putting in the parking
panels make it easier.
Chorus: Oh, the men in orange
hard hats and glowing orange
vests. Oh, their Igloo containers
filled with water and Orange Crush
and Italian hoagies from Wawa
Crows – count em! – fly high
and squawk over the scene,
thinking Humans are so complicated!
“We just use twigs, cigarette stubs, and innards
of seat cushions for our comfy nests.”
Max, get your daddy to drive you over.
A sight like this you will never forget
I can just see you jumping up and down
and catapulting over and into the
swiveling crane, to help while the driver rests.
Crows may squawk, but none can gawk better than we. – mh clay
I can’t think of a better job. I’m the third-generation mailman in my family. We call ourselves “mailmen” and won’t change that term no way, no how. Grandpop worked in Germantown, Daddy worked in Bucks County, and me, the only girl, I work in Huntingdon Valley, PA. Lordy, Lordy. What a gorgeous area that is. Would you believe I’ve been …
Thanks Carole and Gregory for the postcard from Havana.
The turquoise Olds stutters down the boulevard. Only
old men govern in Cuba. Literacy is high, as the Castros
and Company, torture and lock away the folks of good will.
Shirley Sanders, white-haired like me, and slender in her blue top and
looks like a million dollars as her early-onset Alzheimer’s takes away
everything, every single thing, except her bones.
I laugh. A famous artist Robert Whitley shown with his massive throne-like
wooden chair, stabbed his wife. Rage on, Bob, but remember, thou shalt
Janis Joplin and Marvin Gaye reign on the bottom half of the fridge.
from the stamps that went out years ago. Ain’t no mountain high enough
Marvin’s daddy from shooting him or Janis from shooting the big H.
A pair of legs stride across the fridge, purty legs like Rita Hayworth
or Lana Turner, as I open the fridge door and pick out a big shiny
What’s going on in YOUR museum? – mh clay
The Reedman house had been empty since the old man died. He and his wife June fell in love with it when it was part of Land Tract No. 19. He continued with his welding job, a strong man with a stubbly beard helping build ships at the Navy Yard. Then June starting coughing. The walls of their bungalow rang …
Dedicated to my children, Sarah and Daniel, who bought me my new refrigerator on the occasion of my birthday on December 25, 2009.
All is still and dark
and I have awoken
from dreamless sleep
and come to the dark kitchen
The refrigerator is new
brought in on a red dolly
by a man who turned corners
carefully and wheeled
it in like a newborn
in a carriage.
Alone in the night
in the dark kitchen
I hear the sounds of the night.
Is that a moon outside
casting its brightness
onto my table to make it shine?
the recipient of brightness
in my dark kitchen
find by careful fingering
sparkling streakless squeaky
from the dishwasher,
we are modern people,
and no longer go to the well,
but in the dark,
place my glass just so,
pushing the rubber udder
of the water dispenser
on the outside,
for the fullness of the
Then, turning round,
listen for the sounds
of the night
no birds, no winds,
no squirrels scurrying on the branch
The hum of the refrigerator is all I hear,
and heat pumping up from the basement,
we no longer live by campfire
or hear wolves howling in the distant hills,
these are the sounds of a quiet home,
more windows than wood,
the first thing we do,
and the last.
Our first and last; no different than those tales we heard from the lives of the pioneers. – mh clay
It was one of those lazy November days, the sky was a blah grey, with an impenetrable fuzzy blanket across the sky. I pulled into the driveway of my condo, just in time to find something to eat and watch the PBS Evening News. My late husband inculcated the importance of this in me, and it was now my duty …
She was an old woman now. The crime her son Aaron committed was on her mind every day. And why shouldn’t it be? He had killed his wife and was serving a forty-year sentence in Chino Men’s Prison just south of Los Angeles. Her husband, God bless him, had left her plenty of money. Sitting at her cluttered dining room …