“I wish I could say things are better,” wrote Charlie Anderson, about his wife Callie, “but they’re worse.” The experimental drug for her early onset Alzheimer’s had not worked. “Now it’s like I have no wife. She can’t speak and has a blank look on her face like a dead fish.” I was on his email mailing list and felt …
Be silent when you wake up
in the morning light drizzling
thru your lavender drapes
Listen to the sounds of the world
whether the cars splashing up the
street – oh, so it rained last night! – or
the mournful whistle of the passenger train
Are you afraid to hear the
whispers in your own mind?
Give them room
Give them space
They have a right to be heard!
There’s that squirrel again
outside on the back porch
the same one I saw last week
Peering at me as he nibbles
an acorn – or is it a dreidl? –
as the world enfolds us both, unconcerned.
Again, what we hear between silences shapes our world. – mh clay
One: Jefferson We sat on the front porch, the whole lot of us, the Washington family, knowing that yes our folk of all different hues of brown, were born of the first father of our country, our country too. Granny, born of a young slave girl, had nearly died today, fell down once again, not good for much, she was …
I pace back and forth
hummus from the
yogurt with chocolate
and raspberry so I
won’t pass out from
a diabetes low.
I stare out the window
a fresh bridal gown
laced with moon beams.
Slipping on my clogs
I step onto the front
porch. At midnight
an otherworldly glow bathes
my skin a milky white.
Listen! Does snow
sound as it falls? Do
it click or tap or
Its tiny arrows fall
from the sky, piercing
the peach fuzz on my
a cold ouch!
I land in Siberia
where the cold
killed the right arm,
yes, the frost did
it, to a newly anointed
painter name of
Stankowski, not young,
His brilliant reds,
the oranges, the
Rothko blacks, slashed with
poetry, reach out to
I’d like to have his
work hanging on my
wall. There ’tis:
squares of white
white and more
Hands on canvas
I take a deep yogi
breath, the paint
smells like snow
as I walk right in
I will stay awhile
If I sleep, do not
disturb. Wake me
when it’s over
a live mummy
white hair and
a body that glows.
As the digging ensues, look out for a poet in a painting. You’ll know you found her by “a body that glows.” – mh clay
I don’t care much what other folks
think, but at my age – pushing
seven-oh, I still can’t believe
I own my own house and my own car.
Yawning, though engaged, during the
film Age of Adaline, my mind jumped
ship to that favorite thought. I – see
me jumping up and down? – own my
own house and my own car.
Own! The sweetest song in
America. Listen to its verses
Property owner. Homeowner.
Homeowner’s insurance. Buy
both car and home for a
“buyer’s discount.” I am doing
cartwheels on the carpeted floor.
Though I speak with the royal “we”
I live alone. Solicitor’s come by.
Before we slam the door in their faces – a red door
I painted myself – I put them through
paces. A black guy named Dwayne
sat on the red couch and listened to
my poetry. Two Jehovah’s Witnesses
dressed in black, heard a tirade about
The God of Israel. Sammy put in the
storm window on my side door. Please,
dear God, I pray, let me not think
who will live here when I’m gone.
Roasted, while dead, like this week’s
Reason to be thankful, no matter how you slice your dream… – mh clay
I floated on golden cloud from place to place. All I had was my soft brown and white fur, my tiny pink tongue, my piercing blue eyes that melted the hearts of everyone who saw me. Meow! Meeee-ow! There were so many ways to express myself. But no meow could capture the way I felt when they cut me open. …
I had the honor of hosting the Pope from
Argentina in the spare bedroom of my house.
He was testing the waters before his official
visit to Philadelphia come September.
His white helicopter landed in the
back yard, its frightful noise scaring the cardinals and even the
bluejays, as it swept up dry leaves from the grass, blowing
them everywhere. They stuck to the screen of my back porch
The Pope dressed in street clothes so he wouldn’t be recognized
by curious neighbors. I lent him the purple shirt worn by my ex-
husband when he visited, and told him the reason why I
left him. The Pope sighed and nodded his head.
We took our coffees out in the front yard and sat on
lawn chairs. We kept the conversation light, no talk
about gays and lesbians or the importance of abortion.
“You have such a variety of flowers and birds and
keep your bird bath filled to the brim.” He rolled his
“Rs” like the ocean waves that brought him to the
I stood up and twirled around in my blue-sequined
dress. Luckily I remembered to wear panties.
“I so love them,” I said, as a long-beaked chickadee
flew into his painted bird house.
“After I retire,” said the Pope, “if I do, no one can
predict the future,” he took a sip of his coffee,
“I will spend quiet mornings quite like this.”
I wondered where that would be, but he answered my
“The Lord God above will show me the way, as He always
I looked at this man seated in the green lawn chair
with his thin white hair and merry brown eyes
and asked if we could pray together.
He took my hand in his and began to sing softly
“Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.”
The red-tailed hummingbird alighted on his shoulder
small, pulsing, long beak pecking at his cheek
All I could do was stare.
Awe of the office gives way to the officer’s awe of life. – mh clay
Look at me. Four days later. The black and blue marks only get denser and that arm of mine. “Go to the doctor,” everyone tells me. “You might have a torn rotator cuff.” It’s the arm that’s the worse. When I got home from the competitive swim, with Band-Aids on my feet, I couldn’t move my right arm. Although I …
I was doing my dishes one day and heard a knock on the front door. I leave my door open in the summer and always have a pitcher of lemonade in the fridge. I love the way the lemon wheels float to the top and the glass pitcher gets all frosty. Imagine my surprise when I turned around and saw …
As I lie falling asleep at night
bedroom facing the street
I picture the walls of my
yellow house crumbling away.
Here I am revealed to all in
my striped pajamas
curled up on my side
books, reading glasses and
tissues strewn on the
husband’s side of the bed.
I lie under the tiger blanket
used by Father when he was
dying, a white feather comforter
atop that, an occasional duck
feather quacking its way out.
Noises are few. The furnace
clears its throat. The fridge
hums a Beethoven sonata
and the water dispenser on
the outside is lit up when I
enter the dark kitchen
like the Milky Way.
I sit up.
An unfamiliar noise. Is it
the intruder I’ve been
waiting for all my life?
I open the front door.
The stars pounce on me.
The bird houses quiver.
Barefoot, I step outside, feeling the
cold stone steps, littered
with autumn leaves.
I pick up a red maple and
press it to my mouth.
A star fallen to earth.
A midnight tryst with a star-fallen lover. (We welcome Ruth to our creative conspiracy of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of her madness on her new page – check it out.) – mh