The Lawn Mower





My neighbor mows his lawn by the light of the moon. I listen to the whirr of the tractor’s motor grow near, and then recede. As if he follows the glow as the earth revolves, and the moon rises, or appears to. What does he think about, out there in the dark? His father recently died. Grief grips us by the lapels, throws us off balance. Maybe it is only under the cover of darkness that he finds solace. All the sudden, unbidden memories becalmed by the clamor of the engine. Maybe the moon massages the nostalgia into something manageable.


spring rain
seeds germinate
a flood of wildflowers



For dverse Haibun Monday. Something I don’t do nearly enough of….


Thanks for reading..

Lowest Common Denominator



Dear Mary,

Thank you for the card after the delivery of my twin girls. I appreciate your congratulations though I somehow think a Good Luck card might be more appropriate. Already, I find the need to steel myself against the lowest common denominator of our society that seeks to undo all the gains our gender has worked tirelessly to secure. Have you read the Twitter comments on a recent Jeopardy contestant’s breasts? But, I must not despair. With luck, hard work, and fine role models my girls will not be cheerleaders, and will eschew every hue of pink.



For Tara’s 100-Word Challenge. The word is Luck. Try it… Join in the fun!


Thanks for reading!

Toasted Pecans




The toasted pecans were his idea. She conceded, as she always did. But, not before wondering why she stayed married to a man who behaved more like one of their children than an equal partner in this fleeting, matchstick-constructed game of Life. Why wasn’t she in Greece fighting the migrants for beach towel space on a sun-drenched shore? Isn’t that where all the housewives of Lifetime melodramas turned up? Tumbling into the beds of drop-dead gorgeous locals who really, really love them?


She popped a pecan in her mouth. All right! They did add a certain joie-de-vivre to a salad.


For Tara’s 100 word challenge… the word is “idea.”

Thanks for reading!


Fat Pashas in the Clouds


2015-09-30 18.58.59


She tells me: your head’s in the clouds

I wish it were true

But I’m affixed to the earth.

I imagine I’m a fat pasha gliding

On my own cumulus

Rising incrementally higher into the cirrus.

I never want to land.

Not until the loose soil

That covers your face is swept away

And once more your lips move

To say my name.


OctPoWriMo Begins! 31 Poems in 31 Days… Will I be able to keep it up? Tune in. Join the challenge. Poetry is good for the soul…



Wrangling Feral Cats



“I can’t imagine you doing that.”


He’s known me all his life, the total of his 25 years. Mostly, I suppose, through the eyes and words of my sister, his mother. Consecutive years passed without visits, but not many.


I was telling him a story about my childhood in rural Pennsylvania. We had several cats. Outdoor cats my mother called them. We fed them, and that’s as far as my mother felt her responsibility extended. Spaying and neutering were not actions she felt compelled to finance. She enjoyed the cats, but she and my father had six daughters to feed, clothe and educate.


My mother paid enough attention to the cats to know when a female was pregnant. When she thought the time was near she lined a cardboard box with a hand-me-down pink baby blanket, and placed the mother-to-be carefully inside. And each time the cat leapt out of the box, and stalked off into the trees.


Half feral, the mother cats inevitably wandered into the woods to deliver their litter of kittens.


“Thomasina or Grace or Penelope had her kittens,” my mother would eventually inform us when the cat showed up at the back door begging for food, skinny, her nipples filled with milk and hanging low. “Go get a burlap bag and follow her. Bring the kittens back.”


We were little girls ranging in age from 2-12. The mother cats were far savvier than we were. We were loud, excitable, and clumsy. The mother cat always knew what we were up to. She’d circle back to the house, curl up in the empty box, and fall asleep. We promptly forgot about her, and returned to weeding the garden, or creosoting fence posts, whatever our disciplinarian father demanded of us on a given day.


Weeks passed until we were at the right place at the right time in the right mood. Finally, we followed at a far enough remove to sneak up on the mother cat through the trees and the brush, and find the kittens. By this time, never having spied a human, the kittens were well on their way to becoming feral. They hissed and spit when we came near. We slipped our hands into canvas gloves, slid the kittens into the burlap bag, and carried them home, the mother cat trailing behind.


We locked kittens and mother in the upstairs bathroom. With the exception of my father who had the exclusive use of the downstairs bathroom, and who cared little for our captives, we visited many times throughout the day. We ooohed and aahed and cooed and stroked, and within a week they were tamed.


When I got to the part about placing them into the burlap bag, my nephew remarked that he couldn’t imagine me doing it. I didn’t ask him why. I continued with the story.


I was trying to distract him. He was fresh out of rehab, and his girlfriend, also recently released from a separate rehab, refused to speak to him.


After a long descent into madness, his girlfriend’s parents had appeared at their door, and plucked them from their hidey-hole. They took charge of their daughter, and, by virtue of geography, I was charged with my nephew. He was ready to accept help. I urged him into rehab, and 30 days later he was tamed.


Maybe one day when he looks back on his history he’ll remember the story of hissing and spitting kittens in a burlap bag, and he’ll imagine it, his aunt with gloves on, wrangling feral cats.