I write from northeast Ohio where I live with my husband who is an attorney, with our two sons, 18 and 23, and our labradoodle, Luna(tic). In 1990 I graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in psychology and in 1996 I graduated with an M.A. in Counseling from John Carroll University. My work appears in multiple issues of The Blue Nib Literary Magazine, The Write Launch Literary Magazine, The Feminine Collective, and in Poet’s Haven Digest anthologies.
I Am a Bridge
I am a boulder in a stream that winds wild a ford in a river that rushes cold unyielding to outsiders. I’ll hold your place while you wade the shallows navigate the waters that test you without a compass. I am a walking stick of petrified wood smooth and stony, worn shiny where you have placed your hand again and again and again leaning heavily, rising tall then grasping hold to stave off the fall. I am a path walker by your side a preserver of footsteps waiting to be mapped rather than buried under or brushed aside for my own way for my own journey. I am a noticer of moments, feeling the flickering of your eyes fatigued and worn the wiping of a palm along the cheek of your frustrated face the hunching of your young shoulders the shifting of your tone ever so subtly wavering, wobbling that screams to me louder than any spoken words. I am a blanket for warmth light or heavy, to be spread or folded for later rather than a chilly vessel empty telling you to cover yourself to calm yourself alone to be like me, to think like me. I am a listener for your message a page turner for your story a searcher for your truth that may take a lifetime to reveal itself to define itself, to circle back and understand itself. I am a gatherer, scouting for signs, marking the trail, improving the shelter, for incoming storms that pace the horizon lurching forth hoping to lay waste to you seeking to slow you, longing to separate you from the group. I am a sentry armed with patience that won’t give way or fail you while you venture forth, stumbling, bounding away mistaking going for knowing, bringing back ideas and tales of that which is other than me. I am a pillow for your head beckoning you home when staying seems wrong but going is dangerous because I was mothered held by women selfless shown with actions by souls not fragile. Nurtured not rejected through conflict, I was pulled when pushing was futile, led out the other side with my heart intact, under the spell of devotion to raising me rather than being offended by my mistakes. Not fatally annoyed by my missteps not inconvenienced by my childish needs, my women did not fall forgetful that to mother me from birth to death was to face me every day to be my glue when I was undone and to release me when I was free enough to go. I am a bridge from my mother to you my sons where only love can pass.
Mean Free Path
Dear Universe, My son is roaring in the disquiet audible and inaudible frequencies a glorious vibrating molecule prancing across the southern sky caterwauling at Sagittarius A generating his own powerful electromagnetic field of misdoubt he is a beautiful magnetized maelstrom holding on the brink of his own supermassive black hole humming to itself in peaks and troughs the infrared sound colliding with my ears on this groaning planet you will know him by his proximity to nearby objects the cosmic ripples he creates as relativistic jets crash against him he is his own direction in the vastness of his space Dear Universe help him calculate a mean free path there is so much stuff to run into in the universe.
1. When you were brand new my arms aching from the lack of armrests on the chairs in the hospital where I held you like a truth that was undefinable and it was not permissible to entertain the greatest of doubts or wish the I could consume the stars with you rather than with ferocity scold a nurse for suggesting that I leave you with her to insert an IV in your head after she had missed five veins five times. The bunnies on her uniform seemed misleading and the driest air I had ever breathed could not escape the anonymously staring windows screenless and suffocating. 2. When you were less new and more weatherworn you came thundering into the tent after hiking for hours the scent of wet grass, fire, and freedom burning in you like a solar wind needing to blow to eternity with every tale to tell until you were calm with sleep. I thought that none of us were the same people we were when this thing started. Doctors said you would be better by 6 months, fine by 18 months their distance mounting like a tempest in search of fair weather. One even accused me. And I let her make off with my compass. For a while. In the glow of the dewy moon the tent heavy with the 3 am sighing of your safe slumber and to the warning calls of coyotes I claimed it back. 3. When you were growing old the water hung in the night sky half snow half ice shooting tendrils of starbursts slicing straight up into the blackness like the unsheathed sword of Masamune shining with superior beauty and purity hovering above the lights on the slopes where you pounded the powder edges dug in deep. Everyone said they had never seen such a phenomenon faces in their phones fingers frantically flying over search engines needing to know if this thing had been named. I knew it was you though, a reoccurring katana manifested by Sephiroth at will but sheathed during peace times and carried with the strength of a thousand warriors. My skyward gaze held my frozen tears. 5. Before there was Google and removal of fine hair like cacti spines from the hand of a toddler was not a chapter in What to Expect from World Touchers when the scent of your hair clung to my heart when every song was you stirring in my soul when I didn’t flinch in the nights long with anxiety and wakefulness I knew you when you could not. As you intruded on the world full of spirited dashing flying off basement stairs into lands of pillows gorgeous cardboard wings dauntless and declaring thoroughly insistent in your protestations launching fearlessly in your certainty I admired you. 6. When you step into this world casting about for a hold lifting your voice I disband my army of uncertainty In favor of no single interpretation of you and with no warnings to heed the stab of such infinitesimally hard to remove barbs on the cacti of life. Carry tweezers, my son.
A Measurable Objective
Here’s to my boys who romp and leap and conquer and think and ask and make and dig and search and joke and create and learn all of the ways to break things apart and build them new again. Here’s to my boys who tolerate poetry but prefer swords and rocks and dirt and bikes and soaring over mound of snow and leaping off cliffs into quarries and huddling around fires at night. And to you, my boys, I swear on my motherhood that I will never confine you to that which undoes you or attempts conformity in the name of supposed progress or measurement or any other such nonsense that attempts to hold you in place in a chair in front of standardized teeny circles on endless pieces of paper that mean nothing. If all you ever learn is a measurable objective then I have failed you.