late in the season


waiting in a straight back, dining chair
pressed into service at the desk
not waiting for phone or door bell
or someone to finish something
waiting for my heart to become
less free form,
less painfully given or received back
more as one would expect
as if even at night, it pursues dominion
the way a lover pulls sateen blanket edges,
tugs over worn pillows,
nudges a little, thumps, rolls, nudges again –
as if, daylight divulges so much
that my heart refuses
to be seen at the dance

Vignette on How Aunt Betty Was Always So Much Fun


Long ago, during the time when mothers were held as vessels containing all essential knowledge of the universe and youngest daughters expected to grasp more than had ever been said to them, it was determined that I would not be a writer. All notebooks and loose-leaf paper disappeared from the house and I ordered to play outside like an appropriate child: learn to catch softballs, experience climbing trees, and do all-around normal things, the way ten-year-olds do, as my older brothers did. I pled. I begged. I found myself shut out of the house more than once. It was a long summer. Poetry realized on brown paper grocery sacks. New fiction crept around the margins of stories already created. With Labor Day came school and the win: students require paper. The scars from those three months, however, visibly endure. Half a century later, visitors to my home remark on the excess reams of paper and legal pads and pens and pencils and creative tools I keep never farther than arm’s reach away.