In search of story


Two things

First the summons
to prove my worthy age —
carded! — to buy
rubber cement.

Ludicrous is good.
We need respite
from sanity
lest we be
with a surfeit of sense.

Second, key in ignition,
I stopped,
disbelieving my stowaway:
ladybug! blessed spring billboard!
It stretched
winged itself
and was gone
as though never there.

Bestowed by happenstance
a lighter heart.


Digital saga

I broke my finger;
it got even:
I couldn’t grip
or slip a sleeve on.

It hurt when it happened,
then mercifully dulled
’til the doctor did the splinting,
which strangled and pulled.

That night it yelled
Wake up and feel —
dreams are illusion
but I am real!
I am Pain!
Hear me roar!
I can take a little finger
and make it so much more.

Next day I called the doctor
and the robot said
Leave a message.
HELP! I pled.

The day crept along
with my phone in my pocket,
but I did not want to talk
in the middle of Target

so I waited at home.
Nothing from the phone.

Another stabbing night —
Enough already! —
I called again
my voice unsteady.

Mirabile dictu,
the nurse called back,
said fractures hurt,
give the wrap some slack.

And she assured me —
she knew for certain —
the wrap would not
cause my skin to be hurtin’.

That did it.

“Fractures hurt.”
No duh, I fumed;
the splinting’s the problem —
I had to exhume:

I unwrapped the swaddling —
that took real pluck —
lo! the skin underneath
looked a lot like ground chuck.

Eureka! I cried,
surveying my digit;
I see why my night’s spent
in whimper and fidget.

The bone on the inside,
the skin on the out
together in chorus
plaintively shout


In consult with pharmacist
and my poor frazzled finger
I have a new wrap,
a real humdinger.

I did it myself —
you may express your amazement —
peek-a-boo gauze
is my new fashion statement.

The moral is clear
from here to Helsinki:
never trust a car door
to look out for your pinkie.

And don’t be too quick
to trust the stick
they call the splint.
Heed your skin —
it’s what you’re in —
that’s my helpful hint.


Not just food

Easter dinner at Grandma’s was not simply a matter of eating together on Easter Sunday. It was Kilimanjaro. Triumph earned and celebrated. From Ash Wednesday through Good Friday, as the church draped itself in purples and blacks, organs went silent, and bells turned to clackers, we held our breath as though under water while the pageantry played out. Then came noon on Holy Saturday, the official end of Lent, when we gasped for air and lunged for the jelly beans.

Thus did Lent, especially Holy Week, serve as sensory appetizer to Easter dinner. It was not just food. It was color, music, a return to vice, which for me meant candy, of course. Grandma obliged with sugar eggs, but who could eat them? They were magical, with little scenes inside and sparkly sugar on the outside. Too pretty to eat. Besides, they tasted awful.

But there was more, like ham and potato salad, with which I endeared myself to my family by carefully scraping off any disgusting remnants of celery and onion before eating each potato chunk, and equally carefully excising any ham that was not a certain pink. Sometimes Grandma would mix crushed pineapple with shredded lettuce for salad, and, rather than commend me for my excellent skills in separating tiny lettuce pieces from tiny pineapple pieces, which I deemed inedible, they rolled their eyes and badgered me.

And did they congratulate me when I painstakingly lifted the icing from Grandma’s angel food cake so I could savor the icing by itself? No! They unceremoniously adjourned, leaving me as usual the last one eating.

I might have been Grandma’s Lent, but she treated me like Easter. It was always about more than food.