Oddments

In search of story


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Connections: May 21.17

What’s in a back yard?

A little grass, a little sun

a little bit of garden

a little bit of fun

a haven for the rabbits

where dandelions bloom

the fresh-aired open-concept

original family room

where games and make-believe

work and play combine

but victim of aesthetics:

I miss the old clothesline.

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Connections: May 14.17

Mothers’ Day

ruins May

makes everybody loony.

The malls’ barnyards

Hallmark cards

make every mom cartoony.

Pressure’s on!

Don’t diss your mom!

It’s no time for ambivalence!

It’s worse than December

we forget to remember

our moms taught us common sense.

It’s supposed to be fun

not a grueling run

a marathon test of endurance

it’s not what’s bought

is what was taught

by maternal jurisprudence.

Yes, dear reader, this portrait of ebullient motherhood is my family, circa 1943.

The photo is a bit off-kilter, but then so were we.

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Connections: May 9.17

My grandma had a tiny house

if you take a yardstick measure

but it was huge in other ways:

curiosity and treasure.

The coolest stuff was hid away

but I knew where to find it

and she would let me hold it

and tell the tale behind it.

Now I’m packing up my house

which means, I’m sure you know,

packing up my family

striving to let go.

Memories sneak in everywhere

in closet and in drawer

one thing leads to another

as I’m sorting on the floor.

You will understand, I’m sure,

I hyperventilate

when I note the Christmas card box:

45 for $1.98!

And thus do different eras

re-tell themselves to me

as I wrap the family flotsam

as if crown jewelry.

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Connections: April 29.17

I have been in an alternate universe

a place I have been before

where perpetual motion is rampant

and parents a mere twoscore.

There’s soccer and softball and homework

lives lived digitally

two kids, two cats, two dogs,

and Grandma (that would be me).

Mom in a sling and Dad far away

a convergence of planning and chance

with non-stop pre-teen rhythm

and flying by the seat of our pants.

I lived in a place such as this

in a dim and distant past

when I had an abundance of pep

and my hormones hadn’t lapsed

but now my creaky bones

move far less supplely

and I don’t know when I’ll recover

from the onslaught of energy.

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Connections: April 20.17

Cold recurring thought

from which there’s no escape:

is this what it all comes down to —

bubble wrap and tape?

Is this how I preserve

bits of family lore?

I must insist on NO:

that’s what my words are for.

Wrapping family hand-me-downs

in paragraphs and pages

is how we bubble-wrap

our stories for the ages.

Who cares? you ask. Who’s going to read?

Oh, someone will, somewhere —

a curious, amused

incredulous distant heir.

The unknown genealogist

no matter he or she

doubtless brilliant, charming

in fact, a lot like me.

And thus my thoughts run on

unburdening shelves and drawers

caught between the memories

and the unknowable encores.

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