In search of story


May 18.23: Thursday Doors Writing Challenge #2

Curtains at the window,

a very homey touch;

a meadow on the roof,

homey not so much.

What kind of place is this,

snuggled ‘mongst the weeds,

apparently content

with no housekeeping needs?

Laundry starched by eons,

like herald on rampart,

keeps watch on ancient clothespins —

how rare this garden art!

The door seems not quite closed,

but I cannot rightly tell

if it says So glad to see you,

come in and set a spell.

Or does that faded sag,

arthritic hinge and eave

say that it’s too tired

and I should take my leave?

The crumbles of the sidewalk,

the filmy window panes,

all decrepitude and torpor,

yet somehow it remains

in company of garden,

neglected, ragged growth,

rallying around it

with bud and blossom both.

In reverence do I stand,

imagining its past,

when suddenly my reverence

turns to flabbergast:

this weatherbeaten elder

in my sudden clear-eyed vision

winkingly looks back

at my own mature condition.



Submitted to Dan Antion’s

Annual Thursday Doors Writing Challenge

with thanks to Dan for hosting

and with thanks to Susan Rushton for the intriguing door.




April 17.23: Coping, but barely

I’m old.

I sag.

I forget.

I miss thinking

that I know what’s going on.

But I have a lilac in my house.

I fear the lies

and the liars,

the bullets,


But I have a lilac in my house.

I feel the weight of memories,

of words

spoken and unspoken,

of being human,

of mail from funeral homes.

But I have a lilac in my house.

I know the distance

between my grandchildren and me,

the chasm of time,

each day



But I have a lilac in my house.

I remember other lilacs

clutched with bowed tulips,

wrapped in wet kleenex and foil,

bounced with us on the school bus,

their tattered remnants

proudly presented to Sister

for the May altar.

Imperfect days, to be sure,

but days with a lifetime ahead,

not behind.

Much to treasure,

much to trash

from those days.

Still the lilac blooms in my house.

If I go very close,

and breathe it in,

I change somehow.

So brief that air

yet so forever.




March 18.23: Coping, but barely

Bold like Ozymandias

declaiming to all nations,

my species speaks in Latin

and names the constellations!

Poecile atricapillus

regarded me with disdain

atop Syringa vulgaris,

twittering this refrain:

Pfui, pfui, pfui!

(the fire was in his eye)

I can balance on a bud —

I’d like to see you try!



March 14.23: Coping, but barely

In robinspeak: Look at me!

I call from minaret of tree!

Look up! I cannot wait all day

to sing my song and say my say!

Raise your eyes and tilt your head!

You’ve met your feet — look up instead!

The sky is grey and winter lingers;

wrap up tight and mitten your fingers,

or be like me and weather the weathers

by bellowing full your winter feathers.

Rise above! Stretch out your wings!

You humans are such starchy things!

I grant there’s good stuff in the dirt,

but too much looking down can hurt.

Look up and see the endless skies —

your spirit needs the exercise!

What risk to you, oh, you clay-bound,

when both your feet stay on the ground?

Dare to snub the daily strife

and defy the gravity of life!


Yes, dear reader, that’s what the robin said. I heard it myself.



March 5.23: Coping, but barely

Life’s almosts —

seismic shifts —

herald of looming

inscrutable rifts,

tearing the fabric

of the everyday,

stripping the known

and the snug away,

emerging newness

from this to that,

change aborning,

verdant fiat.

From depth of cyclic


its swelling vow:

What wasn’t will be.




February 20.23: Coping, but barely

The amaryllis catches light

in petal prisms, fancy’s sleight;

look to science if you must

but I will call it pixie dust.


I do realize, dear reader, that not all of you are old enough to remember Walt Disney’s version of “Peter Pan,” featuring Tinkerbell and her pixie dust. But you can imagine. It’s hard not to be drawn to Neverland; that second star to the right was beautiful. And who, after all, wants to grow up?



February 1.23: Coping, but barely

What gardening sage

will I have to be

to fathom theĀ how

of this galaxy?

I can fathom the why:

to make our lives livable.

That is an axiom

I hold is unquibabble.

It grew from a blob

aesthetically dubious,

like tentacled shmoo

squatly lugubrious.

I can’t figure how

such blithe transformation

from dowdy drab bulb

to winged constellation.



With thanks to my dear friend Donna,

who sent these winter wings.