en pointe


I watch her rise
stillness in breath
held without fail
lift entrusted
free as if ground nor gravity exist
deeply rapt within her belief

as my garden grows
released to its wild self
sweet peas braid delicate arms
around iris faded
flowers of sun gold reach
unbound while white trimmed
daisies sway underneath
each melding into the other
no circumscription set

I am not given to order
or rule, I am made for feral beauty
I wish to voyage with you as equal
each of us rising to the sun
witness rays given in time
each in our own time and liturgy
welcome wisps of wind
consider kiss of raindrops
knowing all is right
as long as all
are fully honored,
you and I and All

Author’s Note:

I have a strong urge right now to turn off the news, shut down social media, and hide away until it gets better. It is tempting to close my eyes and say, “Enough, I cannot take it any longer.”

Then comes the phone call and I realize I cannot hide. More tests are needed. I have been given a pause. Again, I don’t know why I am spared and not others. I do not have breast cancer. In those dark moments of this long week I was able to stand still and strong knowing to hide is not the answer.


May we fill the world
with our stillness
so strength is gathered
and ready when needed.

May we fill the world
with a touch so gentle
that pain is eased,
even for a moment’s rest.

May we fill the world
with something beautiful,
so Beauty is remembered,
not forgotten in smoke and haze.

May we not hide,
but stand tall, stand still,
as hopeless as it may seem,
we are a mighty ripple in the pond.

Amen. Amen. Amen.





Sting and Alessandra Ferri: Ageless Grace

Tea and Rosemary

She stood at the bottom of the escalator for some time. When she first approached it, she stopped directly in front of it, dead still. The people behind her, a teen boy and girl, didn’t noticed at first and jammed right into her. She caught herself before she fell and her head came into contact with the sharp ribbed steps that are supposed to keep you from slipping, but always worried Mara for this very reason. If she fell and hit her head there would be blood, lots of it. But she was able to remain standing as the two pushed her aside with a snide remark.

Mara didn’t see herself as a duster. But she understood how they would think so. Only a loser would stop at the very edge of the escalator and refuse to move. That’s what escalators are for, to move you. And she was stopped, frozen, unable to move.

She watched the two rise to the upper level of the mall ready to disappear. They looked back at her and flipped her off. She didn’t understand why they were so upset.

Mara just stood there, now smack in the middle as the flow of people continued up the escalator on her right side and down on her left. It was as though she was inside a giant metal aorta carrying blood cells through the veins of a brick and mortar goliath.

It was then she felt him. Later, as she was trying to remember she couldn’t remember if she actually felt something physical or just sensed something. Regardless, she turned around and met his eyes.

If she trusted her reading, the one where the astrologist promised she would find her soul mate, the one she’d been looking for, the one who would fill her not with flattery and mush but real substance, the kind that excited her in all the ways, the kind that made her think deeper about things that mattered and not the color of her skirt or how pretty she looked, she would have turned with a confident smile. This would be the soul mate who would know her from within, know that she had something to give.

If she could stop worrying about the second reading, the one with the angel cards that said she needed to forgive herself for all those things she blamed herself for. That always tied a knot in her stomach.

She was to blame. She was to blame for it all. If she would have only walked the other way, turned right instead of left, it wouldn’t have happened. Life would be going on and no one would have gotten hurt. She was to blame.

So she did the best she could to set the angel reading aside in the dark cool place in her mind where it could sleep until she could deal with it. Later. She promised herself she would. One day, but not right now.

He was taller than Mara with blue eyes and a soft expression, not like the ones on the faces of the people hustling onto the escalator. He smiled and held out a paper cup.

“I don’t want you to think I’m some kind of stalker or something, but I noticed you when you came out of the tea shop. You looked lost and when I saw the kids bump into you, that wasn’t very nice of them, I went back into the tea shop to get you a cup of tea. I took a chance that you would still be here when I came out.”

Mara just stared at him. He continued, “They said this is what you always drink. Here. We can go back into the shop so you can check me out with them. Really. I just wanted to be of help.”

“Thank you.” Mara took the cup and walked back into the tea shop. The man followed her.

They knew her well in the tea shop. She came in every day for tea and twice a week for readings. She walked through the shop toward the front by the doors that led to the street outside of the mall. She decided to sit in her favorite spot. It was open.

It was a small round wooden table painted a pale blue and sat in a cove with a window looking out into the street. The table was chipped and cracked in places and you could see the dark wood underneath. Mara liked that. There was always a round crocheted doily in the center sitting under a small vase of flowers. Today the frosted green glass held a bit of lavender, some peachy achillea, and rosemary. That’s odd she thought. Rosemary was new. Rosemary. Rosemary for remembrance. What was she supposed to remember?

He pulled out the chair before she could reach for it. It startled her. She forgot he was there. Maybe she hoped he hadn’t followed her but she was glad he did. This time when she looked at him, she saw his smile. It was gentle and curved sweetly. His eyes seemed to dance a bit. They both sat down.

Mara took a sip, swallowed and let out a sigh. “That’s right. Perfect.” Looking back at the man, she thanked him.

“You’re welcome.” He nodded slightly and leaned back in the chair. He crossed his long legs and looked relaxed. Just the opposite of Mara. They sat for a long time without saying anything.

Finally, after Mara finished her tea, he introduced himself, “My name is David.”

He waited. Mara looked up from the cup, she was never good at reading leaves. Her eyes focused on a blur outside the window across the street. She chose not see anything clearly right now.

“I’m Mara.”

“I know.”

The bus stop came into focus. Keeping her attention on the old woman sitting on the bench, she asked, “How do you know that? ”

“I know what happened. I want to help.”

Sweet Peas, Part 2

In March I promised myself I would finally plant sweet peas. I wasn’t going to let anything deter me. 10464083_10203233205662896_3100015098842395032_nWell, 10464083_10203233205662896_3100015098842395032_neverything did and they didn’t get planted.

Along about the first few weeks in June I saw an interesting little volunteer popping up. It looked just like sweet peas. I moved a trellis to have something for it to climb. Then I remembered. A few years, that’s maybe five or six, I gathered some seeds from Vickie’s, my sister-in-law, garden off of her sweet pea plants. They grow wild there, year after year.

Just like Janice, my mother-in-law, iris, I set them aside for the summer and said I would plant them in the spring. (I’ve moved the iris from house to another, from one bed to another, and they grow like crazy. Do you want some?) But I didn’t plant the sweet peas. That fall I decided to throw them in some soil, “Just to see what might happen.” Nothing. For five or six years, nothing happened.

This june they sprouted. I guess my moms, who have been gone now and are dearly missed, got tired of my promises and took things into their own hands. If you follow my pictures of my garden, you know how prolific the iris are.

Now, I have sweet peas. Thank you, Mom.




Here is the poem I wrote earlier this year. Silly me.

Lent and Sweetpeas

I’m going to grow sweet peas this spring
I won’t allow the busyness of the day to interrupt
I won’t let the excuse of sultry spring sun
and red clay soil divert me from my plans

I can’t remember now
and being there is no one to ask
when I was young
or maybe it was eight
my mother
planted sweet peas in the backyard for my birthday

Were they to be in bloom by my birthday
or did she plant on my birthday
always a few days either side of Mother’s Day

Edging a small patch of grass squared by
Gus’ gas station
my father’s television repair shop
Interstate 70
and Washington Street
she knelt on red clay soil
already sprayed for bugs and weeds
my father’s madness

She planted
I now understand
maybe to forget
mostly to make something pretty
almost certainly to give me hope

To my surprise
surely not her’s
they grew
ruffly pink flowers on twisting stems
twining their way around a chain link fence bordered by
and asphalt
and thirsty bistre grass still in winter slumber

This year
I’m going to plant sweet peas
in my clay soiled garden
in spring
with hope