Thursday, December 22, 2011


Picture this: my mouth is wide open. 

No, I'm not yawning. At least not right now. Though I can try to summon one of those next, if you want to see. There's always one waiting in the wings, but it might not wait for it's cue.

No, I'm not yelling. Though that will swell in my throat later: frustration boils my insides too quickly these days. But I'm getting better at swallowing it back down. I'm trying not to scald anyone.

No, I'm not gape-mouthed in shock. Though all I'd have to do is open one of the bedroom doors and I'm sure my jaw would fall open just like that. Messes multiply overnight, it seems. They breed in the dark. And I'm not sure why but they always take me by surprise.

Picture this: my mouth is wide open and my tongue sticks out. 

No, I'm not accepting Holy Communion -- it's been a long while since I tasted bread like that. You're knocking on the right door, though. 

Mouth open, tongue out, eyes closed. Face tipped up. 

Catching snowflakes? Oh, you're so close now. But no, I'm indoors. Inside my own head, actually. Sitting in the dark. The darkest dark of the year.

What I'm doing is this: imagining the newborn sun stretching over the horizon, its rays reaching for me. When the dawn bathes my tongue, I press it to the roof of my mouth, tasting and then swallowing the light. It fills my gut and enters my blood stream, illuminating my insides from core to fingertip. I am warm. I am the light.

Next time I open my mouth I hope you can see it. I hope I can show it to you. This is my solstice prayer.

Monday, December 19, 2011

something solid

Every time I see it, I intend to knock it down. But I only remember it when I'm in the shower: a cobweb strung long ago, slack now, hanging in the corner of the high bathroom window.

The shower's steam circles around my head and fills my sinuses, rising above me, higher than I can reach -- droplets of visible vapor, airborne. The strands of the web could no longer ensnare a struggling insect, but they catch the morning sun and a delicate string of steam, solidifying both.

I long to wear that necklace of light and water. Elemental pearls.

And so the web stays put.


It's still dark, but dawn whispers around the edges of the sky-- soft, inaudible predictions about the day to come. I would sit here and watch the sunrise but they are all up and wanting breakfast, already breaking the fast of overnight silence.

I get to glance out the front window, though, and I can see the bare branched trees standing there, sleeping but still sentinels in our front yard. They hold their arms outstretched, dark against the predawn sky, thick and solid. The neighbor's porch light shows me a light dusting of snow over this scene, the first of December. I can't see them yet, but I'm sure flakes have settled on those branches.

I wish they wouldn't melt in the light of day.


Fragile. Fleeting. But solid, on occasion.

My thoughts sometimes swirl lighter than air, up and out of me. Sometimes they slough off my skin, falling in flakes, different and intricate. And sometimes, when there's time, they settle or maybe catch on the blue lines of this notebook. The start of something solid on these pages and pages of blank.

And so I close the cover and  hope it sticks.

Friday, December 9, 2011

going back

She is very, very old. The cold bothers her bones but this is her home. She always waits out the winter.

She prefers the rocking chair positioned just so in the living room, where the windows let in the most light. She reads for hours, turning the pages slowly, occasionally. Just when you think she might like to move, when the sun has crept up into her lap and is kissing her face, you see she's fallen asleep. Her eyes are closed, at least. The book drapes open across the armrest. Her hand marks the page.

Is she really sleeping? Is she dreaming?

No. Remembering.

Back and back and back

to today, when the dollhouse sat in a puddle of sun and she stopped doing for just awhile to play pretend with Middlest and Littlest. She laid on her back in that sun but didn't close her eyes and spoke for the doll they determined was hers and looked up through the not-baby's curls as she stepped over her and wondered aloud in the lines fed to her by the older one where has that girl gone. She was warm all over and tucked in up to her chin with contentment. Then the sun was on her cheeks and she closed her eyes for a moment and remembered

back and back

to when the seed germinating inside was her very first and she worked in the evenings after attending the last of her college classes in the mornings. There were occasional empty afternoons. Just right for curling on the couch in that tiny apartment's living room, the one with the windows that were large enough to let in luxury -- long swaths of warm light on those chilly spring days. And she would nap, her feet tucked into the perfect patch of sun. It would move up her legs, across her belly, before finally brushing her face and bringing her back

and back.

She opens her eyes and you see a smile starting. Not at her mouth but the corners of her eyes. Her lips move. You can't hear it but she whispers --


Friday, December 2, 2011


It seems like this should be a metaphor. But it's not.  It's real.

I'm settling back into sleep after answering someone's call, different every time -- one of the kids, or the dog, or maybe just my own bladder -- and a muscle cramp rolls beneath the surface of my skin. Only it's not in one of the usual places like a calf or even the abdomen: it starts at my hairline and drips down between my eyes, clenching in the space that holds all my tension. Fruitless furrows that yield nothing. Nothing freeing, anyway.

I press my fingers there, expecting to feel a knot germinating but it's just the same old grooves, there between my eyebrows, rooting deeper. Ingrained.

I wake up with a headache that recedes slowly, the tide going out. 


I wish this one wasn't a metaphor. I wish it was exactly this easy.

I am a paper crane.

Or at least, that's how I think I hold myself to the world. I've got it all laid out in plain text, in my own handwriting, and then I fold it up with specific intention. Careful creases and deliberate folds until much of it is hidden. You'll see partial phrases and words juxtaposed incongruously. The lines won't fit together. But there will be wings. The bird could fly.

He thinks I wear my heart on my sleeve. But that's not it, really. He's just very good at reading the words that show.

But he's already at work and it is three and me -- and something happens -- and there's that something, again, making me raw and wobbly. No crisp edges here. I'm unfolded, inside out, flat, in front of them. My corners won't come back together. My edges won't line up. Because I'm not, really, a paper crane. That's just a metaphor. I'm full of spit and salt.

Yes, I cry. And I hate it.


Here's another metaphor. But it's also real.

The moon hangs there. Waxing or waning, neither of us knows, a bit more than a sliver right now.

But I can see the outline of the rest of it. It's what they call earthshine, I guess.

I don't really care what it is or why it's there. I needed to see it today. Because it suggests the whole, even though less than half is visible. It promises change, more or less to come, but definitely change. It will not always be this way, whatever way that is right now. Another phase is nigh.

As a physical reality, this earthshine takes my breath away. As a metaphor, it gives it back to me.

Either way -- I thank the heavens.