Cincuentañera

A week later
streamers hang on the patio
vibrant, yet tired
a trampoline hasn't been reassembled
and probably won't return
to its spot in the backyard

She's thirteen now 
we've long stopped 
synchronized 
wahoo-wahoo-wahoozie
mother-daughter bouncing
of summers long past,
my hands intertwined 
with her silly little 
first grader fingers

Gifted wine bottles line up 
one behind the other
I sip from a new coffee mug
and finish the last two
homemade Mexican wedding cookies
baked for a birthday

A lone striped gift bag didn't get folded,
hot pink crumpled paper 
peeks from the top

A new sparkly evening bag invites
possibilities and wonderings about
unknown adventures
How many more trips around the sun?
Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Cicadas

drone off and on
off and on
their outer selves hold
tight to a blade of grass
tree trunk
iris leaves we don't remember planting
the front door frame
under the porch
as if they've been invited
they were time tellers 
before I could read time
signaling a long hot day
hanging back on my favorite swing
long hair dangling in the dirt
rocking myself into a bright summer haze
eyes closed
big toe digging into the ground
giving myself a little push
nothing to do inside
nothing to do outside
too hot
too boring
all I could do was swing
back and forth
back and forth
if I were a cicada
I'd sing with them
droning off and on
off and on
complaining about the heat
the sun
summer
almost wishing for cooler weather 
then realizing 
I'd have to stop swinging
I leave the shell of my former self
on the swing
pull myself up and head indoors
for a drink of water
the cicadas continue their songs
reminding us 
this summer heat 
is temporary
Tuesday, July 12, 2022


	

Psst…

Mrs. Garza!
he whisper-yells
hand raised, 
tests await commands to start

You got a baby trash can?

Trash can? I moved it 
to the front
hand sanitizer
box of tissues
bathroom sign-out sheet

He mumbles, looks around
making sure no one hears
or at least he tries

I walk to his desk

You got a baby trash can?
a little tiny trash can?
You see, I got sunflower seeds
eat em when I'm bored
I don't wanna 
put em all over the table, 
you know...

Yeah, I know,
spit

I get it 
I eat them on long road trips
so I don't fall asleep 
while I'm driving

Testing binder in hand
I walk to my office
looking over my shoulder 
letting everyone know 
I'm sort of watching

Yank, yank, yank, yank

Use paper towels
that's all I've got
take a bathroom break
if you need more

Psst...
Mrs. Garza
thank you

He sets his desk
as if breaking bread
computer plugged in-
he forgot to charge it
a bag of sunflower seeds
slouches agains the testing divider
paper towels stacked and ready
pencil
scratch paper
testing ticket

Today you'll be taking...

Crack!
He snaps the first seed
Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Stopping

for a break is valuable 
but when you stop
what do you do?
does the mind wander too much?
why is it hard to refocus?
start again,
build momentum
why stop?
is it to observe?
try something new?
look for something, or
let something find you?
rather than restarting, 
it's time to 
continue 
this thing that 
sustains and
feeds me,
consider words 
that want to be said,
that need saying
was the stopping meant
for listening?
how do you 
bring everything together?
Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Raspberries

tart and sweet
flavor and stain
a round mound 
of crushed ice
packed into
a paper cone
on a 
hot 
summer 
day

macerated,
fill and sweeten
a layer between
white wedding cakes,
the top tier saved for
that first year 
anniversary
shared 
two weeks later
after the honeymoon
because it was 
so 
darn 
good
why save it?

two fresh ones
kerplunk!
into a sink full
of dirty 
dishwater
escaping the 
dysfunctional 
sieve of a 
hand
while another plops
their neighbors
into 
a 
waiting 
mouth
Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Slices

of oranges 
sprinkled with salt
sticky sweet juice 
dribbling
down 
a 
chin

of memories
well lived
some 
uneventful
bursting with simplicity
some saved
for savoring
later
when the mood strikes

of time
held on an analog
clock 
holding still
in good times
or bad
placeholders
for stealing moments
to write
contemplate
create

of stories 
interwoven 
across miles
initiating laughter
provoking 
thoughts 
ideas
resonating with souls
unleashing frustration
distraction
confusion
affirming realities 
and struggles
inspiring hope
and kindness
through shared
Words
Thursday, March 31, 2022

Morning routine

finds us dodging each other
bumping almost shoulder to shoulder
stepping over a wet towel 
or bunched up pajamas
if it's a bad morning,
we'll argue
if it's a good morning,
we'll argue a little less
"clean up the toothpaste worms from the sink"
I remind her 
for the hundredth time
"I KNOW!"
she snatches the brush 
before I can get to it
so I plug in the hair dryer instead
I decide to let the exasperation 
and tone roll off
not. worth. it.
I wear my thick-skinned fur coat
24/7
grit my teeth, 
breathe in, 
breathe out
and carry on 
with my morning
"this eye looks good
 but why is this eye 
just NOT working?!"
a white washcloth smudges off
a crooked layer of eyeliner
along with a few tears
she doesn't want me to see
I lean in, mascara wand
trying to make some magic
happen for my own eyes
I don't have time 
to smudge it off
"how? how can you 
put on mascara
without opening your mouth?"
I continue applying my face
she continues applying hers,
sneaking a glance at my 
expertise
with a mascara wand
"I've been doing this longer 
than you've been alive"
she leans in with her own wand
mouth wide open
satisfied,
she steps back 
I look at our reflection
and try not to think
about the days
I braided her hair
in front of this mirror
and she'd want to help
with my makeup
Tuesday, March 29, 2022

A Bubble

wafted toward
me this morning
out of nowhere
empty street
no kids playing
backyards seemed 
bare, still
from where 
did this little 
bubble 
appear
without others trailing 
behind?
one shimmery 
rainbow glistening 
bubble
floating in the air
is it Glinda 
coming to pay me a visit 
grant me some wishes?
promise I won’t cheat
no asking 
for three more 
wishes
but seriously, 
here I am
a grown 
woman
looking 
for Glinda the Good Witch
in her puffy pink 
ball gown 
crowned in her 
sparkling tiara
waving that magic wand 
contemplating 
three hopeful wishes
that floated along
in a single 
bubble
until somewhere 
it popped
Thursday, March 24, 2022

Beating the Sunday Blues

Sunday, March 20, 2022
It's spring today 
Had to double check  
A brightening sun teases me 
through the window 
as I write  
It's still cold outside, 
but it doesn't have 
winter's bite
I'm cutting short 
my morning puttering  
Got a lot done yesterday 
so I could enjoy the whole
of today  
I typically get the Sunday blues 
on Saturday night 
lamenting a long list of 
Still Needs To Get Done Before Monday  
Back to work Monday  
A back to work 
rain in the forecast
Monday
Today,
I'm going out 
to play
with a spring 
in my step
a taste for 
the end of May