Of all the tiny stories that make up a day
a week, a month?
Do I tell the one about being unable
to make it to my cousin's funeral,
the one who was like a sister when we were kids
but somehow we grew up and drifted
our separate ways like a dandelion seed
puffed out of someone's wish?
Do I tell the one about how I missed
first day of school pictures?
The one my husband took that wasn't full
of smiles and eager tween bubbles giddy to meet
friends in person once again?
The one with one less in the picture because
that one is enrolled in the University of Life?
Of all the tiny stories, which one do I tell?
Do I tell the one about the caterpillar in its
The one I caught wriggling and undulating,
pumping its whole body,
to shake itself loose
of its old skin for good,
embracing its metamorphosis
instead of fighting it?
Do I tell the one of all the ordinary things
that add up to a melting pot
and trudging along,
embracing changes but dreading them
at the same time?
Of all the tiny stories, which one gets to fly?
I sent S. back to school in January
the same day I ordered E's cap and gown
for high school graduation
The beginning of the end
to the first year of middle school
the beginning of the end
to the last year of high school
E's spring orchestra concert
that was cancelled twice
once for COVID
once for an ice storm
Is that the last time we'll watch him perform?
End of the year contemplation starts in April
Calendars don't go in order around here
The beginning of the end of another school year
Did I do everything that needed to be done?
Is there anything I'm still missing?
Releasing E into the world, even though
he'll still be home for a while
the distance he's created to hang out
with friends one last time brings
the beginning of the end to his dependence
S. turns 12 in June
The beginning of the end of 'tweenhood
We baked a cake on Sunday
at her request for us to spend time together
She cut the last slice in half for us to share
The beginning of endings continue
Papá had a mouth full of sweet teeth
Not a tooth
He liked Folgers instant coffee with
a heaping spoonful of sugar and milk
No tomes café o te vas poner prietita,
He pulled up his long sleeved shirt,
proving it with his farm tanned skin
I didn't care if my skin got dark
I took a sneaky slurp of his hot coffee
before delivering it with a small plate
full of chocolate chip cookies
or a thick slice of banana bread
Mom's 7-Up pound cake
carrot cake drenched under
a thick coat of
cream cheese icing
On hot summer days
we greeted him with a tall glass
of Coca Cola or iced tea
garnished with lemon
accompanied with a side of sweets
When we had it,
a bowl piled high with
scoops of butter pecan ice
made its way onto his lap,
replacing his straw work hat
changed the channel to Bonanza
or Gunsmoke reruns,
his favorite shows
Replacing his hat,
the signal he'd had his fill,
we collected empty dishes
Rising from his seat,
he thanked us
and waved goodbye
He'd return tomorrow,
his sweet teeth
urging him back
who invites you somewhere
you think about going
and you check it out
a few times
yes, maybe this will
Introductions are made
but you feel
like the essence of
who you are
You keep going on your own
here and there
testing it out
meeting other people
awakening out of your
You start chatting
and discover some have
real friend potential,
outside of this space
I'd love to hang out in person
sort of potential,
the oh my goodness,
THANK YOU SO MUCH
It's one thing to fit in,
It's a whole other level of living
The sun came out to see what it missed
Plunking water from a detached rain gutter
Kids back at the park laugh and carry on
as if the freeze was only a dream
A Mini Cooper Car club member
back at work on a rebuild in the garage,
a can of Bud Light sits on its primed hood
it too, awaits a coat of paint
Two chihuahuas yip against me from across the street
their owner grumbles at them to quiet down
whatever that means,
zipping through neighborhood streets.
No rush hour zoom,
but slow casual zips
scope out damage you can't see
on neighborhood streets
except for tree limbs piled curbside.
Damage runs deep in burst pipes
empty grocery store shelves
people boiling water to drink.
Shovels scrape, scrape, scraaape
against concrete driveways
saws groan at broken tree limbs
trying to hang on.
The last of the slush sloshes underneath my stride
evidence of snow and ice evaporates
One side of the sidewalk looks more like a post springtime rain shower,
the opposite proves otherwise.
Back outside after a week,
grateful it wasn't worse when it was for so many others.
A dry leaf gently cartwheels in front of me
as if saying
"I've come back out to play!"
Along with the rest of us, picking up where we left off.