The 365th Day

 

This is the day we do that summing up.

Annoying, isn’t it, the way

we tally and sort the year’s days

into the things –or people—we like and those

that caused us pain? We inventory

and discard, if we’re smart, whatever

no longer works, or what

carries no joy. We have this need

to take stock, as though we

were running a giant store full of

stuff, boots and gloves, or jars

of face cream and scented soaps.

This year let it alone,

think instead of the faint yellow blush

on the forsythia. Soon we can snip

its branches, hammer the stems

against the stone walk, set it all

in warm water in an old jar.

The small blooms, and then

tender green leaves will unfold

in the corner window.

Forcing spring

in midwinter.

 

Reprinted from Hedgerow, # 19

Boxing Day

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Here’s a reprint of a poem I wrote a couple of years ago, about the day after Christmas, also known as St. Stephen’s Day. Fans of Downton Abbey will know that Boxing Day takes its name from a British tradition — families with servants gave them the day off, to allow them to go home and visit their families. Employers gave their staff  gifts in “Christmas boxes.”

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Pre-ordering window for my forthcoming poetry collection, Baltimore Girls, part of Finishing Line Press’ New Women’s Voices series, runs through January 6, 2017. You can pre-order online here. 

 

“Transitions”:My poem, “Cyber Monday” published today by Indolent Books–

as part of the poem-a-day “Transitions” Project–A poem-a-day by a different poet responding to the recent Presidential election, from Nov. 9 to Jan. 20

You can find my poem here.

December 11: Sunset 4:13 PM /Catalog

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Inside: A Christmas cactus written off as finished, done,
Now ablaze with pink blooms.
A succulent dish garden stuck between dead and not-dead.
A Trader Joe’s orchid, leggy, elegant in its eight-bloom orchid hat. Continue reading “December 11: Sunset 4:13 PM /Catalog”

“Baltimore Girls” -Enormous Gratitude!

.. to those who pre-ordered “Baltimore Girls” last week! Thanks to my cousins in Ohio and Baltimore, old UNY of Maryland pals from high school days, former teaching colleagues at Boston U, Westwood women, my St. John’s family, my librarian network, Dwight Street alums, Stamford friends, and Barnard women. Continue reading ““Baltimore Girls” -Enormous Gratitude!”

My Mother on My Cousin’s Wedding Day

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Children weren’t invited. That
wasn’t fair. I was thirteen,
had never seen a wedding, except on television.
She opened a small flat box of nylon stockings,
pulled them on gently, fastened them to her girdle.
I watched  her pull the beige lace dress over her head,
shake it down her slender frame, gently push
her  arms through the sleeves.
I zipped the dress closed.

I climbed onto her bed, mesmerized by the lace sheath.
Paid full price too, she murmured.  Coral high heeled pumps,
matching clutch purse, sparkling costume jewelry.
She leaned towards the mirror to put on her lipstick,
coral, like the shoes. From a department store box she
withdrew an ivory hat, broad brimmed in the front,
covered with tulle.

My father waited downstairs in his favorite chair
trying not to sweat in the August heat.
I followed them out the front door, sat
on the porch steps, the concrete hot on my thighs.
The green and white fins of our Chevy disappeared
down the street. She was forty-five. I knew
she’d be the prettiest, best-dressed lady there.

She wore the lace dress again, over and over,
and the coral shoes. But the hat
Stayed in back of the closet for years
till one day the square box went to Goodwill
because nobody wore hats any more.

 

Reprinted from Light:A Journal of Photography and Poetry, January 2017, inaugural issue

For more Baltimore poems, pre-order my forthcoming collection, Baltimore Girls, from Finishing Line Press. You can order from the publisher’s website. Pre-ordering runs now through January 6, 2017. Profits from pre-orders will be divided between  the Mercy High School, Baltimore scholarship fund, and Epiphany School, Boston.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 1: Sunset 4:10 PM

It’s oddly warm. We strip the garden,
pull down three-foot-high blackened marigolds,
cleome, borage, yank out bamboo stakes.
The young arugula we planted weeks ago is
ready for harvest, the lily leaves slimy, brown.
Mole tunnels run under the sandy soil
in the mulch-covered plot by the fenced-in garden.
By three the sun is low, a glare in our faces.
We work against the clock, against the moment
when the sun will drop behind the trees, the sky
will be streaked with a narrow line of pink-orange.
The cottage is cold, the water shut off.
The detritus of last summer’s glorious blooms
lies in a pile. We weight the mess with fallen branches.
There’s no time to rest, put our feet up, imagine
what this will all look like, come spring.
Now everything must sleep the sleep of winter,
must die, and must— we hope— come back to life.
But first, the death of the garden, dormant, cold
shadowed by our uncertainty, our fears
that this short day is all we have, and own.

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