too skinny legs in too big pants
she's getting smaller everytime we see her
her smile is huge on her face
and the wrinkle between her eyes
is deep
she's got extra skin in the fold of her elbow
and behind her knees too
she does everything more easily
more sure of herself
when she walks
more confident
in her potential to bend
she angles herself into conversations
with a lightness
she's never shown before




i am meaner than i want to be
my words snap and crackle more than i intend
i am perched on the edge pushing things along that i'd rather see just happen

too much pressed into too little with too many expectations
of my own

i always cry when this happens


nice guy

he's like a grown-up kid in a button-down shirt
in an office
at his big desk
covered with lots of papers and gadgets and
he's a nice guy
in his 40s
still thinking of his parents and their friends
as the adults
he's a nice guy
who loves his wife
and feels bad when she gets a migraine
and gets irritated by her stubborn refusal to take medicine
and goes home to take care of her anyway
he's a nice guy
from a good family
who drinks beer
and isn't very tall
and doesn't put on airs
and has dark circles under his eyes
and looks women in the eye when he speaks to them.



his fingers are too thick.
he's a normal-sized man
i suppose
head in proportion to torso
torso matching legs
i've never seen his feet outside his shoes
so i can't speak on those
but overall
averagely average
his fingers
his thick
sausage fingers
no hair
one ring
it's the right size
the ring
it's not squeezing or constricting or smooshing finger flesh out on the top and bottom
but still
i can't look at his hands too much
i know it's wrong
but it kind of grosses me out.



she has twenty different laughs
and most of them
are full of mischief.
she has a little girl's smile:
it makes her cheeks get round.
it makes her eyes get all sparkly.
it takes over her whole sweet-smelling face.
she has an "ooooh!"
she has a "yes!"
she has a "you all did such a good job!"
this woman,
she will jjjjump, clap, talk a mile a minute;
i have seen her when she just couldn't be still.
this one,
she is like a child
in the best possible way:
she has a great capacity for joy.



she bitches to her friends
she slurps her lollipops
one in every color
and one that's rainbow swirl
and she smacks and licks and slobbers
as she bitches
about her life
in little bits and pieces
little pieces parts
this person that conversation those shoes
she spins it negative
she spins it in boohoohoo
she wiggles herself into a tight-fitting girdle of listen-to-how-bad-this-sucks
and all the while she sucks that sugar


worn out

i want to curl up in my granny's bed with clean sheets, two heavy quilts, and an afghan.

(my granny died 4 years ago; her bed is home to a fair amount of mouse poop; and the linens are all split between the grandchildren.)

no matter. i want what i want.


that smile you got

she's just trying to act right.

smile in the face of adversity
stand up for herself without being an ass
trust her gut
let kindness be the rule
make hay while the sun shines

all that shit.
i mean stuff.
all that stuff.
all that really valuable important stuff.

and that is why she smiled at you today
even as you were insulting her intelligence

you should thank her parents for that smile you got
without their voices in her ear
that moment would have looked very different.




i missed you so much this afternoon.
6 years, 5 months.
and still.
and still.

thank you for helping me hold my head up high.
thank you for reminding me how to act like who i am.
i have been needing you,
and you have provided.
i don't know where you are,
but i know you're here with me.

your oldest daughter



i am sick of things that beep and flash and ping and zing.
they make me tired.
and i think i would be much more pleasant if i weren't so tired.


i want to be her

she jumps right in. no parachute. no net. no call to daddy when things go kablooey. this girl is no joke. but she is laughing all the damn time. i've seen her. when she does the crazy shit, i've seen her. when she does the daring shit, i've seen her. when she does the smart but so fucking risky shit, i've seen her. and that's all well and good. but that's not why i worship her.

it's all about the things she says. the things she says that no one else will say. the truth. you should see this girl speak the truth. she says the good things, the hard things, the hilarious things. she shocks people. with the truth. and right now you're thinking that's pretty rare, but not so very rare. you're thinking you know someone like that, too. you don't. trust me. you don't. because / this truth-speaking girl / the amazing thing about her is that she speaks the truth with love. for real.



it is an effort
to look at you straight on
in the eyes
face to face
with an open heart
you may not realize
that i am having a conversation with myself
i am talking myself through this
yes, i am talking myself through without ceasing

small silent reminders
relax the skin around your eyes
let your jaw loosen
breathe in and out
sit up straight
uncross your arms
tilt your chin back up
blink without aggression
soft focus
look at this situation with soft focus
look at this moment with soft focus
by all means
look at this person
when you can and not before you're ready
with soft focus

i am having conversations with my father
my dead father
because of you
because i need to know
how to still be me
in the face of you
and he is helping me to remember

what i am doing now
is what i am doing now
no more
no less
holding this pen
waiting for a response
sitting in a chair
listening to sounds
saying words
turning my head
imagining myself:
/ climbing up on the table
flapping my arms
making ridiculous outsized bird noises
and seeing what you--
and everyone else in the room--
would do /

what i am doing now
is what i am doing now
no more
no less




i'm here.
i'm here.
i have been standing in this line for a long time, you know.
i don't want to appear rude, you know.
i understand that you may need a little latitude.
a little
for whatever is happening
with you
right now
you're a stranger
and i don't know you
and i have
after all
been waiting here in this line
well i am smiling right now and since i am a small person and since i am all friendly even when you're not and since i am being as gracious as i know how
you probably don't realize that i am about to snap
you might not be able to guess that i have had enough
are in for a surprise