Sunday, June 25, 2006


Among wishes, I am your candle.
Among journeys, I am your road map.
Among losses, I am your lesson.
Among anger, I am your fist.
Among heartbreak, I am your clown.
Among deep forests, I am your breadcrumb.
Among the dying, I hold the ashes.
Among the hungry, I hold the bread.
Among Time, I count the minutes.
Among danger, I am your comfort.
Among delight, I am your mirror.
Among cold nights, I am your blanket.
Among eternity, I share your emptiness.
Among memories, we'll be forgotten.
Among regrets, I am your biggest regret.
Among regrets, I am the reason you have no sons.
Among barrenness, I am your wife.


Saturday, June 24, 2006


If she kisses me on both cheeks before her dry lips brush my hair.

If she takes my hand and pulls me to her table and places a cup before me.

If the aroma of chicory mixes with the smell of collards and snuff.

If there’s an open Bible on her lap and a cat under her chair.

If her eyes try to smile while her hands fiddle with her apron.


Why I Hated Victoria

Because her hair was perfect.
Because she refused to own a microwave and I couldn’t cook without one.
Because her apartment was filled with antique furniture, gilt-framed paintings and fine china.
Because I lived with dog crates, dust bunnies and a very large television.
Because she always had time for yoga, painting, writing, kayaking and traveling in and out of her friends’ lives.
Because I always seemed to be doing laundry and finding things other people had lost.
Because her father was a high school principal and my father was the town drunk.
Because she left the sofa bed unmade and alphabetized my spices.

Because my husband thought she was beautiful and blamed me when she disappeared for the last time up our too sharp drive, leaving only an orange bathing suit and the dregs of a difficult friendship.

All that is not prose is...

You awake from your wasted sleep in a strange bed and pull the strings of an escaping dream. It’s a waylaid cloud and wayward kite. A kitten one moment. A black dog the next. You shut your eyes against the encroaching dawn that drapes the walls of your cocoon and you are everything you see and everything you fail to see.

Oh My God!

This isn’t the first time you’ve pissed me off. That was a dirty trick, God. You gave me just enough talent to give me hope and just enough ego to make any failure unbearable. In other words, this isn’t fun anymore. You can’t tell me you didn’t do this on purpose. You’re up there is your divine LaZboy recliner just enjoying the hell out of watching all us mortals trying to be immortal, aren’t you? You tell me if I’m not right. I guess you have to do something to keep yourself amused year, after year, after year, after year…..

You let some of them come close, didn’t you? I know this isn’t the first time one of us has caught on to your crappy little game. What are you going to do? Turn me into a pillar of salt? Laugh if you like, but I’d like to be you for just ten minutes. I would reverse global warming, end war and cure aids. I know that would make Jan Phillips happy. Wait a minute. If I make the world perfect, that might mess up everything. As it stands now, I don’t have to do much at all to make a positive contribution.


Elegy for Daddy

(After hearing Mark Strand’s Elegy for my Father)

Did you love me best?
Sometimes. When it was convenient.
Did you love me best? I loved you as well as I could.
Did you know you were going to leave? I was never really there.
Did you know you were going to leave us? I was never really there.
Were you ever innocent? No one is innocent.
Where you ever innocent? Sin is in the eye of God. I spit in that eye.
Is there a God? Why do you ask me?
Is there a God? I am God, now.
What is in the box? An empty box in an empty box in an empty box in an empty box in an empty box.
Why did you leave us? You will understand someday.
Why did you leave us? You will never understand.
Who did you love best? Myself.
Who did you love best? You are my daughter. My true daughter. And I always love you best.



I sent the agent the package in April and immediately began looking for a response. Weeks passed. I heard nothing. I'd began to wonder it she was ever going to get back to me when I found the thick envelope in my mailbox. It wasn't good. The kindest thing she said was that while she didn't usually like prologues, mine really grabbed her. In her words..."unfortunately, it went downhill from there." She did say I had a great voice "but the writing is trite and full of clichés" and "reads like a first draft."