There was poetry in my gas station coffee, it touched my lips this morning and I sank into my seat. Construction on the freeway. Watered down, lukewarm coffee. Ten cents in the bank until tomorrow. Not my usual coffee, only the usual drive.

I'm heading toward the city, I stop short and some of the cofffee spills over into the lid. Stains on the white plastic outlined dark, the middle of those loose circles, light. I lick all the way around it, then suck the liquid from the lip. I sort of regret washing away the proof of life there. It's not always meant to be so clean. God bless you please Mrs. Robinson, heaven holds a place for those who pray. Hey, hey, hey. 

I'm humming, red lights, I sit and wait. I feel a smile come from my toes, rising, it rides up my spine, passing my heart, straight to my cheeks. I look at her in the rear-view mirror. We smile. I'm drinking my gas station coffee on a Tuesday. Here I am, she is here too. Look around you all you see are sympathetic eyes. Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home.

Someone bikes out into the street, timing his route to miss oncoming traffic. First one way, then the other. A daughter keeps snatching a cigarette out of her mother's mouth each time she tries to light it. People going to work, people out for a morning walk, people grabbing coffee, people with homes, people without. Laugh about it, shout about it. When you've got to chose, every way  you look at this you lose. 

I see a friend and wave, head into the garage and spiral up. Run up the stairs and type this. Sip the last of my gas station coffee and toss the cup.


Head in the clouds.

We stood out there in the rain because there wasn't a reason big enough to make us run for cover. We enjoyed the cool water soaking our clothes and our hair. The socks inside of our shoes. The taste of the air that day was full of life and that rain was just a sampling of it. 

Those clouds usually so high above us, we could touch them and the effect was grounding. 

Isn't it funny, maybe the most meaningful moments come along when your head is actually in the clouds? When you are connected to that vast wide open, usually blue sea of the sky, and the ground below feels so magnetic, charged almost. You can stick there. Right there. Not move. Let yourself get soaked. Let the water baptize you. Let the earth below support you. 

And watch everyone else duck for cover. They don't know that they have missed something magical. They don't care. But maybe next time, or the one after that. They will run out into the rain and let everything come to a balance too. They'll be lucky they did. 




Where do I go from here? I can’t stay in the warm, half on the floor now, perfectly messy sheets of yesterday. The pillows are all smashed down. So, I sit up, blink my eyes and step into today. I turn on the shower and let the water stream down through my hair, along my neck and over my shoulders, down my back and around my feet. I used to want to paint this picture, when I was in college. This image of my feet and the water, and the tub floor and the sun shining in the window and the birds singing outside. Morning. I bargain with myself, what are the chances I can just stay here for another five minutes, maybe ten. What about all day? An all-day shower.

I block the drain and start to fill a bath for my kids. They make their way in and I let them play and ease into the morning. Now I’m awake. Putting water on the stove to boil. Yelling into the bathroom, what kind of cereal do you guys want? Hannah changes her mind at least five times, so she usually ends up pouring her own. Then the blood is on her hands when she changes her mind exactly the second she is done pouring milk into the bowl. Too bad kiddo, you’ve gotta eat that kind now.

I pour hot water in the coffee press, indicating time is up. We all need to get out the door. Brush your teeth, spit most of the toothpaste out into the sink, get your shoes on, turn off the lights and please put your laundry in the hamper. I know when I get home tonight I’ll find wet towels on the floor by their beds. Ada, you still aren’t even dressed? Nice. I wonder what she’s been doing for thirty minutes, little time escape artist. Laying on her bed under a towel staring into space.

Otto is requesting to shoot some hoops before getting in the car, he runs out the door unanswered. I think maybe he doesn’t understand the concept of asking and telling. The girls and I are sitting there in the car watching him. He’s determined, just like he was yesterday and just like he will be tomorrow, to get that ball up high enough in the air. Half way there, bud.

I start the engine and he tosses his ball over the fence and climbs in. Here we go.



Goodbye to her rose colored glasses.

I'm above it all now. Looking down on what it was. Seeing through objective eyes. I see where I went wrong. Hindsight is watching video surveillance; when you could've walked away, chosen another path, made the "healthier" choice, that last bit of time ticking, adding up, before a disaster. But, instead you watch yourself walk into those last remaining seconds, the bomb has been set and it will leave you dead on the ground. The you in the video heads straight for the site.

My rose colored glasses got lost. In all that ensued they must've fallen off. I was too busy, fumbling, exiting the tail end of chaos to even notice. But they aren't here now.

When the bomb went off in the my lap my hands blew off, I know they were the first to go. My usual fists couldn't protect me anymore. I was vulnerable. My legs broke, blew to pieces. Dust. My heart shattered. Sharp shards of glass. My head floated away to protect my mind and my spine and two feet were all that remained on the ground.

At first, the shock must've settled me. I didn't make a damn move. I read and and re read the words my husband wrote, then I read them again. I tried to wake up from my nightmare but my eyes were wide open. Gaping wounds, evidence of the blast. I ran scenarios, damage control. How could any of us make it out alive? Who have you told? My instinct was to protect everyone else, to take care of it. Can you imagine? Two feet and a spine, trying to hold it together. 

I lost ten pounds that month.  

I ran into any open arms I could find. Some offered me parts to rebuild. Some took advantage of the scraps. Some gave me tough love. Some gave me easy love. Some took the dead parts and helped me bury them. Some witnessed me mourn, helped dry the tears or watched them flow. Some helped me grow new parts. Some helped me find the gold in the parts I would've left behind. Others left me behind. I left some behind too. And still, others stood to remind me that I am strong, beautiful and smart. That they saw me. I was once confident. Do you remember that Madison? You used to be so confident.  

My two feet and spine held fast. I know where I need to be, that was never a question. But I was exhausted, warn down to the bone.

Slowly, I stitched the pieces I had together and I took those pieces out on walks. I told them they were going to be just fine. Even when I was lying my non existent ass off. I grew this new woman. Full of holes, still vulnerable. I told her to keep walking through that snow, it was up to her knees and she was afraid. She tried to tell me it would get dark soon, turn back. I made her hike for seven hours that first day in May, not knowing how it would end. I came off the mountain and for the first time in a long time, I knew I loved her. I knew I'd have her back always and forever, I wouldn't leave her again. I'm so sorry I did.  

I loved her when she couldn't love herself. held her when no one was around. I was happy for her inches of progress when she was so afraid. I pictured her. I built her. I am her.

I am stronger now and I have a lot of work yet. But she can rest now. That girl I was. She can finally go to sleep. She didn't know she was walking to the site. She did the best she could. She loved with all her heart. She tried. 

She stayed awake and waited and she tried. She forgave and forgot herself in the process. She kept moving forward and I don't blame her anymore. She did the best she could. I forgive her and I am so sorry I wasn't there when she needed me. 

Her rose colored glasses are lost now and I'm not going back go look for them. 


Any and/ or all.

A gloomy, summer day; warm but gray. That lighting enters my mind in just the right way. It takes me into a rare void, one that excites and inspires me, I can tap into it. It feels like 5:00pm all day. I might be on my third cup of coffee by eleven, a notebook getting started, Huck Finn, underwear, wool socks and an unmade bed. I might take breaks to lay with my kids just to hear them breathe. Soak it all in.

Or early morning weekends and breakfast. Coffee and watching my kids play outside on the dewy morning grass and walks. Their imaginations taking them on adventures I can't see. But the sound is enough.

Or music, softly playing and low light, it's raining outside. The slow-motion rain. The kind with thick drops that come down slow. One glass of wine and a gentle touch. Loving eyes and a deep voice. A deep sleep.

Or gardening and slow-cooking. Enjoying a meal and a look. My kids, chewing the way they do, stuffing food in their cheeks. Taking a drink and letting the edge of the cup wet their cheeks around to their noses. Their swift tongues catching anything that tries to drip down their chins.

Or sitting on the floor, talking in slow waves. Playing a game. Bubble gum, bubble gum, in a dish. How many pieces do you wish?
Silence laced through all of it.


Kiss it goodbye.

My grasp on it stops as I let my fingers open, the last touch, the first inch of space between what I was and what I am. I'm atop a mountain and I have to leave a part of myself there.

If I carry it down I'll surely see that I must carry it with me everywhere.
But I am familiar with it. It is me, afterall.

Until one day it's not. It's nothing like me. It's only there because it was me but now it is just another thing I carry.

Sometimes it's good at blending in. I might not notice I carry it. Other days I know; goodbyes to the familiar are easy to delay.

But days come when I am atop a mountain and I get to hold it so carefully, look it right in the eyes, lift it into the air and stop my grasp, watch it drift away from me and kiss it goodbye.



Grief. It’s dark and it’s all-consuming. It's a fall off a tall building; the wind hitting me so hard I can’t breathe. Before I know it, I’m gasping for air but the tears are already coming and I am choking on those too. The emotions hit the same way I will when I meet the ground below. They hold nothing back and they go straight for my heart.

One minute I’m a walking, talking, human, the next, I am reduced to a crumpled-up paper bag. No air in me. My trunk and limbs are see through, my bones don’t exist. I could blow away at this very moment because what I had is gone now, forever. It just is. Sometimes we don’t get the closure we want. 

Foolishly at first I tried to think my way out of this free fall. I grasped for what I could on the descent. Some of those things slowed the fall, some sped it up. In either case, I kept falling. For a week.

And it hurts being here at the bottom. Crumpled garbage. When grief does its job, it leaves no part of you untouched. My heart is broken, I am broken, life seems broken. Life’s hit man just took a shot at me.

Will I make it out alive?
(Of course, I fucking better.)


How long does a dream live at home in the clouds?

Will I make it out alive?
I am a bird flying above.
Do you know how to love?

I am free.
Go back to fishing in your streams.
Save me for later, in your dreams.

Meet me in the clouds.
The dark storms rolling through,
the big white ones hanging happily in the blue.

I will be there for a while now.
And when I'm ready for the heat,
I'll take off my shoes and walk bare feet.

We can meet on some city block,
look in shop windows full of treasure.
It would be my pleasure. 

But what happens when a dream falls to the ground?
Don't shoot me out of the sky,
then leave me to die.