September 8, 2017

The Hanging Man

I look at the bat

but he doesn’t look at me

it’s August 

and things are breaking.

I put an egg in a cup

my neighbor’s daughter gives me basil

I cry, with no reason or want.

Desire is dead,

and my arms hang by my sides

like two gently loosened threads.

I look at th...

April 22, 2016


Lovella June felt betrayed; she railed, accused my grandfather of cutting off her breast to get back at her for her adultery.


I know very little about my grandmother; she passed away when I was young. Lovella June had a temper; she smoked; and she drank. One story tha...


Having only months before

begun myself to bleed,

I know just what to do

when my two-year younger sister

wakes up to bloody panties

that summer we stayed at Grandma’s house,

sleeping in the big west-facing room,

lace curtains, shades drawn behind at night,

blonde furniture set...

My daughter’s name, Evalaine, was conceived well before she was.  Borne out of my desire to honor the past and press into the future, this portmanteau came to me during a bout of dreaming during one miscarriage or another. 


For Ev did not come easily, just as life...

My 82-year-old maternal grandmother, who I call Lola Ning Ning, is slowly dying from Alzheimer’s. It has been a steady decline for five years now. Fate dealt a cruel hand; my grandmother’s gifted storytelling is globally renowned, literally. As the young business woman...

April 4, 2016

It was on a Saturday in May of 1982 when my grandmother related to me her encounter with the owner of the roofing company after some long drawn-out problems with roof repairs.  Gram had refused to pay his workmen, insisting that he come and speak with her personally. S...

April 4, 2016

“It’s okay if you call me Hazel,” my grandmother says, pushing half an orange savagely onto the point of a juicer atop a mason jar. The warm liquid sunshine cascades into the jar to join the blood of its brothers. She tells me that you should always squeeze oranges at...

March 31, 2016

You didn’t cry

often enough

in your long life      

held back sobs

always saving


you never know

when it might be



At ninety-four

you float in your

salt bed

buoyant with tears

feeling pain no doctor

can diagnose

something seeps

inside you


March 25, 2016



As my mother stood in the vestry, just a few moments before walking down the aisle to marry my father, his mother appeared to share some advice. Had she not known her so well, mom might have assumed she was there to offer best wishes or some such nonsense, but Cather...

March 24, 2016

My grandmother, who does not recognize me, lives off cans of vanilla Ensure and honey buns in the nursing home. She makes faces like a six-year-old at peas and corn. Bread she hides in the folds of her gown, pretended eaten.


She asks, “Strawberries out yet?” A rare gli...

March 11, 2016



When my grandmother was 21

Her husband tried to kill her


My grandfather choked his wife

Until she blacked out

While my mother watched

Unable to move from fear


She loved my grandfather

And so did I


But I didn’t hear this story

Until he was dead


And my grandmother

Was thousa...

March 11, 2016



Did she read the newspaper?

Put nail polish on her toes?

Did she spend her Sunday

Busy with her chores?


Did she love grandpa?

whisper in his ears?

Did she learn the art

over the years?


What was her name?

I can't remember.

Did she laugh often?

I can't hear her.


She lives in me...

March 7, 2016



“You look just like my mother.” I’m sure this statement is pronounced on a regular basis to daughters throughout the world. It was a phrase I never heard until recently. My aunts and my mom started to tell me I looked like their mother, Ruth. Ruth and I never had the...

March 5, 2016

My grandmother worked for Bonwit Teller’s; we grew up receiving

gifts wrapped in thick shiny paper sprigged with violets, satin ribbons,

didn’t know they were samples, or bonus gifts from cosmetics

after a promotion was over, or even from Filene’s Bargain Basement,


March 2, 2016


Its inspiration was from the ripped Polaroid found in the back of the grey 1991 Beretta, used as a bookmark in Nana’s weathered Bible. It was the only picture Nana and Poe had taken together during their courtship. After his death, we were nearly destitute. Nana had t...

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