On Being Single

I’m in a relationship with myself,

and while some people think that it’s hell, I know very well

that it’s not. Because No, I’m not distraught

to be caught by myself anymore.

Just me, on the floor, my thoughts galore.

I’ve learned to be calm, acknowledge my qualms,

but not make them into bombs.

I understand my lows and highs,

the shape of my eyes, and how to prioritize

what I need. No, it’s not greed to succeed

in discovering me. That I love do, re, mi,

sitting under a tree, and finding the key

to a song. By myself, I am strong,

and it’s okay to prolong a relationship

because before I belong with someone else….

I need to love the three:

I, myself, and me.

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The broken pen

The purple petunia plant was

yanked

out of the dark brown earth.

Its petals

fell

and

drifted

away,

near the blacktop.

A girl runs to the

grassy yard

—but—

on the way, she

steps

crushes

presses

the smallest petal,

pushing it into

the asphalt.

Cracks appear, they

split

fracture

sever

the petal.

The purple bleeds,

staining the asphalt

a shade of

sangria,

all of the ink

spilled around

the broken pen.

 

Grandma’s Bread

Clouds in the sky are not as fluffy

as Grandma Bert’s homemade rolls

when she mixes

the flour

the yeast

the salt

the warm olive oil.

No, the washing machine

does not receive

the attention

of the secondhand bread machine

she found at a yard sale

so many years ago.

Today I am far away,

I can’t pop by Lakeview Drive

to answer a craving

and see the dusted-white apron

hanging on the coat hook

in the bathroom.

No, I only enjoy the

salty

buttery

flakiness

if I happen to dream.

But last night

they were whole wheat.

Grocery List

You walk to the store, list in hand. Eggs. The bright artificial light from the new Walmart hurts your vision. Milk. Your eyes close as you remember the old local grocery store. Bread. When you were six and momma sent you without a dollar in your hand, but Max and Janet said go ahead take what you need you’re okay you’re okay you’re okay. Pepto bismol. You were fifteen and hungover, but they still comforted you as you threw up all over their shiny plastic tile floor. Toothpaste. “When you get out of this town,” they told you, “you need to look like you can belong.” They slipped an extra tube into your bag that day. Stationery. They gave you cards. Letters. Learning to say Thank You Thank You Thank You for everything. You crumple the list and slowly sit, swollen feet resting on the parking lot pavement. How can you stay here as a mother in this fading fading fading town