Before I go, I have something to say

Recent Posts

Winter Windows

Morning’s lemon sun draws me to the glass, until some frozen presence makes me step away, a draft like a warning breath from the east-facing kitchen window. A gnawing numbness grips my hand, and my body becomes a glass of jagged ice cubes, colliding underwater. […]

The Tulips are Doomed

The tulips are doomed, sitting ducks in tonight’s late frost, two feet tall and naked. Red as my mother’s Revlon lipstick, they opened shamelessly all day in the sun, but close tight now at twilight, succulent triangles cupping their deep black centers. Clustered unaware under […]

My Trip Advisor Badge

Hey, this is funny. I have a Trip Advisor badge. I think I’ve only reviewed two restaurants and one scenic destination, but I have over 5,000 readers! People must be flocking to the Credit Island bird sanctuary in Davenport, Iowa, all because of me. I […]

Packing to Leave Again

All up and down the block this morning, women are packing to leave. Getting down the smaller suitcase, emptying out half the closet and the upper dresser drawers, while their husbands sleep, sleep it off again, spent from the effort of keeping her in line. […]

Repair (The Good Fight)

Those nights we fight, sitting on the hard kitchen chairs, dinner bones still piled on our plates, there should be marks, sharp drops of blood matching my teeth, ripped fur bits flung beneath the table, evidence of hurt among the crumbs. That’s what I know […]


Now I know it all. Now I know I know your heart’s imperfections: left anterior descending coronary artery fifty percent occluded, right one nearly as bad. Aorta: distal, mild. Those petechial hemorrhages on the small and large intestines, they can’t hide from me now. I […]

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Headache

I Under my pallid forehead, The only moving thing Was the arc of the headache.   II I was of two minds, Like a head In which there are two kinds of pain.   III The headache drilled in the winter chill. It was an […]

My Time on the Sofa

That February the white sofa was my gurney, my plinth, my bier. Laid low by a headache no doctor could define or ease, sick to death of the bed upstairs, I stayed in my favorite reading place even though I could not read. The sun’s […]

God on the Head Pain Unit

Today God is a girl named Sarah with a headache. Her eyes are killing her. She leans in the doorway of the green room, where we wait to see the doctors every morning, the opposite of rounds but still that’s what they call it. Something […]

Describe Your Headache

When the doctor . . . asked me if my pain felt like pins and needles, I said: “No, it’s more like rubbing against a hot driveway impregnated with broken glass – ” and [he] . . . said, “Oh, right, you’re the poet.” – […]

Eating My Words

I am processing words for dinner, cutting sentences into juicy bite-size chunks, heaping them into a bowl, a casserole, a stainless steel vat, and putting them on the stove to simmer. I have dirtied every utensil in the house. Even the cherry pitter needs washing, […]


We opened up the unit when he died, revealing to the sun a poor man’s cache. This homeless man, who loved me once, or tried, kept all his treasure here, and all his trash. If he had known his end would come so soon, would […]


Piercing the juniper berry, I think of gin, that first swig I took in the kitchen with him. Lying on the floor, alone in the house for the night, homework done or unattended, we performed our own science experiment. If I lie down on top […]

Bread and Salt

Bread and Salt A one-act play Performed February 9, 2002 as part of “Responding to Terrorism,” a project funded in part by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs’ “American Spirit” grant program     Characters   April Madison – mid-30’s, dressed in a bright, ethnic […]

O Pioneers

“Tundra plants are fragile. Please stay on paths.” – sign at summit of Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park We drive up where the summer meets the snow, where tundra grows in view of mountain peaks. The cold is shocking, from a sky so […]

Soldier’s Heart

Soldier’s Heart a one-act play Third-Place, 2000 Dubuque International One-Act Play Contest   Characters:      Dana Sullivan, late 30’s — early 40’s Andy Kenyon, late 30’s — early 40’s   Year:   Early-mid 1990’s.   Setting:  Dana Sullivan’s living room.  Sofa, chair, bookcase, coffee table, stereo, […]