Category Archives: Leave-taking

Two Poems from a Night with No Moon

This Night is Broken

With all of its sounds
spilled out,
someone else’s sounds
echo around it.

The space inside of it
is broken, too.
Only the constant rain
seeks to fill it.


Falling Practice

Twice on the stairs last week
and once in the kitchen.
Lately, these falls
have been coming in threes.

Tonight in the dark, I tripped
over the low metal bench beside the hot tub.
Then a loud bang sent me searching
to find the heavy husk fallen from the palm tree.

I do not venture out alone again,
but sit on the patio
in the light of my laptop,
hoping to escape the third fall.

Your face on the screen turns green
from the reflection of the string
of Chinese lanterns
as we succumb to hard truths.

I fell in love with you so quickly,
but even all these falls
have not taught me how
to fall out of love with you.


The Prompt: Howl at the Moon—“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” — Allen Ginsberg  Do you follow Ginsberg’s advice — in your writing and/or in your everyday life?

The Daily Post Snapshot Stories: Hair Washing Day

The Prompt: Open the first photo album you can find — real or virtual, your call — and stop at the first picture of yourself you see there. Tell us the story of that photo. (Note: Although I’ve posted this picture on my blog before, this was the first photo in my album, and since I’ve never told the story, I’ll do so now.)


Hair Washing Day

The phone was on a party line.
The leg, the robe, the hair was mine.
The chair was from our dining table.
I’d called as soon as I was able
with all the news that had occurred
since last we shared a private word.
Though my friend lived just two houses away,
my mom had had to break our play
so she could wash my dirty hair.
Take 15 minutes (how did she dare)
from “Cops and Robbers” or playing store?
Washing hair was such a bore.
First to take my clothing off,
barrettes and rubber bands to doff,
a chenille robe to cover all
my nakedness, and then the crawl
up on the chair to lie upon
the kitchen counter. My efforts done,
it was my mother’s turn to work—
to wash my hair without a jerk
or pull to create whines and tears,
avoiding water in the ears
and soap in eyes and water squirts
on ceiling, counters, shoes or shirts
of family who might gather there
to watch my mother wash my hair.
Then, trials done, my friend to phone
for all this time I’d been alone.
Without her fine complicity,
life had too much simplicity.
No imaginings or plots.
No hide-and-seek on empty lots.
No bike rides up to Mowell’s drug.
No comics on the bedroom rug.
No love letters to steal and read
from older sisters—that evil deed
we both adored and did most often.
No trumpet vine pods to peel and soften
in the sink to make our boats
for potential rainy season floats
down ditches swollen with summer rains
No paper dolls or paper chains.
I’d been away from my friend Lynn
for fifteen minutes! It was a sin.
So I’d called to say I’d be right over
to search with her for four-leaf-clover.
And tell her all I had to tell
since mother rang the “come home” bell.

NaPoWriMo Day 30: Ciao, Adios, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

Ciao, Adios, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

To NaPoWriMo we must say
a fond “Goodbye” on this last day.
I‘m able to, for I have found
the strength to say it the whole world round.

When I was young, I traveled far
from Germany to Zanzibar.
Australia, Bali, France and Spain,
to Africa and back again.

And though I mostly loved them all,
from Venice to the Taj Mahal,
as my departure time grew nigh
I had to voice a sad goodbye.

To Ethiopia I strayed.
For eighteen months I stayed and stayed;
and when I had to leave too soon,
I had to say “dehena hun.”

In college days, when I was young,
German was my foreign tongue;
but when to Frankfurt wir mussten gehen
I just remembered, “Auf Wiedersehen.”

The French were rude and cold and snotty.
They mocked my accent and were haughty,
so while I had to bid “adieu,”
I’d have preferred to say, “pee-ew.”

Florence thrilled me from the start.
Their lasagna is a work of art.
When I left, they all said, “Ciao.”
Their kitties, though, all said, “Miao.”

I never went to Israel
but nonetheless, I’m proud to tell,
the rabbi books? Read every tome.
So I know how to say “Shalom.”

Though “Arigato” is bound to do
when you want to say thank you,
Sayonara” is the way to go
to bid farewell in Tokyo.

Bali’s full of dance and art
that treat your eyes and fill your heart.
I must admit, I had a ball
before I said “Selamat tinggal.”

Mexico was saved for last
And now I fear my lot is cast
Since “Adios” I cannot say,
I’ve decided I will stay!

(for the sake of pronunciation, I have taken the liberty of adding an extra “e” to “dehna hun.”)

You might have already guessed that on this last day of the NaPoWriMo challenge, the prompt was to write a farewell poem.