Sunday, August 31, 2008


You thought that befriending me might improve your relationship with my brother. He did his things in spite of me; our friendship gave you no advantage. But it did calm the waters for this freshman swimmer.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


One summer, you and me and she and him and some cockroaches lived in a sublet near Sorrento's in the Fenway. I was proving brief independence. I don't know what the 3 of you were doing.

Friday, August 29, 2008


My father tackled house repairs with you by his side and scotch in his glass. Our plumbing was wrapped in electrical tape.

At every party you fell asleep with your glass perched on your belly's roundness.


In the cold green night grass of the backyard, we watched and listened to the game of tag. Waiting, unsure and waiting for first contact. Finally, a dry peck on the cheek before joining the game.


There are moments when I wish I hadn't already written about someone because they are in my mind and I've more to say about them.

Rob is a poet, and that piece has lain dormant for years. Yesterday, he wrote for me and it was lovely and easy to read- not rusty and not the poetry of a boy who struggles or shocks or grieves.

This is a poem Rob introduced me to about 15 years ago.
I gave him the persimmons, swelled, heavy as sadness,
and sweet as love.
Phrases still run through my mind and I think it's delicious:

In sixth grade Mrs. Walker
slapped the back of my head
and made me stand in the corner
for not knowing the difference
between persimmon and precision.
How to choose

persimmons. This is precision.
Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant. How to eat:
put the knife away, lay down the newspaper.
Peel the skin tenderly, not to tear the meat.
Chew on the skin, suck it,
and swallow. Now, eat
the meat of the fruit,
so sweet
all of it, to the heart.

Donna undresses, her stomach is white.
In the yard, dewy and shivering
with crickets, we lie naked,
face-up, face-down,
I teach her Chinese. Crickets: chiu chiu. Dew: I've forgotten.
Naked: I've forgotten.
Ni, wo: you me.
I part her legs,
remember to tell her
she is beautiful as the moon.

Other words
that got me into trouble were
fight and fright, wren and yarn.
Fight was what I did when I was frightened,
fright was what I felt when I was fighting.
Wrens are small, plain birds,
yarn is what one knits with.
Wrens are soft as yarn.
My mother made birds out of yarn.
I loved to watch her tie the stuff;
a bird, a rabbit, a wee man.

Mrs. Walker brought a persimmon to class
and cut it up
so everyone could taste
a Chinese apple. Knowing
it wasn't ripe or sweet, I didn't eat
but watched the other faces.

My mother said every persimmon has a sun
inside, something golden, glowing,
warm as my face.

Once, in the cellar, I found two wrapped in newspaper
forgotten and not yet ripe.
I took them and set them both on my bedroom windowsill,
where each morning a cardinal
sang. The sun, the sun.

Finally understanding
he was going blind,
my father would stay up all one night
waiting for a song, a ghost.
I gave him the persimmons, swelled, heavy as sadness,
and sweet as love.

This year, in the muddy lighting
of my parents' cellar, I rummage, looking
for something I lost.
My father sits on the tired, wooden stairs,
black cane between his knees,
hand over hand, gripping the handle.

He's so happy that I've come home.
I ask how his eyes are, a stupid question.
All gone, he answers.

Under some blankets, I find three scrolls.
I sit beside him and untie
three paintings by my father:
Hibiscus leaf and a white flower.
Two cats preening.
Two persimmons, so full they want to drop from the cloth.

He raises both hands to touch the cloth,
asks, Which is this?

This is persimmons, Father.

Oh, the feel of the wolftail on the silk,
the strength, the tense
precision in the wrist.
I painted them hundreds of times
eyes closed. These I painted blind.
Some things never leave a person:
scent of the hair of one you love,
the texture of persimmons,
in your palm, the ripe weight.

-- Li-Young Lee

Thursday, August 28, 2008


You took a cab home alone while I stayed behind for the very first time. But, I paid your way.

Later, I was all wrapped up and cut myself off. I've since tried to find you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


We were joyriding near the shore on the Cape, beach bound. Rounding a corner, with music and voices blasting, a burial was underway. Still, I wonder what it meant to them to have their somberness interrupted.

Monday, August 25, 2008


You joined with my brother's abuse. Whipping me with a beach towel- a fish hook snagging my inner thigh.

Even now, when a towel whips, alarm is immediate, "There could be a fish hook in it!"

Sunday, August 24, 2008


You invited me to the prom, but I brought an era defining date from away. You were shyly funny and we might've had awkward fun. Once away, I sent you a birthday card and we wrote.


I was all about the letters freshman year. I got to know people I hadn't known though I'd seen them every day for years. I got to break away a bit from who I was in the hallways.

And it's a little bit like my relationship with social media now- getting to know people through GNMParents that I've never met. Re-connecting with people on Facebook that I've known in other lifetimes. "Talking" on the (severely neglected) wiki with newish friends (who, by the way, I miss).

Bits of all previous relationships have rolled into the snowball that I am now. But I am different then I was and the same as I was and my relationship with the world- in and out of social media- in and out of previous relationships- in and out of my current reality- help shape my outlook.


What website were you at prior to coming here today? Or, what's a must read for you?

Thanks for popping in today.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Dear young lifeguard,

Thank you for reaching Lucy a moment before I did.
She's a good little swimmer, but she strayed too far and panicked.
She clutched me and I her.
And then- we swam.



Friday, August 22, 2008

36x365x77: the cheating verse

You. Driving to the Burning Man as I write.
You. Thought you'd be dead by now.
You. Full of passion even when it's disguised by the weight that can't define you.
You. Always our best man.

Today is my good friend Matthew's birthday. He is an integral part of my life. I hold him dear. I hope for him, worry for him, pray for him, but mostly I am thankful for him.

You made Lucy a beautiful quilt. The kindest thing you could have done. Your warm embrace holds our family tight and neither time nor distance will ever diminish that. But we miss you just the same.


Happy birthday, Maffy. xoxo

Thursday, August 21, 2008


We stayed up all night after graduation talking, listening, leaning, sharing. Freshman year we wrote and you called. Just before electronic mail.

Now your face is a vague blur and your last name is completely faded.


Email me if you can help out with a name here. Next stop? The dreaded yearbook. Please save me from that. Please.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I cannot imagine your day to day. Though married, I think you parent alone. I don't question your desire to work outside your home. Is it nature or nurture? All of your children are simply exhausting.

Monday, August 18, 2008


On the narrow roads winding around Depot pond (near the Lapidary), you let me drive your old Mercedes. You said if I looked at the side of the road I would steer there. You were right.

I saw Mamma Mia tonight. It was the hokiest of hokey and Pierce Brosnan... eschh. The pain.

In the hours leading up to the movie I was on the beach in Scarborough. I swam, walked and read a book that was mostly about girlfriends. I was alone. The sun was warm, the water cool and the people fun to watch. Did I mention that I was alone?

So, I think about friendships. About building and maintaining them. About bridging distance and time and connecting in an honest manner.

And I think about mothering. About building bases and maintaining them. About allowing distance and taking time and connecting in an honest manner.

And I think about spousing. About giving and taking time. About giving and taking and connecting.

What's the last movie you saw in a theater?

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Can you be light and airy all of the time?

What happens at home when life is heavy?

Who do you call on when you seek support?

Have you completely recovered from being hit?

Eat, eat.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


You scooped up my 12 pound month old babe, saying, "We'll be back." You brought him to meet other nurses. Only slightly freaked, we loved you for it.

Later, we saw you at the Statler Brothers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


You have the pitiful potential to become an utter jock jerk. Displaying your strength and your abilities at the painful peril of your opponent. I hope you won't be the one shoving freshman in the lockers.


So, how are you? What's new in your world? What did you have for dinner tonight (last night)?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Everybody's friend, everybody's (drinking) buddy. Late to bed and early to rise- you worked hard and lifted your full glass often.

You were not partner material and left broken spirits and deflated confidence in your wake.

Monday, August 11, 2008


You kick my ass at the gym.

Aidan said: Mom, next time I want you to snuggle with me after you've been to the gym remind me to smell my dirty socks.

Other workouts seem silly.


Tonight I didn't want to go to the gym. I was in a beaten tired wasted stupid mood. I sweat a lot of it out and only a shadow remains. Only a shadow.

Tomorrow will be purposeful.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


We're joined by marriage not blood, we choose friendship. Sharing, helping, leaning, asking, offering. understanding, doing- for each other.

I'm protective and sometimes pushy because I hate that you hurt.

Because I hate that you hurt.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


We lived together at the start of 2 years. Friends.

You married to live on an army base.

Later you divorced.

You remarried and I met him.

Later still you divorced again.

You're working on 3.

Friday, August 08, 2008


You pulled strengths from an insecure freshman, said things to ignite the flame. I was suddenly a writer and smartly insightful.

I wasn't uniquely talented, but one of many.

You were a great coach.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Though you were a good friend, you wouldn't come to our wedding without a date.

When I announced the birth of my first boy in an email, you replied to all referencing the size of Rob's-

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Though he's the "life of the party" I look for you now and am never disappointed by the softer humor. You're kind, controlled and careful in your manner and I'm so glad to be your neighbor.


Do you ever wish you could sit with the girl you were before you were a woman? Or even now, to sit across the table and listen to the answers and watch the language and provide comfort? To offer guidance and answers and an occasional smack in the head?

Did you think that this is where you'd be and this is how you'd feel about it?

I didn't.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


I had a one of a kind haircut in high school and you asked who had done it. You walked out with the same style and I was crushed. Still the best cut I've ever had.


I just looked at the 10 day forecast and all but 1 day calls for rain. Rain is to August what snow was to February. Blech. I am bummed. This will call for some serious creativity to enjoy such a dreary almost end of vacation.