Decima Cut Short


Decima Cut Short

at 8 a.m. I checked my phone

they sent us in to substitute

in classrooms of our institute

on the front line of this war zone

in my mind there flashed 4 gravestones

4 bus drivers dead of Covid

people’s fathers, their beloveds




when your thyroid sleeps

all of your underwear feel 

like they’re on backwards 

when you’re growing old 

all of your body parts feel 

like they’re hitching south 

when you’re wrinkling up 

all of your mirrors whisper 

there may be stray hairs 

when you’re standing up 

all of your knee and hip joints 

clash in a gang fight 

when you’re lying down 

your brand new CPAP machine 

waves a bleached white flag 

when your gray hair rules 

all of the rest of you knows 

you’re overshadowed




Playing with Ollie

He knows how to count to three

Fetch the ball, Ollie! 

Guilty as Charged


Guilty as Charged

September 5 – 

I did it. 

I’m guilty. 

I early decorated. 

The Dog Days’ 

heat of summer

have me craving 

fall’s arrival. 

Those crisp mornings,

those soul-soup yearnings

and cozy flannel feelings.

So I brought down the 

pumpkins and wreaths, 

fluffed the table linens,

unfolded the quilts,

and assembled the centerpiece.

I diffused the clove-blend oils

and ordered Welcome Fall gifts

for family on Amazon ~

aprons, teas, books, 

and college football team jerseys

      for all the Schnoodles.

I made hot spiced tea

and fixed hot chocolate.

I cleaned the pumpkin bread

pedestal plate. 

And then I lit a candle

and pretended it was fall,

basked in the hygge.

But I won’t decorate for

Christmas in October, and

when I do the math –

calculating the first day of fall

on September 22, 

I’m 17 days early…..

which is over a month late 

by modern decorating standards.

I stand guilty as charged, 

refusing to budge. 





ornery, sensitive

zooming, tug-of-warring, bullying

howls when phone rings



transcendental, possessive

pawing, lap-snuggling, begging, 

fierce hunter of lizards



playful, intelligent

fetching, greeting, sniffing

no paper shredder needed





that feeling: when you’re

content in your surroundings

nothing is desired

Labor Day weekend 

no place to go, relaxing

slippered feet propped up

Mississippi roast 

in the slow cooker, dinner

ready at seven

three dogs chewing treats 

from rescue to royalty

spoiled in every way

husband on the Deere

out mowing the funny farm

smell of fresh-cut grass

comfortable chair 

reading a series of books

fragrant candle glows

afternoon sunlight

hazy beams stream through windows 

can time just stand still? 

The Fig Tree


The Fig Tree

I bought a little 

three dollar clearance 

turkey fig twig 

from the scratch and dent 

plant cart at Home Depot 

a decade ago 

today, there is no sign 

that it was ever 

the runt of any litter –

it stands tall and yields 

an abundance of tender fruit

it simply needed time and space

and nurturing

the fig tree at Denise R’s house 

down Pinckney Colony Road

not far from Salk’s monkey farm

smelled of fermentation 

stood tall and took crews 

with ladders to pick its fruit 

I was a fig picker once at that tree

My young daughters picked

from my mother’s tree and

took to the kitchen  

making strawberry pigs 

and licking spoons 

after dipping the  

homemade preserves 

into freshly-boiled mason jars

as they canned time and memories 

in jars and sealed them tightly 

with a pop-button lid 

this once dispirited

Charlie Brown fig tree 

that stands more like 

Wonder Woman today

conjures welcome memories 

but more than that –

it beckons more 

canning of precious 

family memories 

while there is time

Monkey Farm:

Morning Greetings


Morning Greetings

whole grain oatmeal 

cooked to perfection 

topped with berries 

maple syrup-drizzled 

half and half doused 

hot spiced tea steaming 

a welcome way 

to greet the day