Thursday, August 22, 2013

Manatee Dreaming

Photo from the internet

     manatee comes from the word 'manati,' meaning breast
     in the Taino (a pre-Columbian/Caribbean tribe) language

So I'm driving home from the dentist
mouth aching     numb lipped
it's hot and tourists are everywhere
crowding in summer's last frenzy

on the radio someone's singing
Havana Dreaming--but my fuzzy brain
hears manatee dreaming because it's hot     
because I'm glum     because my lips are numb

and suddenly I'm there--
off with those monstrous looking angels
of the deep and we are cool
and placid in turquoise waters

not your fancy dolphin-types
leaping gaily into the air  
but solid      Midwestern sort
of creatures     no nonsense animals…

I remember once at an aquarium
coming face to face with one
only thin glass between
the wrinkled head and me   

and nose to nose we exchanged smiles
the small gentle eyes
seeming to know me
and she seeming happy

as if her life on display
were no matter
as if I were the one to be pitied
more than her and she would have

if she could  have      hugged me
to her great pillowy breast
and kindly told me all
I would ever need to know

Monday, August 12, 2013


Artwork by Nina, Henry, and Mimi
this poem won an Honorable Mention in a recent contest...

for David

We are cooking biryani
my boy and I, and drinking wine. 

Children of our blood
and dogs tumble at our feet, 

cinnamon, ginger and garlic
permeate the kitchen air.

Breathing in the fragrance
we share these happy hours

and I imagine a day when I am gone--
my boy an old man,

his long-legged daughter
whirling now about the kitchen,

coming home to him again
and pouring the celebration wine,

he'll understand--there are moments
         you wish could go on forever...       


Friday, August 09, 2013


Photo by S. Auberle

the orange dragonfly
thought I was a  bright flower
could it be--I am?

and so I spoke to it--"Mom, is that you?" as it swooped closer and closer to get a look at me.  I said "I'm okay, Mom" and over the wall it flew away...

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


Photo by S. Auberle

Today is the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.  In Japan there is a legend that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes a live crane will grant you a wish.  Sadako Sasaki, a victim of leukemia as a result of the bombing is a heroine to the children of Japan, who visit her memorial in the Hiroshima Peace Park to leave paper cranes they've made in her honor.

For Sadako, who never got to grow old…
born the year after me, who did.
Her beautiful bones stricken
by the atom bomb disease,
she was only two
when Hiroshima was bombed,
and though spared that awful day,
the poison lurked within,
and ten years later consumed her.

Only because I was born
across the world, did I receive
 the gift of growing old
and when these bones
of mine are ash, fling them
into the sky, into wind
and my beloved lake,
return them to earth,
let them make a tree.

Mix my ashes with Sadako
and all those who have died
and are dying every day,
in our still-misguided
attempts at ending war.
Blend me into that soul
waiting to be born, the one
who will finally  bring peace,
for until we learn, there is nothing--
not even a thousand cranes--
that can save us now.