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I am three
and where’s Aunt Catherine? She’ll be
waiting at our home for me.


Mama’s with this new man
who came to call when daddy ran
away and left her crying.
Now mama smiles and

they take me far away
from the city where I played
by the old church where mama prayed,
but daddy never came.


And they bring me to this house up on a hill
with all these steps to keep the river back, he says. Still,
I don’t move. Then mama takes my hand and tells
me this is where we’ll


live, where we will sleep but daddy’s never been.
And where’s Aunt Catherine?
She’ll be waiting at our home.

Within Us.jpg

Mud Flap Blues



You dared me to make musical words

at the drop of a hat, or the flash

of your eye on the next unsuspecting object

in this rainy Saturday afternoon scene, beyond

the dripping-windows restaurant

where we linger.


I want to hold onto you, delay

the journey to my sister’s side.

I want to hold onto her, restrain

her steady departure. But she is sliding

from my grasp like a smooth glass of water

about to shatter into a thousand fragments of pain.


Through my tears I see your eyes

light upon the truck swimming into view

splaying urban mud in all directions.

I hear your gentle voice say mud flaps

giving me something to hold onto.

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