Poetry Break

I am tired tonight for no particular reason. Got up early to go in and do some work, so maybe that’s why I’m dragging (and by early I mean 7:30. It is summer after all). So allow me to post a poem and shuffle off to bed, if you will.

This poem was inspired by the title phrase, which I overheard someone saying on her cell phone in a Nordstrom’s restroom. I love it when people talk on their cell phones while they are in the stall (Oooh that reminds me of this awesomely disgusting behavior my friend and I witnessed in a movie theater restroom one time…I’ll wait to share that story though).

At Least She Got the House

She cleans the backyard pond,
scummed over
from the broken pump
he didn’t notice,

the umbrella palm
he planted grown so high
the tips
of each stalk dip

down into the sticky water.
Every broken doorknob,
rot of wood, defective fixture

bore his name, and she blamed
him each spring
while hacking
the ginger plants
running wild

against the crumbling slats
of their fence. He had loved
to build but not care for things,

and she still thinks of him
each time
she hears the steady
of a bathroom faucet,

or a fence slat
loosens, tipping
over in the yard,
like another little death.


Happy Fifth of July!

I post this poem every year. And by the way, I hate fireworks. They’re stupid and they upset my dogs, and where I live it’s legal to stand around in the cul-de-sac like a moron and shoot these idiotic explosives into the sky while simultaneously downing copious amounts of Natural Light and keeping the kids up way past their bedtime. God bless America. OK, I’m not actually this surly. I’m only partially serious. 

Fifth of July

The streets are sharded with bits
of confetti, petty patriotic explosions.

The neighbors are still asleep, tucked beneath
what’s left of the gray haze hovered over
their driveways, their skin singed with sweat
and sulphur. Backyard dogs react

to a distant siren, their howl like rust
on a chain-link gate, like sparks
from a blacksmith’s hammer.
When they are done, the dawn
is heavy with calm. Neatly numbered curbs

prop amber toppled bottles. Trash bags,
tarry-black, collapse on the grass.

One rubber sandal in the center
of the road, elastic casualty
of a manufactured battle, points
its open toes towards concession.

small stone 1 – returning


i am so thankful
for your open door, although i insisted
getting in through the window.

i am sorry
it is broken; sorry
i fell through clumsily only to find you
waiting inside so porcelain
and calm; holding out to me
a warm cup of tea.

i am sorry i still believe
that a stubborn December
can wind us down, that i am not faithful
in the firm foundation that has held
up all these years.

oh, and i thank you
for the tea.

on my latest journey
i did not pick
anything out for you –
there was nothing
worth carrying home.

Week 93 – New Poem

I actually managed to write to a prompt for the second time ever. And, I only had about an hour to write this the day before it was “due.” It was late, I’d interned all day, and I was tired, but I wrote it anyway. This is new for me, people. I used to believe I needed oodles of time & energy to write poetry. Now, to write good poetry, that’s probably true. But I managed to write something while tired, and under time constraint, that I don’t totally hate. So yay for me.

Week 93*

– Sunday

No money
in the offering. No one’s
offering. I pass

– Monday

Offering a service
that no one
is buying. No more
a few dollars & I
am that number, a minus,
a blunder. Remainder of
after subtraction

– Tuesday

In the refrigerator:
& garnish. Nothing
substantial. Zero
nutritional value. The making
of something from nothing

– Wednesday

The fuel gage E
like a three-
pronged fork
on its side, defeated
& stabbing at air.

– Thursday

The paper costs
money. Paper
for paper. Ink
for the printer. To
sadden the paper
with past. Smalled
to one page. Résumé.
Resume. Refused.

in a cornered heap
of Others.

– Friday

The mailbox key
is stuck. Like a needle
on E. Envelopes stuffed
like yellow lettuce leaves
in a Styrofoam box. In-

– Saturday

Everything’s done. The phone
doesn’t ring. No one’s
offering. Cut
off. No more
extensions. I’ve been

*93 weeks is the maximum allotment of unemployment assistance.

For the We Write Poems weekly prompt.