Posts Tagged ‘180


Chunky Air

I was vacuuming the kindergarten room
When the asthma attack began.
The doctor would say “mild to moderate” but then they’re not his lungs.
Maybe I should have anticipated…
I’d been coughing off and on for an hour.
But the last was in the spring of 2005
And I’d been walking fast on the side of Mount Hood.
Tonight I was just vacuuming.
You know, pushing the Kleen-Queen around the floor.
Hearing my own thoughts, at last, and an occasional wheeze.
Five minutes later, I’m leaning on a mop handle
Trying to breathe chunky air.
I don’t know what brought it back.
Maybe the difference in climate between classrooms is getting to me.
Maybe working 7½ to 8 hours with a fifteen-minute on the clock break- not a lunch- is getting to me.
(Yeah, it’s illegal. But it’s letting me pay the rent.)
Maybe it’s the stress of knowing I only have two sick days left
And, if I want that better job in two weeks,
I’d best not take them.


My Dover Sole Is Patched And Frayed

My Dover Sole is patched and frayed-
A melancholy bit of fish.
Five Sundays saw them bear it forth
From walk-in fridge to chafing dish

Now on the crowded table it waits
Praying not to see a sixth
While dishes empty on either side-
Cheesy potatoes, Eggs Benedict.

Release takes unexpected form-
A swift intake of breath, a sneeze.
The patrons notice little
But each one’s fate is shaped by these.

I’ve always heard one thing that makes Emily Dickinson’s poems distinctive is they can be sung to either “The Yellow Rose of Texas” or “Moonlight In Vermont“. I used Miss Dickinson’s poems as the model for this one. Try singing it. Did I get it right?



When I saw the young men, dressed in black and mounted on bicycles, from the opposite side of the intersection
My first thought was that they must be Mormon missionaries;
Who else but someone with a mission from God would be riding in such a downpour?
I figured they’d been sent to ask us to turn away from our sins, to repent so God would stop the rain from falling some time before we reached the forty days/forty nights mark.
As we drew closer, I saw they were teenaged boys wearing black hoodies, riding unhelmeted and unhatted
With no protection from either the weather or the dangers of the road
And instead of being on a mission of redemption
They were splashing at high speed through the inches deep puddles along the roadside bent on a reckless quest for air, water, and thrills