Wednesday, December 12, 2018


                                       Night Sweats

You are having a difficult time.  A difficult time cumming, that is.
Your orgasm is a peach pit stuck in the throat, an unclaimed suitcase spinning lonely on the baggage carousel.
But you’re not a quitter, never have been, so you play piano across your clitoris, “The Four Seasons,” “Bolero,” “Rhapsody in Blue.”  A rash breaks out over your mons area, popping up like the heads of fire ants.  It’s no use, your vagina is a dead sandwich, a cold cut without condiments.
You have sanitized aids on hand by your sweat-damp pillow and the bed stand.  Some are household items, a couple that aren’t are still in plastic containers sans batteries.  One by one they get put to work, inserted or rolled around like legless amphibians.  One by one each fails to spark arousal.  Nothing happens.  Nada.  Cero.  Nada de nada. 
And now you’re thinking in Spanish.  Nothing could be worse.  You remember that night in Cabo, you a recalcitrant teen, sparring with Mom.  You’d darted off to the beach, the surf so loud it sounded like God trying to talk with his mouth full.
They came out of the dark, as if born by the night air, in secret, eggless, evil already fully formed.  Your struggles were as useless as the vibrator resting against your thigh right now.
You’ve only told three people.  Three men, now all exes.  Each would have been fine with it, with you, if you hadn’t handled it like a noose around your neck every time they touched you with their appropriately hungry hands.
You need a breakthrough, is what you’re thinking.  Your therapist said as much, even gave you the idea.  “Try to make yourself see God.”  Such an odd expression, she’d used. 
But now it makes you titter, the giggling ticking up with each breath until you are a monsoon of laughter, convulsing in frustrated joy for no apparent reason.
When, at last, it recedes, you notice how soaked the sheets are.  Your legs and toes are wet and trembling.  Out the window the moon is blinking through a thin sheet of clouds.  Without thinking, you stand up, wave and feel yourself smile.

Monday, December 10, 2018



You are busy reading the water. 
It knows things it shouldn’t.  It is always running away from you, like Jane that day after a fight about nothing. 
You are a woman, a mother, a maybe-wife.
You watch the waves pucker and curl over gray, clammy-looking stones while wondering what Jane’s path was, what she was thinking.  You wonder if anyone ever really knows someone else.
The rush of water sounds urgent and threatening, a stampede of brackish-green, racing rippled and parallel with the unseen wind.
Trees on the other side of the river lean and bend into each other awkwardly, like geriatric square dancers, like scarecrows wearing stilts.  Their branches tremble and shake.  Pinecone bombs drop and skitter off boulders underneath.
It’s all a dance of nature, stunning and frightening.
You inhale air smelling of spruce and sap, hold your breath, keep it caged inside your box of lungs until it feels your bones will snap.  Then whoosh.  Hacking, a grape-sized nugget of phlegm flying out of your throat.
A stump floats by, headless and legless, but about the size of a body.  You question your eyesight, judgment, sanity.  You question your ability to live fully in the present, to truly cherish the things you love while you still have them.
The river has been dredged a record seven times, the expense for the last two covered by you.  Even so, the men used exasperated sighs and would not meet your eyes.  “Please stop asking questions.  If we find something, we find something, and we’ll let you know.”
You don’t hear the car pull up shoreside, but you do feel Jane’s hand on your shoulder, a brush of skin, not a squeeze.  She seems a ghost, and more or less has been since it happened, rarely speaking a word.  Even the brief feel of her hand is colder than the river.
Jane takes a seat on the mash of dirt and pebbles beside you, though the ground is damp with tide foam.  She’s a gangly colt, all loose legs, getting too thin and gaunt.
She picks up a stone, checks its flatness as if for skipping, then tosses it back on the ground.  This is not a place for joy or pleasure, not even in the smallest dose.  
“I’m so sorry, Momma.”
She hasn’t called you that—Momma—in at least ten years.  Still, it doesn’t sound disingenuous.  Instead, there’s yearning and a wounded frailty in the word, the folksy title.  Momma, as in please, mend me.
“I miss him,” you say, short and clipped.
“I know.  I do, too.”
“He loves you,” you say, still unable to use past tense.
“He saved me.”
This is where you need to turn and look at your daughter.  This is where forgiveness is supposed to come in and supersede despair.
But you’re not ready yet.  There’s all this water to study, the way it gallops and hurdles to wherever it is water goes when it’s tired and finished.   
You point to a middle section where an eagle totters on the end of a tree limb reaching out of the water.  The bird looks uncertain, yet fearless.  The sun glints off its beak and pupils.
You both watch rapt until the eagle spreads and lifts and flies away.

Sunday, December 9, 2018


                  The Blurry Infinite

        I wanted to be there with you when the fog swelled, when your world turned into a blurry infinite, and the drop box you fell through curled its gnarled finger like a ready fix. 
I wanted to strap the jackals on my back, declaw that murder of crows constantly pecking at your bedroom window, burn them alive and show you they were gone for good.
I wanted to be the one to paint your toe and fingernails, soap the diaphanous bruises on your skin that only curious ghosts could see.
I wanted to count breaths with you, eat an entire sunset, coax the moon into singing for us alone.  I wanted to have your laugh ring in my ears for weeks.
Today, I wanted to tell you Happy Anniversary, see what the words did to your face, your shoulders and neck, but for now I’ll just say it to the ether and place the flowers on your empty side of the bed.