Thursday, September 23, 2021




the first day of fall

arrived late last night after

washing summer out 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Deep Clean Exhaustion

Deep Clean Exhaustion 

Windex the windows 
   Inside, out 
Tilex tiles
   including grout 
Murphy’s the baseboards
   and the doors 
   the wooden floors
Webster ceilings, walls
and fans
Load dishwasher
Scrub the pans
Vacuum rugs
   downstairs and up 
Change the sheets 
   make pillows fluff
Sweep the porches 
   front and back 
Scour the toilets 
   take out trash 
Shine the counters 
   Dust the chests 
Then sit down 
   and take a rest! 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Best Reason


The Best Reason

you are the one 
whose picture I keep pinned 
above my desk 
for days that I wonder
why I do this 

you were my best reason
for teaching  
1999: new student
bruised arms, far too thin
you stood 
in my classroom doorway 
with your grandmother 
holding her hand 

after she left school
you had a complete meltdown
began breaking pencils 
in triads with your bare hands 

so many broken pencils
scattered across the floor 

your speech was slurred 
you had tell-tale tics
I wondered 
about your story 
learned your grandmother 
was your angel 
a savior who stepped 
in and saved your life 
because daddy was gone and
mama had beaten your ears 
so severely with shoes 
that you could barely hear 

when I spoke 
you tilted your head 
at a sideways angle 
to put your one able ear 
in position to listen 

you took most of your lunch 
to your backpack 
to share with your siblings 
there wasn’t much 
with six of you 

I knew you were sharing 
even hungry yourself
I started slipping in extras 
for you to find later 

you were a child 
ahead of your years 
knew things your peers did not 
were the smartest student 
in the class 
Principal’s Honor Roll 
the kid in Coke bottle glasses 
who couldn’t hear 
whose smile brought tears 

and still does
when I look at that picture
of you and your grandma
smiling in the cafeteria
on Math Night 

you are the best reason 
that I kept teaching

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Boxing Ring


The Boxing Ring

I watch him 
from my chair 
as he saunters 
through the room
in no hurry 

he stops

his eyes lock 
on his brother
lying in his path 

it’s a stare down 
until one blinks 

he chins the floor 
front legs flat 
backside straight up 
tail wagging 


he pounces forward 
raises up 
like a Lipizzaner  

brother leaps sideways
nips at his heels 

oh, it’s on!  

they tackle 

freeze again 

stand up
on their back legs 
like two boxing hares 
two-foot hopping left and right 
front paws scrapping
in a full-force show 

until they hear the crinkle 
of the treat bag 
because Dad is leaving for work 

they come to attention 
straighten their haloes
sit like perfect angels
by their better-behaved brother 
until rewarded
treats in mouth 
they head off 
to three separate corners 
of the ring

when it comes to treats 

they don’t play 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Soap-Bubble-Other-Worldly OBE Haiku

Soap-Bubble-Other-Worldly OBE Haiku

I pinched my forearm
when the world became surreal 
but I was still here 

moments from my soap-bubble-
other-worldly view 

pressing on its walls 
floating lightly through the room 

“Heaven – All Aboard!”

wanting to follow 
the spirit of my mother 
through the pearly gates 

her death-rattle breaths 
like an elephant stampede 
drummed her procession 

and then she was gone 

we held hands around her bed 
and Dad said a prayer 

“thank you for the gift 
of Miriam ~ we have loved 
this angel on earth”

when my soap bubble 
burst, I plunged downward, a one-
winged insect spinning

Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Intruder


The Intruder

Life forever changed
the day the intruder
entered our house

I hid in a bottom drawer-
closed myself in-
and listened,
fell asleep 

I heard frantic voices
throngs of people 
in our house 
when I woke
a blinding flash of light
when the drawer opened

My aunt scream-cried
“She’s here!”

my mother rushed in
picked me up,
hugged me tight 
sobbing her relief

they called off the search
took me into the den
to prove I was alive –
   (for the moment) 

and there I spotted
the intruder 

all swaddled in a
blue blanket
in the arms of
MY grandmother 
like she was HIS.

The little brat. 

Friday, September 17, 2021




in the woods at night

the flashlight at dark reveals

unseen creatures’ eyes

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Staying Home


Staying Home

making decisions

loving mostly dogs only

not socializing

avoiding sickness

dogs don’t pose a grave concern

certain talkers do 

introvert’s Heaven

safe from political germs

practice prevention

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Family Fall Hygge Take 3

 Family feedback and fall feels continue in this communal poem! Today I added another family member’s ideas and changed some ordering. One daughter said the gain weight part was not Hygge, so that came out - she suggested replacing it with music. 

Fall Family Hygge Take 3

#maplesyrup #applestrudel

#popcornballs #snickerdoodle

#truckbedhayrides #openwindows

#festivals #townsquarescarecrows

#longshirt-leggings #cinnamonbroom

#comfysweatpants #knittingloom

#spicedcider #woodenspoons

#steamingcocoa #harvestmoons

#clovedorange #jeanswithboots

#acornsquash #harvestfruits

#chilipot #frontdoorwreath

#jack-o-lanterns #chatteringteeth

#frontporchcoffee #hotspicedteas

#bakingaprons #hotpastries

#chillymornings #pottedmums 

#warmingfires #butteredrums

#burlappumpkins #sweatereddogs

#pressednapkins #pecanlogs

#familygathers #crispredapples

#helmetsclash #pigskingrapples

#scentedpinecones #cozythrows

#potpourri #wool-sockedtoes

#boldredwines #cinnamondolce

#sweetwhiterieslings #footballgameday

#pruningbushes #burningleaves

#rakingpinestraw #heatreprieves

#localcraftbrews #pre-gametailgates

#grassstopsgrowing #restawaits

#rustlingleaves #roomyflannels

#naturewalks #cranberrycandles

#favoritemusic #fresh-bakedbreads

#bloomingasters #prayer-bowedheads

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Fall Family Hygge Take 2

This week I am writing a hashtag couplet poem filled with snippets of lists of my family’s favorite fall feels. My father grew up in Waycross, Georgia and loved the smell of burning leaves on his way to play football with the other neighborhood boys. One daughter loves the comfort of leggings and drinking cinnamon dolce, and a son loves jeans with boots and fresh morning air.  I invited them all to share with me their favorites and started the process yesterday. I’ll keep working with this throughout the week creating and changing hashtag couplets. What are YOUR favorite things about fall? 

Fall Family Hygge Take 2

#truckbedhayrides #openwindows

#festivals #townsquarescarecrows

#longshirt-leggings #cinnamonbroom

#comfysweatpants #knittingloom

#maplesyrup #applestrudel

#fallgardens #snickerdoodle

#spicedcider #woodenspoons

#steamingcocoa #harvestmoons

#clovedorange #jeanswithboots

#acornsquash #harvestfruits

#chilipot #frontdoorwreath

#jack-o-lanterns #chatteringteeth

#frontporchcoffee #hotspicedteas

#bakingaprons #hotpastries

#chillymornings #pottedmums 

#warmingfires #butteredrums

#burlappumpkins #sweatereddogs

#pressednapkins #pecanlogs

#familygathers #crispredapples

#helmetsclash #pigskingrapples

#scentedpinecones #cozythrows

#potpourri #wool-sockedtoes

#gourdsaplenty #fresh-bakedbreads

#bloomingasters #bowedheads

#pruningbushes #burningleaves

#rakingpinestraw #heatreprieves

#boldredwines #cinnamondolce

#sweetwhiterieslings #footballgameday

#localcraftbrews #footballtailgate

#gluhwein #weallgainweight

#rustlingleaves #ragquiltflannels

#naturewalks #cranberrycandles

Monday, September 13, 2021

Fall Hygge Take 1


Fall Hygge Take 1 

harvest wreath of wheat chaff

pine cone potpourri

multitudes of front porch mums

pumpkin topiary

leaf-stitched tapestries

gourds aplenty

hot spiced tea and cocoa

fall baking apron

pressed placemats and napkins

gold throw pillows 

crisp red apples 

cinnamon broom

white cranberry candles 

rag quilt flannels 

knitting looms 

burlap pumpkins 

wooden spoons 

apple strudel 

honeyed cider

cloved orange

acorn squash 

football tailgates 

chili pots 

sweaters dogs 

pecan logs 

buttered bread 

bowed heads

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Puckering Muscle


Puckering Muscle

they know something else

has been here when they all 3

pee in that one spot

fresh coyote poop 

this morning, persimmon seeds


the cunning culprit

sparked the puckering muscle -

4 pooped on the spot! 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Front Porch Conversations

Front Porch Conversations

sitting on the porch 

two potted juniper trees 

relaxing loveseat 

gardenia breeze 

wafting fragrance on the wind conversation scents

huge elephant ears 

hearing all our deep secrets 

shared over coffee 

jasmine vines climbing 

peering into the windows 

garden peeping toms

Friday, September 10, 2021

Decima Cut Short


Decima Cut Short

at 8 a.m. I checked my phone

they sent us in to substitute

in classrooms of our institute

on the front line of this war zone

in my mind there flashed 4 gravestones

4 bus drivers dead of Covid

people’s fathers, their beloveds

Thursday, September 9, 2021




when your thyroid sleeps

all of your underwear feel 

like they’re on backwards 

when you’re growing old 

all of your body parts feel 

like they’re hitching south 

when you’re wrinkling up 

all of your mirrors whisper 

there may be stray hairs 

when you’re standing up 

all of your knee and hip joints 

clash in a gang fight 

when you’re lying down 

your brand new CPAP machine 

waves a bleached white flag 

when your gray hair rules 

all of the rest of you knows 

you’re overshadowed

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Tuesday, September 7, 2021




Playing with Ollie

He knows how to count to three

Fetch the ball, Ollie! 

Monday, September 6, 2021

Guilty as Charged


Guilty as Charged

September 5 - 

I did it. 

I’m guilty. 

I early decorated. 

The Dog Days’ 

heat of summer

have me craving 

fall’s arrival. 

Those crisp mornings,

those soul-soup yearnings

and cozy flannel feelings.

So I brought down the 

pumpkins and wreaths, 

fluffed the table linens,

unfolded the quilts,

and assembled the centerpiece.

I diffused the clove-blend oils

and ordered Welcome Fall gifts

for family on Amazon ~

aprons, teas, books, 

and college football team jerseys

      for all the Schnoodles.

I made hot spiced tea

and fixed hot chocolate.

I cleaned the pumpkin bread

pedestal plate. 

And then I lit a candle

and pretended it was fall,

basked in the hygge.

But I won’t decorate for

Christmas in October, and

when I do the math -

calculating the first day of fall

on September 22, 

I’m 17 days early…..

which is over a month late 

by modern decorating standards.

I stand guilty as charged, 

refusing to budge. 

Sunday, September 5, 2021





ornery, sensitive

zooming, tug-of-warring, bullying

howls when phone rings



transcendental, possessive

pawing, lap-snuggling, begging, 

fierce hunter of lizards



playful, intelligent

fetching, greeting, sniffing

no paper shredder needed


Saturday, September 4, 2021




that feeling: when you’re

content in your surroundings

nothing is desired

Labor Day weekend 

no place to go, relaxing

slippered feet propped up

Mississippi roast 

in the slow cooker, dinner

ready at seven

three dogs chewing treats 

from rescue to royalty

spoiled in every way

husband on the Deere

out mowing the funny farm

smell of fresh-cut grass

comfortable chair 

reading a series of books

fragrant candle glows

afternoon sunlight

hazy beams stream through windows 

can time just stand still? 


  Rains  the first day of fall arrived late last night after washing summer out