The Difference One Day Makes
After-work reception and dinner
whatever you call it
I have to do it.
Everyone has to do it.
Last minute in the office
heel of my shoe
catching the hem of my dress
tears out a big line of stitches
Quick grab the stapler.
Secure hem. Yes now fine
but staples snag pantyhose
oh look a big run
all the way down the leg
I should have set them flat side in but
oops didn’t think of it and now it’s
too late and too late
for a nail polish fix
and besides don’t have any
try hair spray but
don’t have any hair spray
either. Never mind. Go
in a hurry
step in a street grate
keep moving but oops at it again
that cursed heel
it opts to stay behind
dropping out of sight and swimming
probably five miles out to sea by now
at least it can’t cause more trouble but
enduring a hobble to the ladies’ room
no fun. Buy a pair of flip-flops off a teenager
throw the pantyhose in the trash
staples scratch bare legs. Ouch.
Get rid of them. Borrow scissors.
Catering manager helps me
cut off the bottom of the dress
I fray it. I comb hair. I smile. I step
into the hotel ballroom full of
businesspeople in business attire
with all their heels attached but
forget it get to work
business cards are changing hands. Mingle and
stash the loot in the purse
a classy bag unscathed so far
when the waiter
pours the after-dinner coffee
he serves the purse
Substantial slug of dark hot sludge
shorts out phone
drowns loose change
floats business cards
Mop-up in process
as the dinner speaker
crawls her tedious way
never makes it her wrap-up words
truncated by the clanging fire alarm
I leave the building with the crowd
Clutch the dripping purse
What if today
had been Friday 13
From Unpredictable Hue, 2019.
While You Wait
You wait at the corner
wearing a sleeveless white dress
a size too small and in temperatures
ten degrees too cool for it to be
comfortable. Your pale bare arms
and legs stick out at odd angles
and are shaped too round or
too short. You glow in the overcast
of the rainy early fall early morning.
You flap a hand at the wet hedge
overhanging the sidewalk
but there is not space for two
at this corner. All you get
is a shower of left-over drops
flung at you and cold on
your pale grimacing face.
You scuff your foot on the concrete
your toes wet and sliding in your sandal.
that old familiar friend
to stand at your shoulder.
He waits with you. I was wrong
There is space for two at this corner.
From Clean Canvas, published in 2018.
I Believe You Can Say I Have Been A Timid Gambler
Dice on the mountain
cards in the valley
They’re taking some chances over there
I’m just a beer holder
bystander at the action
the guy under the waterfall
everyone else body-surfing the curve
with a whole lot of whooping it up, too
I got me some liver talk I’m not listening to
I still keep thinking
my number’s coming up
off and on
it’s occurring to me
maybe it will not arrive in the way I think
But why worry now?
No drinks on the sly!
Fill up this tub
and let’s put to sea.
His wife made his lunch
She had a careless hand
hundreds of pills later
the symptoms were very apparent
You haven’t answered my questions
said the police detective
What more is there to explain
Our family doctor
prescribed all manner of noxious supplements
to help get rid of the extra pounds
of husband. Which it did. A tremendous piece of luck.
She clapped her hands on a mosquito.
Good luck. I give you
this small charm.
is all it needs. Please, take it,
still warm from my hand.
(published in Pink Chalk, 2018.)
Haiku from a long time ago. I remember the bowl mentioned in #40.
When the old bowl broke,
What luck! I found a new one
Exactly like it.
Addled with the heat
My head swims; thoughts slip downstream
Right out of my grasp.
One long rope of rain:
Cloudburst, roof gutter, drainpipe,
Curb stream, underground
Three times the nest filled–
That one on the ledge. Three times
We said a good-bye.
Muggy, close, gray day –
Still summer. But, the crows cry
And a few leaves fall.
From the collection Catch Up With Summer, published in 2015.
The accidental meeting
in the sense that
avoiding a catastrophe
was the result of it
but it was still an accident
left injury in its wake.
that brought it all about
has now gone on its way
to influence others
while we are left here
to clean up.
Opportunity has knocked
us down, I think.
Person watching a meteor fall. Postcard on recycled cardboard.
A collage poem from my collage poetry book.
were The dropped dinner plates a deliberate act
And it’s hopeless to try And replace them,
The photograph has casually slipped out of sight.
How could I remember the telephone number
I had not heard that alarm clock;
It was impossible to repair the radio
The spelling book And My briefcase had disappeared
all the while – chaos was going up in value.
being everything. I had to find a way out.
any ideas will be considered
A Twenty Minutes poem.
The snow falls
gently, quietly, without any fuss
tiny light flakes
and so many of them
They fall like luck
falls on a lucky person
on the spiky grass
the knobby tree roots
the dead flower heads
Even-handed and generous
nowhere left short.
“When it snows” – mail art postcard.