Saturday, January 19, 2013


There is a certain auntie.  Not a blood-aunt; no longer a marriage-aunt.  I seldom see her.  When we meet—lazing on the cushions in her sitting room, sipping tea on a gloomy afternoon, her triangular sandwiches melt on my tongue—we chatter away the hours.  Trifles blend with matters of great import; stories of long ago weave into one another.  Candles dance in their holders.  Rain-needles might tap on the windows.  The sandwiches slowly vanish.  More tea is poured in the cups.  The rain will cease in a moment; we then move from tea to mulled wine.   

The other aunts, their plastic smiles keep slipping off their lips, their questions I cannot answer as I shift in expensive sofas in their bookless living rooms.  Their sugary cakes burn my mouth; I sneak a glance at the clock, and politely refuse a second helping.  And each year the smiles further fade, and the questions are fewer and farther between; no replies are expected, really. 
      And other relatives are floating in the room.  Chitchatting about this and that, furnishing smiles at this one and that.  Engaging in acts of kindness such as offering napkins or a glass of water.  Like a rehearsal to a family gathering that never takes place, we each play our part.  And depart.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I am the one who gave too much, who loved too much.  I am the one who gave, and then gave some more; in hopes that the fallen will recover from their pains, their follies.  Calamities.  I am the one who gave to those who wish to be taken care of.  Cradled.  Rescued.  I am the one who gave to those who give little in return; who slurp the energy of others, ride the wave of their aspirations, profit from their endeavors.
         I am the one who felt guilty if thoughts of withdrawal even crossed her mind.  Who gave a second chance.  And a third.  The sufferers might recover.  Might reform.  Their selfish ways would turn benevolent, someday.  They will enlighten, open their eyes, and issue forth a wide smile.  And they will be someone to lean on in times of trouble, won’t they?
           I am the one who learned the hard way.  And one lesson was not nearly enough.  Buckets of ice water were splashed onto her face, again and again; by friends, family, lovers.  Even former lovers.  Even former lovers who were the ones to leave her.  

I am the one who no longer gives to those who merely take
I am the one who no longer gives without receiving her fair share

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

If a Tree (published in A New Ulster October Issue 85 October 2019)

If a tree falls in a forest, and no person had heard it, does it make a sound?
If a tree falls in a forest and no one heard it, would the fallen tree mind?
Would the nesting bird, seeing her offspring prematurely take flight?
Would the shrubbery beneath, burdened by the trunk’s weight?
Would the tree’s beetles, quickening away in a frenzy?
Would the alarmed herd of deer grazing nearby?
Or the brook, its serenity now disturbed?
And the beaver, its lodge upset?
And the sky above?
Would the sun?
The moon?

Saturday, January 5, 2013


It is best we were seated apart, she thought in relief; no more uncomfortable moments until the carriage ride home.  She took glancing looks at him.  He cuts a fine figure indeed, and seems a natural in his dinner suit; though, come to think of it, this might very well be his first time to be formally attired.  Overcome by a desire to trace his features her index finger moved under the tablecloth, tracing and retracing his face on her thigh:  His highbrows, eyes, aquiline nose, full lips, jawline.  Her finger kept moving, tracing the intangible lines, shadowing the skin where it fell away from the light, enhancing the cheekbones, adding detail:  The cup of his ear, nostrils, thick eyelashes, the hint of hair on his closely shaved head, the white glimpse of teeth; the sketch on her thigh grew bolder, darker, warmer, more corporeal.  The thigh on which she drew turned sensitive by the repeated movement; the skin tingled with longing.  Finally, the imaginary sketch was completed; her desire was satiated. 

[This is a segment from my novel, “From the Desert"]

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Miles of carpet
To the end of narrow corridors; I turn
To face waves of
Flooring unfold before me, an ocean
Of begrimed pink, washed patterns

I slither through the passages, swoosh by intermittent   
Side-openings; inside, limp workers in their cages silently
Gawk forward
Their pale eyes fixed on monitors

They do not notice me writhing by their thresholds, lint
Clings to my scales, small pieces of my flesh
Adhere to the coarse carpet; left behind as I
Hurry over the uneven surface.
The robotic sound of printers
Spewing out text-filled sheets, trails behind me


I carry on and turn a sharp corner
The pain is not important, now hurry,
Air is running out! 
I zigzag between occasional feet crossing the floor
They do not see me

I pause and wait in the shadows

The heavy door finally whines on its hinges
I narrowly escape
Its swinging weight, and up the stairs I scrabble
The cold of the concrete steps is easy on me now  

The roof.  At long last. 

Crossing the wide
Surface with a thumping heart
Peering over the edge to the street below;
Cars, pedestrians, voices, occasional sirens
Above, the sky.  Clear of clouds.  Here I can rest my
Lowly self, and drink
Delicious air, wishing for wings
To sprout out of this body
I lean over the ledge and steal
Another look down to the street before taking a
Leap over the rim, and then at once I
Am in the air, the wide-open air

Soaring to meet the gleaming skies