Two Words

Only two words
So small
That I should say.
I know how much you need to hear them.
I can see it in your eyes
So full of pain
The hurt that I caused.
Oh, I am well aware.
You just don’t know it.
These small words
Are bigger than you realize
(To me)
And they are stuck.
Trapped by my stubbornness
My pride
My own self-doubt –
All large enough to trap
Two little words
And keep them from escaping my lips.
So you are left to read my mind.

Two words are all you want.
Not flowers or flirtation,
Playful charm
That ought to show love
But really
Only attempt to distract you
From the issue at hand.
It never works,
Yet I try it every time.
Until finally
I come to realize what I knew all along:
While my pride matters to me
Your feelings matter more.
So I move it all aside
And say it.
I’m sorry.
Then all is well.


Perhaps it is my womanhood
Makes me this way –
Ready to cry at any moment.
I know I’m too young for
The Change.
And I don’t feel anything changing anyway.
Just staying the same.
The same pain,
More like a dull ache.
Like arthritis, I guess;
But instead of my joints,
The ache is in my heart.
Like a quiet gnawing at my soul.
Anything can start the tears
That don’t quite flow,
But stay flooded in my eyes.
An old movie –
“We’ll always have Paris.”
Remember Old Yeller?
A new baby,
That clean-sweet smell of lotion,
The rustle of a diaper.
A handsome man
Who clearly, dearly loves the woman at his side.
And I wonder,
Will this ache ever go away?
Or will I have to wait
For a bigger change?

Lunch Hour

Chipper chatter
Bounces around this crowded room
Co-workers watching the clock
As they share a quick meal.
Any other day
We would add to the happy din
Of voices and laughter between hasty bites
Knowing the food
Is secondary to the face time.
Squeezing as much as we can
Out of a too-short lunch hour
We would share stories
Of work and home
And list favorites
From tv and music.
The conversation would come easily.
It always has.

But not today.
This lunch hour is different.
The chatter around us
Annoying at first
Soon fades away
Leaving us in a bubble of silence
So full of meaning
That we almost can’t speak.
We are reduced to small talk
As we nibble our cold fries
Without tasting them.
We exchange thoughts of friendship
Without saying them.

Sweaty sleeplessness
Hot flash greets me at midnight
Hello, Menopause


(For Mr. Buble)

In the heat of the summer sun
You swat a fly,
Draw a dusty arm across your brow
And push on,
Crisscrossing the yard
With that heavy mower.
All alone,
Except for Casey Kasem
To keep you company
By counting down the hits.
You sing along,
Dreaming of the day
When he’ll announce your name
At the top of the charts.

In the quiet of my kitchen
I fill a pail
With sudsy water
And crisscross the floor
With this heavy mop.
All alone
Except for your voice
Keeping me company
By singing “Home.”
I am content to sing along,
Grateful you had such a dream
And that you made it happen.

New Shoes

As usual
It begins with something small
A word, a thought
A grain of worry
Like sand in my shoe.

I keep walking
Going about my business
Going about the business
Of ignoring
This tiny thing.

And it works
For a while.
As long as I step carefully, I can fool myself into thinking
It’s gone.

But soon enough
The sand becomes a pebble
That hurts with every step.
It reminds me that it’s there.
I continue to ignore it,
Hoping it will go away.
It’s such a small thing.

By now,
This stone is cutting into me
Making every step a limp
That makes people turn to look at me
In pity.
All I think about is the pain.
The pain!

I have forgotten that this started
With a grain of sand
Or how it even got there in the first place.

I can walk no further.
Not one more step.

“Child. Sit.”
I obey.
He removes my shoes
Worn from weary miles
And the debris they have collected
Over time.
He cleans my wounded feet,
Anoints them with love
And gives me new shoes:
“Wear these every day.”
With these shoes
I am prepared with peace,
Ready to walk
To run a mile
To dance all night.

I won’t fret about pebbles or stones
Or tiny grains of worry.
I have other things to do.

You look at me
And see
The welcoming face with the brilliant smile
A large collection of friends
Bold strides
Sure gestures
And you think I have it all together.

The truth is
I struggle
With self-doubt turned to self-loathing.
I worry that I’m not enough
Or that I’ve said too much.
I’m certain that
I’ll be found out
Discovered to be lacking
An imposter.

So I smile bigger
And distract you with brilliance.