Objects are Nearer (#25 NaPoWriMo Prompt)


Objects in the rear view mirror
Are closer than they appear.
With your “narrative distance”
Your “Persona”

Be warned. You know not what you seek.

The past is candy coated
By the film of rain and road grime
Fuzzy approximations and far.
Now you stepping out to view it first hand.

Be careful what you wish for. It’s waiting there.

And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always). Today, we challenge you to write a poem that takes the form of a warning label . . . for yourself! (Mine definitely includes the statement: “Do Not Feed More Than Four Cookies Per Hour.”

Seattle Dog: A Eulogy (#24 NaPoWriMo Prompt)

Baby Seattle Toy

Today you were there, just a glimpse.
The humanness in Matilda’s eyes,
The pause in Drover’s step at my command,
Reminded me. And I missed you.


Your little six-month paws at
Double-time to keep up for our slow jog.
Your tilted head when I left.
Your 9-month-year-old joy at my return.

Baby Seattle Dog crop

You were my relentless alarm clock of love.
My focus and my feeling.
You flew in the cargo hold to new lands.
Scaled castles near Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

Seattle Castles

You jogged with me
In Korea and Colorado,
In Turkey and on Turkey Trots
In Washington State and Washington D.C.

Seattle Gila Wilderness

You were there in my first year of the military
And in my fifteenth.
You watched me leave on each deployment.
You were the best part about coming home.

Seattle Dog

When the vet said “cancer,”
And the x-ray was dotted like pox.
You slept at my feet as I wrote my last dissertation chapter.
I guess I could only cry so much.

Hol Seattle and Me

You missed the conclusion.
Yours was at our dining room table.
The needle slipped in. Your feet
Paddled furiously, then infinite stillness.

Every morning a habitual side-step
To miss your sleeping form
Until we moved to a new house.
You, ashes in a wooden box.

Seattle Snow

Nearly a decade now, and there are two more
Kur-aaaay-zee blue heelers.
I know you would set them straight.
Remind them of the rules.

Matilda and Snowman

I wish you could meet Matilda,
She shares your intensity.
I wish you could meet Drover,
He tries his hardest to be a good dog too.

Drover and his monkey.jpg

I wish you could swim these mountain lakes,
Run the forested trails,
Bark at elk and deer and chipmunks,
Sleep pressed against me.

Seattle Regal


The NaPoWriMo prompt for today was to write a positive eulogy. I don’t know if it’s “cheating,” but this spontaneous eulogy for Seattle Dog that I wrote in November fits the prompt and still moves me…

(And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today, we’d like to challenge you to write an elegy – a poem typically written in honor or memory of someone dead. But we’d like to challenge you to write an elegy that has a hopefulness to it. Need inspiration? You might look at W.H. Auden’s elegy for Yeats, which ends on a note suggesting that the great poet’s work will live on, inspiring others in years to come. Or perhaps this elegy by Mary Jo Bang, where the sadness is shot through with a sense of forgiveness on both sides.)

Memories From the Farmhouse (#18 NaPoWriMo prompt)


Oak shade and cool-breeze tire swing
Arched out over the hay field,
Glimpses into the off-limits barn.

Boosted on grandfather horses, legs split wide.
Pioneers exploring, night made by lying back on
Warm haunches, short hairs prickling in mine.

White clapboard siding trimmed in forest green paint,
Trickling past my ears, bucket on my oft-warned head, when
Chased by my brother around the ladder.

Lilac tree-bushes screening the barn,
The work truck closing on my finger and
A heated needle pulling black-red drops from purple pulp.

The smell of sun-warmed cherries in flats.
Lowing cows, stamping horses deep inside the barn.
Chicken wire woven with feathers.

The whole family–Brandy (horse on right), Amy in red on Princess, Cam in blue on the pony Dandy–me in that favorite orange plaid cowboy shirt.

The Yellow-Jacket Story (#17 Na/GloPoWriMo Prompt tell a story)

Yellow-Jacket Story.jpg

Dreaming again.
Father-turned-Hawaiian King
Slapping the pacifier on my back
I’ll work, I’ll work…

Words never formed as the air
Vaccumed out of my lungs.
Oregon house in flames behind me
Headless chickens in the yard.

The small dawn hours of crepuscular things
Puts me back in time.
The home of myth in Mosier where
Killing chickens, sleeping horseback, sheep stillborn was

The idyll of three small children.
Me youngest and spoiled fierce,
Amy, middle and good and tough,
Cam, oldest and visionary, in charge of his two-sister tribe.

Explorers that particular day,
Daniel Boones every one of us
(a man we worshipped at 5, 6, 7,
plus Laura and Doug, 7 and 8).

We went across the west pasture,
All the way down the ravine
Where Doug and my brother, Cam, climbed to the top,
Swearing they could see the freeway. Or at least hear it.

We ate our snacks, planted the dead-stick stake,
And began the toil up the hill.
Little legs just past nap days.

The movie slow motion scene replays soundless.
Tired companions sprinting up the hill.
Cries unheard but written across my sister’s face.

Somehow the barbed wire fence
Was a finish line of sorts: demarcation for safety.
We flung ourselves through, a ripping then:
My favorite orange-plaid cowboy shirt.

Doug at the house already.
70s green Pinto station wagon. Mom, dirt spurts
Up the pasture grade,
Thrusting children on scalding avocado seats.

Seconds like hours allow for
Phone calls, shocking hose water.
Why? Why? Washing bees from hair and clothes
Summoning other parents.

Foreshadowing a tumultuous, future
Amy’s face ballooned, stingers,
Lost from yellow jackets who don’t lose them,
Pincushioned into her head.

The doctor, closed–
Sunday at least four decades ago.
The hospital where kind white coats
Blew up fingered glove-balloons for stung kids.

Six stings for me. Cam seemed like none.
Even after all these years “more than 70 stingers”
From. Her. Head.
And pink vomit after ice cream.

I don’t know if I’ve remembered right. But that’s my story.

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