Here's what you'll do if you know
what's good for you. Pick a star,
nothing fancy, a five-and-dime
bit of glitter from a flyover galaxy.
Then weave the roses I like so much
into the indigo one or the other of us
calls sky (but never at the same time).
Here's what you'll do if you know
what's good for you. Wreath the star
(you've already forgotten which, I know)
also with scraps of worn leather from a
baseball you once cared about
(everyone's had one).
Add the few photographs that we
never bothered to take. Embroider
my name (if you remember it, on
any random Tuesday), and light it
all on fire. Astronomers will have
something to talk about (the sky!)
and as usual we will have nothing,
nothing at all, because you no
longer remember the Parisienne
cupcake girl, her borrowed lace
and her bull-headed ways and
the words that made a sliver of
velvet vetiver sense at the time.
Candles dripped, stripped a room of
unpleasantries and logic. No one's
fault. You'd remember if you could
Here's what I'll do if I know
what's good for me: I'll turn my
back on the unlit fire overhead
that should have been. I'll leave it
to the astronomers to sort out the
funny detritus of the ringed star.
Space litter, breaking up and apart,
startling someone, somewhere
in a thousand years when rose petals
and fossilized cowhide float with dead
beetles and desperate frogs in a
"Do you ever feel, like, RAGE?" I ask my mother today as she is hanging her new white cotton curtains.
"Oh dear," she says. "I really wish you had inherited more of my genes when it came to this stuff."
So your kid says to my kid
You look like a self-harmer
Your kid also says to my kid
You have perfect breasts
You're the only one who
can compete with my boobs.
Your kid also says to my kid
How do you stay so skinny?
Three-ten in the morning and I am thinking
about the two white-and-gray feathers.
You really should have seen them,
the way they were. Resting side
by side, parallel parked on the scorch
of asphalt desert stretching lost
behind the defunct community stage.
With my luck as it pertains to you and
you alone in our one-strike world,
they'd have been long gone by the
time I led you to see. Two birds or one?
I know what you'd say, as I always do--
my pointless rubber-band snapping of
the dead air between the synapses still
promised off to you, you and your gentle
eyes, you in your village garb--
you, the tailor's grandson who dared
to take my shepherdess hand when no
one was looking.
Get in my purse, you darling American Riviera. Just you get in my purse.
It's a song, too. Really, it is.
Ethel of Catalina Island
So this kid of mine? The songbird? She made it to the Finals Round of Berkshire Idol, with this performance of "Someone Like You," below. Finals are this weekend, May 11th, at the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA. But this week, online votes are also being tallied at iBerkshires.com! Yes, you have to create a username (boooo!) but I swear it's short and painless (yaaaaay!). Will you help a kid get her rock star on? CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP AND VOTE!
At Finals, Sophie will be taking on "Somebody to Love" by Queen. OH YES. Tall order, but she's going for it. I'll post that soon too. In the meantime, thank you for all the AMAZING support, and please do consider voting once a day this week for our favorite Berkshire Idol (who still needs to be reminded to clean her room, but hey, rock stars are supposed to be messy, right?).
Beloved Sophie Mary Rose, at 4:09 am today, you will be 12 years old. Twelve. A dozen. I can no longer hold out my hands and say YOU ARE THIS MANY, and neither can you, come to think of it, although you might try to, with some concoction of your odd double-jointed digits.
Sophie, my firstborn, you were four pounds at birth and the doctors were solemn about your prognosis.
the first reason I've ever had to love spring
asks me if she can borrow the nondescript hoodie
once worn by the peep-toeing songstress of
my won't-tell soul.
We are talking:
thin gray slubbed cloth belonging to
my grocery-store savior, my ridiculous
avocado-mash seductress, my star-spun
tangle with a little thing called beauty,
my once-and-only simple and complete.
Just so you know:
This hoodie would not sell on eBay.
Relist? No. Reenlist? Maybe, in that
dreamy world of if that then this.
Springtime child knows my answer before she asks.
But she asks anyway, to prove a point to herself.
She is a tornado coiling into itself, compressing into
blurred, indignant loops, no sense of up or down.
Fine, all you had to say was no. A simple no.
Away she whirls, in search of a hoodie unwoven by
winter threads of a mother's tedious memory.
I wonder how long it will be until this child of spring
learns that there is no such thing
as a simple no.
Isabella Cosette Flora Wilhelmina von Matternhaus recently snagged the opportunity to model for the absolutely amazing renowned pet photographer Amanda Jones. I am awfully lucky to call Amanda my friend and creative collaborator. If you ever want to give an extraordinary gift to yourself (or someone else in love with a dog), book a session with her. (She'll even come to your neck of the woods.)
You live for love, don't you, said the friend.
I don't remember what I said, but I know
at once I recalled Judit, who had offered
her delicate tattooed forearm to me
as if she were offering tea and scones.
Auschwitz, Birkenau, Hessisch Lichtenau—
she'd come through, somehow,
unbowed and unbroken and
radiant with the rarest kindness, born only
from the unimaginable.
When I traced the cruel inked numerals
steeped in her rice paper skin I wept.
She smiled and hushed me gently.
Which one do you play?
she asked me.
We were thespians then, a new show
in Portland, Maine, resistance fighters
of the Holocaust, my hair shorn
to a half-inch. Which one are you?
she repeated. Guess, I had said.
One look into my eyes, sad despite
so very much luck, such fortune
(and those were the happy times).
You are the young lover, are you not?
Yes. I can see it. You, the beautiful
young lover. I can tell. One of the other
actors spoke then: She's our own
Judit sighed. Ah, to be the lover.
She patted my cheek,
touched my lips with trembling hand.
It's the only way to be.
On the table in the home they have shared
for more years than I am old,
he serves pancakes, his specialty,
golden and certain and round.
She is with us, surely, we know it and we don't.