Photos: Mekos sunflower photo, 4 pieces from Susan and Todd

KARA: add one or two of your poems…

Poet Chat with Elizabeth Gray

1.        What does poetry mean to you?


I'm not sure I can answers what poetry means to me as much as how it plys a part in my life.  Poetry is one of my main ways of searching for the divine.  It seems to nurture a deep solitary part of me--I generally have at least one poetry book with me at all times, and reading poetry, any kind of poetry that I like, really, is as natural to me for inspiration, comment on life, and companionship in solitude as opening and reading a Bible verse might be for someone else.  Even poems that do not profess to be about anything faith- or spirit-related to me offer a glimpse of something true and individual:  that moment when someone else has pulled something glittering from the fire and handed it to me--both of us, the poet and I, holding naked fire and realizing that that is a natural state.    A sound therapist I have studied says that studies have shown that when choposing music to listen to, people prefer most music that  is slightly different than how they are feeling in that moment.  Poetry is like that to me:  I read poetry because the poet asks not only "meet me here" but "let me take you someplace"--and it's a place I would not quite be able to egt on my own, because the doorway is through the soul, mind, and words of another human being.


2.    Why did you start writing poetry?


Well, my answer is pretty prosaic.  I started writing poetry "way back when" as an adolescent to individuate myself, to do or express something uniquely mine.  I did it both because I was trying to find out who I was and because I got feedback for doing it fairly well.  Poetry is still a growth process for me.  i think one reason most poets and artists create is to urge forward their spiritual individuation process--to recognize their true nature and bring that into the world; writing poetry allows me to find both the heart and the sharp edges of who I am, and through that, allows me to be in authentic relationship with others.  Poetry is a unique way of being both truly who one is and held within a community of readers, writers, nature, and anything else that grows in the world.   A friend of mine who is an art therapist belives when we create, we go into a creative place of dissociation that allows the inner unconscious, the essence of the divine, to work through us.  Our identity is lost during the creative process in something bigger.  And when it is done, we find we have expressed ourselves, and learned more truly who we are from what we have created.  Even when I write persona poems, or "I don't know where that came from, that's certainly not what I believe" poems, we are exploring the narure of the world through allowing its possibility in us.  Writing poetry is both a bardo and a guide through a bardo for me.


3.    Where are you today in your poetry career?


I have to laugh.  I don't have a clue.  Recently, as part of my graduate work, I have had the wonderful experience of editing an anthology and being in touch with poets across the country, and working with local poets as readers to create an audiorecorded anthology.  The work to get there was long and hard; the audiorecording piece with the other poets was a high point of my life.   It was so alive, so joyous!   Also as part of my work in grad school and as a therapist, I have explored the use of poetry in a therapeutic context with people who are dying or grieving.  I'm currently putting together a benefit reading for Hospice of Seattle to take place in March--seeing the possibilities of poetry as community action is also exciting to me.  But what I want most right now is to get back to my writing.  For the past half year, I've been doing work as an editor and sometimes an academic.  A half year can bring a lot of changes, and right now I'm not quite sure who I am inside, and I want to write again to find out.

Heart Anemone

by David Sutherland

For bruise, freckle, fever: the windflower,

the saturnine fern, clumps of daisies and wands

of lupine edge a path along a hedge

where catmint, rose and delphiniums breathe.

Cessation then movement are tealight's extravagant grounds

or earth to hold you tightly in fist.

As palms lobe over you showy sepal, in crown

and lips parting to an expanse of teeth.

The place in floruit weeps the old story,

the broad things in staircase and study,

the golden fleece of age unaffected.

But all that flattery gets you in this white autumn

on the scale of change, is a slight shiver

parceled in a clove hitch of lips whose kiss

tightens more to reflect on.

Whispered Voice

by Robert A. Clay

A slight breeze is created as you pass,

the question is if you'll touch.

Your hand glides slowly along my shoulders,

I feel the passion I've missed so much.

To inspire emotions out of nothing,

to know the withdrawn feelings you release.

To allow needless walls to tumble,

our synergy gives me comforting peace.

You can sing me to sleep with your whispered voice,

after I have combed your hair with my fingers.

The scent of "Wings", the glow of a candle,

creates the image that I allow to linger.

Minutes are seconds, and hours are minutes,

and in the morning a sweet good-bye kiss.

Then I search carefully for your hair on my shirt,

my souvenir for the days you'll be missed.

-from My Heart's Memory

"Not Like You"

by Sheri Hess

in memory of Dakota

I am a mother, though not like you.

You cradle your sweet baby in your arms,

Mine are empty, but I hold him in my heart.

You brush her soft, curly hairand tie pretty pink bows just right,

A lock of his hair is tucked neatly in a book.

You pick daisies and tie them in a chain for her to wear around her neck,

I cut lilacs and arrange them in a vase to place by his grave.

You look forward to dreams and plans,

I hold on to memories.

I am a mother, though not like you.

For Anton Erland Bloomquist


by Anna Sorenson

I see you running

In a meadow of spring flowers.

You are perfect and at peace.

There are others, too

All basking in the light of the sun.

But my heart still breaks

When I think of you.

My loss far outweighs thoughts of your joy.

You will never run in earthly meadows.

I cannot know you, or hold you

Or kiss your lovely face.


But the day is coming

When reunion will take place.

I will know you, and hold you,

And kiss your beautiful face.

Wait for me.

I love you.


by Adam Clay

Uncle Ned was a poet, but mom

always said he was just plain schizophrenic.

The way he'd catch a poem was to

stick his fingers in the ground, waiting

for one to nibble, which was his cue,

his duty as an artist, to stick his

whole hand into the Earth

and pull this iambic pentameter

creature from the fiery depths. He never

had a book, and I don't think he was

ever published, but he spent the

better part of his life, just off

the rotting porch, fingers in the dirt,

ears to the ground, waiting for a

sonnet or even a haiku to bite.


by Allegra Wong

previously published in New Works Review, Summer 1998

My mother is dying, in isolation, on the top floor of Saint Anne's

Hospital in Fall River. Through her windows, she sees the gray

iridescent spires of Saint Anne's Church and the silver-green Taunton

River where she swam, after sauna with Finnish friends, when she was a

youth. This bone-colored December morning she is concerned she is late

for high school, and she cannot find her brown notebook. I tell her I

shall find it for her. Later, I do.

I find her notebook again one afternoon six weeks after she has died.

It is in her Hixville dressing table, beneath the broken House of the

Seven Gables plate which she had wrapped in an old Adams Bookstore bag.

I lift her notebook out of the drawer, take it to the shuttered bedroom

window, and open not to a draft of one of my mother's junior year

themes, but to a letter written by my grandmother to my dead sister,


Grandmother writes of the robins who visit the Fall River garden path

each day outside her downstairs bedroom window, the stone path just past

the larkspur and bee balm, alongside the bells of Ireland. My

grandmother tells my sister she thinks the visiting robins have

something to do with a visit from her. From her bedroom window, my

grandmother tells my sister, she watches every morning as my mother

fills the bird bath with warm water, listens to the frog she calls

Ichabod Crane plash in the pond ringed around with white and green

quartz stones, and rakes the soil around the double red peonies growing

along the Downing Street picket fence.

As I read my grandmother's lines, I smell the Downing Street soil.

Just as I smell the soil of Oak Grove Cemetery. The rotting oak and

maple leaves mix with dead geraniums and sweeten the cemetery turf.

Jonquils and pansies shoot up around my sister's pink gravestone, then

die. The breeze makes the branch tips of the willow on our family plot

brush across the face of a stone angel on someone else's.

I am a little girl, and I sit with my mother on our white wrought-iron

bench during our afternoon visits. My mother leaves bell jars of dried

statice on Shelley's grave and on those of her father and grandparents.

The robins visit. Their vermilion breasts flash among the gravestones.

I smell these memories.

I turn to another notebook page and remember robins visit my mother

every summer in Hixville, too, although she calls juncos the true

mourners, the true bearers of her grief as they sit among the dry

grasses and milkweed outside the kitchen window seal-colored November


Beyond the kitchen yard, and beyond the shuttered bedroom window, the

pine woods are moist and deep, and my mother writes on the last page of

the brown notebook: Dearest Shelley, I should like to begin a kind of

spiritual diary so that I can talk with you.

But my grandmother in Fall River sees the robins through the window

from her black iron bed, and she calls their daily visit a visit from

her granddaughter. She writes in the notebook she hopes she will be

lucky enough to see Shelley in heaven. Until then, she tries to be

quiet, she says, just as Shelley asks her to be.

I turn to other pages and find my mother's notebook has been shared not

only with my grandmother, but also with Shelley. I can draw, I can

read, I can write ... I can draw, read, write. Draw, read, write. I


Shelley prints the words again and again. She is in the first grade at

the Davol School. It is 1955, the year she dies. She prints her

stepfather's name on a page by itself. So he will love her, as she

loves him. She prints her name, alongside his, and above hers, she

prints mine.

Dear Shelley, I'm very lonesome today. I keep looking for you. My

grandmother writes my sister another letter in the notebook with the

brown covers.

Shelley has printed 'Thank you' on several of the pages. Thank you,

Mr. Green, Miss Sullivan, Mrs. Burke. My mother has written on the

lines in between. What would you like for Christmas, Shelley? A book?

Originally my mother used the notebook for attendance-taking at her

Saint Mark's Episcopal Sunday school class. The names of her pupils --

Marita, Agnes, Jon, Linwood, Constance -- are listed for 1942-43. On

other pages are her pupils' grades received for the tests they took. Her

note to herself for the upcoming Sunday school Christmas exchange that

year mentions she will give each of her pupils a copy of Dickens's A

CHRISTMAS CAROL. The minister, Mr. Atwood, plans to read the entire

story at the Christmas service, and my mother's pupils will follow along

in their own books.

My grandmother writes to my sister. Dear, There are two little robins

come to see me every day. I feel as if it was you coming to see me, for

I'm awful lonesome without you. I hope I will meet you, if God thinks I

may, I will be so happy then. We will talk together, not of worldly

things, but nice happy things.

I look up from the pages. Like the solitary mourner in Munch's "The

Scream", I open my mouth and find I am voiceless. I have no new

language, no mourning vocabulary to ask how I shall bear a lifetime of

not being able to tell my mother I have found her notebook.

So we will be quiet and peaceful, my grandmother writes in both of her

letters. I am trying to be quiet as you would like me to be. Goodbye

for now, dear Shelley. Nana.

My grandmother's closing lines seem to be a message for me as I stand

by the shuttered window in Hixville. I shall try to be quiet and

peaceful, as all of the notebook writers would want me to be. I take my

pencil, and on the inside of the back cover I write, I'm lonesome

without you, but I shall keep looking for you. Good-bye for now, Mama



by Barbara Ann O'Leary




womb wound


daughter scar


crescent sliver

mother scar

Miracle of Hope

by Barbara J. Richards

Dedicated to Lorie

When it seems you're all alone,
Awaiting life's despair-
May it help for you to know
So many really car,
And with each coming day, we too
will say a prayer.

As you go on with each new dawn,
With Angels in your sight,
May they keep you in their car
from Morning until Night

I do believe in miracles,
because I've seen a few;
May there be one, tucked away
Especially for you!


by Richard Fein

We were on the bed, not quite arm in arm.

Her head rested on my shoulder;

This time I didn't stroke her hair,

there had been too many other times.

Fog had placed its cataract on the window.

Thorazine had pulled up her eyes.

Nothing was said.

We heard only mumbling down the corridor

and a distant cry.

It was five o'clock, leaving time.

She rose and walked as if wired

to a drunken puppeteer.

My legs were numb, yet I relished the tingling pain.

One last walk down the ward together; we didn't kiss.

I let the first elevator pass,

every floor number was lit in turn,

all the way down and up again.

The doors opened. I rushed in. We didn't kiss.

The doors would not close. They kept hugging me,

as I stood on the threshold.

Embrace, release, embrace, release, till

at last a fellow passenger touched my shoulder

and whispered it's leaving time.

Through the window, she gave me the slightest wave.

I was motionless, gravity conquered my arms.

My eyes were fixed on the window

until I saw her face ascend out of view.

Pistachio Shells

by Rebecca Page

Sun lizards -

we were lazy those days

as memories, and friendships

eternal were forged.

Dirtied bare feet

and black and white pictures

through winter and spring -

till the seasons called you away.

The Knife

by Betsy Bell 

Hs death made my kitchen simple.

I put away the cuisinart, the juicer,

the bread maker, even the garlic press.

and took out my knife, the cleaver

Blunt ended, flat edged, broad bladed.

Turned off the radio, the TV, the telephone

and smashed the garlic. Do it

with the flat side of the knife resting on the clove

Then hitting with your fist. Crush. Sending

strength and weight. The skin falls off, chopping begins.

Onion, mushroom, carrot, celery. A crumple of bay.

Each waiting in the cast iron pan.

Then inspiration for supper comes.


by Jane Candace Bullard

I'll be seeing you

When this dark night is through

When the light shines bright anew

I'll be seeing you.

I'll be hearing you

Your laugher soft upon my ear

Your loving voice singing sweet and clear

I'll be hearing you.

I'll be touching you

Your strong hand gently held in mine

Your kiss an echo of the Divine

I'll be touching you.


by Cathryn M. Lai

I walked in the kitchen

Back from school for lunch

A beautiful, warm, sunny day.

My daddy was leaning

over the big butcher block table

Head cradled in his arms

His body silently trembling

I put my hand on his back

I had never seen my daddy cry

He told me it was malignant

They removed her breast

He cried in my arms

I cried because he cried

I didn't know,

Couldn't possibly know

What that day would mean


by Cesar Gutierrez

I’m leaving this place

that much is certain

I’m already on my way

How can I go on

when one look at the delicate hands of a child

stirs my emotion

How can I remain

and still believe

there is place where no one suffers

there is a way to stay alive

Haven’t you known that longing?

Isn’t there something you want to say?

Don’t you remember

we started out the same

How do we come to be so far apart?

There is only one answer to this pain

Leave this struggle to the hired hands

lay beside the water’s edge

and dream

My Father Greets the Day

by Charles Fishman

Each morning he wakens

he praises God

Another day has dawned in him

and he is grateful

He is too old now to make love

but not to remember

My mother’s picture waits

near his bed

and he lifts the frame to his mouth

and kisses her

His loneliness is too deep

—he cannot think the sentences—

but his lips find the glass

and his heart opens

Each day is a miracle

that begins in the region of sorrow

yet the sun finds him: he will live this day


stunned each moment that she

is not with him.


by Clyde Kessler

A boy I know slogged into flooded Challiard Road.

Denny Hale found the body a quarter mile downstream,

wrapped in water willow.

I dream he looks through the fog like an old man,

hearing every minute of spring

as it swallows him with coolness

and the drift of town light merging into the river

and a slow earth music

touring through his family.

His face is waking the leaves of a sycamore.

and maybe his mind is reaching inside

something that dreams me waking.

His folks asked once for a tune,

and I couldn’t fiddle a song for him.

My fingers moved like grass blades

caught in sleet.


by Esther Altshul Helfgott

originally published in a different form in She Speaks: Seattle Women's Caucus for Art Newsletter, Winter 1997

That's all

I see

of her now.

The wide open


that never

closes. A




too dry to


No one wants

to anymore,




I want


climb in,


the periphery,


the hollow.




she glistens


Forsaken Joy

by Wenohna Joy

written 10-15-95

I kneel and drop my heavy,

rusted spade to the ground,

competing with hard soil

Sunbeams vivid

cast shadows stark

on crumpled vines around me

Then, up on high

a single perfect chirp is born

on fertile free breeze

Echoing layers of purity

through maple alleys

beyond mountain valleys

Oh little bird,

please hear my heart

crackling with applause


by Elizabeth Gray

The last time I wore that necklace was summer,

July 27, a night coiled in the dark of my body:

How I stepped into the bdedroom to change

And found you already there, your fingers cool

On my slip, how easily you pushed me down

To the mattress on the floor, leaned over me and kissed me

Gently to urgently: the last time, it seems, that we were happy.

You knowing nothing yet and me hiding my silence,

we interrupted anticipation, went out, and

in the creased-corner blackness of the stuffy theater

watched a play together: four Twilight Zone episodes

back to back, with commercial intermissions.

Later we ate Greek food on Capital Hill, came home and

Made love. That was the day after I’d taken the test,

Before I told you, before we knew it together, and did

What we would do. Even now when I look back,

I want to hold us there in the dark, shared fear and

Consequence still undiscovered, as if even too late

I could somehow suspend the moment, the inner pearl

Rolling down its sluiceway inside me, as if

I could stop a meeting taking place.

Months later I found the necklace, dropped into a purse

When the night got too warm. All winter long the bag

Slumped on my dresser, near the flowered hatbox, earrings,

The brown bottle of perfume. And there within it: amber

Like the jellied roe dark in the pouch of a trout, darker gold

Than I had remembered. I went to pull it out but the string

Had broken, cool drops pooled in the bottom

of the bag. Each day now I fish the inner silk,

draw out one bead and set it on a teacup on the sill,

the one my grandmother gave me before she died, the way

you transfer your hopes to the living.

A Seattle Woman Looks at the Desert and Fills In Rain

by Elizabeth Gray

At first, only the landmarks change. This is my proof

of another life, the one my mind still reckons with.

I know at least forty different kinds of rain, can tell you

how a March downpour smells dazzlingly

of pear blossoms, how between the glassy falls

moisture rises, carrying the thick lakes, the familiar

fish bait. But here my words are beginner’s words:

red rock, blue drum, wind. And like the place I’ve left,

you come with me too; only our final words stay home.

I don’t think of shortcomings, yours or mine,

But how in those early days it was enough

To touch you without knowing, how my foot loved

To find the soft pulse hidden behind your ankle, and your hands

Itched travel my scars, the knobby cholla of my vertebrae.

We’d lie sharing small things in the darkness, before

We tried to name each other, hands and breath,

the way we edge a land with new names:

a cut road, a tin roof, kerosene. It was enough

to enter foreign, it was enough then to feel strange.

From a dry arroyo, a hawk sickles up, tracks across

a pathless sky, and for a moment I turn to the emptiness

beside me, forgetting you are not here to share it.

We are happy together for the first time in months.

The Rest Between Two Notes

by Elizabeth Gray

For Bob

Finally you are dying, and now everything

Is up for question: your breath, my belief,

The way sun pours down

Upon the earth, turning dull fields to emerald fire.

You lie half paralyzed in your sterile bed,

Unable for months to reach the window.

For weeks now, I have searched Rilke,

With his careful construction of the certainty

Of God, as if through his faith

I could find my own.

I read to you from A Book for the Hours of Prayer,

While you turn your face to the wall, offering

Me your back, a useless arm, and a small kiss

On the hand before I leave. Then I drive out to walk

In October countryside, drenched with the light

Of glazed cider, sweet and dark, the final sips

A little murky, and now way to bring it to you

But words.

My words have left me—

Certainties I though were mine have proved

That I don’t own them; and breath after breath

I watch the muscles of your throat thicken,

Strain, the last force in you that still responds.

Such labor to suspend your bones, lift

The sill of your ribs for air to enter and leave.

I watch the creases of your crepe skin

Begin to dissolve, and think

How slight, how infinitesimally small

This slow ticking down of life:

The peony finishing its outburst of silk begins

To drop away with the metal of its own tarnish;

A greengold apple, unmarked and firm, softens,

Etched from within by its own withering;

The last green rays of sun push through the slats

And cross a room, and on a narrow bed, facing away,

A man breathes the clam breath that will be recalled

As his last.

I thought I knew what the body was: the root place,

The anchoring, the burning wick of life. But I touch

The outer stillness of a man, to find

You have slipped away inside, down

Some inner corridor that perhaps was always there.

Later I will find words for this. Now I listen

To silence with rapt attention, my body bent

Toward this stillness, this calm.

Looking for proof of God’s existence, I

Would still be looking. But the presence of God

Was here, still holds your shape, and your absence.

How small the unimaginable has become,

Closer than heartbeat, than thought:

Your breath, my disbelief—two small shadows

Lapsing into light.

Doll's Lesson


The doll's impassive face

looks beyond me

with starburst eyes

as I trace its plastic

baby-body. I accept

the lack of breasts,

the cold smoothness,

the slick and shiny

tummy ending abruptly

where eyehooks join

and legs begin, a hard

mystery at the joining

where I jump from play

to bible school, a story

of how God made man

and woman from clay. Soft

and warm from kneading,

a doll keeps its indentations

while I mold it one more time,

imperfect but with answers.

by P. L. Morningstar

1) the kitchen window /
Gray skies - a chill in the air. I had hoped /
for a sunny day as garden work waited for me. /
Weeds threatened to overcome primroses, /
perennials needed dividing and the spent /
camellia blooms raked from the lawn./
Disheartened I stood at the kitchen window /
looking out at winter’s last hold on spring. /
And while I clung to the warmth of my house, /
the wild things made my garden their own. //

2) the garden /
Goldfinches, brilliant yellow against a cloudy sky, /
flew from branch to branch, ever closer to the birdfeeder. /
A fat robin landed at the top of the flowering plum tree, /
scattering petals to the ground below. A flash of red - /
wings blurred. From nowhere a hummingbird appeared, /
flitting at hummingbird speed through the tall blooming rosemary. /
I caught my breath at its beauty, the iridescent red throat /
a sharp contrast to the soft herbal greens and blues. /
The hummingbird flew to the fish pond and landed /
delicately on a water hyacinth, bathing within the shallow /
water it contained. For a moment it sat on a tree branch, /
drying tiny wings. Then as quickly as it had arrived, /
it disappeared, unaware of the pleasure it had given me /
on this gray March day. //


by Patricia Schlick

My mother is dying,

of cigarettes, and booze,

and eighty years.

My mother is dying,

So instead of voting

I pack my suitcase

Drive to the airport

Take an airplane to Cleveland.

Go to her bedside,

to be near

to stave off illness and death.

I take a taxi to University Hospitals

Mother is sitting up

watching election returns on television.

She says,

" I guess my smoking

has finally caught up with me."

My mother is dying.

My sisters and I are angry, afraid.

Mother is x rayed

to see the nature and quality of the tumor.

An ugly red presence spreading through

her lungs.

The doctor offers respiratory therapy and ibuprofen.

My sisters and I try to prove ourselves

competent to handle death. . .

I make arrangements for a hospice.

Another sister organizes medication schedules.

One makes phone calls

and provides transportation.

One moves furniture.

My mother is dying,

Has come home to die.

Home to her apartment,

The only place she ever lived alone.

She is excited to come home,

But she is not alone now.

We move furniture

From the loft

Her sanctuary

Where she hibernated

to read and write.

We have taken her hermitage

for a caregiver to sleep

A hospital technician demonstrates

respiratory therapy.

The American Cancer Society

moves in

a hospital bed and oxygen tank.

On her first night home Mother

has a glass of cabernet sauvignon,

chicken breasts, salad, and rice.

She eats only a little bit.

I sleep in the apartment the first night...

wake up to the smell of

cigarette smoking!

Despite cancer and oxygen

Mother is smoking!

My mother is dying,

And I am her nurse;

straightening beds

administering medication,

bathing, toileting

Small things need to be taken care of

while death casts a large shadow.

Studying metaphysics and poetry

Didn't prepare me to nurse

a dying woman

But studying metaphysics and poetry

taught me I couldn't avoid the fact of death.

Love makes strange roles possible

Jesus said,

"If it is possible,

let this cup pass from me;

yet not what I want but

what you want."

Now, I understand.

My mother is dying.

Today four generations of women,

Mother, her daughters,

two granddaughters and

a great-granddaughter,

take communion, receive Christ

Who will not take, this cup from us

But will hold ours hands

Through this walk to Golgotha.

My mother is dying,

I am caught up in the details

Of a dying woman's life:

Bowel movements,

respiratory therapy,


Decisions meaning

A few more days of painful life

Or a quicker death.

My mother is dying,

Is ready to die

I am ashamed

of impatience.

I am homesick

miss my husband,

working at church,

walking my Golden Retriever

This is taking a long time.

My daughters travel from busy lives

to support their mother.

One brings with her the great-grandchild

born on Mother's last birthday.

Another comes with the heartache of

a broken marriage.

The youngest flies from Germany,

leaving behind the corporate world

to scrub bathrooms and help with


A daughter sits by

my mother's bed

holding her hand,

I am behind her

hands on her shoulders.

Mother sinks and fades

She seldom leaves her bed.

She lies on her right side,

floating in and out of consciousness.


she asks for morphine.

My mother is dying;

She smiles and laughs in her sleep.

With whom is she laughing?

Dad, my brother, her parents?

What memories are there for her

As she struggles to breathe?

My mother is dying;

We have our last conversation.

Mother believed that if only everyone

would vote Republican

Have cocktails at 5:00 pm everyday

and never talk of unpleasant things

all would be well.


didn't do any of these things.

Mother said to me that morning,

"I always loved you.

I just could never

understand you."

My three sisters and I stay in Mother's room.

We scatter ourselves around the bed.

We hold Mother, tell her

how much we love her.

Tell her Dad is waiting.

A song plays.

It is

"The Very Thought of You",

My parents special song.

How nice!

One of my sisters played the tape.

We all listen and weep.

When a commercial comes on

I realize none of us

have planned this moment.

Mother is gasping, struggling for each breath.

The nurse gives her last cocktail. A shot of morphine

with a honey chaser.

At 4:30 AM, she lets out a rattling gasp,

her chest rises, and falls

then nothing


I sit watching her still body

and wish her well

On a journey neither of us understood.

She hadn't known where she was going,

I didn't know where she was.

I sit beside her body keening,

"Oh, Mother… Mother…Mother…"

I wash her body.

It is the last thing I can do.

On the day after her death

Natalie Cole sings

"The Very Thought of You"

on the CD in Mother's loft.

I wrIte in my journal.....

“My mother is dead.”


by Seana Sperling

Ten blunt fingers with nails gnawed to the quick.

Spaced tooth grin and an infectious laugh.

You said you always wanted,

Your name to be Rose,

And we always had crushes on the same men.

You were always in my space,

Even with my distance.

Its hard to believe all the damage,

When I remember how gentle you were.

Now empty hands hold all,

The fragile objects.

In memory of Ellen OBrien--One of the best people Ive ever met.

And We Are All Idiots

by William Benjamin Jenkins




This page is dedicated to the memory

of William Benjamin Jenkins,
a sixteen year-old homicide victim.

I know nothing of good or evil or the reason behind the horrors of man

I know little of a god or what scripture or interpretation is truth

One will say that to be a true believer and lover of the lord is to hate your fellow man for the simple pigment of their flesh

Many will say hell waits for those who do not redeem themselves, yet they should beg for redemption themselves

No one race is superior and no one belief is the way to salvation

How are we to judge which god to believe when so many from such "denominations" preach words of hate supposedly derived from "the holy book"

Who are we to judge who will be slaves and who will be kings when the actions of so many reflect so many fools?

William was shot and killed during a robbery
at the restaurant where he was on his second day of work.
He was sixteen years-old at the time.
At the following link you will find
the story of William's life, and death,
along with many links and resources
for those suffering traumatic and other losses.