Category Archives: scenes from a suburban life

30/30 Project Lucky 7: The Handyman Version


There is something to be said for beginning a daily writing practice.  I know, I know.  I’ve sung this tune before.  I wish I remembered the words.  Each time I set off down the “I’m going to write a-poem-a-day” road, I am pleasantly surprised by how, once I start writing, the poems keep coming.  It’s the “if you build it, they will come” theory of poetry.

Likewise, and this happened with my dear June Cleaver poems, now that I have opened up the portal for Mary to speak to me, she just keeps popping up in the strangest places, with the most interesting ideas.  Take today’s morning message, for instance.  Well, I can’t really explain it.  Maybe the poem will.

Please don’t forget to take a minute to stop by the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project blog.  There are some mighty fine poems being written!


fridge pic


Mary Buys the Refrigerator Repairman Flowers

The other women say she is lucky
to have a man come to her house
at all, say the tools are a bonus.

He says he is a good man,
and she believes him—
the heavy boots, the scent of restoration.

She has spent a long time being a mother,
knows how to lean in a doorway,
how to hand over the right wrench,
how to kneel and be thankful.

He tells her he will see
if she has power,
if her couplings are poor,
if she has any resistance.
This is the electricity portion of our house call.

Mother of the Ice Box.
Mother Most Frozen.
Mother with a Tiny Light Inside.

While his head is in the freezer
take out your kitchen scissors,
trim your dying bouquet.
Strip the stems, slice the old thorns,
pull off each brittle petal until only your face remains.

Oh, Queen of Handymen.
Oh, Blessed Homemaker.
Your lips and eyes in the crevice of an ice jam.


dear june cleaver: your apron is too tight


Fifth Grade Family Feast

They ask for mashed potatoes
and she imagines
slicing the pale calves
her daughter called prickly
into neat cubes,
boiling with salt,
mashing them into fleshy mounds.

Loaded invitation
in the child’s backpack,
requesting families,
preparation of food
in warm homes
with steamed windows.

One person – gravy,
next item on the list.
She climbs into the big silver pot
simmers until her juices run brown
as the crazed river
she could not keep from the basement.

Eat any dish delivered from a broken home
at your own risk.
Roast turkey will put down roots in the belly
strong as the claws that reach
from the great tree keeping the light
from her kitchen.

Four people — bite-
sized desserts–small joy
at the end of the feast.
Beware the pie
with sorrow baked in—
its feathers will stick in your throat.

She settles on sending in knives
and forks, not implements of torture
but sharp reminders
of what is needed to survive.


this poem is definitely raw–as in, half-baked, not yet ready for consumption.  i mean, where is the stuffing?

napowrimo day 10


On Keeping the Good Guys Out, Followed By How the Bad Guys Got In In the First Place

You’d think it would be like looking in a mirror
Wonder Woman at my front door,
her blue eyes staring into my own twin skies.
In the space of five inches—the safety of the door frame
and the golden chain—I see we were not separated
at birth but born a generation apart.

She has come with a superhero casserole,
hot food being the key that unlocks
most doors, chained, bolted or padlocked.

Kicking off her golden boots, Wonder Woman tells me
why my marriage failed
why my floors are always filthy
why now, a woman on my own,
the house is rebelling.

Using her cape as an apron,
Wonder Woman spoons hot cheese
and noodles on two plates from the good china,
the china that’s never been used,
dust from the wedding making new patterns
on the spring flower border.

Between bites, Wonder Woman tells me why
my forks are disappearing
why the light bulbs keep blowing,
why the bathtub leaks into the basement
how the mold on the window sills
spells my name as it grows.

Wonder Woman squeezes my shoulder with soapy hands
as she washes the dishes,
points to the lasso hanging from her waist.
Too late
too late
I realize I forgot to tell her about my super power—
how I read lips
from across a room
how I lost the instructions
how I understand nothing
when it is right in front of me.

it occurs to the poet that things around her are perishing


and so she writes a poem…

Things That Decided to Perish After You Left, and Why This Is a Good Thing

The summer fern rescued
from the bench by the lake,
dropping one round-tipped leaf
at a time from the inside out
until only brown skeleton
bones are left. You had a good run, fern.
I hardly knew you were dead,
so disguised was your decay.

The yellow daisies
forced to bloom
in the supermarket
thinly veiled
as still-life
on the kitchen table where now only three eat.
I draw ovals around your flowerhead
five-petaled thing that is its own fruit.
I can not get it right.
The painting goes unfinished,
the flowers bend and wilt,
sad dancers.

Tangerine molly
pretty fish family fish
plays well with others.
Born swimming, you trust the universe
to float you in a community where live-bearing bears fry.
Forgive our ignorance,
your arranged marriage to a red devil,
your eventual disappearance.

It is winter—
season of blanketing what is living
with what is great and white.
We are all prey.
The children are eaten by the school bus.
The heat eaten by ice.
The icicles jailing us remain dragon’s teeth.
When the children return
we will break the daggers with our hands
smash them on the snow-covered driveway
in celebration of what has been lost.


this started out as a list poem, but quickly chose its own path. * process note: last stanza could border on melancholy/trite/maudlin…how to make winter not a cliche? winter is its own cliche…