black and white photos

ventriloquists in a box

whisper of the past

Hello, how are you?

It sure has been a long time. I wanted to tell you

I met a colleague of yours today and we shared

stories about you over a glass of wine.

Anyway, he seemed to know you well,

(shocked to meet me)

and he filled me in on the recent chapters

of your (storybook) life as he took me on a casual stroll down

(your) memory lane. Lovely it was, full of sheets

of white canvas, of sailboat journeys off Cape Cod

and Perrier with a (surprising) twist…

It seems that in writing your memoirs

You neglected three rather significant

obstacles you had to overcome. Now, I know

you are a perfectionist, and the fruit doesn’t fall

far from the tree, so I was only too happy to correct your failing

memory and set the story straight.

(Memoirs are non-fiction, as you’ll recall

from your English Lit college days.)

So not to worry. Between the telling of the white

doves and multiple judicial decrees,

(no charge–consider it a gift)

where you should have mentioned

your aversion

to diapers and bed-time stories,

I took the liberty to correct your oversight

and preserve the honesty and integrity of your story

by adding the words

this page, intentionally left                ____________.

Hi everyone!

We’re back from vacation and I am trying to get back into the swing of things, so I thought I’d pose a question for discussion to get my fingers warmed up.

I’ve always believed that things “happen for a reason,” and that no coincidence is meaningless or entirely random. Over the years I’ve experienced many coincidences that seem to have shaped the path of my life, or validated a path I was considering. Some are “big” and some are “little,” but I always try to figure out the meaning behind them. For example, as many of you know I’ve been thinking about my grandmother (the subject of “Camelot”). We called her “Nanny” or “Nan,” which in my experience is a rather rare term. In any event, while strolling the boardwalk recalling memories of my childhood, a man caught my eye. He had a tattoo on his arm with the word “Nanny” above a cross and two dates–one of them being my birthday. Later during the week, we went boating, and my husband helped a man anchor his boat. They chatted for a bit, and it turned out the man and my father shared the same name.

How about you? What do you think about coincidences? Are they completely random, or evidence of a greater orchestrating power? Have any altered the course of your life?

Do tell!

Finally–a sestina has been written. Not a great one, maybe not even a “correct” one ( I have seen so many definitions I am utterly confused) but a first effort. Thank you, Jaymie for prompting me to get this flipping thing done. It was..umm…fun.

Oh–and I’m online–at least for now:)




Unteachable was her verdict, as she shook hands

With the mother, and patted the silent child

On her shoulder-a tap tap tap that was heard

Only by the girl who did not speak.

The wise teacher did not understand

The weight of her scholarly voice.


The girl would often remember that voice

At night, when hiding in her room clutching hope in her hands.

She would hear them arguing, using words she didn’t understand–

Phrases that were mercifully foreign to a frightened child.

During these shrill nights she would softly speak

To Jesus, hoping her small voice would be heard.


But she knew children should be seen and not heard,

So she learned not to sound her voice

And instead whispered, letting her empty eyes speak

Volumes, as she searched for gentle, guiding hands

To lead her, a lonely, lost and wordless child

Collecting sentence fragments she’d have to one day understand.


Years of silent suffering coaxed her to understand

They must be true, those words she heard

That day from her teacher’s lips when she was a child—

That to be noticed and to succeed, she needed a steady voice

That carried weight, as if iron in her hands.

She knew she must learn to speak.


How difficult it was trying to speak

With confidence, loud enough so that people would understand.

With trembling, sweating, restless, wringing hands

She stumbled over words, longing to be heard,

Searching desperately for the voice

She abandoned like an unfaithful friend as a child.


It came to her one day as she held her own child–

An infant, an innocent who could not speak;

Still too young to have received the coveted gift of voice,

Yet it was impossible not to clearly understand

The stories she was told, the lesson that she heard

From those tiny, limitless hands.


And in that quiet moment, her child helped her understand

She could always speak, and she finally heard

Her voice within her hands.

She sat beside me

and watched me struggle

as I attempted to build

an empire from broken glass and tears

with retaining walls and a moat in defiance

of the tide.  

it will never be strong enough she told me

but there is nothing more you can do

it will soon be gone and I knew that

she was right.

I wiped the sands

of make-believe from my eyes and cheeks

and we sat together and watched the ocean

swallow the kingdom, leaving only wet

clumps of a childhood dream, an illusion

at our feet.  

follow me she said, and I walked with her to the edge

of the water. We stood ankle deep in silt

and broken shells. We stood in the only silence

that can be known on the edge of the water,

the kind of silence where you know

you are not alone

and never can be. We stood together,

worlds apart for what only seemed to be

an eternity.


Gentle swells brought children dancing in the surf

singing and playing the games that children play,

unknowingly conjuring spirits and speaking truths

they have yet to learn

                                          ring around

                                          the rosie

                                                         a pocket


She smiled at me and took my hands in hers

and we splashed and stumbled in circles

once, twice, three times



We all fall

And I knew it was time to let her go.


I turned away, holding in my hands the remnants

of her that had woven into my fingertips

and walked back up the sand

to my daughter, who was waiting for me

with the ocean in her bucket, waiting to build

sand castles.