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Things I Carry

[This was a writing prompt from the Chilmark Writing Workshop, which I had the pleasure of attending September 15-18, 2014.]

The way you see it, if Mary Poppins’s carpetbag romanced a Boy Scout’s knapsack, the illegitimate offspring would be jealous of the sheer volume of things I carry in my tote.

I carry a mess of crumpled, wadded tissue, a habit passed down from my mother, who would pull a paper towel of questionable origin from her pocketbook and tell me to blow my nose, as she licked her thumb with a smacking sound and smudged dirt from my cheek. I try to replenish with clean packs, but it is always allergy season when you’re allergic to grass, and my nose is forever a faucet. Read the rest of this entry »


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What I didn’t tell you then…

[This was a writing prompt from the Chilmark Writing Workshop, which I had the pleasure of attending September 15-18, 2014.]

What I didn’t tell you then is how long it has taken me to get here. I have traveled years and miles—years broken into hours in a therapist’s chair, miles spent mostly in the passenger’s seat, then finally white-knuckled at the wheel. I didn’t tell you that driving to Chilmark was once not a pipe dream, but an impossibility. How many times would I have to pull over and just breathe? Call Dave from the side of the road for a rescue? Just simply fail, fail, fail.

This girl who rode into Boston like a hurricane at age 18—I could not wait to leave this island, this place where as a teenager, we used to drive to the ferry parking lot on Friday nights, and dream about just getting on the boat and going somewhere, anywhere, just not here. So pumped to get to the city that I barely took the time to see my parents to the elevator, let alone cry at the car door as they left me on my own. Read the rest of this entry »

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My father never told me…

[This was a writing prompt from the Chilmark Writing Workshop, which I had the pleasure of attending September 15-18, 2014.]

My father never told me how to light a grill or start a lawnmower, and for these two omissions in my paternal instruction, I really should thank him more often.

I married an engineer. A mad scientist, some say. A man who puts the cart before the horse, because he redesigned that damn cart and all these idiots all these years putting the cart behind the horse had no idea what the fuck they were doing. Here is this one little piece of metal. See this? This piece of metal will CHANGE THE WAY you and the WORLD and the GLOBAL MARKETPLACE think about carts, horses, and how to use the word “before.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Shannon Day, 2012

Staring at your iPad screen

Hopping at each cell phone ring

Anticipating each new text

Neurotic, you await the next

Noting who has yet to call

Or those who are right on the ball

No word from Chris yet, oh but hey–

Dad was the first call of the day

And, lest your wrath come down on me,

You get my wish two days early

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The one who loved me even when I couldn’t love myself.
The one, when asked to visit, pulls her date book off the shelf.

The one who makes me laugh, the one who lets me weep.
The one whose dance moves are as large as her heart is deep.

The one who is a total bitch, the one who’s always true.
The one who’s mostly made of rock, but sometimes turns to goo.

The one who cracks me up, the one whose calm I crave,
The one who’s up for anything, provided hair behaves.

Some days are filled with trials, some with triviality,
These eleven make it kinda awesome to be me.

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Ruby Anniversary (May 6, 2012)

She had him pinned by high school’s end
despite the warnings of her friends
To Asia, he was sent to war
Fought as their fathers had before

At Merciers’, she punched the clock
Drove yellow bug around the rock
She bided time until his ship
was back safe in familiar slips

Then wedding bells the sixth of May
–that’s forty years ago, this day–
Filled Edgartown with peals of glee
As, with this ring, he married she

Come autumn-time, add to their joy
a lovely bouncing baby boy,
not far behind, a ginger girl,
and finally a tow-head pearl

Now he and she, plus three–complete
they made their home near waters sweet
where up the road, they found some friends,
so formed were the Dolbvakians

Their kids grew up, each found a spouse
Added more laughter to the house
There’s Ellie, Carrie, Adeline,
and little Andrew right behind

From Sundays on Katama Bay,
to ski trips in shabby chalets
Together she and he have made
life worthy of its own parade


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Joe Grotto (April 11, 2012)

Jug of ale upon his table, capon in his claw

On his left, a pretty bat, goes by the name Krista

Every day he cruises ‘round in the Smutty Six

Graciously ensuring that all livers get their fix

Rob and Laura, Seth and Joy, among the lives he graces

On the stage with Motherboar, he rocketh off our faces

To Ibdo’nn he rides his bike to eat some eggs d’satan

Then back at home a pig, he roasts, while drooling we awaitin

Only when Spencer and Bruce allow him the above pursuits

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