Birthday Reflections

The mirror reflects a flattering picture, but on this day, my birthday, my feet drag. Shoulders droop.  Makeup refuses to adhere.

I am here but not here.

I wish to lie beneath the maple tree. Bask in its shade.  Listen to rustling leaves.

I wish to feel grass grow under my feet. Caress smooth blades.  Bathe in morning dew.

I wish to hear ants march. Witness their strength.  Smell their treasured goods.

One day. Someday, when my senses are shut, I will coexist with the ground.

Feel nothing.

Will my spirit revel in the bounties of my final resting place?



A Christmas Décima in less than 100 words

Support local merchants we tried

When we shopped for our Christmas tree

But our budget was tight you see

“Then to Lowe’s we shall go” we sighed.

We rejoiced, a beauty we espied.


Jigged and wiggled current owner,

“That is your tree in there corner!”

A noble fir stood by itself

Evoking Santa and main elf

and good tidings to our dormer.


Gladly we paid and set off with

Tree on car rooftop, caroling

Classics, and the kids battling

And Grandmother dreaming in bliss

Of her very first Christmas kiss.


She waited for the moment she’d be discovered.  Her brilliance finally exposed to the world.  The fantastical words she hammered and shaped entrancing all who heard them.  The words, though, existed only in her head.  Whenever she held pen in hand, she froze and for as much as the words danced melodically in her head, they didn’t transition to her hand.  So she’d stare at blank pages, heart palpitating, and she’d remember that fear existed at the core of her essence.  Fear to be exposed as a wannabe artist imitating another’s brilliance.  Better to wait than stumble over and over.


Picture perfect windows they were, wall to wall without blinds or curtains to detract her view.  The southern exposure provided long, warm rays and situated on the tenth floor, she benefited from the display of colors all seasons provided.  On a cold winter’s day she’d light the fireplace and curl up in her couch facing the gray landscape before her.  On a hot steamy day, she’d raise the air conditioning and observe the slow motion that only a yellow-orange day can generate.  Her insulated aerie fed her spectator fetish without active participation.  That is, until Sandy, the perfect storm, struck.


Today he would’ve turned 49, reached the brink of the so-called golden years.  Hard to imagine the life he may have led.  He may have followed in Dad’s footsteps and worked at a printing plant or he may have gone on to college or followed pipe dreams.  He may have married and had three or four children or remained single.  Instead, he was trapped in a body that refused to grow.  A victim of deforming German measles, Andy was another Willowbrook State School statistic.  My brother barely lived to be eleven, yet his short life left its imprint in ours.

The Hologram

Forever and a day, Ellen remained locked inside a shell.  She moved.  She smiled.  She worked.  She participated in daily events, but she was never present.  She felt as if she were a hologram—a projection of movement with no substance.  Moments of true pleasure, even happiness, broke through occasionally but she’d quickly mask them for fear.  Fear of what?  Fear her feelings were one-sided?  Fear she mattered to no one?  Fear to reveal she really was a nothing?  She couldn’t articulate the fear; therefore, she remained in a perpetual state of robotic activity. Waiting.  Waiting like a sapling in frost.

Luck Gambles with Wine Sestina

The glass of wine

You reach

For, deep

Within holds

A well

Of luck.


But what luck

Does the wine


When your lips reach

The rim that holds

Elixir deep?


Down deep,


Only holds

A stain wine

Cannot reach.



Your eyes well

With deep

Fears.  You breach

Your heart’s luck

That whines,




The empty well.”

The wine

Drains too deep.

Better luck

Is within reach,


You hope and reach

The rim.  Wait, hold

On.  Luck

Runs out.  You wel-

Come your deep

Fears and drown with wine.


Reach the well.

Hold fear deep.

Luck gambles with wine.

Stop and Smell the Roses


The Ford lost its power on the uphill.  Jessica floored the pedal but the Focus jerked right and skidded on gravel.  Her heart skipped a beat at the momentary loss of control.  Smoke swirled from the beneath the hood.

“Shit.  Shit, shit, shit.  Shit.”  She kicked the tire as if the car could fix itself with such an inane gesture.  She cupped her hands over her eyes to survey the location.  She saw grazing sheep below the meadow.  Their curly wool a pale yellow matted with leaves and twigs.  Their brown ears twitched at buzzing gnats.  The mechanical failure was worth the peaceful sight before her.

Carmen Ivelisse Hernandez nee Figueroa

Her smile shone bright and lit every room she entered, even the olive drab ICU she got to know intimately.  The light she radiated overshadowed the reality of her baldhead, or protruding cheekbones and visible collarbone.  The sounds of the room’s consistent beeps as well as the dark circles around her eyes faded with that smile.  Joie vivre sprouted from a well deep inside her.  The pain that ravaged her frail body did not wipe away her smile or erase her kind words.  It merely escalated her Faith in God as she joyfully prepared for her final journey.  RIP Ivy.


Dear grandchild:

I long to hold you in my arms and let you know how your mother protected you.

You are a tiny being encapsulated in the warmth of her womb.  Cells rapidly multiply coding every millimeter of your essence, while she nourishes you from deep within.  She is your world—your shelter, your protection.  But soon, you will leave your comfort zone and greet us with a shriek.

Do not fear my dearest angel; your mother will never leave your side.  She will always protect you.  You see, you already are her world, like she is mine.