Poem-a-Day April 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #15. Theme: Favorite



A five-dollar charity purchase from ECUA,
this androgynous little duck found rough love with Hannah Banana Boo,
whose favorite thing was not only Quackers himself,
but whose favorite thing to do was to “Smack Quackers.”
In addition to having Mama or Daddy put him on the fan blade
while she flipped the switch,
making him fly and crash,
she set him on her lamp,
barbecuing his bum—
which turned him into a real hardass
(at least on one cheek).
Crashing & burning became his life,
and Hannah chewed on him so much with her razor-blade chompers
that he eventually lost his marbles
(or rather, the beads that gave him bulk).



Poem-a-Day April 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #10. Theme: Deal or No Deal


Let’s Make a Deal

When Miss Bookbinder & Mr. Allstar got married,
they made a gentleman’s agreement:
She would never have to go to a football game with him
& he would never have to go to a poetry reading with her.
However, the joke was on her
because poetry readings were elsewhere & commercial-free,
while the fuss over the pigskin could be piped in,
& run into overtime from numerous pauses & replays.


Poem-a-Day April 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #8. Theme: Family


The Story of SamIAne

Her parents had made life too easy for her,
her husband, harder than it had to be.
Though she’d often felt like the Marilyn Munster of her family,
that family she’d been born into had been made for her,
or rather,
by their raising,
she had been made for them,
breaking the mold,
but not rolling too far from the tree.
However, she, with the man she had chosen—
the co-creator of her little one—
mixed as well as spaghetti carbonara with colcannon potatoes,
for they were the mirror of Sam Malone and Diane Chambers.
And yet,
they had created something extraordinarily beautiful—
a powerful epoxy that was forty pounds of flesh.


Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #432: Spring


The American Spring of Mrs. Jones

Her life was a brimful,
her family,
a handful.
So many things divided her attention,
commanding it,
and she fought the distractions
as if they were dragons,
slaying them with more commitments—
all because she felt that her time
to make the most of herself was
running out.

She’d seen it all coming—
this season of late nights in the library,
of numerous hours in the tutoring lab,
fighting the mind and memory
that seemed to work against her sometimes.
But she had prepared for it
like a Doomsday prepper,
when something
no one
could have seen coming,
slammed her from behind,
scattering her
like the loose-leaf sheets of her textbooks
that fell out of her broken binders.

She’d been so consumed with being productive—
and trying to figure out a curious sort of arithmetic,
trying to tie the ends together that didn’t quite meet,
that she didn’t,
allow herself to think about anything else.

When that crash happened,
it was as if the universe had made a terrible mistake—
as if what was happening now
wasn’t supposed to happen
until twenty years from now.

And though her life,
as she lived it,
changed little,
her world seemed so sad and strange,
yet she still heard her child’s laugh
in the next room.


The Last Leaf

Navy mom

Betty Ann Booker: Apr. 23, 1953-Mar 6, 2018

I’ve always considered myself the unofficial family historian (my parents the genealogists). Documenting the lives of those I love has always been my way of honoring their memory.

Last night, my mom passed away following complications of pneumonia, which she contracted from a cracked rib she sustained in a car accident a month ago.

I am thirty-six years old, and still too young to lose my mom. My daughter is four, and too young to lose her grandma. I can’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t my mom’s time to go; the suddenness of it all makes it feel that way—the fact that I didn’t get a chance to say good-bye because I didn’t know the last time would be the last time.


My mom was a survivor, having beat breast cancer twice. The second time she told me she had it, I was distraught, for how often did lighting strike twice in the same place?

This time, when I found out she had a fractured rib, I thought, broken bones heal.

When I found out she had double pneumonia, I thought, Dad beat that (complete with a blood clot on his lung) seven years ago.

It wasn’t until she took her last breath in hospice that I accepted she was truly gone, after having pleaded with her to wake up, but she had already lapsed into a coma.

The same doctor who had saved my dad’s life seven years ago hadn’t been able to save hers.


Before she passed away, while she was still in ICU, I was able to read her a story—Many Moons, by James Thurber, my favorite children’s book (she liked it, too)—about a girl named Princess Lenore who asks her father for the moon to make her well. I’d thought about reading Small Town Girl, by LaVyrle Spencer—one of our favorite novels—but maybe, in my own way, I didn’t want to start what I didn’t believe I would finish.


I am so grateful for technology—that I was able to play my daughter’s laugh from a handful of videos I had uploaded to Facebook. I even sang Amazing Grace to her (with no one close enough to hear me, of course)—all things I have done with my daughter, who loves to laugh at herself.

My mom has always considered a sense of humor a vital character trait, and I like to think I get a little bit of that from her. I have learned that having one has nothing to do with your ability to laugh at something funny, but everything to do with being able to laugh at yourself.

I told her that I loved her, and to say hi to some people for me; I told her that I appreciated her more than she ever knew.

The last thing I did was play her favorite song (or one of them)—Saginaw, Michigan, by Lefty Frizzell. It didn’t even finish before she had gone.

I was told by one of the nurses that the hearing was the last to go, and so I am glad she was able to hear her granddaughter—the one she nicknamed Hannah Banana—one last time.

I remember thinking, Gee, I hope you were this glad when I was born! But every mother should want their mother to love their child so much.


Time with Mom while she was in the hospital became like silver, if all the silver in the world had been mined. It became as precious as life itself.

I am so sad there won’t be any more memories to be made with her, but I showed a picture of her to my daughter and asked her who she was. She immediately said “Grandma!” and when I asked her what Grandma did with her, she said, “Build an ark/arch!”

Whenever Grandma came over, Hannah would bring the blocks and Grandma would build with her.

I will show my daughter that picture every day and ask her who she is, and what she did with her, so that there won’t be a time Hannah won’t remember her.


Technology has taken over our lives, so I’ve always tried to live “in the moment,” and then write in retrospect, but I say to anyone who will listen—take more pictures, shoot more video. My brother’s girlfriend shot this past Christmas, and there is Mom, just a couple of months ago, hamming it up.

That, that was who she was.

My brother played some voicemails she left on his phone, which he will save forever—voicemails which I have asked him to send to me, because the fear that I may forget her voice makes me incredibly sad.

For now, I am trying to piece together a thousand little memories; every scrap of paper with her face on it has become priceless.

But she left behind so much more than memories—she taught me how to be a good person by being a good person. At the time of her accident, she was on her way to help a family member in need.

I will miss her, but not forever, because she is in the forever—that forever she taught me about–so that I could find some measure of peace amidst the seemingly insurmountable grief I am experiencing now.

Sweet Little Nothings

Be proud of your age

When she was 6,
she wanted to be lucky 7.
When she was 12,
she wanted to be 16—
to be trusted with a car.
When she was 16,
she wanted to be 18—
to be trusted to serve.
When she was 18,
she wanted to be 21—
to be trusted to be served.
When she turned 30,
she wanted to be 29 forever,
though life just kept getting better,
for the more she knew,
the more she could do.
And when she was 35,
she had the baby that made her
want to be 6 again.