Poem-a-Day 2017 Writer’s Digest Challenge #19. Theme: Memory


The Last Time They Met

The last memory she had of him
was of her getting the last word.
The last memory he had of her
was of not waiting to listen before responding.
Their shared memory was that it had
All ended because she’d said too little,
and he’d said too much.


Poem-a-Day 2017 Writer’s Digest Challenge #17. Theme: Dance


LoraBeth’s Dances of Death

She danced to “The Price is Right”
as a little girl–
to shut out her white trash world.
She danced out of all her own weddings,
leaving her live-in fiances
to eat hummingbird cake.
She drunkenly danced at her daughter’s
third and fifth weddings,
shutting everyone else out.
When she died,
all those she had wronged
danced on her grave.


Poem-a-Day 2017 Writer’s Digest Challenge #16. Theme: (Blank) System


The Integumentary System

It is what the world sees,
from ivory to ebony,
symbolic of heritage and health.
It advances with age—
the more lines,
the longer the timeline.

Twenty-two square feet of a durable, elastic material,
sometimes marred with scars,
or uneven pigments—
indicative of disease—
it drapes our muscles,
our bones—
a cutaneous covering
that secrets the workings underneath.

In shades of white-blond
to tar-black,
it is a glorious crown;
sometimes it’s sensitive
and has a bad day.
Some is fine and straight,
others, kinky,
both enduring color and heat
in the name of beauty.
It frames the eyes like fans,
adds ten years to young men’s faces,
or falls out,
adding ten years to old men’s heads.

It was the glory of Samson,
Rapunzel’s ladder,
Jo March’s independent currency.
It is shaved in protest and
in camaraderie for others with cancer;
it is refrained from clipping for salvation’s sake,
even as it is sold for its preciousness.

The weapons of mass seduction,
painted in assorted colors,
and sometimes the indigestible chewable
of a nervous habit.
Whether weapons in defense of rape,
or branding tools of mates during orgasm,
they are the crescent moons
that grow on the ends of fingers.

It is the cover we wear—
our identity—
easily changed through chemicals,
or surgery.

It encompasses the cup fillings
that nourish the children,
that make children of men,
that must not move
in polite society.

And for some women,
it must all be covered,
for it offends a man’s perception of
the God who created such heavenly creatures.


Poem-a-Day 2017 Writer’s Digest Challenge #13. Theme: Family


Family, Defined

“…no other success can compensate for failure in the home.”
–David O. McKay, the Ninth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

For the Mormons,
it was the path to salvation.

For the Christians,
it was till death.

For those without,
it was friends.

For those with bad ones,
it was never again.

For those with good ones,
it was often history, repeated.

For me,
it was all of these things
and none of these things.


Poem-a-Day 2017 Writer’s Digest Challenge #4. Theme: Two for Tuesday (beginning and/or ending poem)


Womb: In Pantoum

It was the end of her life as Maren Van Daan,
the beginning of her life as Mrs. John Allen.
It was the end of sexual autonomy,
the beginning of a quiverful ministry.

The beginning of her life as Mrs. John Allen,
she birthed an unholy trinity.
The beginning of a quiverful ministry
became the death of Maren Allen.

She birthed an unholy trinity.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke
became the death of Maren Allen,
signaling the birth of the second Mrs. John Allen.


Poem-a-Day 2017 Writer’s Digest Challenge #1. Theme: Reminiscing

This “personal geography” poem was originally named, “Life, in Five Acts” (like a Shakespearean play).

The stanzas below were merely abstract introductions to much longer stanzas of a seven-page, narrative poem.



Spain: 1987
I lost half a sense,
which may have saved all the rest.

Saved: 1996
I lived with myself,
and knew not who I was.

Montana: 2003
I was Molly Mormon,
looking for Peter Priesthood.

Utah: 2004
I lost my faith,
but reclaimed my creativity.

Brian: 2013
And so a woman must leave her family
to create one of her own.

Hannah: 2013
I led her to milk,
but she would not drink.

College: 2014
I feared our future,
so I changed my present.