#Micropoetry Monday: Opposites

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When the crime scene photographer
met the wedding photographer,
the former brought stark realism to her life,
& the latter brought whimsical idealism to his.

They were the bloodhounds of bloodlines,
for she used DNA databases to catch cold-case criminals,
he, to reconnect people with their long-lost relatives.
Her work brought justice, even as his brought joy;
they saw what they did not as a career,
but rather, as the fulfillment of a calling from a higher power.

He spent his life preserving old things;
she spent hers creating new ones.
When she found him in the archives
& he found her in the newsroom,
they realized they both had something
to offer the other:
Perspective.

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Childhood Memories: The Luck of the Irish

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I remember, years ago, when my brother was little, good things seemed to happen to him. (He once won a Beetlejuice contest and we all got a free trip to Hollywood, though it was a real downer when my parents went trolling for celebrity headstones).

I remember expecting to be picked up in a limousine, but an old man that reminded me of Alfred from the Batman show came for us in a Lincoln, holding up a sign that said Brooks. (Our name was Booker, which I never liked because kids would replace the k with a g.)

So yes, Kel (then Kelly), was lucky, and I would get so sick of my parents saying he had “the luck of the Irish,” to which I would exclaim, “He’s not Irish!”

Well, many years later, my parents would send their spit to have their DNA tested and so it turned out, he was.

We were.

And I am so glad that is something my mom got to do before she passed away, even though Dad got on her nerves with all his lamenting that she didn’t have any Jewish blood (which he though “prestigious”).

Dad, however, was thrilled when he found out he was one-third Scandinavian, or “Viking” (as he calls it). I’d considered getting him one of those helmets with the horns on it, though I could’ve sworn he was French, being so passive.

But even though DNA tells us where we came from, what we’re made of, and sometimes, where we’ve been (outer space in Scott Kelly’s case, for example), it doesn’t tell us where we’re going.

That is the story we get to write.

Writer’s Digest November Poem-a-Day 2017 Challenge #21. Theme: Deconstruction/Reconstruction

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Deconstructing Sarah

Constructed of the genes of my co-creators–
the sassy Black Irish,
the passive, graying Scandinavian (could’ve sworn Dad was French)–
I end up a shade of Romanian white,
sprinkled with freckles
where either angels kissed me
or peed on me.

I am broken down, reduced,
and deconstructed daily
by the elements of life:
Age, worry, stress, distress,
illness, frustration, exhaustion,
depression, desperation,
and sometimes anger.

Optimism has seen me through hunger and homelessness,
through carlessness and marital strife,
through my child’s unknown diagnosis,
through feelings of friendlessness and
the collapsing of my seemingly wonderful life.

Is Optimism the Holy Spirit’s name,
or is it something incomprehensible
that dwells inside me?
For does it not haunt my temple
in a pleasing way?

Is it I who holds onto Optimism
or does it hold on to me?
For everything in my life is broken,
but not shattered.
The cracks will always be there,
but that’s how the light comes in.
That’s where the wrinkles come from.

Optimism is why I’ve done
perhaps
everything I’ve ever done.
It is why I’ve chosen to stay here,
why I’ve chosen to go there.
It is why I know what I know,
and chose not to know
what I do not wish to know.

Every gray hair–
like the rings of a tree–
show the world
that I have made it this far.
And someday,
the day will come
when I will wash it away
with a five-dollar box of natural auburn,
and my body will run red with the steaming shower water
as if I have bled from every pore.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2017-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-21

#Micropoetry Monday: Family Dynamics

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When they did their DNA,
Dad traded in his wooden shoes
for a Viking helmet,
but Mom could not trade in
her Black Irish hair
for the auburn that could have been hers
if she’d been born sooner.

His siblings and cousins had been close
when they were children,
but when the patriarch,
who said family was everything,
passed away,
it proved that he was the everything
that had held the family together.

Dad wore many uniforms,
Mom wore many hats,
but as for me & my brother,
we wore many masks.

When the Irish Catholic met the Roman Catholic,
they had Irish potato gnocchi
& spaghetti with soda bread.
They made it work because,
like many others,
they were all trying to get to the same place—
a gastronomical heaven.

She’d been an idealist before she’d married,
seeing a life of in-laws that were like blood &
double dating with mutual friends,
but when the honeymoon rose again,
his love was all that shone.

#Micropoetry Monday: Lawlessness & Disorder

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The contents turned to ash,
time blowing away the dust of the past,
degrading the DNA,
so that justice delayed became justice denied.

Jill Ellen Roth had suffered for the sins of their envy,
for being beautiful,
their sloth, for being an overachiever,
their greed, for being wealthy.
To them, they were not because she was.

Her conception of justice birthed a career in law,
but when there was a miscarriage of it
due to a poor delivery,
she wrote a book
& overturned a verdict.

She obeyed the letter of the law,
he, the spirit of the law;
they each broke the other,
canceling each other out.

He was a famous plagiarist,
stealing the words of his betters,
until he wrote the story of his ill-gotten fame,
& his victims became his lessers.

#Micropoetry Monday: The Lighter Side

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Mixed-Up Nuts
Peanut, Almond, & Cashew
went to get their DNA checked,
& found they had been totally cracked;
for Peanut, who was the only one
who liked to be boiled,
turned out not to be one of them,
but a legume.

Type A was the Bachelor of Science,
Type B, the Associate of Arts,
but Type O had University appeal—
being a Universal Donor.

Orange hated being lumped in with Apple,
as he was quite pithy & had a zest for life,
whereas Apple often ended up sauced.

Like a potato chip,
she was salted &
browned to a crisp.
When she was bagged,
she was just full of air.

Hammer, Anvil, & Stirrups
wanted to start a band called The Ossicles,
but sister Cochlea was too wired.
She told them to stop the racket,
& so the boys decided to translate sounds,
waxing at all hours.