Sweet Little Nothings

Be YouNique chocolate

The English & Communications Department
at Pence State College was a bit macabre,
being fans of colons & periods
& Naked Shakespeare on Ice:
Denice Arnaud,
the Department Head,
was as sharp as her attention to detail;
Lionel Stevensen,
the Assistant Department Head,
was as crisp as thinly-sliced English cucumbers
in crustless tea party sandwiches;
Marion, the Administrative Assistant,
was as mathy as she was not writerly.
Then there was Luci, the Senior Admin,
also known as O.C. Dizzy,
who broke 1 foot,
then broke the other to match.
Jim Johnson,
the Poetry Prof in a tweed blazer
that smelled like academia & dead
(but not decomposed) poets,
walked around with a flowered tote
because he was “comfortable in his sexuality”
while Miguel Willis,
the Creative Writing Prof,
with his 100-watt smile,
made off-color brunette jokes;
Dodd Newsom,
the Instructor of All Things Awesome,
whose syllabus was a thing of beauty,
kept them all guessing.
But the plethora of Sara(h)s
(Smith, Jones, & Davis)—
a blonde, a brunette, & a redhead—
happened to walk into a bar one night
& became a punchline
rather than a storyline.

Poem-a-Day April 2019 Writer’s Digest Challenge #26. Theme: Evening

Thursday Evening

Her evenings were spent
not shuttling her child
to practice or lessons
or herself to the next job
but eating a home-cooked dinner
prepared by her husband,
watching “Wheel of Fortune,”
reading and singing to her daughter
and asking her the questions
only she could answer
but could not,
for her little girl
was a brightly-colored door
with a panel of frosted glass
that was shatter-proof
and a lock that was foolproof.
Sometimes this mom went to an event,
and sometimes she made it to the Y,
for she believed in getting your money’s worth
out of a gym membership,
not a buffet.
She was an anxious person,
understanding that just as some drank
to silence the voices,
she sometimes had to take a pill
to silence the stories–
a temporary solution to
“Writers’ Flow.”
She tried to remember to tell Jesus
to let her mom know she said, “Hi,”
but sometimes she forgot–
just as she forgot if she shampooed her hair
until she squeezed the green gel
known as Prell
into her hand
and her muscle memory kicked in.
She’d put the clothes in the dryer
and forget to turn it on,
take something out of the oven
and forget to turn it off.
She’d try to tamp down her anxiety
when having to watch a movie
without closed-captioning,
feeling mentally exhausted
trying to piece together
what she did hear.
Maybe being able to see the words
was why she had become a writer
and why,
when the hustle-bustle of the day
died down
and her little girl had been put down
for the night,
she could lose herself in all the words
she could not see.

https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/2019-april-pad-challenge-day-26

Poem-a-Day April 2019 Writer’s Digest Challenge #25. Theme: Exile #aprpad

A Mom’s Exile

The bathroom:
my dad’s study hall growing up
& my reading nook now–
because going to the bathroom is boring.
If I want to escape with chocolate
without having to share
or wax my underarms (armpits sound nasty)
without an audience,
I go (not skip) to the loo,
leaving evidence of the latter
in the lavender-scented trashbags as proof to my husband
that women have a higher tolerance for pain.
I can soak for an hour,
brainstorming so hard,
you can hear the thunder & see the lightning
if you look & listen close enough,
but don’t get too close
unless I need you to bring me my tweezers.

https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/2019-april-pad-challenge-day-25

The Ten O’Clock Scholar

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She was Sarah Lea Richards,
the wife of Brian,
the mom of Hannah,
the daughter of Phil & Betty–
an accidental scholar,
a poet who read novels,
a poet who wrote short stories.

She was the blogger,
the humorist,
the bookmaker,
the pink-collar worker
in crimped hair & red lipstick–
a hot mess sometimes,
but never a cold dish.

She was a punster
who loved the Oxford comma,
the em dash,
& sometimes semicolons;
she was a wordsmith
who hated adverbs &
needless words,
but loved words like topsy-turvy &
helter-skelter–
just because they made her smile.

She was a mathematician when she had to be,
who, if ever in Rome,
would write in Roman numerals.
She was a poor person’s philosopher,
an even poorer person’s astronomer,
& the kind of statistician one would get
if they were being served by a public defender.

She was one of Jamey’s angels
who had yet to earn her wings.
She was the newspaper jefe,
whose sense of humor
sometimes rankled her adviser.

She was the Writing Lab tutor,
who knew that subjects & verbs
had disagreements,
but what about?
She was the boomerang child of Building 4,
the work-study gal
who made good.

She was a reliable narrator only
when on the beat,
but in the realm of fiction,
she was as unreliable as they came.

She was the family historian & documentarian,
for as everyone was the hero of their own story,
they were characters in hers.

She read people like books,
judging them not by their cover,
but by their content.

She was a woman of liberal arts &
conservative values.

She was a Health Info Tech major,
who saw it as a means to an end–
an end which would come in words,
rather than the alphanumerics
that comprised medical codes.

But such an endeavor,
so against her sense & sensibilities,
had not all been a waste,
for it had led her to here,
which would get her there–
even if there was still here.