Poem-A-Day Challenge: Day 7

April is National Poetry Month so I’m tackling the Writer’s Digest 2019 April PAD Challenge hosted by Robert Lee Brewer.

Today’s prompt: Write a jealous poem. Maybe you’re jealous. Or maybe someone else is jealous of you–or someone else. Whether envious of another or suspicious of a partner, dive deep into this emotion today.



It’s been twenty or so years now
that I’ve been envying you,
remembering you—
your long slim legs
taut stomach
radiant skin.
Buoyed up by loyal family, you capered through busy days,
brimming with accolades and gleaming with promise and hope,
the world and its future yours
if you wanted.

And you did.
You wanted, and the wanting cost you nothing.
You laid out all your dreams before you in a bright shiny pile and sifted happily through. What
did reality have on you,
you lucky girl—
You had all the
I could ever want.

I see you in my dreams sometimes,
daydream sometimes
that I am you—
all grown up
confidently married
creative, fulfilled.
Adored by vibrant kids, you wave them cheerfully to school
then hunker down to work, pondering and spinning artful words,
your time and your body belonging
to you alone, or at least

And you do.
You found your place, and it was God who did the finding.
You trusted Him alone (not some mean girls or prince charming) and He turned all bleak things new. What
does the past have on you,
you lucky woman—
You have all the
I could ever want.

Poem-A-Day Challenge: Day 8

April is National Poetry Month so I’m tackling the Writer’s Digest 2019 April PAD Challenge hosted by Robert Lee Brewer.

Today’s prompt: Write a lucky number poem. Some people have lucky numbers, some don’t. Wherever you fall on the lucky number spectrum, you can still write a poem about the phenomenon of lucky numbers and/or luck in general.



Superstition and luck have never really been my thing, but numbers—
they’re a kind of magic.
Just a few digits in a certain order
are enough to conjure
the grey-and-white gables and groundhog-studded yard.
That happy permutation shows up like grace in the
humblest places—clock (2:09), calendar (2/09), faded receipt (0000209)—
and I am instantly (gratefully) there: screened porch, flagstone floors, tanned legs,
wrought-iron rocking, lush hydrangea nodding, brother affectionately taunting,
and dinner still a sweet charcoal tang on the warm breeze.

Poem-A-Day Challenge: Day 6

April is National Poetry Month so I’m tackling the Writer’s Digest 2019 April PAD Challenge hosted by Robert Lee Brewer.

Today’s prompt: Take the phrase “After (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. 

Photo by Roman Mager / Unsplash

Photo by Roman Mager / Unsplash


It’s been ten years since everything between us exploded
and by all accounts
we should be healed.
Not that anyone will say it, mind you.
But I see the calculation in their face so I don’t bother explaining the ways
we still come up short.
Truth is, I once assumed the same equation.
But that was before we started walking this pocked road, before I accounted for
all the freight we were forced to carry.

Now I know, for example, about loyalty—
how it can be a debit and a credit. That there is a hidden cost to
both the staying and the leaving.
And yes, I’d always heard that the shortest distance between two points is
a diagonal line,
but nobody ever told me how to measure the distance between forgiveness and trust
or how to figure out if contentment is greater than or equal to love.
And all the instruction on common denominators
doesn’t answer the question “NOW is what fraction of BEFORE?”

I haven’t even mentioned all the complicated geometries,
the attempted measuring of every angle and the discerning of the shape of things.

Of course
congruence is just an equation
and any equation worth its salt deals with R, i.e., real numbers, i.e., the actual facts, like
(specific) + (specific) + (specific) ≠ happily ever after.
But then again what textbook is going to tell you that God = restoration
so there you have it.

All I really know is that numbers can only explain so much, not the tender gravel of his
voice in the morning or his sincere attention to my cascades of words
and certainly not the steady accumulation of days, i.e., fidelity, i.e., not-infidelity.

So this number—ten (as in years)—
yes: it’s both rational and irrational. I have chosen—still choose—
him. Us. We.
We will relentlessly solve for x.

And I know what they’re all thinking: parallel lines never intersect.
But Euclid can’t tell us what to do—we’re not some 2D plane, we’re geodesic, thank you very much—
and we will draw together eventually, even if it’s near infinity,
even if we never really intersect,
we just seem that way.

Poem-A-Day Challenge: Day 5

April is National Poetry Month so I’m tackling the Writer’s Digest 2019 April PAD Challenge hosted by Robert Lee Brewer.

Today’s prompt: Write a stolen poem. And no, don’t steal anyone’s poem! But you can write about doing such a thing. Or stealing hearts, stealing time, stealing minds. Or steeling your mind…

Photo by BullpenAl / iStock

Photo by BullpenAl / iStock


On ridged metal bleachers behind the chain link, we cradled our
Big League pouches of shredded gum
and unfurled sunny hours in giggles and swoons,
casting hopeful eyes
at the shaded dugout,
wanting /not wanting/ to be seen.

hey batta batta hey batta batta

Sometimes we’d shift to the worn grass,
suddenly awkward among the mysterious moms
as we waited hungrily for their sons
to step out of the caged shadow,
each bat a cannoned solo.

pick me up bud pick me up

We watched those cleated boys looping round
the dusty stage, snagging themselves on second,
and wished we could be the ones
calling them loudly home.

All those days clapping and laughing under the raging
sun and I never saw how fleeting it all was,
how irreversible,
how each stolen base is either capture or triumph.
There is no going back.

Poem-A-Day Challenge: Day 4

April is National Poetry Month so I’m tackling the Writer’s Digest 2019 April PAD Challenge hosted by Robert Lee Brewer.

Today’s prompt: Pick a painter, make him or her the title of your poem, and then, write your poem.

Sudden Shower over Shin-Ôhashi Bridge and Atake

Sudden Shower over Shin-Ôhashi Bridge and Atake


Under your color-washed skies, crammed villages huddle tight,
cozied along the shoreline or nestled in
pink-branched hollows just beyond a swell of hill.

Stilted trees rise over tiny figures taking tea and I want to be one of them, these people
framed by majesty, a massive mountain standing loyally by as they go about their
bright tasks, shopping and strolling, skimming the water and mongering fish, balancing woven baskets
on their sturdy shoulders, returning to their lantern-lit homes across a stretch of sweeping bridge,
rain falling like shelter.

Outsized swaths of charcoal tree trunk press into view, but I see what you
want me to see—minute people gathered by a curled crook of branch.
Even the moon pine coils into a monocle, pointing my gaze at the modest town
instead of its own magnificent splayed fronds.
What life this is! you seem to say,
where birds stutter an arpeggio across a burnished sky
and the hum and rush of daily life unfolds against a scrim of muted green,
maple leaves waving like joyful banners all around.