“A mother’s body against a child’s body makes a place. It says you are here. Without this body against your body there is no place. I envy people who miss their mother. Or miss a place, or know something called home. The absence of a body against my body created a gap, a hole, a hunger. This hunger determined my life.” ~ Eve Ensler

I don’t know how to form articulate sentences about my family. How do I cobble together words that tell that story? How do I breathe life into my peculiar genealogy without some means of self-soothing . . . an assload of crunchy, salty things with a cake batter and Jameson chaser? Impossible appeasement. The dog will never stop barking. The war will never end. For fucks sake, just bake the cake.

How can I pick up a pen and drag it across white paper leaving a trail of inky blue notes to myself that say, “Your mother is dead, and it’s okay not to be sad. To feel relieved, even?” Well, I just did that very thing. And I am sitting in a small town coffee shop, owned by a family of fiddle-playing evangelical christians. The women at the table next to mine are having a straight up Bible study, and they also have adult coloring books and sets of colored pencils that are perfectly sharpened, in rainbow order – not haphazardly arranged, splintered nubs like my colored pencils would be, if I engaged in post bible study public coloring. The ladies room here (gender neutral excretion is frowned upon in these parts) is decorated with a large, wood, shabby chic plaque that says: “God Is Good All The Time.” There is usually Christian soft rock playing on the sound system, but today, “Forever in Blue Jeans” is blaring out of the speakers as I write this, and the only self-soothing that is available to me is a gluten-free bacon mini quiche and a hemp milk latte. God. Sometimes I hate myself.

i don’t know why I chose this place to re-enter the writing world after such a long hiatus. Maybe it’s a subconscious test to see if the vengeful God of my Catholic girlhood actually exists – lurking in the Christian coffee atmosphere, casting a benevolent eye upon the middle aged public bible readers, and waiting for the perfect moment to choke me on my alternative milk latte, as punishment for the sin of mother blasphemy.

There are so many things I wanted to say in this post, but today’s window of freedom  is about to close, so deep exploration of death of the mothership is going to have to wait for another time.

Resurrection, to be continued . . .





The Penitent


This is day I don’t know, and I don’t care of
the Ideal Protein Diet,
and just like any regimen of relinquishment and confession,
there are catchphrases
and hooks
that keep the penitent motivated to continue
traversing a path littered with sharp pebbles and rusty bottle caps.
Scabby knees and bloody palms propelling the seeker closer to

the promised land.

My “coach” smiles benevolently as I remove my socks
and step on the scale.

Her mantras:
“you’re melting”
“every pound has a story”
are meant to convey comradery.
We are soldiers
in this war against fat,
and I can tell her “anything”.

But I resist,
because I have already told those stories,
and my secrets died with my therapist,
which is both ideal . . .

and not.

Now I am here, in this strip mall
taking off my socks
in front of a stranger.
And the nail polish on my big toe
is chipped.
And I am melting

like the Wicked Witch,

while thousands of miles from here,
my mother is being eaten alive by cancer.

Maybe by the time I go to her funeral
I will be thin,
but not too hungry for anything.