Wednesday, March 25, 2015


My bedroom is the same,
as one year ago--  
darkness mixed with night light
casting static on the walls,
snow-clouds lowering the ceiling,
jets roaring overhead,
delivering night-riders to warm beds.

And I’m lying here next to my son who is one
year older now.  I’ve aged a century.
He nestles his head
into the hollow of my armpit. 

My husband’s voice drifts from down the hallway
reading The Velveteen Rabbit, our daughter’s favorite.
I catch the blurry words, Fairy she had gone--
then silence.  

My baby sucks his thumb,
fast,     slow,
at last, rhythmically.
A sigh escapes into blackness.
Squeaking away from the mattress,
tears trace down
my temples, tickling my neck.

One year ago,
she lay in her bed,
not hearing the rain. 
Head throbbing, purple
pain pounding out of her skull,
lightning taking a snapshot of misery.

One year ago
we did not know 
the forecast—
Even now, it is not clear.
Why our family,
why her?

She was forty-three.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Brain Science

Sunday afternoon at the Minnesota Science Museum
Claire holds up a four-pound plasticized human brain
pointing out the parietal and frontal lobes,
turning it over to indicate where the medulla once
connected to the spinal cord.
She balances his brain like a ripe cantaloupe.
This once pearly, now clay-gray wad
of tissue held a million thoughts,
both conscious and involuntary,
of a man--now dead.

When Claire turns her attention,
I poke my finger between
the flowerets of cerebral cortex,
dig up the memory of
his first dog, Ginger,
tease out the forgotten scent
of a Norway pine where
he sat in a deer stand,
waiting like a rabbit with a gun.

Claire glances at me
and I hide my hands,
knowing my transgression
of reading, like braille,
another man's mind.

I whisper into my
muddied palms
"How did you die?
Do you regret what
you've become?"

The lid squeaks as
Claire closes the temperature-
controlled mock-mausoleum
clicks the padlock shut,
punches out for the day,
drives home whistling
"Let’s Go to Hunting"
as if by magic.