Bad Recipe

Cooking when you are anxious

And distracted

Is a recipe for failure

I have proof in my oven

Right this minute and

Don’t want to peer another second

Through the oven window

At the spreading pool of batter

Dripping onto the oven floor

With a sizzle.

I have made biscotti a million times

Without much trouble

Sometimes the almonds weren’t chopped fine enough

Or the logs were misshapen

But those were minor difficulties

Today is different

I was nervy about a big family visit

Rehearsing comments in my head for a meeting tonight

Worrying about a late package

So maybe I added too much maple syrup and butter

Maybe not enough flour

Perhaps I accidentally invited a malevolent spirit into my kitchen

Actually I think that’s it.

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I’m Going to End it All



My father-in-law shot himself

I wasn’t right there

Just in the same town

He left a business-like note

Covered the basement floor with a plastic sheet

Stood in the center

My husband found him

When he went for a visit after work.

Really you do not want to go downstairs

And discover old dad

With blood and brains dashed around

Even if it’s mostly on a plastic sheet.

You will never catch me being so thoughtless

At least

I would make sure the cat finds me first.

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7 Deadly Sins

I was hallowed by heat, can’t beat

that lustful desire to swallow love whole

feed me more, I implore

a glutton knows no less, but

let it be a lesson to you

there is no forgiveness

greed comes from flagrant need

fragrant speed of more, you bleeding whore

and speaking of sloth

lazy sloth is what i called him

in wrath, because i saw red, and blue, and yellow


i don’t envy his wife, jealous as i am

just take a knife to his throat, jam to his heart

of which i am proud to be a part

loudly crowing my success.

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Regret Me

This is what I am, what I want

bird bones and


the calling of wrens

a  cage

swinging wild in the storm

filled with crows.

When mourners come

singing their sorrow

I sing back

wind whistling through the teeth of my shrine.


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Rain Cometh

It’s coming down hard

After two weeks of dry scraping weather where

Grass turned to wheat stalks

Flowers toppled with thirst and

Even the weeds looked bad.

Today rain daps and ripples the lake

Plays fast taps on the porch roof

This storm

Started down south as a hurricane

Ran out of gas here

Tamed by the mountains and trees

Now just

Soaking into the ground

Making the grass turn from brown

To green

Like a fucking miracle.

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Hunting Season

Every fall hunters come to shoot ducks

The hunters set up little houses on the lake

Supposed to look like flotsam

Random confluences of twigs and brambles through which

They stick the ends of their rifles

The ducks ignore these deadly huts

Flock and frolic among the floating decoys

Dipping their heads underwater

From time to time

Until there is a bang

You wouldn’t believe how loud gunshots sound over the water

And all the survivors fly away in a noisy beat of wings.

I look at the carnage through binoculars

See the hunters leave their hidey-holes

Row around picking up dead duck carcasses

And wooden facsimiles.

Hidden behind my window I hiss angrily.

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Things Unsaid

vultures have a bad name

carrion eaters, scavengers and so on

my mother-in-law with dementia used to say

and so on

when she could not remember something

or articulate details

and needed you to fill in the blanks

she’d say I think have a son

Look blank and then say

And so on.

I see vultures, the Vermont kind

flying overhead looking for dead things

abandoned corpses of fish or rabbits

they wheel and swoop between the clouds

with their macabre version of an eagle eye

and when they see something they spiral to the ground

sometimes a wake of vultures land

all at once

and so on.

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Good News

There is nothing better than

A good dog, a fat cat and a baby

I didn’t find out until lately

That you could have all three

At the same time

Now I am contemplating adding

A guinea pig.

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Home Improvement

I made my husband

Prove his love

In a million ways

I said

It is fine with me if you have sex with someone

A very good idea, I insisted

Then I left him alone with a woman

Who he proceeded to sleep with.

When I screamed bloody murder

He was bewildered

Said you told me to do it

Yes I agreed

It was the only way to discover what was in your heart.

But over the years I have changed

I don’t test my husband’s love any more

And I no longer want to see into anyone’s heart

It’s enough for me

If they talk a good game.

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Self Defensive

I woke up one day scared

Here I am, old lady

End of a dirt road

Don’t know karate

Kitchen knives are dull

Neighbor is deaf

Cat is a coward

So I said to my husband

I want a gun

I bought a small black pistol

We went to the range

I shot my gun until I

Hit the target

Pretty well, call it a cluster

I call it a cluster.

I put the gun in my sock drawer.

If necessary

The cat knows where to find it.

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