Growing Serendipity

gardens of flowers I don’t recognize

although I must have

planted them all, some year or another: it’s

not as if they got here by themselves;

perhaps I was at a sale and picked a chancy

bulb, a likely looking leafy thing

dug a hole when I got home

waited to see what grew.

sounds like me doesn’t it?

plucking choices from a random universe,

blurs of happenstance in color

with a cat meandering through.

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When I Am Awake

In the middle of the night

Izzy the cat sits and meows at me;

she sounds like I feel.

I make soothsome noises;

she keeps calling, wants me to

open the front door

even though there is a fine cat door

she uses when the sun is up;

at night she demands concierge service and

Cries until I obey

or go to bed.

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Sporting Life

My husband has taken up knife throwing,

All our trees have giant wooden targets roped to

trunks pretending it is an art installation

I am pursuing the sport of poetry throwing

aim sestinas into the lake, six points

for each pallid fisherman I impale.

The two of us have acquired quite a reputation

Which helps with privacy.

Next we will try badminton

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Dawn of the Dead

You have to be dainty

In the dark morning all groggy and barefoot

Because stepping on a dead mouse

Is a terrible way to wake up

Especially if you haven’t had coffee

You shriek with gritted teeth

And hop on your good foot

Straight to the sink

You don’t get over it right away either

Each time you see the cat

You give her a dirty look

Full of recrimination.

She looks back at you

like mouse wouldn’t melt in her mouth.

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High Lights

1945 celebrated first birthday, father got out of Army;

1950 wrote a poem about Bobby Snowflake who lived on a cloud;

1955 skipped rope;

1960 dressed in black, lost virginity to man from Haiti, went off to college;

1965 married a book store clerk from rich family, taught art;

1970 had a baby, listened to Velvet Underground, lived in a trailer;

1975 left the commune, married new husband;

1980 attended law school, wore patent leather heels from the thrift store;

1985 opened a practice, fucked the judge;

1990 had another baby, discovered bondage;

1995 went to parties, talked on the phone, made money;

2000 broke off online romance with German fellow, stayed married;

2005 mother died, father died;

2010 retired, moved into house on the lake, children getting old;

2015 listened to gulls and geese and tree frogs;

2020 wrote a poem about a cat.

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How to Be a Nymphomaniac

First, announce you

believe in free love.

Then, lose your virginity to a man you pick up on Bleeker Street.

If it’s a little disappointing don’t worry

just try harder

and make noise.

Go away to college and sleep with 27

fraternity boys, 13 townies and one girl.

Make sure to tell all your friends

and the dean.

If sex is still disappointing don’t worry

just keep it up and

be noisier.

After you get kicked out of school

sleep with anyone who asks.

Tell people you love fucking even though

really its disappointing

and being noisier doesn’t help.

Start seeing a psychiatrist to get amphetamines;

tell him about all the sex you’ve had

in detail.

Be noisy.

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The Glass is Empty Again

I fill it

all people do is drink

don’t they get tired of being thirsty?

they should copy a cactus

or better yet

a dry dusty dromedary.

they need to fill their own pails

for a change

pump their own water

see how they like it

water pigs

snuffling at the well

pawing at the seep

no more glasses of water for them.

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Bad Recipe

Cooking when you are anxious

And distracted

Is a recipe for failure

I have proof

Right this minute

Looking at the spreading pool of batter

On the oven floor.

I have made biscotti a million times

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

Not

Never

My father-in-law shot himself

I wasn’t 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

I would make sure the cat finds me first.

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7 Deadly Sins

I am hallowed by heat, can’t beat

that lustful desire to swallow love whole

feed me more, I implore

a glutton knows no less

let it be a lesson to you

no forgiveness

my greed comes from flagrant need

always more, you bleeding whore

you feeding sloth I called

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

In your path

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

just take a knife to his throat

jam to his heart

I am proud to be a part

loudly crowing my success.

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