my mind wandered
as the knife sliced 
through the pungent onions
the stubborn carrots
the sound of the blade
brought satisfaction
against the celery

i readied the stove
flames medium
the aroma
of care
permeating my home

the once solid bacon drippings
in the cast iron pot
small bits missed
from sieving

my heart sang 
the song 
of the women
before me
all the heartaches
the miseries
the mistreatments
animal fat 
over heat

the ballad of my
fell on

and i felt it
as i had

this was love

a calming daytime
a melody only
in my kitchen


i thought of you
in the peacefulness
of that moment
what we had spoken of
laughed about
agreed upon


every dash of salt
shake of spice
slow stir of whatever
was bubbling

a rhythm 
notes being played
through intuition

i could dance
all night
to the music
i cooked


for the quickest
blink of a

i missed you


I don't believe in god
or give credence to any religion
created by fearful men
in efforts to oppress and subdue
those they felt 
were beneath them
instilling the thought process
that all were

except for themselves

religion is not for me

I still pray

my boots
smoothly pack their prints 
upon the snow covered walk
my breath
soft, steady, serene
it would be silent
save for the gentlest sound
of my steps
as I head home

the prayer is small
a quick word with the Universe
a telepathic memo to the stars
a devotion to the moon

once I'm home
I light a candle
for cleansing
I hold the wallet-sized
black and white photo of
my great-grandmother
so close to my heart
and whisper to it
as though she were right next to me
hugging me
consoling me
reassuring me
loving me

and I murmur an invocation
"give me strength
give me patience
give me kindness"

I do not believe in God

But I believe 
in the woman she was
and filled to the brim
with all the Love and Fortitude
only a cruel life 
could gracefully gift
as penance

No weight has been lifted
Problems are problems
I know
I am still 
my faith 
certainly isn't

After all
I believe in the Universe
The Stars
The Moon
and my 

And those are far more real and powerful
than any variation
of what is being sold
as God.

My home, My heart

As I'd been tossing the old and unwanted
parting with the objects 
which no longer served me
did not bring joy
were not useful
had no purpose other than
taking up
much needed space

I remembered someone saying
or maybe
I read it somewhere

A person's home is a reflection of self.

I stopped
took a moment
The books
the plants
the comforts
the oddities
the weirdness
the normal
the art
the pictures
the colors
   the colors
      the colors

the kitchen still fragrant
from the previous night's dinner
stems rooting in
plastic water filled
shot glasses
on the sparse countertop
coffee pot
half full
still hot
splashes of bright red
dried chili peppers

I took a seat
at the hand-me-down dining table
canary yellow tablecloth
with the floral print
greens, blues, purples,
complementing the artwork ridden
and mirrors
all the mirrors
to reflect
to deflect

in the stillness of the waning afternoon
splashes of the setting sun
upon shelves
filled with cookbooks
horror novels
rocks collected at parks
clay dinosaurs
molded by
young and inquisitive

I appreciated the warmness
and assurance
of the small space
I had created for myself
of myself
A brightly pleasant
curio shop
of the soul

I know
it's not for everyone
but the right one
will find it to be
a haven

The Universe Sent A Memo

This morning, my ex-husband came to pick up the kids. Ever the hospitable host, I mentioned I had one croissant left. Would he like a breakfast sandwich? Never mind that I had not eaten myself. Of course, he said yes. There I went, off to the kitchen as he sat at the dining table with the boys. And as I idly tended to the cooking and plating, I felt the strongest sadness in myself. 

This is who I am. This will always be who I am. It doesn't matter how shitty someone will treat you, you will never complain. Never fight. You will always care. You will always err on the side of kindness and consideration, like a chump. And I hated myself for that moment. I wished with every molecule in my body that I could be the spiteful and vindictive type, but I couldn't.

I can't.

I fed him. Made small talk. Hugged and kissed my kids goodbye. Felt the emptiness set in. I thought of all my exes right up to the most recent.

All the men I've loved more than they ever loved me... you're fucking pathetic. You will never be enough.

I buried myself under blankets and tried to hide from my own self.

I didn't succeed.

I went into work later that day, devoid of spirit. A fraying husk of a person. The whole evening, nothing but a handful of people. One regular, going through his own relationship woes offered commiseration. I was on autopilot. I smiled and responded with the most generic platitude I had at the ready. 

"Oh, you know. There's somebody for everybody. I just wasn't his somebody."

I was ... blank.

At some point, I realized I hadn't eaten the whole day. It was going on 9 pm. I forced myself to have a slice of pizza knowing that if I didn't, I'd get sick. The cook was rightly worried - I wasn't eating. I was always eating. Why wasn't I eating? I think I ate that one piece more to appease him than to put something in my belly.

Another regular asked if I would do a shot with him. I usually don't. Drinking behind the bar isn't my gig. But I said yes. Out of spite for myself.

I messaged a friend two short sentences. I am losing my defiance. I am losing my will.
"You are stronger than that."
I am not.
"You. Are. Sure you're allowing yourself a moment of weakness, but you are."

I didn't feel that to be true. But I knew arguing would lead nowhere and didn't bother to message back.

Then, I once again stewed. I ran through all the times I had met adversity with my chin up. Shoulders squared. The countless instances I turned the other cheek. The ridiculous amount of pain and heartache I had suffered through thinking that in the end, it would be okay. As long as I continued to put good out into the world, I would be okay.

What a fucking crock of bullshit. I felt the war within myself. The battle against becoming who I once was, who I strived to never be again. Cold, cruel, indifferent, unfeeling. 


By this point, everyone had left. It was just me and Johnny. Not everyone cares for him. He's a talker. In the grand scheme of things, he's not an angry drunk, he's almost always polite, and despite his tendency to have an opinion about everything under the sun, he has a good heart. There are far worse customers. I am not bothered by him. 

He called to me as I was cleaning, said he wanted to gift me something. He pulled that something out of his wallet and from where I was standing, it was square and shiny. For a second, I thought, There is no way this dude is trying to give me a f**king condom.

Still, I was curious and walked over. It was a flattened chocolate wrapper. It had obviously been sitting in his wallet for quite some time.

"Now," he started, still holding it gently in front of me. "it's not what it is, it's what's written on it. I'm going to show it to you and I'll leave it up to you if you want to take it. You can tell me 'No thanks, keep it' or you can have it. No pressure."

He laid it down on the bar, some cheesy inspirational quote. On a tiny piece of foil that he had been carrying with him for who knows how long. 

And in that moment, I felt my eyes welling. I swallowed to clear the lump from my throat. Quietly, "I needed this. Thank you."

He gave me a hug. Through a muffled sob, I managed to mumble, "It's been one hell of a week."

There it was. The good grace of the Universe reminding me that kindness is necessary. Compassion is key. 

I remain soft. With no intent on changing.

their indifference, my shame

i am always embarrassed
when i miss those
who don't care to 
even give a thought
of me

it's like ...
excitedly babbling
about a subject of interest
only to find
that no one is listening
or even cares
caught up in
their own self-contained

so the words,
once rainbow bright
with vivacity
slowly lose their vibrancy
colors sad
with losing life
bleeding away
into gray silence

that is what it's like

my heart hemorrhaging
prismatic poetry
to an audience

that is how i feel

i have to 
remind myself

if i knock on the door
of a house
with no lights
i shouldn't be surprised
no one answers

it does not lessen my shame

little by little

the wheels 
have been put
into motion

as the night goes long
and my fingers fidget
i laugh

i've no ring to pawn
pass on
tuck away in a small box
pushed to the back of a drawer
to be forgotten
until it is remembered
during sad
sauvignon nights

contemplation continues

there was never 
a proposal
the 'big rock" moment
joyous tears
speech impeding shock
the announcement
and following picture
to the circle of friends
oohing and aahing
the phone call
to parents
sharing the same 


just an obligatory acceptance
of wedding
the mother
of his 

i would like to think 
he loved me
i would like to believe
i was more than a
live-in maid
personal assistant
i would like to hope
that it wasn't all for 


i don't
i can't
i won't

i will keep 
churning the crank
operating the 
and tired 
rickety yet
integral to
and capable of
the shackles
which once
bound me
to him


i see
the glitter
a glimpse into the eyes

they are live

shimmery specks
of splendiferous 
fuzzing about
the periphery
of the pupils

joyous crackles
crinkling the

pure and present
pouring abundantly

in a tiny

to be sighted 
and swallowed
through such 
an ecstatic lens

the pulse

i am dizzy
brought to 
much needed

Speculating Cost

i met someone
with a quiet intensity
so very
excellent at small talk
with dry
hidden humor
much loved
by the neighborhood locals

no fault
could seemingly be found

much like a discriminating buyer
at a curio shop
i have been inspecting
in the hopes of
any investment
i decide to put forth

i do not like
being this way
but i have
been subject to
so many instances of
Buyer’s Remorse

my heart’s wallet
cannot afford
another loss.


It hit especially hard this morning.
The Melancholy.
It’s been a a good long while since it has happened. The weight of the past crushing me while I sat in my car waiting for the light to change to green. All because I took a minute to examine my surroundings. The neighborhood hit with gentrification. All the old replaced with new.
The burger place was now a bank. The corner pharmacy now empty, a For Lease sign clinging to the storefront, dusty and tattered. I knew this area once. Long ago, another life, a homeless teen sharing a basket of fries with the other delinquents. Lifting bags of chips and hygiene products from across the street.
I drove past the alley I slept in.
Before I learned that my body was a commodity that could be exchanged for a night out of the cold.
All the independent coffee shops with the bottomless cups keeping me/us warm during the long days…gone.
I felt my eyes welling.
I tried to shake the shadows off.

I kept driving. Taking deep breaths. Fighting against the rising tide of panicked sadness. And then I saw the greasy spoon I took my first child to when he was still in diapers. Yet another version of myself that I couldn’t bear to be reminded of. A young mother who knew nothing of receiving unconditional love but poured herself into loving a child she could barely care for and knowing it. Letting him reside with his father because she didn’t have her shit together enough to provide for him the way he deserved.
Drinking until the guilt faded into the next sick hungover morning.
The guilt turning into feelings of being unworthy.
Being unworthy turning to multiple attempts of suicide.

I always failed.
Because at my core, I was a coward. I didn’t want to live. But I was afraid of dying.

The pall was enveloping me quick.

My cheeks were wet with tears. This city, which I had tried to run from before, was bombarding me with all the things I had tucked away so neatly. Or so I thought. My mistakes, failings, friendships, loves, heartbreaks – my heart was flooded, drowning. No use now. So I succumbed to the tide pulling me under.

Sobbing, I thought of you.
How we were going to “make new memories to replace the old”.
There is no such thing.
The old will always resurface. Intertwined, reminding of us of who we were. What we have been through. We can be grateful that we have progressed. We have transcended the previous models. I am Me, Model 273. Maybe. I don’t know, I’ve lost track of the many skins I’ve shed. I just know that I will continue to evolve and that soon, the places and time we shared together will eventually join the rest.

Another shadow following me until I stop moving.