a favoured over-estimation

Calmness leads to claws
flexing, with eyes
closed or keenly
narrowed and fixed on
the sleightness of
disturbed air between
my incoming finger tip
and his whiskers or

An assumed cute boop
results in bloodshed
or rough abrading licks,
my hand or his meal
depends on whose needs

A strange noticing
paralyzes my next
action, any reaction
either way, staying in
or leaving his clutch
will be painful and
forgotten and
forgiven before
dinner time.

Regardless, I assume
ownership of him,
his care, and any
injury that results
from loving him as
I do.

Kenmore dishwasher, 1983

We were the first 
among our neighbours
to get a dishwasher
it was my mom’s idea
an empty solution
to her feeling
she was
‘done with cooking
and washing dishes.’

My eager dad
got a good deal
on a Kenmore from Sears.
He ‘knew a guy’
that could
do the install
the peace was kept
and shushing assurances
were made
‘I’ll take care of it.
Don’t worry.’
He said.
Her gaze hardened.

His face flashed
fear like
that moment
of tension
just before the
last crank
of a jack in the box
we all waited
for some
but nothing popped.

This was much

The look
on my mom’s face
wasn’t worry
it fell somewhere
anger and disappointment
like she was
glimpsing the future.

Did she see her
new entitlement
still boxed
squatting in the
a month from now?

Could she know
that it
would serve
only as
an extension
to our counter
for several years
before it’s wheels
were removed
it’s faux wood
top was unscrewed
and it took its
ornamental place
under counter?

Did she wonder
‘the guy’
my dad knew;
she knew
all the guys
that my dad

Was she scrying
that even
after the hoses
were connected
and the hydro
that mustard yellow
would only
ever be filled
with cutting boards
and spare

Was she
admitting to herself
that what she really
wanted more than
freedom from
her chores
was for
us to want
to help
that what we needed
more cupboard space
what we had
was hands enough
to clean the
dinner dishes
and no
to help her?

how could they know?

The Amazing Race
goes to a 
commercial break,
two teams of
high fiving contestants
atop the Eiffel tower fade
to a McDonald's ad. 

'Remember Paris?' 
I toss across
the room at my wife.
'I do. Both visits.' 
'If only 
we would have ...' 
I wished.
'...gone up the tower.' 
She finished.

That seems
like another life,
before we
were us,
before marriage
and family
were even discussed. 

From then 
to now, somehow
other things
left undone
not gone
have become
'Eiffel towers'. 

Not exactly
maybe just
we weren’t ready
for yet. 

My kids,
our life,
sit on
the floor 
between us.
They suddenly
are curious.
'When did we
go to Paris?'


another message
a subject line

a flat assumption
that you are
owed my time

and a reminder
what’s mine is yours
but mine ain’t mine.

no matter
what i’ve said
or redefined

about changing our
for the thousandth time

you hear
your own voice only
saying ‘like this, is just fine.’

can’t stop, even for one second

~for karen

this heart,
skipping rocks
with ease downstream,
constructing beats knowing
so little of the silly hopscotch of
the world, just the constant
push on its insides. no
wonder it spends
hour upon
hour pressing back.
with small miraculous feats-
one thought, one pump at a
time- all lines, blue, red, wish filled,
and fine- tell so many simple
stories on the skin
in sighs.
with a sure flow
so thick there’s really
little doubt for whom these
bellows toll. from where you perch,
how does it sound though? what
keys have you found? and
what traps have
you wrapped
around my soul?
at first I thought you
were a thief. oh this heart,
my gold, my light I thought you
stole it, instead you moved
in and built a life-
not soft or hard,
but just right.