The Bear

I am holding the door shut against the invader

     a huge vicious bear called "your death"

He will come in and engulf me with

     a suffocating darkness

Oh Mother, tomorrow will come

     your body displayed for all to see

Your soul's whereabouts a mystery

     somewhere in that heaven

Then I will stand there

     to greet the wondering guests

Thinking they understand a glimmer of how I feel

     but, beyond feeling, I cannot tell

how the bear pushes, how he growls


in the Mississippi blues bar

i feel you next to me

the music you would have made

how sad heroin must be

i want to tell someone my blues

to join the band and sing

to share the song of who you were

what's left of you in me

i have the blues that will

never leave, never leave

in the Mississippi blues bar

i feel you next to me

under the table you hold my hand

then join the band and play

it's you i long to see

it's you i long to see

In the Strangest Places

in the strangest places

i miss you most

like the food co-op

where you showed me the

cereals you like

nutritious vitamin packed

i miss you when i see

the hordes of crazy bicylists

i know you liked to ride with

the avant guards unusual

i miss you in the movie theatre

near Indian foods, by my spice rack

in the strangest places your ghost

pops out and says hello

no scary spirit, no, not you

and when you come the pain

is knife-like in my heart

and to it i say yes, yes, yes

and i look for new strange places

where you can be found

Tea with Grief

Grief, sit down with me

    have a cup of tea, tell me

    how may I make you comfortable,

    welcome you with open arms?

You say you need a box of tissues?

   here, take my husband’s white

   handkerchief – he can no longer use it

   I keep it in my purse, just in case…

You say, in a sad whisper,

   that in the book stores

   you cannot find anything to read?

You say something about being tired

   so many little things to do

   but no good reasons to do anything…

You say, turn off the light – it

   is time to put the day away,

   to climb into the bed alone

   and imagine his arms around you

   as the wind chimes ring

   and the house creaks.

Grief, stay until the morning –

   you, you will not leave me.

Coat of Grief

I take off the coat of grief

and shake it, dust flies and

memories fall out of pockets

the tears have dried on sleeves

and its size no longer fits

so large it has become and

so heavy, filled with useless keys

to locks that no longer work

to rooms with no surprises

I will not wear it


Across the Starry Night

Across the Starry Bright

I want to


with you

David Bowie


I left my red

ballet slippers


let’s dance


across the

starry bright

me, you


the millions



for you


The Control Room

it doesn't feel right to steal his story

but maybe all stories are stolen

it's just that this story punched me tonight

right in the heart, not arrow-like, more like

the fist of a boxer wearing his glove

I still hurt where the story hit me


he said he was in the control room

part of the team the gave the green light

for the Challenger to lift off


you could see in in his face, the day

of disaster, he wore it like a tattoo

dreams of deep guilt frozen in time

they were only words but I felt them

as he discussed why he left science

hiding tears in the traces of objectivity


the med-evac lifts,

spirits your father away

and every time you hear a

helicopter you will think

of him, that large laugh

time was brief

but took forever:

the ticking of the clock

the ticking of hearts

a failing heart

broken hearts

and the black blanket of grief

settling its shawl around you

a surreal weave of disbelief

and acquiescence;

and when the helicopter

comes for you

joyfully, you will reach up

eager to hold on to the

enormous laughing

its lights will spin like a

crazy star

as it sings the way toward him

to heaven.


It is almost a month since she took her last breath

The leaves are beginning to turn and fall

The whole world grows colder outside your door

And inside the chill penetrates

The cellophane wrap of loneliness

As it covers every surface

Protecting with a numbness

A lifeless plastic disguise

Of normalcy

Meals and television and walking the dog

Who is lonely, too

And as speechless as you about it