Daily Poem 22/30

One early morning
as I lay in my bed nursing
I heard the cat's meow
simply sounded friendly
until I heard the squeaking
and then I really woke up.
Our toddler and I peered
over the edge of the bed
yelled for Daddy
he caught the mouse gently
Baby and I freed it in the woods near work
just moments after
an inspector came to assess our house.

It was a big day.

I asked for a big promotion.

I'll get it if I do some big work.

In a meeting I told
the mouse story
"I mean, how often do those two things happen
in one morning?" I asked. "My husband told me to get
the mouse off the counter before
the inspector comes in."
Everyone laughed. Then they asked why the cat doesn't kill the mouse.
I explained that she was a sweet lap cat
who doesn't kill
"She just runs alongside the mouse," I said.

Later I picked up my toddler from school.

All the moms were talking about how much they hated their jobs,
how they were going nowhere
just wanted to stay home with the baby
(any excuse to stop, just stop trying---it IS hard)
I came home exhausted
toddler in arms
wondering if I can do it all
or if like my cat I just bat ideas around
I felt so tired I almost could not move

But there on the dining room floor lay a dead mouse.
We crouched over it
"This mouse is dead," I told her.
"Dead," said my baby. We looked at it whole,
the cat looking on proudly.

Later we buried it in the yard.

-About Thursday August 12, 2010


Daily Poem 21/30

We've known each other for years
not that she knows my name, but I'm her client
for a certain intimate procedure
off the spa menu.
Today I rode my bike over in 20 minutes off from work
she paused someone's pedicure to take care of me
asked about my baby
I asked about her son
"Turns 18 tomorrow" she said.
I congratulated her on 18 years of motherhood
and she said it was full of surprises.
I probed.
"Last Friday," she said in Korean-accented English,
"I asked him what he goin' do, if he had any plans."
I knew she meant plans for his life; he'd been loafing around a lot.

"He say he did, but he didn't want to tell, we'd get too upset.
I say no, you can tell me. i want to hear."
She removed a wax strip and I winced.
"He say he goin' join the Marines."
"Oh, no!" I said, to which she nodded, and said, "I KNOW."

I asked if she was upset. "I not upset," she said,
"but it really cracked me. It really cracked me. I stay up
all Friday night crying
and Saturday
I feel happy,
I feel sad.
I not know what to think.

It really cracked me."

"He a man," she said."I can't do anything about it.
He has to make this decision. I tell him, if you sign the papers
and decide you don't want to go, you can't. A man will come to your house and take you to jail."

I tried to imagine my toddler telling me the same thing.
I felt a small crack.
I reminded her of the GI Bill.

"I know, that's what he say, 3 years and then he'll use the bill."

When can he sign up? I asked.

"Tomorrow," she said, "when
he turns
Daily Poem 20/30

I asked my neighbor
How was your day? He looked up at the sky and answered.
Went to a car show.
Left early.
Wife had to take her mother out.
He didn't continue, but he missed her too much.
Kids grown and gone.
A few regrets on how they raised 'em.
"Just didn't talk to them--we just didn't know better,"
he once told me.
"You gotta say, 'this is grass. Grass is green.'
Now we know better."
Those two are glad
they've got each other.
Daily Poem 19/30

date night
went downtown for spicy spicy hot
malaysian food
split cake in the park
othello rolling across the stage
sitting on bikes at night
we stared at our old home
gone one year
felt like we could walk right in
biked home
cicadas ringing over the dark river
Daily Poem 18/30

drunk on bicycles
margaritas in the summer
laughing in the cemetary
like fifteen-year-olds.
Daily Poem 17/30

bad cat
sneaks in from the forest
indoor cat
looks silly in the trees
looks tasty to a fisher
I scold her
she's just a snack
she gives me a wild look and slinks


Daily Poem 16/30

We finally merged accounts
after six years of marriage,
two homes co-owned
and one beautiful baby
our dual paychecks finally flow
into one place.
It is done.
We've merged equally.
I have to wonder why it doesn't feel
bad at all
have we beaten the independent streak out of ourselves?
Are we just giving in
nine years together
come so far
from sheets taped to the fridge in that first apartment
listing monthly expenses
in his and hers columns
keeping us
now it always feels a little confusing
out of reach
and we need that solid
of where it all goes
so we're merging
and yet
I have so many
little secrets.

$1.77 for decaf
sometimes two in one morning
a silly indulgence
the $54 haircut
topped with tip and products
somehow came to $99
I bought a present for my boss's wedding
then I bought some cards
it's all right there on the statement
sorry sweetie
you get to know me a little better now
that you're merging
with me


Daily Poem 15/30

Tiger eat popsicle!
What better sentence
to break the three-word record
Tiger eat popsicle!
Actually it was more of an offering:
Tiger eat popsicle?
And yet so celebratory--
everyone had popsicles, wouldn't Tiger like
to join the party?
Tiger didn't eat any popsicle,
and instead it ran in faint red rivers
down the most beautiful belly
in the world.


Daily Poem 14/30

She touches
the tiny baby
tiny head
soft soft hair
she touches
the tiny baby
says "Baby Baby,"
she's soft and still.
She kneels by the basket
she sighs so sweet.
her coos and laughs
by the little baby
they can be heard
by the tiniest ears.


Daily Poem 13/30

Guy twisting balloons at the twin's party
line of kids in front of him never gets shorter
a little girl asks for a rainbow
"I LOVE making rainbows!"
he exclaims
and soon she has a tricolor rainbow
emerging from a cloud.
Our baby,
while getting her diaper changed, says,
when I ask her what kind of animal she wants.
"Purple is good,"
but what, I ask, is purple?
A bunny? A dog? A turtle?
"Yeah," she says noncommitally.
When the big kids go inside for a pinata kill session,
the guy cheerfully gets to work on her purple turtle.
First he makes a face at the end of a long straight balloon.
Then he makes neat little rows for a shell, purple on top, blue on bottom.
Next, toddler loses interest and she and I go into the bouncy house.
Time passes.
My husband opens another beer.
But the guy keeps twisting.
Sometimes he has to deliberately pop balloons. Other times they just seem to pop.
I watch from inside the bouncy house,
the loose black netting obscuring the result in his ever-moving hands.
Kids come back from the pinata
with bags of candy.
They start lining up again in front the balloon twister.
He keeps twisting.
Finally, it's done. We emerge from the bouncy house to a celebratory purple turtle, triumphantly presented.
She shrieks with delight.
It's beautiful, but I wonder if people will know what it is.
"oh wow," says a woman,
as we carry our balloon animal home.
"a turtle!"