honored to have my prose poem We’ll Always Have the High Chair
published in Free Lit Magazine
“Free Lit Magazine is free and published bi-monthly with a mandate to be committed
to the accessibility of literature for readers and the enrichment of writing for writers.” – Free Lit Magazine
We’ll Always Have the High Chair
We laughed. Chuckled while swimming in the YMCA pool. In my kitchen or yours. During our walks. Shopping and smiling. Over coffee.
Dad often asked, “How can you always have so much to talk about? What the hell is so funny all the time?”
Constant conversations. Endless phone calls when we lived only a few miles from one another. And now, I can’t remember much. What did we talk about, mom? What was always so funny all the time?
I’d give anything to hear you laugh again.
I remember when Caroline was five months old. You and I decided to try my first born in her new high chair. She was a tiny baby, and had what we called a minnow-head. We placed her in the chair. She tilted sideways and that bitty head slid to the far corner. There she sat grinning with those sweet bow lips. From that moment, whenever either of us said, Remember the high chair, we’d laugh.
This morning, you keep spitting out your meds. Don’t seem to remember why you need to swallow them. With a despondent voice I ask, Remember the high chair?
Your eyes crinkle as drool dribbles down your chin.
I’ve been gone awhile. Spending many days in the nursing home with my beautiful mom. Hope you’re all well and excited for a colorful Autumn. I’m hard at work trying to pull together a labor-of-love; a poetry collection about care-giving, love, loss and family. I’ve been doing loads of writing offline. As you know, getting published is uphill all the way. So, my friends, onward and upward. ❤️
I’m thrilled to have this piece, Don’t Love Them Too Much, published in the Front Porch Review! Click anywhere here in this red copy and visit the Front Porch Review. Many talented writers visiting the charming home there!
This piece is based on the night my father passed away. I can’t believe it will be a year this November since he left us. On the night of my dad’s death, all emergency responders were nothing short of amazing🌹
was it your choice
choosing sleep to die in
I watched them
watched them dad
in your mint bedroom
trying to make your chest say something
while your mouth was bound with elastic
and a pump shoved down your throat
screaming in my head
leave him be
it goes on like this for an hour
or nearly so
not pronounced dead
until the white sheet
in the emergency room
was that for us
was that for you
maybe for them
I kissed your cheek
not entirely unwarm
you look good dad
“A husband and father, as he did every morning, kissing his wife and daughter before driving to Rescue 1’s firehouse on West 53rd Street in Manhattan. And his unusual decision to stop as he walked to his van on Sept. 11, 2001, and return to kiss them one more time.”
“I’m saying to myself, he survived. He was a Marine, he was a Boy Scout (and) he was a rescue guy,” Tillie Geidel said. “If anybody could survive, he could survive.”
– Leonard Sparks for the Times Herald-Record, September 11, 2016
portrait of Gary Geidel, Rescue 1 – painted this for his mom in 2001
time, is his friend
an entire life
to flourish and decide and dream
he was born
with an old soul
warm and caring
those eyes of his
speak in softness
two more years
then he will fly
all that resides in him
all that is good
all that is still mystery
he’s thinking pediatrician
a tender spot for babies
cares about children
while looking in the mirror
trying to see the man
he will one day become
Max portrait painted about twelve years ago
15-years-old in detail photo above (at his sister’s 2016 high school graduation)
Didn’t think much about it. I seldom do. Heard it was difficult. It is. She’s going off to become whatever it is she wants to become. She will be a student of sustainable agriculture. I ventured into Mad Men territory while in school. We are different that way. The best way possible. She will try to effect agricultural change. Make an earthly impact. Walking our Dachshund this morning (still miss my Shepherd) gazing down at the road thinking back to those days–trying to remember lessons for her. The rocks and tar rolled out then rumbled flat. There are cracks and joint fixes. Sparkles of glass and dull-faced stones. Her life will be like this road. Combinations of things adhered together, splitting sometimes, getting fixed or not, hot in the heat, icy in the cold–dangerous at times. Her feet will walk as she destines they should–barefoot or booted. She will be smart and she will not be smart. Go off to study abroad. Maybe fall in love or at least what she thinks is. I pray she will be happy. I know to ask for ‘always’ is unrealistic. She is so much more confident than I was at that age. I’m hoping enough to keep her out of situations. When one doesn’t like who they see each morning in the glass, trouble follows. I didn’t think she would be teary-eyed. She is. But she is also excited. Imagine, it’s all shiny right now…may it glisten for a long while. This place is more raw than ever. And they all know it. Let them enjoy the sparkle in a bubble while they can pretend.
photo detail-Caroline, age 18
above, painting detail, from a larger portrait-Caroline is 8