Friday, February 05, 2016

The Odds...

What I wanted to say
the student disputing 
their course grade
that I did everything 
ethically possible to help.


Thursday, February 04, 2016

Elections 2016

This or that--
I'm running away or
slowing/throwing down

in uncanny dashes
to interpret patches
of plaster and verse

But words in my mouth--
a delicate wheel of anger
will--still--demand love


Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Ride Home

just needed it
to tidy my office a bit.


Monday, February 01, 2016

The Drop-off

Their bodies hurtling
in entangled orbits
of school, activities,

Till they return just in time
still the same
slightly changed
don't go
(don't die)
don't grow (so fast)

The passing touch
of their known hands
surges, deluges,
cracks open my heart.
I've never been easier to love.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

9:00 p.m. (Older Group Cuddle)

Scout took my lap,
so At took my feet.

(The younger ones
go to bed at 8:00.)


Friday, January 29, 2016

At Close

Waves lap
at the edges of the evening
claim me
in programmed high tide

Come close to breaking
over the shore
a scream or a chuckle
the coil of sleep or serpents


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Perhaps, an Astronaut

How is your day going?
It's difficult to tell.
I imagine you up there
starlight as nightlight
watching sun and moon
rise together cheek by cheek

I imagine the brain
swelling in delight
even at old age
remembering easily
the children and their kisses
as they easily remember me.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

In Attention

Sky is a tangle of broadcast
snow messages
unspool on the windscreen
up there the moon
opens up
wisp by wisp.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Moms Are Sooooooooooooooooo Embarrassing

The kids had the day off due to the weather, so I brought them and the young von Ws to the college for an MLK Day performance by Sojourner Truth Community Theater.

I was happy to smirk at At when he turned a worried face towards me when they started singing "We Shall Overcome." And Nu whispered in F von W's ear (presumably about the day before).

And then I was wiping away tears to "I have a Dream."

Happy MLK Day to me.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Moms are Embarrassing

There was that moment when everyone was singing "We Shall Overcome" and my stupid face dissolved into silent tears. My sweet kids on either side of me didn't look too embarrassed, and actually helped me make sure I didn't have streaks before we walked out.

It's just been such a long time, you know--and here we are, still working on overcoming the same crap.

(Later in the evening, At did say the next time I bugged him about something, he'd call me "Church-weeper" so there's that.)


Monday, January 11, 2016

Such a Great Feeling...

When you find the perfect textbook
for your students
(and you're thanked 
in the Acknowledgements)


Thursday, January 07, 2016

Best Shot

I was happy to see this
in Austin, TX.


Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Monday, January 04, 2016


The in-flight magazine 
reminded me of 
my own little comic

who likes the story of 
Carol Burnett tugging 
on her ear


Sunday, January 03, 2016


The nicest thing this last month
has been NuNu reading to *me*
She finds books her classroom discards

Then follows me around the house,
Reading, emoting, so intently.
I think I'll remember  

The Shoeshine Girl always
The Chalkbox Kid forever. 
(I want to.)


Friday, January 01, 2016


There're ways to do this
where dreams are choral
and my eyes are wings
florescent with words

And if If I gave you three dollars
and 75 cents, how far away
is the train at 50 m.p.h.
carrying all our songs of want?


Bottu Puppies!


Thursday, December 31, 2015

The End

They'll be home from YS soon
And then night comes
or falls--depends
on whom you ask

Time to wrap babies and burritos
while birds dip their wings
in sunsets
and vanish


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

In Transit

the body remembers what it used to do
escapes as blithe as a toddler

no experience, no accomplices, no plan
only the trail to the door

like the first moment in the water when
my body seems soluble

held so sure and certain
then gone in a glint of sun


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

No More Snow

I did this yesterday.



Monday, December 28, 2015

New Book

Nu started writing 
(yet) another novel. 
The title makes me 





Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Quartet

The kids gave me presents that blew me away.

Nu brought home a healthy recipe book (standard school issue parent present) in November when we had no holiday wrapping paper yet. She made this to wrap her present in:

At got me this because my RBG tee was fraying:

Nu gave me an extra present (because she loves me best of all!). It's a chocolate countdown calendar! (And she teamed it with a bag of chocolate she got her dad to buy for her.) 

And Nu kept her creativity going by making the puppies a play yard:

My four kids are simply the best.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Santa-Hat Triptych

NuNu designed and made these Santa's Hats based on something a class mom brought to their Holiday party... We improvised with some Pinterest help...

And the next day, she taught her brother too.


Friday, December 18, 2015

The Beginning of the Alma Season...

Her family makes these ornaments,
and the awesome student 

(whom I've never had in class)
gave me one.

I turned into an embarrassing 
blabbering mess of gratitude.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

So Much Finals Craziness...

But as one of my students who colors for relaxation, reminds me:

I appreciate how Rosie is especially BROWN in my honor :).


Monday, November 30, 2015

Post-Thanksgiving Cry

Found this in Nu's backpack
and the last item on the list 
made me a little weepy

so I Whatsapped it 
to my poor mom
and made her cry.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Deepavali 2015

Gor antha deepam
Konda antha velugu

(a sliver of flame
a mountain of light)


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Meet the Parents

Student event this evening, and the stories they've shared hang around my interactions with their families.

The man with the twinkly eyes lost a child to cancer.

The woman so proud of her daughter's accomplishments is herself a daughter struggling to help her elderly mother stay independent.

 So awed by how wonderful and brave people are.


Monday, November 09, 2015

A Hug for Monday

The dress Anu Pinni sent
is happy camouflage.


Sunday, November 08, 2015

In Perfect Step

The Section Leader is 
particularly handsome.


Saturday, November 07, 2015


At was at the XC Varsity event (filming the Girls' team). I stashed Nu in the UU kitchen, and worked the break room with coffee machine, creamer, and cookies for the homeless 'intake.'

And it was all brave, tidy, and everyone trying to be cheery.

But the family with the backpacks--perhaps the cheeriest of all--was the nub. B joked to the kids that there wasn't room on the bus and they'd be walking; the older one quipped, Again?" They didn't want to play card games but took turns on the phone. Got cookies when mom left the room for a smoke. And I wonder one more time why people like Donald Trump get to have so much cash for their tasteless crap and others don't have enough.


Friday, November 06, 2015


Sometime between ages 16 and 21…

First I fell in love with Ted Hughes. Then I fell in love with Sylvia Plath. Then I hated Ted Hughes,  while being mildly annoyed with Sylvia Plath. Then I took to raving against Hughes, and if you mentioned Plath's name would break down in angry tears. Then I pretended neither of them existed while reading their poetry secretly.

If that sounds exhausting,* how much more exhausting to be those intense, talented people, constantly under scrutiny and the pressure to perform.

Love Frieda Hughes' interview in which she talks about her parents. And I've come a long way from being that impressionable and emotional teenager who took everything personally, but still needed to hear this:
"To me, as a child, my father seemed to blame himself for almost everything. It was awful. A child does not want to see their parents suffer. Thousands of people all over the world every day split up, thousands of people have affairs. Not everyone kills themselves."
* Yes, it also sounds nerdy, but everyone knows that already.




Thursday, November 05, 2015

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Blast from the Past

Yesterday's prom photo extravaganza
made us moms reminisce 

Their playdates and sleepovers,
 their silly sing alongs...


Monday, October 05, 2015

Guess Who's Out of Place?

At and me 
A nine-year-old's 
birthday partayyy.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Nu hasn't eaten her lunch--a wedge of Tortilla EspaƱola from dinner the day before.

Because: "You didn't pack me a fork!"

But: "I ate everything else! Even the sour cream for the tortilla. Although it wouldn't come out and I had to use my fingers."

It's a good thing then that FB sent me a great memory yesterday.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I lie
my feet in fetters

I rise
a canopy dweller

Let you
tell me

What I
already see


Monday, September 21, 2015

I forgot...

...I was being filmed for a documentary on rape culture and showed up at work with workout hair and in my non-teaching uniform.

But it was a productive conversation, and I was so outraged by my own talking points that I forgot my customary camera wariness fairly quickly.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

I Need a Tiny Violin

I had a headache from spending an hour in the car with the teen driver today,
and all my mom had to WhatsApp back when I complained, was ":)."


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Little Leslie Hermione Knope

Nu gave up being bossy
at her American Girl 
Cooking Class...

to go show us
how to be bossy 
on the soccer field.

In this picture, she's jabbering 
with her coaches 
she's SO cute!


Friday, September 18, 2015

Up, Up and Away...

This post caught my eye on the sidebar this morning, and I got a little choked up. We don't know where At's friend R is or how he is.

And my own At--the champion of cuddles and calm, sometime spotter of grocery cash, constant companion--is now 16.

Sixteen. Still a champion and companion, but a grown up one. One who has plans to go away for college (no more: 'I'm going to live in the basement'), a critical thinker who questions my social justice outrage (more: 'is that the best way to convince people?'), still somewhat wiser than his years (A lot of: 'Jesus, Mom! I told you not to engage in arguments with hate groups!'). 

And clearly more comfortable with swearing--and every aspect of himself--every day.

I am so incredibly proud.

And so unready.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

And on the Teen Clockmaker...

They never thought he had a bomb- by Andy Illes

I said: it's sad they thought that kid had a bomb.
She said: they didn't think he had a bomb.
I said: yes, they thought he made a bomb and even called the police.
She said: They just wanted to humiliate a little Muslim, African boy. They didn't think he had a bomb.
I said: Don't be a conspiracist. They might be a little prejudiced, but I'm sure they thought he had a bomb.

She said: Ok.

But they didn't evacuate the school, like you do when there's a bomb.
They didn't call a bomb squad - like you do when there's a bomb
They didn't get as far away from him as possible - like you do when there's a bomb.
Then they put him and the clock in an office- not like you do when there's a bomb
Then they waited with him for the police to arrive.
Then they put the clock in the same car as the police.
Then they took pictures of it.
I said: Damn
They never thought he had a bomb.

From here


Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Pic courtesy J C-D

All I can think of is the poet Kambar 
talking about how magnificent 
young Rama's shoulders were:
"Thol kandar; tholey kandar!"
"Those who saw his shoulders,
saw only his shoulders!"
(Those shoulders--so perfect, 
no one could look away AND
so broad that they never got around
to completing the act of looking)


Tuesday, September 15, 2015


The way she says, "forever"
makes it sound like a long word.

She's never heard of "never"
it falls behind her mind's hedge

The sun peers into my eyes
today, the way she used to--

Tugging my eyelids open
saying, "you're awake now?"


Monday, September 14, 2015

Twins: The International and Anachronistic Edition

"I had the same glasses 
and headband at seven,
and I still love that book."


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Matchy, matchy, matchy

And you can tell the weather has turned…


Friday, September 11, 2015


Among all the stories circulating around today,
this was the one that made me cry (first).
The story of the last living 

And the 2,976 American,
 48,644 Afghani, 
1,690,930 Iraqi, 
3,500 Pakistani,

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ode to August

Memories of mud
of being handled
by sun

Peonies peeling so
dense, opulent,

Earth unevened by
legions of night

I rule lying in wait
waiting to be

Until, we ourselves
O love, are unruly


Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Some Mornings

The sky is full of faces
we greet them
at breakfast

While the wind fumbles
sighing, tired
at the door


Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Monday, September 07, 2015


The day may never end
its intimacy with salty

As if I'm someone else
reading backwards--


Saturday, September 05, 2015

Friday, September 04, 2015


Tiny pine seedlings
from the Traditions dinner. 
Hope to see how big they grow--
and how far my students can go.