There is value in submitting creative work to small, local, or independent publishers as a means of building community. These three poems were published on different occasions in the Southwest Journal within the past several years.
Three Chimneys on Lilac Lane
If my mother didn’t have Alzheimer’s,
I’d walk up her gravel driveway,
lined with lilac bushes in bloom,
to the brick bungalow with three chimneys,
where I grew up.
She’d be standing on the concrete steps,
waiting for me to arrive.
We’d walk into the cramped kitchen—
room only for a table and three chairs,
the counter covered with freshly-baked pies:
pecan, raspberry, and strawberry rhubarb.
She’d claim to have forgotten my favorite
and baked all three.
She would not be lying in a crank-up bed in a beige room,
clutching The Lutheran Hymnal with trembling fingers.
She would not tell me about her breakfast: oatmeal full of ants.
She would not look up, wild-eyed.
But even if she did, even if she did,
Mom would remember my name.
by the steam heat
of fresh love.
by the power of
In spite of
shadows of the past
pressed on our backs
matching gold bands.
Then Mom said, Marry
in haste; repent
in leisure. And
so we did.
Upon Reading James Finley in Cabo San Lucas
I get up in the morning and touch my feet to the floor;
the sun rises pink in the sky.
In the distance a pair of flamingos honk, heralding this arrival
And I wonder:
Is this ordinary experience of an utterly ordinary event,
this press of calloused skin on cool Mexican tile,
the mystery of God manifesting itself
in — and as — this very ordinariness?
I settle into a webbed chair, blue,
on the balcony of Pueblo Bonito Blanco.
In the manicured grass below,
the sun kisses the flamingos’ shell-pink feathers.
With inarticulate certainty in the pit of my stomach
I realize my eternal oneness with God;
the clarity of seeing something beautiful
and immediately knowing:
It is beautiful.