Bea, age 4
- Bea: Mom, what were the jerks names in your high school?
- Me: There weren't any.
- Bea: Wow! There were NO BOYS AT YOUR SCHOOL??
set me on my back and hold
me there or I’ll roll over.
chop off the top –
my green leafy mind.
cut off the bottom.
set me on either end, whatever
you choose – I’m flexible.
grasp my stomach
with your weak hand
and slice the rind off me.
you’ll have to slide the blade
through me back and forth. use
a serrated edge. do not lose
any flesh to the skin.
slit me through the middle
then half each side.
separate the sweet, the tart
from the hard spine -
amake me bite sized to tease
and eat your tongue away.
Messenger by Mary Oliver
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, here the hummingbird -
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
Sometimes, I am
encumbered by cold –
the kind heap that breathes
silver dust on the bony shoulders
of my mind.
It fills my soul-lungs, lunging
into hollow caverns where
thoughts perch, waiting
for the flight of the thrush.
My heart puts on its orange
parka, and shivers a little,
wanting summer, calling
to the lilac to bring aromatic
whispers to the blue
and purple-nothings that,
sometimes, fill up my seconds.
Brief Sketch for my Non-Fic class. I changed some of the names, just fyi.
“Your face looks good, it’s just, your nose doesn’t look quite right.” My friend Cara proceeded to erase the entirety of the self-portrait I’d been working on for a half an hour. I had been in art class for three months, and I wasn’t getting any better. I looked at the center of the misshapen oval that was supposedly representing my face. I had drawn and erased my nose so many times, I had stained the formerly white paper a dull, accusing grey.
“My goodness. This class is the absolute worst,” I whined.
“You can’t be good at everything, Megan,” said Bella, a rather gifted sketch artist. I took solace in the moment to remember that I had creamed her in a challenge match during Tennis practice the day before. I felt a little guilty for this, but smug overall. She happened to be my doubles partner, and used to mutter sarcastic comments under her breath whenever I missed a shot. Personally, she reminded me of Gollum. Bella turned back around, and Cara continued her patient tutelage.
“Okay. Just look in the mirror and draw what you see not what you know.” I spent the next several seconds glancing quickly back and forth from my face to the paper, trying to get them to be imprinted on top of each other in my corneas. Cara couldn’t help but giggle. Self-conscious, I forced my neck to stop its futile efforts, and set my pencil down in surrender.
The teacher came over to try and help me out. She was wearing a purple wig that day. She did what she could to switch it out every few days, assuring us that losing her hair from chemo was one of the best things that had ever happened to her style. Mrs. Nelson arched her neck, looking down at my paper as if there was just a small change I needed to make. I wondered if I should inform her there was no face.
“Well dear,” she began, “maybe you should try and isolate different facial features, you know? Block part of the mirror to give you less to look at.” She sort of floated back to her desk, staring off to the corner of the room, her arms bent at the elbows and extended out forming a nice big W with her torso.
“Cara, this class is a nuthouse.” She didn’t argue with me. I placed my hand over the left side of my reflection. This served to confuse me more, as I looked down at the page and there was no hand blocking half of the ‘face.’ Frustrated, I just began sketching what I thought was a good rendition of a nose. I finished the drawing with this method, and handed it to Cara for inspection. To her credit, she didn’t laugh at the nearly perfect sketch of Frankenstein’s monster. The day the portraits were due, Cara drew half of each facial feature, telling me to mimic her lines for the other half. This procured a face that, while slightly resembling a stroke-victim, looked enough like me to pass for a 2nd cousin.