He possessed a certain divinity,
a soft-spoken modesty she read
as safe harbour, fell for maiden-like
innocence, her blessed compliance.

Married in the sacred way, carnal
mounting accentuating a tailored
love – husband and wife exploring,
celebrating glorious submission

until joy plummeted – impossible
to duplicate infatuation in a void –
they grasped at objects, mystery –
remodeled, relocated, searched,

constructed a delicate balance –
contrived happiness, passionless,
spontaneous and fearful, rawness
of exposed souls clinging together

saw deliverance in the perfection
of celebrity, worshiped at the feet
of media icons, like fools pandering
to a naked Emperor, no amount of

polish could contain the anxiousness
of their precariousness; quietly he
undressed another, fiery girl, while
surprised onlookers, sensitive, yet

unwilling to intervene – the discernible
darkness seeping through cracks of a
once golden haze – closed their doors to
the holy union now veering off course,

shielded themselves from bludgeoning
nostalgia, the anguished cries of vows
slaughtered bleeding onto sidewalks,
as if pain bore tentacles, spidery limbs

able to infiltrate the secrets of their
own carefully compartmentalized
partnerships, disrupt the grind and
lay bare the godless infidelities within.



A Sister’s Sin

Patience does not apply
in a family lacking ease,
nor is loyalty gifted…

my sister – a fiery red
corvette fuelled by hate
would slaughter kin

lived for the fight,
gleaned energy from
sinful behaviours

despite hard-work,
tasted power in attracting
meat – a fleshy cow –

processed sweethearts
with abandonment,
hardly caring, despised

public scrutiny – her world
a miniscule burlesque show
fluttering raw flesh inviting

scavengers – appeased out of
necessity – she shopped crowds,
possessed a light that shouted:

“Open for business” – dared
not endure loneliness, desperate
to annihilate the past –

her heart, a massive-winged
avenger, pummelled by
the memories of a brother

her twin – torn from her
by a deserting father – left
dying like an unwanted pest

an agonizing plummet
into an unendurable darkness
from which she sought any

infiltration, yearning to
pierce, to relieve, the musty
hold of her ground-up reality:

no virtue in patience,
no prize in loyalty
each woman for herself


Unexpected Guest

An unexpected guest –
invited by a spouse –
sends a wife grasping,
stretching, unsettled
by sequence of events.

She has rattled around
this oversized ranch of
a house, treasured the
rapid upward mobility,
covered up insecurities,

believed their marriage
to be respectable, now
waking up to his secret
tries to calm anxiety by
downplaying interludes

outside the marital bed,
but upstairs the other
has claimed a presence,
her scheming husband
temporarily committed.

Does she keep the secret
or make it public; shatter
their privacy, tear children
from their father, or exist –
convince herself it’s not

real, is over with, sleep
in separate quarters,
hold onto the luxury,
live with what is, try
to keep heart in home?

She can’t handle it
anymore, hindsight
progressing, comfort
no longer valid, risks
losing children, too

weary minded to care,
wondering how she’d
missed the significance
of her husband bringing
home an uninvited guest.

Not My Brother’s Keeper

I cannot bear the responsibility
for my brother’s pain, separated
as he was from my mother, raised
in his own kind of hell, estranged;

could not save him from himself
even if I tied him to me, carried
him by my side, bore his shame,
supported him by finding work.

I would just be trying to resurrect
old dreams, choosing to follow
already trodden paths, repeating
patterns of partnering with failure;

stir up memories of abuse, relive
the discomfort, castigate myself
anew for not asserting propriety,
contemplate revisiting the old.

No, I am not my brother’s keeper;
cannot right what has been lost;
only in looking forward can we
hope to bridge our familial ties.


Re-Purposing the Garage

It’s complicated, really, but so much
is defined by the presence of a garage.

Here is a stand-alone, connected by
a breezeway, single-car with storage;

could have been so much more –
had planned for it, but life changes.

Once had an oversized garage, direct
access, housed two vehicles, custom

built, but the cars are gone now, and
the single stands vacant, like my mind.

Except, the other day, I swore I glimpsed
an animal there, perched on the shelving

fierce, cat-like eyes caught in the dim
light of the open doorway, a tigress,

body crouched, poised to strike, backed
away, convinced it was a hallucination,

but then there she was again, clawing
at my imagination, piercing my senses;

I tended to the bleeding, chastising my
foolishness – of course she wasn’t real –

I lost my feminine prowess long ago,
am more of a groundhog now – slow

moving, podgy, sniffing the air for hints
of change, burrowing in face of trouble,

more a scrounger than a dweller, prefer
underground to domesticated storage.

A family lived here once: a tightly knit
portrait of three, lulled by the protection

offered – no storms to weather, just
sheltered transitions until the husband

left, daughter in tow; ducked beneath
the closing of the automated door –

left me, trapped under the layers of
debris, choking on their fumes, a flea-

bitten heap of a woman, homeless,
buried in a mound of bitter regrets;

almost missed her existence, except
for those grasping, white-knuckled

fingers emerging from the heap,
pleading for rescue, begging for

revival; I would shoulder her, one
more responsibility burdening

progress, shuddered to host such
destruction within my walls, would

have tended to her suffering more
promptly had not my daughter’s

malingering, suspiciously bent on
thievery, robbed me of equilibrium –

this state of heightened vigilance
a cause for neglecting self – have

humoured too many who would take
advantage of me, cannot trust my own

instincts, am disillusioned, no longer
content with inconsistencies, need to

confront the condition of my garage,
clean out the accumulation of stored

nonessentials; maybe hold a sale,
whitewash the interior and buy a car.


(Feature image from:

Response to Scorned

Hey, I didn’t force you into my bed,
seem to recall you came willingly,
never pretended to be Prince Charming,
was actually intimidated by your Disney
fantasies – thought you liked our
intimacy, would have got up to look
after the children, but you were already
on it, and besides, I never do it right.

The other woman was never about you,
it was about me, feeling inadequate in
face of your uber-confidence, getting
my ego stroked, and …well, you know –
never imagined it would lead here, value
my family – leave the children out of it!

Emasculation?! Let me tell you, working
my ass off to make you happy, when one
minute you say you want one thing, and
the next you chastise my for not knowing
that was a ploy and that I should know
what you actually want, because I am
supposed to be a mind reader – and how
did I know that your great-uncle Bob was
a leach, so I’m expected to make reparation.

Okay, I made a mistake, gave into temptation,
went for the bait, but it was never her I wanted.
All I want is the couple we used to be, that
happy go-lucky, hotter than hell twosome,
who dreamed of a family, and a mortgage,
two cars, two kids, and a dog – I just didn’t
realize it would all be so hard – and somehow
I just started to feel left out of the party, and
don’t worry I’m getting my payback – will
be punished forever – you try being a man!

Scorned Woman’s Rage

Before I jump into another man’s bed,
(especially one who has already cheated),
whisper my deepest yearnings to his
lusting heart, arch my hips to meet his
less than satisfactory thrust, I will make
sure that his compassion meets mine,
that he has the balls to prioritize, and
does not soften at crucial junctures.

I can look back at past follies, blame
hormonal rages, or beat myself over
shameless acts, but I am not the one
whose cojones, like deflated balloons,
lacked the wherewithal to differentiate
between brain and penis, and chose
to corrupt rather than protect the
sanctity of our children’s future.

Call it emasculation!  Call it female
wrath; accountability goes both ways,
and as long as we women are willing
to carry the burden of guilt, believe
messages shoved down our throats,
and submit to impossible ideation;
relationships will continue to crumble –
Stand up! Make a statement!  Be a man!

Is Daddy Dead?

Tucks her granddaughter in,
gazes into wide blue eyes,
flashes back to another girl –
now grown – apple cheeks,
and an unruly thicket of hair.

Nostalgia is shattered as
the child smiles back, lips
betraying a trace of another –
once father – whose absence
clouds the old woman’s heart.

She holds the child closer,
reassuring her undying love,
cannot not shake the echo
of words spoken only that day:
Kayla’s daddy always picks her up.

Told the teacher her dad is dead;
a reasonable conclusion for a
young mind unable to articulate
the questions in her heart: why
his name is only ever whispered.

Tries to draw his picture, talks
of missing his cuddles, surely,
cannot remember a man who
left before she was two – the
grandmother prays silently.

What will they say when she asks?
Niceties about how he wasn’t ready?
Leave her to believe she is somehow
lacking, unlovable, when in truth
it is he who is incapable of loving.

Chases women like cotton candy,
three or four a day, cannot help
himself, an internet-driven obsession,
uses his daughter’s picture as bait –
perhaps she is right, her father is dead.



Seasons of Love

Winter came early –
seeped into intimate
corners, froze hearts.

Walls papered white,
intending cheer, only
accented bitter cold.

Layers of submission,
hope, denial, ineffectual
in refueling the warmth.

She followed him down
the unavoidable slope
deep into the abyss.

Chilled, shaken she
braced for the arduous
trek ahead, injected

lightness into an
impossible situation,
committed, unaware

that he’d moved on,
abandoned her with his
customary indifference.

Years later,  thawed
by the warmth of solitude
she reflected, wondered

how the blatancy of his
oddities has escaped her –
his fixation on antiquated

ideals, how he furnished
her mind with incoherencies,
collected things, not values.

She had merely been
an observer in his life,
yet it had escaped her

that it was the fiery
summer of her soul,
that had melted his ice

her scorching, all-
embracing passion
that had united them

and, as in all things
seasonally inevitable,
their love would die.


A Husband and a Son

Mistook a man for a boy
once – married, realized
error, buried self in misery.
We were just nineteen.

My son is quite athletic:
quarterback, downhill racer,
musical, too – we expected
great things – a doctor, lawyer.

He laid in bed till two, rose,
reclined on couch,  amassed
piles of litter around him,
while I worked two jobs.

Recruited by the drama coach,
he made a wonderful leading
man – handsome, rugged looks,
a certain charm to his smile.

We didn’t consummate – I’m
not sexy enough, he said –
although he seemed to eye
the friend that kept him up …

He met this girl – she was
a year ahead of him – leading
lady – suddenly, he’s going out,
needs a car, gets a job –

He bought a slot car – joined
a club, raced in our basement
till 3 am – men with tiny cars-
going nowhere fast, I reeled…

She was years ahead of him –
left home at seventeen, knew
independence, responsibility –
a go-getter, highly energetic.

He couldn’t hold a job – excelled
at failure – unwilling to settle for
second best – I took on a boarder
to maintain the status quo.

We liked her all right – fit in-
like the daughter I never had,
but when they said they were
getting married – what to say?

I booked us a getaway – plan
to reconnect, ignite a spark,
instead we fought – he said
it was so easy for me – what?

He dropped out of school, took
a job at a bank – would-be manager
– sounded promising -let go a month
before the date- unfortunate.

I started staying out after hours
hanging with men – platonic;
anything to avoid the coldness
of home – an emotional void.

We told him he could call it
off – wasn’t too late.  He was
still a child – so much of life
to experience yet – why not?

Tried talking to his parents,
they said he needed a career,
not just any job – wanted him
to be somebody – I exploded.

The wedding was extravagant,
such a waste of money, really –
an embarrassment for us, but
we smiled and acted pleased.

It’s okay for the slut to work
sixteen hour days, is that it?
Nothing’s good enough for
your son – but okay for me?

We had them for dinners
Sundays – a happy ritual –
kept our eye on them, could
see the tension building.

Kicked him out before second
anniversary – either work or
leave, said I – he left – home
to mom’s couch I assumed.

He’s really still a child, my son,
needs his mother, needs to
ripen, too young to be plucked
from the vine – give it time.

Half the furniture and all
the debt and I feel like a
failure – used, betrayed,
who’ll want me now?

I worry about him – never see
him – wonder where he spends
his time – is he warm, fed, is
someone washing his clothes?

Someone does want me –
shares my dreams, opportunity
for a new life – but I can’t find
ex – shunning divorce, he hides.

He comes to Sunday dinners now
with a new woman at his side –
a soft-spoken country gal, polite
enough – I somehow miss the first.

His parents won’t tell me where
he is – hire a detective – need
to serve papers – be free of this
blemish on my heart – move on.

I ask him what his plans are, he
shrugs, looks away.  Have you
divorced?  No, Mom – nothing is
settled – still just a boy, really.

I find him at his mother’s house –
Sunday dinner – the new woman
at his side – as if nothing happened
as if my life had not been destroyed.

She was big as a house when she
came – in a hurry, of course – getting
re-married, having a child, leaving
him behind – always such drama.

It’s an old story now, child’s play –
two not-quite adults making poor
decisions – no one to blame –
I had always like his mother.

She dropped by today, to say
hello, heard I was ill, wanted to
apologize – strange child really,
old in some ways, lost in others.

Can the past ever be undone?
They were good people really –
undeserving of my recklessness,
unwittingly caught up in my pain.

We didn’t know what hit us,
I laughed – you were so full of life,
but he wasn’t ready, timing was off
for the life you were craving.

Is he happy? I ask (not mentioning
the fraud charges – saw it in the news)
I’m glad he found someone (did they
find the love that we had missed?)

He’s fine, I tell her, had his share
of tribulations – as we all do – (don’t
say he was just here this weekend
thinking about divorce – still failing.)

I wonder that she’s never moved,
still keeps this house of empty rooms,
hollow dreams echoing in the hallway,
has she found contentment in her life?

She leaves, and the warmth goes with
her – always full of sunshine despite
the rain – I let her go – like I did before –
the tempest who changed our lives.