Die Fleas

(I may have had a teeny tiny flea infestation in my home last fall…)

 You awful fleas, how dare you bother me.
I hate the scornful way you jump and bite,
You invade my home and won’t let me be.
Leave at once or you’ll be facing the light. 
 Understand, I hate you so much you flea.
If you don’t leave I’ll kill you with glee.
How much do I hate you? Well you see,
You’ve overstayed your welcome so I plea.
 I hate your attitude, body and legs.
Thinking of the pain fills most of my days.
Nowhere is safe. I can’t sleep without plagues.
But I’ll tell you the truth, you’re out of plays.
 Now I must tell you with a heavy heart,
You’re about to be gone. Dead.

Self Conscious Young Lady

(based on a painting by Joan Semmel)

A young woman,
Maybe eighteen or nineteen,
With long brown hair,
And her grandmother’s blue opal ring on her finger.

She’s self conscious
But not too self conscious,
As she lets the robe fall from her body,
It’s silk floating delicately to the carpet floor.

She picks up the camera on her nightstand,
Heavy and black,
With an old fashioned flash
And a long leather cord.

With careful steps,
she heads up to her mirror,
And covers her face,
As she positions the camera.

The flash goes off once,
A third time.
Until she’s content.

She’s self conscious
But not too self conscious
Under her love for her body,
She is plagued by self doubt.

Too big,
Too small,
Too tall,
Too short.

Judgement after judgement
Day after day
What matters most to her is her love,
For herself and her body.

She’s a self conscious young lady
But not too self conscious.


I found you

In the city where luck fakes abundance

where drinks are spilled,

And love prevails.


In a bin you sat amid others,

Of blues and yellows and greens.

Half my size with a purple horn and glittery feet,

I pulled you free of your plastic prison.


I begged and cried

And asked and whined.

Dad said I didn’t need another toy,

But mom only smiled.


“Name him Cesar,”

She said as she paid the clerk.

The building around us glittered in gold,

With a Gondola ride in the center.


Though Cesar’s palace we rode,

Gliding through the water below us.

I held you tight to my chest,

And imagined our future together.


Wandering through the next decade

We’d go through many escapades

Of magical castles

And evil wizards.


I’d take you everywhere,

To Canada, and Europe.

To Costa Rica,

And we’d ride through the deserts of Arizona.


One day our innocence and imagination,

Would get us into an unfortunate problem.

From years of playing,

You’d be pushed too far.


As you’d start to fray,

I’d scream and cry.

I’d do what I could,

And stitch you up.


With a new scar on your side,

It would be a constant reminder.

You are mine.

I am yours.


You’re my Cesar,

Forever in my heart.


I’m only three, But I know who you are. 
You’re old smile’s contagious, Curved and beautiful.
I smiled and run toward to you, My tiny arms outstretched.
You hold me to your chest, And kiss my curly blonde head.
War has not treated you well, The Flying Tigers has made you frail, 
You’re body is melted, Old and tired with knobby rickety knees.
I climb up onto your lap, on the frog covered bed, 
You gently curve the corners of your mouth,
Not like you used to, but close enough.
You like the green color of my shirt And say how beautiful I am. 
You grab my hand And point to my mom
“Smile!” She says. A flash appears, and then it’s gone. 
The last time I saw you, captured.


Sitting in the blue armchair,
on my dad's denim covered knee
his eyes crinkle in the corners
As he tells me I'm adopted.
Adoption is a frustrating word, 
that comes with mystery and confusion,
It makes me question myself,
As I ask who I am.
I know I’m from Coeur d’ Alene, 
A city full of potatoes.
But I live in Pittsburgh,
A city full of pride.
Another question always lingers: 
Should I meet my birth parents?
I grow tired of that question,
Because there is no good answer.
I don’t want to be disappointed, 
besides, I’m happy where I am.
I like my parents,
My family and my friends.
And I like that I'm different,
A word I've adopted.

On Anxiety

You’re suffocating,

unable to breathe.

Sweat beads down Your face,

Your heart thumping in Your chest.

You’re on the ground,

curled into a ball.



You want to hit something,


Just to make the noise go away.

But You can’t.

The wave keeps coming,

crashing over You,

Drowning You,

until You’re nothing more than a scarecrow.

A fake grin,

a fake smile,

and forever frozen in time.

This is anxiety,

and it has a funny way of controlling You,

of keeping You from being you.