Are they friends or foes?

They will tick on ’til the end.

Better watch how you go

and keep track of how you spend

your minutes and days

for they will quickly disappear

and smudge into a haze.

Learn to hold each moment hold dear.


How fitting

The song I wrote

about how guarded

we were

has long been lost,

though I remember the tune

and most of the chorus.

It flits into my head

from time to time.

I never sang it to anyone.

Not even you.

A difficult truth

I sat down to write a poem

about cruelty

and quickly realized

what an abyss I’d hurled myself


Any way you look at it,

humans have been undeniably cruel

to every inch of this planet,

to every person alive,

and to those yet to be born

for century after century.

It is a good thing we come

with two hands

one to blame others

and one to blame ourselves.

Caught up in a story

Words wander

thoughts ponder;

people dream

straining brain seams.

When stories abound

such glories are found!

What’s waiting around the bend?

You won’t want to reach the end!

Yet you must follow

the characters ’round the stage

go on, you know you want to.

Turn the page.


Dedicated to Markus Zusak, who has me loving all his Dunbar boys already even though I’m not yet fifty pages into his new book.

Starry lullaby: a prose poem

“Mommy, who sings the stars to sleep?”

Children are always good at asking questions adults can’t answer.

“The wind, of course,” I answer. It’s the first thing that comes to my head. My son thumps his comforter, a gesture that causes the sleeves of his pjs to ride up to almost his elbows. Those are getting too small for him. I’ll have to buy him a new pair soon.

“What does the wind say? Sing me the song!”

It’s bedtime for hin, which means bedtime for me isn’t too far away. He’s practically twitching with energy. Time for more improvisation.

“Shh, little stars

your day is done

it’s time to sleep

go to bed, one by one.

You lit up the sky

you shone your best.

Now listen to this lullaby

and get your rest.”

The tune is half rockaby baby, half twinkle little star, and wholly awful. But it works. He settles down further under his blankets. After two stories instead of our usual five, he is down for the count.

I look out the window, humming the newfound lullaby to the stars. My child breathes deeper and the stars do nothing but burn.