These creaking bones,

Whose support go


All these years.


These spots fleck

My skin like dandelions.

My face requited

Their affections.


This knob on my foot

Offends me;

By days end,

Expresses its disdain.


Those unseen organs

Play their stanzas.

Lungs like bagpipes.

Heart, a kettle drum.


Ah, for the age of grace-

The grace of age.

Life’s stage,



Damn age.


(It’s not that bad, really.)



One Resolution

It’s not that a year is new and all,

but looking back is a free fall

of hair, long, with strands of grey,

sprinkled, as if to say:

remember me, remember when?

I used to search for them, pluck them,

Now I comb through to see

the silver lined memories of you and me.

Like tinsel, they reflect, stand out.

Yesterday you said this is what it’s about.

Owning age, thankful, line after line,

Mapping our faces, tracking our time.

Under this sun there is nothing really new,

Except our hearts gleaning what is true.

I will run my fingers through.

Yes, I will run my fingers through.


For Barbara January 2019




It choked me.


My mother told me close my mouth.

Dennis’ father used to sit in the corner,

legs crossed, reading the Gazette

with his lower lip dangling and pudgy.

Old people gape at nothing.

Maybe nothing is gape worthy

when white flurries crown them.


The snowflake melted down into me.


Monday Morning Muse: Four Way Stops and Old Man Thoughts.

Monday morning sometimes is like a filled four way stop. There is hesitation, balking, and questions. Who was here first? You wave to the other driver. You move your mouth through the windshield and three others stare. You try to read their lips and interpret their hand motions. Ugh.

I was in my big brown truck at a four way stop a few days ago. Rolling up and then through without as much as a neck tweak, an older man slipped through. His mouth was hanging open like my best friends dad did when he read the newspaper. The driver slouched with his hands at ten and two draped over the wheel. I wondered what was going through his mind. I know what went through mine.

One day, God willing, I will most likely drive around with my mouth open. I will read with my mouth open. Words won’t come out of the gaping hole, just breaths. My tongue will dry out and I won’t care. If I make it to seventy or eighty I might not have much to say. Four way stops won’t hold my attention. I will simply be thankful for motion. My thoughts will escape through the gape but not in words. Thoughts will depart from lungs of longing and I will inhale the sensory wonder that is this world. I will stay between the lines in anticipation of crossing them. I will be pulled over them eventually into the awe of road less motion. Heaven, just over the shoulder, will most likely cause my mouth to shut and I will come to a complete stop.

Ellipses’ and Riding the Bench

When I was a kid my mother would haul us to the grocery store. Back then it was Meijer Thrifty Acres at the corner of Patterson and Douglas Avenue. There were always bench sitters in the queue right next to the twirling red, white, and blue barber shop sign. There would be three to a bench like a human ellipsis. The dot dot dots were mostly elderly types who had settled in on “old people” fashion. Polyester slacks and smock blouses and prescription shoes the color of…somewhere between tan and gray. The ladies would often have the clear plastic caps on the hair they just had fluffed up. The men would lean on canes with handkerchief s cuffed in their hands; age spots on their foreheads.

How many times did my mother catch me staring? How many times did she swing around to push my pointing finger down to my side where it belonged? To a child people are who they are. Back then people were fat. People were wrinkly. People had long noses and ears. Slips would show. Great gaps formed between the top of argyle socks and the unrolled end of trousers. Facial tics would blink, wink, and purse repeatedly at my unblinking eyes of wonder.

I still stare. Don’t tell my mom. Humans fascinate me. Without saying a word they communicate quite a bit. Just yesterday I saw a cute old man hunched over with lips parted and drooping toward the waxed tile. I imagined him as a youth, upright, full of spunk, and walking at a good pace past the benches of dot dot dot. If the good Lord is willing I might have the honor of being a dot on a bench.

One dot is a period. It is placed at the end of this sentence. But three dots indicate a continuance…a continuance of thought and relationship. I long to be sandwiched between a couple of old, fat, wrinkly, unfashionable people while little tikes point their fingers and say what is on their innocent minds.

I thank God today for life. Louis had it right. Take time today to say hi to a bench sitter…



Salt water was on tap.  That was yesterday.  I dragged a trailer around town transferring the material world of my mother and daughter.  My mother is about to move into assisted living.  My oldest daughter moved out, again.  For my mother it will be the final assist before she goes on to a more permanent place where no assistance will be needed.  Dependence in the freedom of perfect Love will be her stay.

I saw a lot of my siblings as we moved stuff.  One sister underlined, with a slight shake in her voice, “How does one measure a life…really?”  She is the one who has been compiling information about our family tree.  She has been finding branches and leaves and bits of bark of family that have been long forgotten (or never known).  Her question probably was in the glove compartment of all our minds as we all pitched in.

I thought (no offense to my siblings), who are all these aged people helping move toiletries and chairs and giraffe figurines?  I noticed for the first time just last week skin dangling underneath my chin.  It was as if we were loading time into a cargo trailer only to find dust on it when we emptied it.

The departure, if God graces one with long life, is so much like the arrival in reverse…Obviously.  Friends and family shower a baby and gather things for arrival.  Friends and family dry off a life by dispersal.  Estate sales pop up everywhere. It is our turn yet we would rather give up our place in line and move to the back.

The tears came at an odd time (I thought anyway).  I dropped off my mother’s table and chairs at my daughter’s new apartment.  As I said goodbye and kissed her neck all the movement moved me.  I apologized to her.  “It’s just that there is a lot of movement going on lately.”

My eyes felt the after burn all day as I drove from one place to another and another.  The cargo trailer ended up at church chained and locked.  Yeah, that would be a good place for stuff  to be parked.