Bloom

When we opened up our friend’s closed house, the first thing I noticed were the white remains of the Christmas cactus blooms. Underneath the shade-covered window, the dry-stalked hulls crumbled in my hands. Some now-white-past-prime blooms were still attached to the succulent plant. Succulent sounds like abundant water, but this spindly light green cactus was […]

What do you want? Why?

I’m awash in teens right now. I want to be all clever, with an apt metaphor. But I tell you again that the poetry people speak to me more loudly in the early morning. It’s late morning here and I’m remembering a conversation with my oldest. How when I said her, all the chatter is […]

To Be Well

I ask directions from my life and it points me in wildly different directions: 4 different jobs. Persimmon tea with a hint of lime. Doing what I’m afraid of from IRAs to teaching adults about creativity. When I was going through a rough patch in college, my friend Annie sent me a letter. In it, […]

Flash Floods

Flash Floods  by Nancy Schatz Alton I trace the spaces this life has made in me: the way the underpass, bereft of water feels to my running feet how once the running stopped the orange bike arrived & I rode how I rode in the basement a new path unlike the path I made on […]

I Don’t Know/I Want

I eat my lunch while reading, my thoughts faster than the speed at which I can write them down. Oh! My students should read this: here’s a poem about peeling an orange. Wait—it’s really long & it’s about cancer and war and travel and oranges. The vent system of our house is pushing waves of […]

Fire

To write one true poem. The year begins, and I hear the words again: To write one true poem. From my wall hanging. The one I stop and read. The one about loving wolves over dogs. Make haste for your gifts. Prepare for the words to light you up. I don’t know which words are […]

The Now

Ah. The 31st. I already went online and saw summations from 2018. The instinct to gather and look behind is so great. I am a lover of memoir. I understand that. I want to gather what is behind me and make a story that can help me live out tomorrow. But more than that, I […]

Where’s my ladder?

My mind wants to hinge on the negative. So I throw it the flip side & watch it simmer. And I throw it poetry & find a black hole. Shimmer back to senior year, how I tossed a swimming pool into the black hole paper, how creativity tossed with science is good enough to get […]

Washing the Dishes

When I finally insist that the vacuuming of the room needs to happen, the breaker clicks off. The roar of the machine overloaded the circuit. The room is black, only the light of the screen still lit. I push every breaker except for the right one, my rain boots on my feet grounding me to […]