Coming back :: A Poem


today I look for you in batter
and swirls, in the fridge, 
breaking off a piece of ice,
wiping the counter
everyone left the kitchen messy last night
I’m achy in my bones
evidence of too much time spent away
“Coming back,” he says,
“in Hebrew it means coming back to God”
so I am coming back
into the shape of my eyes
my house
the clutter of family and dishes
a tomato, a single shoe, evidence of life
small perfect things.
You are everywhere, 
I don’t know why you continue with me
but you do
and I
(with my paradoxical longing to be with you and away)
I am coming back.


Ps. Thanks for your patience. In the wake of a book launch, I always find myself a little bereft of words.

Monday poetry.


All that is there

Flipping through photographs
when all that is here is not here
My thumb on a crease on the corner
this is the way we are forever
this is the way we live.
A woman
steps into the street
looks both ways
finds the little white dog
and calls her back.
She buys groceries
remembers her manners
looks for love
looks again
gets up when she doesn’t want to
fights off her fragility
wants to be strong.
The bricks
the walls
the harrowing escape.
Open, empty hands
the creases in them that tell the years
Oh, we loved you
We failed you but we loved you
I hope it will be enough.

We/ A poem.

(This has nothing to do with July 4th, or 1st for that matter. My mind is elsewhere this year. But happy celebrating to you who are running around with sparklers.)


We come
We bring
    Well-  Here is a story
shaped in sky
Song of one tree
angling around the clouds
in its own particular bend
one blackened branch/
I thought I was better alone
until I was alone
and all my songs
were quiet

The book won't fit on the shelf/
The mynahs copy the sounds of saws sometimes
metal on metal

You shrug it off but you have
that bend now
And it isn't grief
It isn't the trap you have
been avoiding

It isn't the zipped suitcase,
smoke disappearing into the air
Water takes the form of its container
and the color of its companions
But water is always water
filling up
pouring out
running down

It wasn't the heavy stone I thought it was
one tree in the forest bending
a story of roots and sky
I told you when we were driving
I told you in the car
I remembered him as my brother
but I knew I was his mother
I was no longer completely my own
but I didn't belong to anyone else either

We all
He was
We couldn't say
It was the blood in him that died first
Oh- The perfect donor

I’m trying to
I can't
what they say is unhealthy
the waiting for breath-
we are caught but they walk away glowing/
we redefine health
they walk grooves into the floor
they finally look into our eyes
know they are beloved
our way in the world is different
water will find a way to run clear

It wasn't the stone I thought it would be
song of one tree
sharp branch against the sky
It looked lonely
but it was surrounded by trees
We came
We couldn't say
You have to want to be changed
you have to ask
We bring
water is always water

we couldn't say

A Poem for Mothers Everywhere

I couldn't find a poem that said what I wanted to say for Mother's Day. So I wrote one. Here it is, this is what I want to say. This is for my own mother, and for all the mothers, especially the ones I know and love. But it's also for you.


She was caught
in a net of sleep
cushioned in the softness, down and down,
diving under, lost in it, turning
stretching, weightless, anxiety free
unconscious of desire or
loss, unfettered.

the cry. 
It came from the darkness, razor-like, cutting
through the ribbons that suspended her from
her life and
she crashed back down
opened her eyes, rubbed them, remembered.
hauling herself to her feet,
she remembered love,
again and again she remembers
she falls out of sleep and into 

the hopeful eyes
the waiting mouth, the full breast
she holds and soothes and gives the perfect answer
I am here, 
I am exhausted, I am irritated, I am barely awake
but I am here.
She will always be here
in the night, in the early morning
In the dog-tired noon of the hottest days,
for small, soft, little ones
for the big ones, the sun-warmed long limbs and anxious tics
for gulping and burping and the most annoying questions
to untangle the knots of the arguing siblings
to lose it, and apologize, and sit quietly
to play, sometimes, hopefully

she remembers upon every waking,
that love— its ribbons can never be cut—
And like a lion she says it again: I am here. 

The Gift: A New Poem

Yesterday, the sky was a worn old thing
piece of paper, crumpled and dusty
cast off. Uninvited.
Terrified of the smoke,
cringing away from the world
The trees punctured it with sharp ends
It cried for color

Today: Cup of coffee, scratching in the dark
Birds attempt to lift the heavy dawn
Morning doesn’t want to come
I sit on the floor and tape things together
Bits of bright yellow, a line that hasn’t been torn
a ray of nothing, an angle
Looking in my pockets, searching for whole things
A pebble, a hug, a pure strand of blue
A bird with bright feathers.
Tie them together with string
dab some glue in the corners
A sheet, a picture put together
from the little I have
Lift it up in this dark predawn.
“Here, sky, here.”


PS: Chinua is in Hungary and I'm struggling to find time to write, but poems come in the dark of morning, and the second installment of World Whisperer is up on Wattpad. Enjoy!  And if you don't love reading things in serial format, not to worry, the book launch is on April 15.