I have to lower my expectations. The suspense is killing me and apparently not slowly. Since last summer, the gray hair count has risen to a fever pitch, so I don’t even bother anymore. I’ve switched to ammoniated salvation in a bottle—Clairol’s Nice-and-Easy in Burnt Umber.

Here are my top “dead and dying” expectations:

1. Fame—not happening. Definitely not happening by 2012, the doomsday year I accepted by age seven.

2. Infamy—not yet but a lingering possibility.

3. You fixing things—the antique headboard, shattered in a drunken rage; the leaky/clogged tub; the rusted toilet chain from hell; the blown out bulbs; the dysfunctional laptop, etc.

4. Your phone call—I should know better by now.

5. Your lunch date—see above comment.

6. Riches—see above above comment.

7. Pain free heels—so sexy they hurt.

8. The booty my momma should’ve given me—lunges, crunches, squats, pelvic thrusts for what?

Well, the list isn’t too long.


hips and cumulonimbus clouds

This summer slinks languid, blanketed under a humidity I can taste. Mid-afternoon, a heavy yellow fog crawls on its belly into the yard. Its stickiness stifles my writing, sleeping, eating, dreaming. These hips suck in the damp—terry cloth on Kool-Aid. By early evening, the fluid-filled sacks (bursa) “protecting” my joints threaten to burst. Summertime hips, like ball bearings on rusted steel, shudder in protest of an after-dinner stroll; forget about a bike ride. I limp into the yard under thunderheads black enough to drink me up. I watch the cardinals make ready for the storm. They puff and twill over grumbled thunder until I’ve forgotten these defunct hips.  Easing my bones into the faded lounge chair, I lie curled in wait—amazed and fetal as the day I was born.


I’m going to get my hands dirty. Squithering, slishery, glibbering clay. The feeling of wet clay oozing over my clamped fingers remains primordial. The grit beneath my nails is grand, and my clay-splatted t-shirt, unapologetic. This clay shaper knows she holds in her palm the squelch we’re all made of.

brandishing brainwaves as weapons

My crackly, inflexible joints argue with my body’s urge to spring from the bed after a dream-charged night. My stiff awareness of joint erosion gives rise to another immobile awareness I’ve been nurturing in the last years. Mortality sensitivity—I don’t know how else to explain it. Maybe too much Deleuze or Nietzsche creaks like oak planks over my soul, but I’m certain of the uncertain, and this is unsettling. I’m not afraid of death or its aftermath. The getting there worries me. Twenty years lurk around the corner until they’re gone with no proof of purchase. As a peon, I’ve inexorably set my expectations so high I will never reach them. I knew I should’ve been an ant—at least they assume purpose. Tomorrow morning I will look alive when my feet hit the ground and my hips squeal in protest. I will be sensitive, empathetic to a world that doesn’t care if you’re already dead.

Wisdom Teeth

As determined pillars of wisdom

jut up through my jaw

in crazy angles,  I slide my tongue

over my gum, landscaping

the daily migration

of these razor-edged pearls.

I know they are not

where they should be-

an orthodontist would wail

-but they are mine, glorious

in their gritty ascent.

My sneer-smile stretches wide

so all can see, and when I speak,

my words gnash fresh between

baby T-Rex teeth.