Thursday, April 17, 2014


(For J.K.)

Morning light
your message asks
if I'm alright--when you
dreamt of me last night
it sounds like maybe
I was not alright

Morning breaks too,
birds are the traffic
wardens of our sky--
like them, I become
many many things.
All small magic--

Like a funnel it's still
and still the same thing
on the other side. One
must keep on, there's
little choice on a slide.
I just thank you, believing...

me as I argue what I didn't
know I knew. That's huge.
See: If I said now, even
innocuously, "raincoats on."
Someone (age 6) might scoff
"How would *you* know?"


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

(Grandson) Rise!

My dad mimicking At's hair :)
Defiant hair runs in the family…

(I'd be ok if 
At didn't inherit 
the ear hair though.)


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bouncy Ball Soup...

Happy Passover!
(These three were such good guests!)


Monday, April 14, 2014

This is a morning

Painted with the colors of my childhood
a door swings, calls my childhood name
the stairs lift me as did mother and father
the breeze, their blessing calling me home


Friday, April 11, 2014

An Explanation

Hours rhyme 
on either side

you miss 
all this
when you die

comb calendars
take back

some days

some babies 
are called 

answers turn
and run 
into mouths

you squeeze
the neck
of a bottle


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A Dimple in Time

In the middle of August 
four years ago, I uploaded 
this picture of Nu to FB.

It was whimsically captioned:
 "One day, the child made a wish--
and then summer started."

My sister's school friend
(newly friended) found it 
today, liked it. Others did too.

I looked through that 
entire album at work
and missed my babies.

She was just two then 
she's headed for Grade 2
this August. Soon.

So small and squishy, right? 
But I remember thinking then
that she'd become a big kid.

Ok, yes.
Time is fleeting,
but it's also so ridiculous.


Monday, April 07, 2014

Of Never

try to make
the day stay--

to find
days that are
round and ripe

grow cities
and conversation

in slow, secret
snail-like orbit

the year's
great love,
time's anchor.


Sunday, April 06, 2014


little snow callus
to amputate
ghost weather
I'm not afraid
calla lilies
may evaporate
But my kingdom
is coming

Saturday, April 05, 2014


Is she wondering about 
the snow? Just last week 
it was piled high like  
"The Wall" in GoT.

Strange how in spite of 
all the naughty potties 
she still makes me laugh
and melt some more.


Friday, April 04, 2014

On Coolness

I gave her a bad haircut.
and felt terrible.
She didn't care!

She wore a velvet hat 
and added 
a leather jacket.

Me: How are you so cool?
She: Don't know. 
I guess I just am.

But not every one in the family 
is cool (exactly) like that
Exhibit Big A:
Who it seems--
might let me get away
with just about anything :).


Thursday, April 03, 2014

Working/Not Working

Kids are on spring break
and the furthest 
they've traveled this week
is to work with me.

Guess which kid 
picked out their own meal
at the cafeteria?


Wednesday, April 02, 2014


You place the fight in my eye,
throw me a cape of illustration
the ideas ride along underneath,
in the hiccup of my photograph.


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Look me in the eye!

This picture cracks me up.

(Scout & Grandpa R)

Monday, March 31, 2014

These Days

I translate everything:
extra hour of daylight,
half hour before kids,
come home--
I make up courtesies.

Every place is all
papers and books
(and prayers)
And I'm always telling
my date again.

No. Nothing personal
unless it's already on
an official form
a continent away.

What a terrible idea
to tell them everything
to give them my books
to give away thoughts
that initiate my breath

Read on, hoping for
another line that
invents the kind
of caress that
can make you forget.


Thursday, March 27, 2014


We drew a lot of circles in class today because of Martha Nussbaum and the Stoics.

But it reminded me of another Greek:
(Vachel Lindsay)
Old Euclid drew a circle
On a sand-beach long ago.
He bounded and enclosed it
With angles thus and so.
His set of solemn greybeards
Nodded and argued much
Of arc and circumference,
Diameter and such.
A silent child stood by them
From morning until noon
Because they drew such charming
Round pictures of the moon. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Serious Accusation

These days--and nights--with the kids cute, funny, kinda little, and sleeping under the same roof feel so blessed.

Letting each day go is a struggle, I know I'll look back on now as some of the sweetest times of parenthood some day.

That said, the kids aren't really *that* little.

Just yesterday, the first-grader accused me of treating her "like a kindergartner" :).


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Those Who

There are those who
just can't hold still for a pic
in the henna/bleach Tardis gear  
(made by an awesome student).

They are the same ones who 
suddenly transform into
a giggly, floppy, silly pile
of puppies in ten seconds.


Monday, March 24, 2014


1) That mid-morning call from the school--heart-racing panic before I understand that there is some meeting about traffic safety scheduled for Wednesday.

2) The official admission that MH 370 is really lost--do I grieve or conjure alternative endings?

3) Way before we've celebrated the beautiful way the judge struck down the ban on same-sex marriage in Michigan and the lovely way county clerks stayed open on the weekend to enable couples to marry, the expected appeal by the officially installed trolls against marriage equality. The counter-appeal from Equality Michigan is here.

4)  Reading the Good Wife spoiler before I could skip it--reading speed isn't helpful except in elementary school.

Trying not to dwell on these and continue working…


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Disease Detectives

In the end, At didn't win at the Rube Goldberg machine he'd worked on for weeks and weeks and weeks…

Turns out he's a good "Disease Detective." Perhaps we'll make a doctor out of him yet?

(In the background I can hear the theme song from Nu's show *!!!Detectives!!!* jazz hands and all.)


Saturday, March 22, 2014


Addicted to rebellion
does it makes it alright?
Warping what you say-
you feel, the way we go.
We'll be okay, O.K?
Go on forever like a
bad spelling of

Throw a million arms
in insults crafted like
poems; throw smiling
selfies, "alrights" right
back into the wind;
scoffing like the glint
on a knife, blood falling
through our words.

Thinking through this
tsunami of absolutely nothing.
Then suddenly feel far away,
falling, speeding through space
trying to leave all of this--
the limp flags of you and me
war, anger, surrender, earth,
being awake, everything--


Friday, March 21, 2014

With What is Left of the Moon Tonight

I bronze those years as wild
but did we disappear
into shyness
mildly trembling
from undiagnosed gaze
thoughts that ate us whole?

Gone unappeased for weeks
the sun, the day and night
falling upon us
as the road squints
and is growing from tiny,
drowning, reinventing in bed.

You've come with me, silently
your words flickering
an axis buried
so deep underground
not even breath breaks or stirs.

But you can locate me as if--
as if by a sensuous sonar
just your mouth
closing in with
rush, ache, amusement
wordlessly speaking of touch.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Her eyes pool with regret
agrees she really shouldn't
have taken so long for breakfast

now it's late
now I can't walk her
into her elementary school building

now she'll have to ring the bell herself
wait for the double doors to open
line up at the office for a "late card"

and walk the almost emptied
hallways to class.
By herself.

Her mouth is a cartoon of sadness
her hands (still dimpled) tug

I say "no."
I hold out.
I'm very stern.

O.K. Out you get.
O.K. I'll watch till you get in.
O.K. But I'll only come to the door, O.K.?

There--she's ahead of me
smiling small and secret
her eyes at half mast and triumphant.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Their eyes tell me about my future
how they grow up soft
in my heart

Their hands travel like my past
muddied innocent
grown lean

Their touch keeps books of memories
to listen, turn, learn
and cry out


Sunday, March 16, 2014

O Lorde, it was amazing!

Is it odd to have so much admiration 
for someone years (decades even) 
younger than one?

I wish I had been as nonconformist,

outspoken, confident, and powerful
 at seventeen, any time in my teens,

I wish I had taken the kids too…


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Eat your Bath!

I made Bisibele bhath for dinner.
And Nu thought it was hilarious
saying stuff like:
"This bath is delicious!"
"I've eaten all my bath!"
You get it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A snuggle before work

Big A dropped the older kids off at school
but there was still some snugglin' goin' on…


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New York

take it as proof
make it a prayer
around earth
beyond desire

learn its anarchy
discern distance
in indecision
and questions


Monday, March 10, 2014


I wait for the sun.
The first golden

A fingernail's
of light

A coin that

the day

More than


Sunday, March 09, 2014

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Snow Mail

Retrieving mail
from the mailbox 
apparently requires 
mucho teenage bravado 
and action-film acrobatics…


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Baby Madness

 Scout would like you to meet Huckleberry.
(He isn't sure we ought to keep her though.)

And here are all four kids…
(Nu is Huckleberry's special big sister
--and raising Huckleberry is clearly tiring work.)


Sunday, February 16, 2014


Filling hands decorously
with design
undone by words so porous
they're refined

Here you are, your hands
wide open
their words worried, wrong
so often


Saturday, February 15, 2014

By the light of the moon...

The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
(In Ann Arbor)


Thursday, February 13, 2014


an unused diary

an empty page

risen yeasty

newborn quiet


Wednesday, February 12, 2014


The river is
then has been
erased by snow

The snow was
plaint and now is

spreads diamantine
skirts upon ground.
And no one

or treasure or


Tuesday, February 11, 2014


this mouth is madness

is eaten by eyes
rent by hands
rent by words
that are noise

I fold it like a kite
fly it closer to my sky


Sunday, January 26, 2014


Our pronouns are wrong

Our tenderness grows oddly
strong, parking
in spaces

The best one was yesterday
a decade ago
the first

Everyday another escapade
ordinary, brighter

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Horror

At just finished reading Conrad's Heart of Darkness and wants to watch Apocalypse Now.

Why? Because he heard that those were the cultural artifacts that inspired a video game he loves called Spec Ops. It appears to be a first-person-shooter game, but At assures me there are more peaceful ways to play the game. We had a long car-conversation once about "it teaches that killing people is wrong" (At) and "you didn't already know killing people is wrong?" (me).

Whatever. I've assigned the Conrad to college students multiple times to complaints of "too hard to read." So currently, I'm a proud mama to a 14-year-old (less-than-stellar report card notwithstanding).


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Traffic Controller (Dinner Prep Time)

Rapt. Playing "Rush Hour."
This set is almost ten years old,
and initially used to be At's.
(The Ya-Yas gave it to him.)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Surprise Portrait

This showed up in my message folder...
There usually aren't (m)any pictures of us

Another thing I really like is how we're  
flanked by a portrait of Big A as a kid…


Saturday, January 18, 2014

In the Compost

Corpses wait
orange peel
egg shells
sliver of skin
hothouse scraps

iced over
in furrows
hatch plans,

The first
green spear
of spring,
with constancy


Friday, January 17, 2014

Snow Secret

The snow like a balm
blanketing, quieting

An incomplete dragon
intermittent, young

Raising itself as if
on a leash
to elegy

In memory of S.M. (1996-2014)
[From a memory of the beginning of Silas Marner.]


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


ButterCheese&Blueberry Fly
(Created by Ms. Nu)


Tuesday, December 17, 2013


On the way back from At's band concert we're discussing movies we'd like to watch over the Holiday break and Big A, newly 40, claims that Saige Paints the SkyThe American Girl Movie, is his pick.

It's not. He's doing it to make At and me giggle.

But Nu watched it twice and loves it.

So she decides to tell us the story.


Five minutes later; she finishes.

And then makes everyone in the car giggle again when she announces that--sadly, she had to leave out many details.

It can't be easy being the youngest.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Four Hours Before Newtown

Camille Dodero's compassionate account of a "suspected school shooter" What Kind of Monster Wants to Shoot Up His School.

(Made me miss doing CASA work.)


Saturday, December 14, 2013

It's been a Year...

There hasn't been a single day I haven't thought about those kids, those teachers, those parents, those kids.

A list of 194 children who've died since then in Mother Jones.

And a list of mass shootings in 2013 on Reddit.

It has to get better in 2014.


Friday, December 13, 2013


Scout's gotten so big
At can barely carry him.
(So…  my Nu offered 
to carry both her brothers.)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cliches, Glitches*


the dog…

does eat homework…

* English is weird. In any other language, words that look like that would rhyme .

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Nu Notes

1.      [While helping me make dinner]
My best friend is Michael. His name's also Letrell. He said that his favorite color is pink. He said sometimes people laugh when he says that. He said I could laugh too if I wanted to. But I didn't. I think he's lucky to have a strong friend like me. I'm going to eat a good dinner so I can always protect him. (Michael is half the size of Nu.)

2.      [When I walked through the door; sitting me down in the living room]
Mama, if you're not there, I'm not there. [?] I want you to eat whole meals, [?] sleep well, and get lots of treats so you'll be happy and healthy.

3.       [Dinner with grandparents. At had just admitted that at a "Power of the Pen" sleepover at school, he had slept right through a fire alarm. Most of us at the table laughed at him. Fresh from a fire drill at school, Nu clutched her brother's arm tightly, then this in a voice wobbly with tears.]
Guys, [Mom and Dad] I know I said I'd live with you forever, but I'm going to live with Nana forever. He needs me to help him wake up if the fire alarm goes off.

4.     [Communing with Scout...]

Look: I'm a "huppy" (half human; half puppy).


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Last 12 Hours

Groggy from a long chat that ended after 2:00 a.m. A chat that started with Big A awake and frustrated at being awake since he has to work till at least midnight today.

A rendition of "Big Dogs Don't Cry" didn't help, so I started talking about Virginia Woolf and Martha Nussbaum. (What? It puts students to sleep?)


Trying not to think of how it was the anniversary of him smashing his wrist while skiing. 

Skirting the topic of why on earth does he have to start work at 7:00 a.m. doing stuff as part of an additional job he interviewed for in Feb and isn't being compensated for in any way. 

Finding out that fake yawns can't make your companions sleepy.

Thinking about Nu saying "people look at me weird"--which is worrying whether it's real or imagined. 

Finding out we were talking too loudly for Scout who sighed at us loudly and went to At's room for the rest of the night.

Then I woke up a little later because At was riffling through all his things because he couldn't remember where he put his inhaler and he had been reading about the 12-year-old in Canada who died at school without his inhaler before bed.

And students in and out all day, jittery with finals panic and juggling everything from cancer to toddlers.


Monday, December 09, 2013


I was just browsing Shakespeare's Sister on a break and literally had my life interpreted for me.

In an article about high-heels, Melissa McEwan explains that for fat women, heels (which have been criticized by some feminists as a form of self harm) may seem a necessary defense:
Fat women have all kinds of narratives about sloppiness, laziness, dirtiness to overcome. Sometimes heels are a crucial part of looking "put together" in a way that sufficiently convinces people that we care about ourselves, that manages to counteract pervasive cultural narratives that fat people don't care about ourselves… I get treated completely differently at a $20 hair salon if I'm dressed up or dressed down. Two totally different experiences. I get treated differently at the doctor's office, and at the emergency room. I can't go to the ER in sweatpants, because I'll get shittier treatment. In an emergency, I have to worry if I am dressed up enough to prove that I deserve respect and care.
All round horrible. Points I completely empathize with without having experienced them myself. (Or so I think.)

And then the part that changes the way I count my life. Melissa McEwan continues:
I am speaking to my own experience here, but many women with other marginalized bodies have the same experience. Women of color, trans* women, women with disabilities, and other marginalized classes of women may strongly relate to the idea of having to be "put together" in order to be treated as human beings.
That would totally explain why after years of dressing in jeans and homespun tunics and putting a lot of thought into looking like I didn't care how I looked in India, I've become--after years of living in the West--consumed by fashion. Because looking like a vagabond* is cute only if people know that you're playing and know you're not really one.

*(as the nuns at my private school may have said)


Friday, December 06, 2013

The Kids Are Documenting My Lapses...

Turns out that when I promise 
to watch movies with them,
I end up falling asleep instead.
They have the pictures to prove it.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Realizing she'll have no one to boss around...

When big brother takes off for college.

(Big A assumes that the kids will be doctors. 
So far At--design; Nu--Art/Art teacher.
Even if Big A were really an Asian dad
--and not merely an Asian dad by proxy--
he couldn't be more disappointed.)


Sunday, December 01, 2013

On the road together (5:00 a.m.)

It's always good to have a chubby-cheeked companion.


Monday, November 25, 2013

What she made for her teacher...

 Go and play!

(or--presumably--I'll spank you with a spatula?)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hungry Games

Before we set off to Catching Fire with our 14-strong viewing party: Brunch!

 "Gale" (HA!) and Chickpea salad and President Snow's Rose Cupcakes

"Peeta" (Haha) chips and Katniss Hotness. We're so hilarious.