Monday, September 28, 2015

Shoe Stories: short-short pieces on a theme

My brother Frank left his shoes in the living room. My size 6 shoes fit easily inside his size 10s, so I put them on, my feet inside my shoes inside Frank's shoes. Frank returned, looking for his shoes. They were hidden in plain sight, right where he expected not to find them.
- Anne Taft

My mother had a shoe collection that would rival Imelda Marcos. An entire closet was devoted to her shoes racks, each pair fitted into its color-coordinated place. I can remember as a little girl opening the door to this magic kingdom, the delicious scent of leather and shoe powder wafting into my nostrils. Navy and black patent leather were big favorites and took up several of the racks,  all accessorized with gold braid, brass buttons, silver clips, tiny tassels and linen bows. But there also were rows of beige, taupe, white, maroon and pink. Low and medium heels, spike heels, wedges but never flats and never, never anything that said "man-made uppers." I did not inherit my mother's sense of style. Perhaps I was afraid to compete. Clunky boots, sneakers, and comfortable walking shoes fill my few shoe racks. Mostly I am happy with my choice. I have avoided the bunions, hammer toes, and misshapen feet that plagued my mother. But just once I would like to feel like a glamorous queen, floating on a high-heeled sequined cloud.
- Annie Wexler

My mother had narrow feet with a steep arch. Size 7 AAA or 7 AAAA. This was not a size found at A.S. Beck or Thom McAn so twice a year she took the bus to Saks Fifth Avenue for their unadvertised basement clearance. There she combed stock for their signature Fenton Last, shoes that came with any number of A's after the size. Shoes crafted from fine leather without a seam, elegantly molded to caress a regal foot. Showcased on 3 inch heels and trimmed with refined accents. She returned home with the look of a tigress, satisfied.
- Carol Miller

In the 1930s, my father sold shoes at a New York City department store. Because he had reddish blonde hair and blue eyes, people often assumed he wasn't Jewish. But he was. As he told the story, women would approach him confidently and ask, "Young man, would you please wait on me? I don't want any of those Jews touching my feet." My father never showed annoyance or complained to his supervisors, but as he proudly put it, "I sold them shoes that crippled them." True passive aggressive revenge.
- Deirdre Silverman

I make my own rules when it comes to shoes — rules for myself, that is. Now, I do have the classic woman's "shoe fetish," to be sure, but my collection has changed over the years, according to my changing cycles. For example, in the early '90s I decided that my over-injured and bunion-plagued feet deserved a break. So I decided that, except for when I was wearing costume shoes in a show, there would be no more high heels for me. And once I quit the theatre, that was the end of them completely. In 2000, I became a strict vegan, which meant that all of my lovely leather shoes were off-limits. And so I (reluctantly, it must be told) gave them up … all except my dancing shoes — ballet slippers, jazz booties, character shoes, and taps — those I could not part with. I never wear them anymore, but they will always (at least for right now) have a place in my home, memories never to be forgotten.
- Gabrielle Vehar

Since I can recall I have suffered from love-of-shoes affliction. My first pair of red shoes was magical for me. I wore them proudly to church with my black and white checked dress, red pocketbook, and white gloves. Hair in a ponytail and straight-cut bangs, my mind's eye can still visualize this. Then of course the platform heels of the '70s: corduroy on the  sides and blue and green flowers over my toes. Then there were red patent leather clogs that screamed "notice me!" Straps, laces, buckles, velcro. On the sides, front, and/or rear. Shiny, soft, fabric, plastic as gummy bears (jelly sandals). All colors and sizes. Some days are just simply made for Vibram soles.
- Grace Celeste

My son is 15 months old, and "shoe" is one of his favorite words. "Shoe!" he says, catching sight of one. He points with his index finger, triumphant. "Shoe shoe shoe shoe!" He is right every time. Suddenly, his life is rich with nouns — shoe, dog, owl, apple, fish — that can be lifted out of a baby’s blurry haze of impressions. He can name things that used to be nameless; he can summon meaning from a world that used to be chaos. Shoe!
- Gwen Glazer

Ouch, you brought up a touchy subject! Being born with hammer toes, I’ve worn “ugly” shoes most of my life. As a child I liked Hush Puppies but had to wear brown oxford tie-ups for more support. I purposely scuffed them up as much as possible. My gleaming patent leather Mary Janes were only for church or for visiting. Saddle shoes came to the rescue. Those white and blue lovelies, difficult to polish but very cool. Thongs were out of the question but I wore cotton wedges to Coney Island. Anything was “good enough for the beach.”  
- Joan McNerney

It seemed a long walk alone, and I was only six. No one knew where I was or what I was about to do. I had a purpose, and it took bravery. I stood in my little girl flower cut-out buckle shoes for a long time after I rang the bell. Finally a long-legged black-robed figure leaned down with a pleated tight-fitting bonnet to ask what I wanted. It was not often that anyone rang the convent bell. "I want to make a donation," I said. She ushered me quietly into a soft carpeted parlor. I had never been inside, and the parlor was a surprise. After what felt like another long time another figure peeked out of her bonnet with a different voice asking what I might want. I sat on the floor, took off one of my pretty shoes, reached in, took them out. Two coins in my held-out palm, my eleven cents.
- Kath Abela Wilson

My mom used to buy our sneakers at the IGA supermarket when we were little. I thought that's where shoes were sold. The question was always "red or blue?"
- Kathleen Morrow

"Oooh! should I get these? What do you think? For dancing!" I'm falling asleep from the stuffy old-things air of the Salvation Army store, dazed as I wander up and down the shoe section. Is my mother really asking me if she should buy one more pair of "dancing shoes"? These ones are strappy high heels. Black. They would well accompany a glittery flamenco dress, perhaps. "Don't you already have a couple pairs of dance shoes?" I ask, trying not to point out the obvious, that when a person only manages to go dancing a couple times a year she really doesn't need more than two pairs of dancing shoes. Really, not more than one pair, to be fair. "Which ones do you mean?" Her reply softens my heart and I realize that my mother's stock pile of fancy high heel shoes is an important line of contact to the idea of going out dancing, the hoped for reality of every Friday night under a disco ball. I can't take that away from her. I wish, too, that it were true. "Oh, you're right," I say. "I'm not sure that you do have any quite like these. Get them!"
- Leah Grady Sayvetz

There are no shoes like the ones "you had before." Those favorite shoes that you wore every day, or the favorites that you wore for special occasions, cannot be replaced — not on your feet or in your heart. Anything new is a challenge. This is especially true for shoes. Those old ones are so comfortable, so easy to get into, so familiar. New ones are prisons on the feet, so harsh and stiff and so confining. And so you must look to the future, not to the past. Persevere. Put them on every day, if only for an hour or two. Visualize yourself walking on a cloud – walking on air. Walking happily into tomorrow.
- Linda Keeler

When I was little I had a pair of Buster Brown saddle shoes that I wore everywhere, except to church on Sundays when I wore black patent leather shoes. I liked my Buster Browns, but for some reason I thought they inhibited my running ability. I kept seeing ads on our Magnavox television for Keds and Red Ball Jets, and my friend Neil always wore sneakers. He usually beat me running down the hill, and I wanted to pass him at least once, so I begged my mother to buy me a pair of PF Flyers.
- Liz Burns

The secondhand thrift shop housed a flea-market of shoes; bruised cowboy boots, black ballerina flats, and orange-sequined bedroom slippers. But, there they are — earth-gray Birkenstock sandals with a little life left in the suede. I buy them, $7.50, and wear them out of the store leaving rubber flip-flops behind. Immediately I feel green! I disdain meat and jet fuel. I covet raising chickens.
- Louise Vignaux 
Men don't wear shoes — they wear cowboy boots. At least that's what I thought until I was six years old. My father travelled all the way to Wichita to have his custom boots made. When he got a new pair, they would sit on the dining room table for days so we could all admire them. He wore his old boots to work on the farm; his not-too-shabby ones when he got cleaned up; and his new ones when he went to something fancy, which was a very rare event. It was the choir director at our church who finally dispelled my false assumption about men and boots. He crossed his legs one Sunday morning, sitting in his special chair on the stage near the pulpit, and I was shocked to see a pale skinny leg poke out above his thin black socks and then catch sight of his shiny black shoes. No boots riding up his calves. No leather tooling patterns to admire. It was very sad. My daddy got such a kick out of this when I told him about it.
- Marty Blue Waters

It’s easy to imagine lying flat on my back in the dusty street of some high plains boom town, bullet hole through the tin star pinned to my vest. Arms splayed, toes of my boots pointed toward Heaven. The smell of horse dung, a door creaks, a shutter slams, wind whistles, sagebrush tumbles, bounces down a deserted alleyway. When actually, I’m in a park on a blanket on the grass, shoes as a pillow, gazing at faces in the clouds, while nearby, children play with a toy sailboat in a pond and giggle at frogs jumping off lily pads. 
- Michael Gillan Maxwell                      

Even the painstakingly documented renovation of the historic railroad hotel’s lobby offers no explanation of one artifact: a pair of bronzed boots. My own memory keeps wanting to say "booties," as images pop up of soft leather, shaped by its tender caress around a baby’s first steps, then fossilized in semi-shiny metal. But the bent, scuffed lobby boots never were soft nor tender, no one ever lovingly urged them forward from embrace to embrace. Do they memorialize the toil of a track layer or coal shoveler, switchman or freight loader? The “rags” first steps toward a magnate’s riches?
- Nancy Gabriel

I give up. My feet do not end in pointed triangles. Nor are they raised, toe down / heel up, 75 degrees off the floor. I remember tottering on my just 3-inch heels. I was 17. My father laughed. I clung to the wall and practiced, ignoring the moans of my muscles and toes, until I mastered the art of walking on these stilts — probably viewed as flats by women who sport today's 6-inch stilettos. Oh, don't do this to your poor feet, I want to tell them now, or they'll get even with you in 20, 30, even 40 years. Is it worth turning a hard-hat's head, or whetting the appetite of a masochist who envisions you with a whip in your hand? Designers make fools of us, and we dive head first — or should I say feet first — into the pool of idiocy. Having become (years ago, actually) une femme d'un certain age, I slip into my round-toed flats, sigh with pleasure at the absence of pain and pinch, and take on the day.
- Nina Miller

Shoes! Oh how I love thee! Shoes and bags, but shoes have always been my favorite (please don't tell bags). The soundtrack of my life would have to be set to shoe songs of all sorts, but now a list of some of my favorite shoes: white vinyl go-go boots that ripped down one side mid-concert and left me "walking" like I wore one flipper; red and gold leather cowboy boots that were ruined when I left them out in the rain; plaid platform oxfords, à la Bay City Rollers; purple suede Keens that are ripped to shreds and currently discontinued; silver, diamond, holographic Reeboks; Candie's fuck-me shoes (lilac); knee-high buttery leather cowboy boots with lacy overlay designs; Doc Martens — black.
- Paula Culver

My father was taking me to the discount store to buy winter boots, and I had already declared war. At age 11, I knew what I wanted; black patent leather, a one-inch heel and an elastic gore on the outside. Who cared if they let the snow in, who cared if I froze walking to school? I was too old for baby stuff. He stopped in front of a line-up of army green rubber. Metal buckles, reinforced toes, felt lining. Budding maturity be damned — I whined, I begged, I kicked the counter. His voice rose and I knew I was . . . defeated. 
-  Paula Peters Marra

I am hard on shoes. My lifestyle includes mud, dogs, long walks through mud with dogs, and hard work on my feet — always wearing shoes. I never, ever go barefoot. I buy shoes for function and comfort, not for fashion. Occasionally these three things come together in a shoe or boot or sandal, but that's just a happenstance, not a requirement. I like to buy black shoes or boots or sandals, but most of my sneakers have been white. They soon become a dirty grey — sometimes bordering on black. I have been known to buy men's sneakers, I can wear a men's size 7, to get a black pair I want, but they don't fit exactly right. I've worn them anyway, until they were completely worn out. I do this with all of my shoes — I wear them until there's nothing left. I'm the same way with cars. I don't keep them clean, I don't care what they look like, and when I'm done with them there's nothing left but a dirty stain on the ground.
- Sara Robbins

To a 17-year-old, four hours lasted longest in the Bradlees shoe department. Time moved slowly, putting tickets on discount footwear with a little gun, then writing the size on the other side in black crayon. Racks and racks of women’s flats. Men’s boots. Baby booties. Cheap sneakers for all.  Mismatched, goofy, animal-faced slippers at
Christmastime. Incorrigible piles of flip flops in June.  Pretending to know how to use the size measure on runny-nosed children when mothers asked and then hovered, not
watching. By my 19th birthday, I knew peoples' shoe sizes just by glancing at their feet. It was a good party trick!
- Stacey Murphy

For me: clunky brown leather oxfords with laces. Other girls my age got to wear Mary Janes; matte chocolate leather for school, patent leather for Sundays and parties. It was partly because Mom vowed I'd never suffer foot trouble from ill-fitting shoes, and partly because, being very small for my age, my choices were severely limited in the early '50s. Times changed, and adult styles became available in smaller sizes. I reveled in penny loafers, saddle shoes, and Capezios — "ballet flats" to the modern age. I was even able to find black suede pumps with a heel! — all of 1 1/2" — when I was in high school. Heaven. Times have changed again. Women are taller, their feet larger, and once more the choices have narrowed for me. But luckily I have a new weapon — internet shoe shopping.
- Sue Norvell

I love my old Danskos — they've been around for six or so years, and they're all beat up, but I just can't part with them. The fact that they are patent leather hides their scrapes and cracks; the fact that they have scrapes and cracks is all right since they remain shiny. They are in-between shoes — good for cool days but not cold, okay in wet leaves but not rain. Easy to put on, easy to kick off. And so comfortable. Danskos were originally made to be surgeon's shoes, designed for people who are on their feet all day. Most of the nurses I work with wear sneakers, but there are a few Dansko loyalists among us. We hang on to our old pairs, keeping them in boxes in our closets even though they've tromped around the hospital for years. We won't wear them again but how are we supposed to toss out all that history, all that comfort, all those stories?
- Summer Killian

During the "Blizzard of '66," the Washington, D.C. area where I grew up was inundated. To the delight of us kids, blowing and drifting snow shuttered our schools for days. My best friend and I longed to go out and play, but the drifts were too high. My father, a "weekend carpenter," told us he had a solution. We heard him sawing and sanding in the basement. When he finally emerged with plywood-and-rope snowshoes, we were skeptical. But once we'd strapped them onto our boots, we could walk freely over even the highest drifts.
- Theresa A. Cancro

Favorite sandals: My art deco retro color-blocked red and powder blue open-toed flats with strong rubber treads. Rosalind Russell could have worn them. Favorite most comfortable shoes: My slip-on waterproof easy black Merrill fancy thongs. I usually can't wear anything between my toes but these I can wear. I wore them every day to walk to the beach. Once I got to the beach I slipped them right off and walked deliciously barefoot. All time favorite: No shoes. Barefoot on the sand, nothing like it. Luscious soft sand embracing the soles of my feet like reflexology, like the best foot massage ever. Then, walking along the ocean while the gentle waves wash over my feet, always a surprise, hydrotherapy, the best feeling in the world, complete and utter freedom. This is primordial touch of foot on earth, on sand, on water, on holy ground, on ancient land. Little birds walking on the beach, on the edge of the water, seagulls eating breakfast on the sand, diving down deep, and me, another creature, walking, looking, touching, loving the world.
- Yvonne Fisher

Friday, June 19, 2015

Number Play: a collective list, all about numbers

1 earplug on the floor of our car after my husband took the kids to the Weird Al concert

5 text messages from my husband, asking if our son's baseball game was rained out

6 minutes before I remember to take the tea bag out of the mug

10 times my thoughts have wandered today to contemplating my life's purpose, and I still don't have an answer

4 keyboards sitting in my office, but only 1 works

26 papers push-pinned to my bulletin board, and the only one that makes any sense is the postcard that says "I am ready for fun"

4 humungous legal texts, that I was given to read on my first day of work 5 years ago, still sitting on my desk, unopened

2 children selling lemonade on the corner

1 homeless person in front of the farmers' market, holding a sign that says "I'm hungry"

10 Mary Oliver books on my poetry shelf

5 garden gloves with holes in the thumbs in my garden basket

3 pennies in my vest pocket clink like there are more

1 white handkerchief to remind me of my mother

2 hummingbirds vie for territory at the hummingbird feeder

2 failed marriages — the third one is, indeed, a charm

8 children who deplete and complete me

7 graduations down, one to go

25 Buddhas all there to remind me to stay in my practice

1 postcard that I keep meaning to send but like too much to give up

1 motorcycle helmet that makes me happy just to look at, but even happier when I put it on and ride

1 cut glass piece from my mother's old lighter that I now use for tiny little flowers

1 sink full of dirty dishes from last night and this morning, reminding me that I live alone and can wash them any old time

8 minutes late the chimes of my grandfather clock

19 years my old cat has been with me all the way and back again

66 times around the sun for me it will be tomorrow

2.5 Pee-Wee Herman dolls in the house 

0 space left in my closet

92 new picture book for the library, thanks to a rich lady

2 endangered turtles in the marsh

5 harpists tuning up under the old apple trees

7 oak logs flushing shiitakes

100 seeds of Red Amaranth scattered to the wind

2 forks, dropped through the dock into the water of the harbor during lunch at Woods Hole, prompting a discussion of whether fish need forks

5 pieces of ornamental statuary standing under dripping pines

6 chickens huddling under the elderberry bushes while the hawk's shadow passes overhead

9 socks come out of the dryer, when I'm certain ten went in

47 of anything the universe wants to send me

500 perfect purple amethyst crystals in a vug

23 CDs found at the book sale on 25-cent day 

1 cake in the oven for 35 minutes; made with 3 bananas, 4 eggs, 38 walnuts and 1/2 cup yogurt 

1 very troublesome fly going back and forth across the room   

4 pears sitting in a bowl in the sun on the kitchen counter

200 pages left to read before Wednesday’s book group meeting

15 arbor vitae planted as a screen on the roof

2 worries that never seem to leave my mind

4 trips I want to plan and take with friends

3 shades of nail polish on my granddaughter's toes

5 cough drops left in the box and I'm still coughing

10 women hikers share a chocolate bar

5 moonlit bodies, stepping slowly into ink-shine river waves

124 sweaty people crammed into a room filled with sound and vibration, walls painted with condensation

8 hours of the night when I should be sleeping, but instead I stay awake and paint

7 years I’ve known you, and I’m still surprised

27 pink, turquoise, and gray knit squares that have not been sewn into an afghan

3 pairs of underpants drying

76 feminist Tarot cards

40 unsold copies of my haiku book

3 days off and I dread going back to work tomorrow

1 beach chair but no beach on my back porch 

2 sisters who also happen to be women I adore and I love spending time with 

3 rabbis at the mikvah conversion

2.5 hours of uninterrupted reading

1 woodpecker at the suet feeder and 1 dove in the birdbath 

1 elbow taking up the entire armrest on the plane even though it was meant to be shared

1 spot on the bench after 5 missed jump shots

2 dry pens, useless on my desk

6 days later our missing suitcase

2821 miles by plane to travel tomorrow

1 thank you note, featuring friendship quotes, on the fireplace mantle

8 shoes lined up at the front door

2 little girls playing on the front porch, pretending to be fairies on a stage

1 little boy at the library, reading a fairytale about a boy who found a penguin at his door and it began to follow him everywhere

572 hours watching the "Real Housewives" shows on TV and I am not ashamed

20 years of not drinking alcohol

3 failed attempts at reading Moby Dick all the way through

0 times flossing, despite all the dire warnings of many patient dental hygienists

1 glorious trip to Ireland that explained everything I still needed to know about myself

8 hours spent in the office on a fine spring day

5 sparrows pecking croissant crumbs in the garden of my favorite café

11 days until I fly to London

1 spotted fawn walking through our yard with its mom

1 large bucket of golf balls

4 winter tires sitting in the garage

12 buds blooming on the rosebush for my birthday

8 people at the family reunion helping Grandpa clean the fencerow

2 kittens ignore the mouse and go for the catnip

1 Matron of Honor frowning at the groom with unspoken message

1 piece left of the apple cake in the pan

64 years of "come day / go day"

1 true love never forgotten

43 years of sleeping in the same bed together

910 new trees planted this spring

2 friends weeding

1 sore stubbed toe

1469 weeds in the garden

10 plants (Solomon's Seal) that need transplanting

7 grandchildren to warm my heart

3 friends I consider my "besties" outside of Ithaca

3 friends I consider my "besties" in the Ithaca area

3 degrees I obtained from schools, all of them useless

2 holey sneakers waiting to be replaced

4 sisters sitting together on the beach

5 purple delphiniums standing watch over the garden

1200 Lego bricks littering the front hall  

8 bridge players, eager to drink coffee and eat cake, all overbid their hands

 3 black cats shedding on the mauve velvet chair just before company comes

6 button-down shirts, waiting to be ironed, smell like mold

7 ticks to find on the dog

2 2015 calendars to fill 

3 years until I retire 

10,497 messages in my work server inbox 

1,776 messages in my personal server inbox

4 hot pink reminder sticky notes, 2 gold sticky notes, 3 green sticky notes, 1 cyan sticky note, and 11 lime sticky notes on my desk 

3 times I awoke last night to write down more things

5 pairs of hiking boots drying from the rain

6 women hiding under the black rims of their hats

3 mosquito bites

3 stink bugs liberated to the outside this Spring

1 white cat whisker found on the carpet

 22 years I spent full-time in school

 24 leg curls a week at 50 lbs. each

 0 times I’ve bet on the lottery

1 worn, very loved plush bunny resting on the bed

5 people standing outside an electronics store that closed because of an electrical blowout

33 monarch butterflies, golden in the sun, roosting in a silver maple

20,010 raindrops falling amid the hum of air conditioners

4 sunbeams caught in a chandelier's crystal, draping rainbows across an otherwise drab day

1 mayfly squashed between the pages of a "lifelong learning" catalog

7 days until my birthday, and 'til I send off all those pages representing my life's work, so far

369 pages in my manuscript now, a gorgeous number not likely to stick

1 ingenious and illegal tattoo on my daughter's wrist, a first as of yesterday, the latest autonomous act announced after the fact

9 bridge pencils, little used, impossible to sharpen

1 croissant, once a month

3 complete dinner services

25 arrowheads sifted out from the beach where I grew up

4 years, 10 months, 3 weeks, 3 days, and 12 ½ hours since my friend Fred died of coronary heart failure, but who’s counting?

5 times this week my mother has asked me if I lived in the same house she lives in

2 letters I wish I had never written

52 chipped piano keys need a good scrubbing

8 wooden spokes are a blur as the foot on the spinning wheel pedal nods up and down

2 strands of hair intertwine in a locket; short black, long brown 

7 white ducks bobbing in the flooded yard

4 cables for i-things in a u-shape

12 minutes till the pasta is done

10 smoke rings just because I can

108 Maha-mantras to walk around the village

6 keys for . . . . I-don't-know-what

4 4th grade classmates acting out the parts of Little Women at recess

10 trips to learn the streets of Venice

5 minutes each day to remind myself of the beauty of silence and breath

1 big dog still looking for his buddy after 2 years

3 people on the bus, all immersed in their cell phones

10 shades of red that have adorned my hair

1 heart beating wildly with life

2 miles from my house to yummy pizza

9 fingers that know how to be helpful and 1 that is re-learning

4 days of being 70

2 tomato plants I planted, actually growing

16 weeks and 4 days pregnant, time is swishing by

4 songs we played for the baby last night as we introduced him or her to Fleetwood Mac

3 dorsal fins surface just off the bow of the boat

35 years since the first day we met

10 items on my "To Do" list, of which 8 of them were on the list from yesterday

18 pairs of unique plaid patterned underwear on the clothesline in the back yard

1 tick found attached on my leg yesterday and no idea of where I picked it up

39 photos of the sunset and it's afterglow taken last night

3 blue bird houses serving as homes for 6 tree swallows

4 crows eating crackers until the 5th crow arrives

67 — the birthday that shook into being my existential crisis

12 wooden beads decorate my dreadlocks

20 ounces of water left at the end of the day when I promised myself to drink 24

74 stairs on the trail at Treman State Park, and every single one is grueling 

4 separate times we "ran into each other" before we decided to plan a visit

1 lovely Mallika, my first grandchild, who just celebrated her first birthday at my house

270 (approximately) students whose homework I check each week

15 hours, on average, that I drive every week

1 million things (at least) that I want to, and have to, do before I leave Japan for a visit to the U. S. in July. 

2 Lunar Bars eaten when I only needed one

3 laminated "Nut Free Zone posters" on the school wall

32 children in red Peace Squad T-shirts, proudly on display

1 new back pack without a place to put a pencil

101 Hamilton & 33 Theresa Place, only two houses for my childhood dreams

112 1/2 Mesa Lane — I walked down 244 stairs to the beach each day knowing I would not be here forever

15 years with the love of my life after 27 with our best friend

5 years old my first poem oh the moon oh the stars oh the sun

12 years old, the last year of my innocence

10 pairs of shoes calling "not me" as I sort for the Salvation Army

4 leaf clovers, so many childhood hours spent searching for them

1 lover-cat riding on my shoulder

2 ex-lovers living on

7 siblings, 6 of whom survived, the 5th of them was my father

3 beautiful sunsets

3 people in my immediate family

12 primroses casting their aroma

12 houseplants waiting to be watered

5 sneezes in a row, no more no less, every time

2 purple mountains in the distance make for the valley between the place where they meet

1 very sore body taking a bath

2 old friends comfortable in silence

7 password attempts, 3 more to go

1 really big moon shining through the window keeping me awake

20 blocks in New York City makes a mile

1 precious relationship

1 wooden fence to protect a sidewalk garden, but someone left the gate open

900,000,000 times I've wanted to change something about myself


Thank you to all the contributors:

Alice Damp
Alison Van Dyke
Amber Donofrio
Andrea Staffeld
Annie Wexler
Barbara Cartwright
Barbara Kane Lewis
Barbara Tate
Cady Fontana 
Carol Miller 
Carole Johnston
Dave Read
Deirdre Silverman
Esmé Saccuccimorano
Gabrielle Vehar
Grace Celeste
Jennifer Groff
Joann Grisetti
Johannes S. H. Bjerg 
Julie Bloss Kelsey
Kate Halliday
Kath Abela Wilson
Kathleen Morrow
Kathy May
Katie Lynne Watkins
Kris Kondo
Laura Levinson
Laurie Petersen
Leah Grady Sayvetz
Linda Keeler
Linda Pope
Lisa Schwartz
Liz Burns
Louise Vignaux
Margaret Chula
Margaret Dennis
Mary Roberts
Maura Stephens
Meryl Young
Miriam Sagan
Molly Sutton
Nancy Osborn
Nicola Morris
Olivier Schopfer
Pat Geyer
Priscilla Walker
Rainbow Crow
Rob Sullivan
Robin White
Sandi Pray
Sara Robbins
Sherron Brown
Stacey Murphy
Sue Crowley
Summer Killian
Susan Lang
Susan Lesser
Teresa Wagner
Theresa A. Cancro
Tom Clausen
Vibeke Laier
Zee Zahava