Mother love,

I will not visit.

You left my father.

I feel unsteady.

All my life,

my young girl life,

I wanted nothing

so much as

your freedom from

his poisonous claws.

I am 35.

This altered scene,

a family split –

 the final stroke

that felled

the tender illusion

that some things

don’t change.

I know now

I must eternally adapt.

I will always be

letting go.

I must adjust

to this reality.

The little girl

I used to be

who still loves

an imagined you

woke up again

to witness your


I feel her feelings,

her vulnerability,

the weight of her sadness

in my adult brain.

I won’t hold her.

Not yet.

Her whispers are soaked

in your tears and I

am not quite ready

to cry

for both of you.

HS 11.10.2016


A Morning For Roses

It’s strange to meet November wearing
September’s formal dresses
Of liquid gold maples, rusty oaks and 70 degree days.
I don’t complain.
Who knows why?
Cycles of nature we don’t understand?
Global climate change forced by humans?
At any rate my garden explodes in rose blooms
– one particular variety so fragrant it’s almost obscene.
I only take a moment to capture
The fire
The fuchsia
The baby pink and
The scarlet
Before returning to the comfort of
The warm morning sun
On my white washed porch
To spend time with Mary.
HS 11-6-2016
Rosebud Cottage

I Lift Up Mine Eyes

photo credit Cami Keltch

They rise.

Bastions of the Ohio Valley –

Cliffs of impressive height

with shoulders of limestone.

Follicles of oak and maple, elm and ash

extrude from their stony skin.

Trees along each summit

are  jagged crenelations shaping my sky.


One feels low here,

far from the heavens,

nestled in this geological fortress,

safe in the embrace of those

well-muscled arms of the high hills

encircling my little town

like a protective mother,

or a jealous God.

HS 11-3-2016


Coffee Shop

5am on Mondays I wake

to give 5.5 hours to the world.

I tamp espresso grounds,

percolate drip coffee,

giggle with other baristas,

burn myself on every hot surface.

Regulars arrive and leave.

First names attach themselves to faces.

Empty hands are outfitted in cups.

I’m still learning their particulars

but I can nail a cappuccino and

give smiles more nourishing than food.

The minutes are undependable.

Some wander by comfortably.

Others dash through in messy madness,

cavorting down long lines,

sprinkling brown beans on the tiles,

finger painting with milk on stainless steel.

I do this work for my lover

to help pay bills.

I do this work for myself

to form lighthearted connections.

I do this work for my village

to create warmth in a communal kitchen.

Before the sun rises I ready a room for eat and drink.

I offer kindness knit around service.

Those who share my blood

are across state lines,

hours out of arms reach.

For one day a week,

in my own orphaned mind,

I am family to many.

HS 11-5-2016

Nihilism at 1 AM

I can’t relax.

Shifting beads

Instead of earth

Indent my knees.

I can not rise

From knees to  feet.

No stable ground

for soles to meet.


No shape is still.

All things change.

I cower as

They rearrange.


Chaotic life

Confusing space

Can’t understand

Each person’s face.


Can’t understand

so can not trust.

On pins and needles

Till I’m dust.


HS 11-5-2016

Kettle of Fish

Observing from a corner

In our local coffee shop

I overheard white-haired women

Discussing a recent tragedy.

He was a teacher in Carrolton.

They were separated.

He thought she had a lover.

He went to her home at 3am.

He stabbed her to death

Then shot himself.

“Pretty kettle of fish,” they said,

As though this violent theft

Was something frivolous –

A misstep, a nuisance,

Not the bloody end of an entire universe

Viciously ripped from its house of flesh.


My mother just left

The abusive alcoholic

Who once choked her

In front of her children.

Her naked baby stood up wailing,

Arms spread in awful terror

Shaking and shining slickly,

dripping soapy suds and tears

into the half-filled kitchen sink.

Should my father get drunk and

Suspect an affair,

Or realize my mother will never come back,

Or expecting divorce, fear for his fortune –

I do not doubt for a moment

He would steal her life,

Splatter her insides onto a wall,

Or shred her body with steel and rage.

My mind is slick with her future carnage.

All I can do is hope she is careful.

Pretty kettle of fish.



HS 11-5-2016