I wrote my first poem in Myra Shapiro’s class in 2004 and since then poetry has been my secret love. While I would never categorize myself as a poet, I find I can express myself best within the constraints of free verse


I could be in Belhaven
singing hymns, gathering brown eggs
and looking collard greens.

I could be spoiling grandbabies
while their mama works nights at Toppin’s
making pure pork country sausage.

I could be Page Sparrow
with an apron girded belly
and pear preserves in the pantry

I don’t want to go to sleep yet.

I could be Belhaven
Wisteria blocks the view from the front room window
White rose on a blue suit for Mother’s Day

I could be teaching Vacation Bible School at Sidney Freewill Baptist Church
An army of plaster of paris Jesus’s stand side by side on a shelf
ready to be attacked with tempera and determination

I could be Nelma Linton
limping through life in a cloud of Vicks Vapor Rub
and regret

I don’t want to go to sleep yet.

I could be in Belhaven
riding past row after row after row of corn,
tobacco, soybeans, pine trees and barefooted children

I could be rushing through supper
to get to Wednesday night prayer meeting
where I’ll talk to God and Blanche Burgess

I could be Katie McClese Foreman. A Methodist.
Going to bed early with a sick headache
leaving Roswell and the children to tiptoe around her immaculate house.

I don’t want to go to sleep yet.

I want to go down to the old house one more time.
Mama’s standing in the kitchen
Daddy’s singing about that old gang of his.

I want milk and honey.
I want faith and grace.

I want to wrap myself in mystery and an eight pointed star quilt
and rest beneath a moonless sky.




 And when you go, arrive with the sun.
Arrive from the east.
Arrive when your mind and body are numbed by travel,
and be surprised.
Be surprised that the mountains are alive.
Surprised that they breathe and surprised that you can believe again.

And when you go don’t wait for sunshine
Walk in the rain.
Walk in the fog.
Walk in the dark so you will know the power of eucalyptus.
The power of sulfur as you sit clothed only in embarrassment at the baths at Esalen listening to an ocean you cannot see crash on the rocks below.

When you go sleep late. Dream deep.
Enjoy the echoes that have been left behind at Deetjens
Make them your own. Leave some for the travelers
Who will come behind you.
Stretch. Make love. Be love.
Go to breakfast and taste the oatmeal.
All your life you will recall the way this oatmeal fills your mouth,
your belly, comforts you.

When you go remember when you drove up Highway One for the first time
in the dark, alone and unloved.
Remember how you envied the family in the travel trailer by the side of the road.
Remember how you wanted to step into a new ocean
but didn’t.




One summer they drove through Texas forever.

A merciless rain pursued them.

Battering, beating, pounding
Cascading through the ragged roof of the TR3

Inside, they had already drowned in silence.

The passion they had mistaken for love extinguished by a long winter, a short spring and a steady diet of canned corn and river water.

(The Rio Grande is not for drinking.)

Weary wipers struggled in vain to whoosh the rain from the windshield.

They drove on blindly.

Anxious to be someplace else.

Desperate to be someone else


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