The Two Helen Leatherwoods

Helen Leatherwood There are two of us in our family I am a Junior of sorts Though I don’t have Marie as my middle name The two Helen Leatherwoods have a few things in common: a love of literature a deeply spiritual side a passion for learning a left-leaning political persuasion a deep interest in…

Undergrowth

Undergrowth,  where the secrets are hidden. Down in the moist soil next to where the doodlebugs cluster together, rolled up in their little balls,  luxuriating in the dark and the damp. Secrets like the dark and  the damp as well, where they can tunnel deep and feel safe. Where they can burrow to spots where…

A Poem for My Sister

I found this poem I wrote to my sister back in 2012.  It seems fitting tonight so I decided I would share. Sweet Leslie, I love her so even now. Good-Bye to Leslie I see her lying in her hospital bedDark brown eyes half-closedSquare jaw tightCan she hear me? I lean close“Hello, Sister.”Her pale lips shiftInto…

Brenda Lurleen, My Alter-Ego, Comes to Visit

Opening my front door I spied her sashaying up the front walk to my house. She wore big green sunglasses and a pink leopard-skin top. Hair teased high, glowing reddish-gold in the sun. Then she disappeared. I heard her deep-throated chuckle half-amused, half teasing A feeling wriggled in my stomach A giggle I half-remembered I…

A Lesson from Mae, the Cat, and Her Friend, the Scrub Jay

I am up at our orange grove in Ojai Today, my daughter Liz told me that her outdoor cat, Mae, has a bird friend, a scrub jay, who hangs out wherever the cat is If the cat comes to eat The scrub jay stands nearby patiently then eats any remaining food the cat leaves No…

Happy Birthday, Rachael!

Rachael is my youngest daughter She is also someone I work with three days a week. She is smart, funny, opinionated, and loving She can tease me mercilessly She can also make it crystal clear how much she loves me We share a deep love of literature and writing She also embraces the antique business…

Easter Day & Two Kids’ Birthdays

Today we celebrated a glorious Easter Hooray and hallelujah We also celebrated the birthdays of my son-in-law Ron and my daughter Rachael Both dear members of our family Hooray and hallelujah Today I served as Subdeacon at two Masses Read the epistle and administered the wine at Holy Communion I also watched my grandchildren Search…

Sitting in the Dark

I’m sitting in the dark The power clicked off a few minutes ago Ray is in bed so he doesn’t care I, on the other hand, am dying my hair What could go wrong there? Easter tomorrow plus two birthdays Son-in-law Ron turns thirty-five tomorrow Daughter Rachael turns thirty-one on Monday Multiple celebrations in the…

Good Friday

From the Venerable Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury: Good Friday brings us up sharp against the recognition that something is very wrong with the human heart. The cross on which Jesus dies reminds us of the countless places where human beings make other human beings suffer unspeakably – and of the fact that most of…

The Coupling

A man and a woman Alone in the woods The gray trunks of the trees In orchard-like rows The ground covered in Orange and yellow flowers Amid green leaves The man in a black suit and top hat Stands next to the woman Who wears a long green dress and yellow hat Her arm is…