One Red Sock

I took them off, two of them, as I sat on the side of the bed. I remember

pushing  one off with my foot, reaching down to pull the other

from my right foot.

In the morning there was just one on the floor,

alone against the pine boards.

I looked under the bed,

under the dresser,

under the rug.

No sock.


Today I washed the dark clothes, and hung them with wooden pins

on wire lines to dry in wind and sun.

Hanging without its match it is a red letter accusation,

its toe pointing out my failure to find the missing sock.


I searched again in places

the sock could never have gone all on its own, and yet

Who knows? Who can say

what a sock might do when it’s loose upon the world,

single and no mate to speak caution and care?

It is gone like my missing favorite silver earring,

like the one who gave the earrings as a gift,

like the me who wore the flashing silver in ears hidden

beneath streaming windblown hair,

like the summer the sun shone on those auburn strands,

like the days we thought would never end

and we would never lose who we were then,

resting our red-socked feet against a stony wall.

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I gave you a name: Jonathan.
I gave you brothers: four.
I gave you my heart: one.
I gave all I knew to give,
and then you were gone.
An instant,
an ice storm,
a truck,
a phone call. That was all,

this wound in my heart,
this hole in our family,
this loss of one, this

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Graying heads still nurture dreams,

Fading eyes still cast a hopeful gleam,

old voices still can sing like angels’ brushing wings,

even when forgotten, and unseen.









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bubbly cool frosted glass,

sensory celebration:

champagne sparkles in your eyes.

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Spring Moon

New moon,

tender crescent



crimson crabapple,

iridescent iris;

quicksilvered oaks whisper

in night breezes

while wood thrush trills

her praise.

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Walk to the River

It is time

to walk to the river

to welcome the past

images small

noticed and told

in simple words

clear thoughts



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Laundry Lessons

Hanging laundry out to dry requires more thought and care

than simply moving from one white machine to the other

as the electric meter whirls.

Hanging the wash requires coordination

with the one who burns the trash

because  line-dried clothes are supposed to smell

clean and fresh and not like yesterday’s grilled mail.

It requires a weather eye too, gauging whether it might rain

in the next hour or so, and what might happen with the elements tomorrow

and whether to go ahead and do that next load, small though it might be,

because tomorrow might be too late, too wet.

Then there’s the arrangement on the lines:

jeans here on the higher end, sheets in the center,

socks and smalls on the ends and grouped for easy hanging and removal.

There are bees to watch out for, particularly if the day before

was honey harvest day; there are the wasps

that will start building nests right in your clean clothes

if you leave them on the line too long.

Beware the laundry left hanging overnight, for those  underwear, shirts

and shorts may provide a warm haven for a sleepover

for some biting, stinging thing!


Gathering in the dry clothes needs close attention:

folding, neatly piling into the bushel fruit basket

(the only kind for hanging out wash, with its wood-skinned sides

and sturdy wire handles to bring back memories of fifty or sixty years ago

when my sister and I brought in the wash, laughing and talking and quarreling

as we piled the socks and dresses and shirts, diapers and towels and sheets

of fifteen family members into basket after basket).


Last and most important is the sorting and putting away,

each pile requiring your nose to be buried

into sweetness that can only be captured

by hanging laundry out to dry on wire lines over green grass

below white clouds, under blue sky in golden sunshine.

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