Making lasagna reminds me of you.
Layers of pasta, cheese, sauce, memories
of filling my husband’s lunchbox with slices,
the biggest piece always promised to you.
You never told my grandmother, just hid the sandwich,
banana, chips in your desk for another day.
I reveled in our little secret and your thanks.
Now I arrange each layer and remember
and am thankful that goodbyes aren’t really the end.
Stranded on the beach,
the jellyfish bakes in the sun,
washed up at high tide
with no way to return.
As a side note, the most unusual thing about this jellyfish (and the dozen others that washed up along with it) is that there were no tentacles. I came to the conclusion after looking at it from a safe distance and then poking it with a shell.
The conclusion was confirmed, though, when a little girl (who clearly had no jellyfish experience) grabbed it with her bare hands like it was a shell and carried it over to her parents. They were too far away for me to see if she kept it in her bucket or not, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised either way.
The sun leans down
to kiss the horizon
before turning off
when you were young,
sixth grade, awkward hair,
trying to find yourself.
You were the class clown,
teacher’s pet, quiet one,
queen bee, reflective writer.
I loved teaching you.
Years passed, you grew up,
but you never stopped
smiling at me in the halls,
taking classes just because
I taught them, talking about
the days when you were young.
But now you are grown up
ready to leave these halls,
and I am left feeling old
and wondering if I’ll see you again.
You toss your hat, leave the stage,
leave a special place in my heart.
(Okay, so it’s getting published a day late, but hey, better late than never.)
There is a picture of a zebra
in my parents’ guest bathroom
taken when my brother visited
Namibia. Though it was afar,
it stared straight into the camera;
its gaze still pierces in black and white.
The first time I saw it, I admired
its incredible beauty but soon felt
awkward as it stared at me–piercingly–
by the toilet, at the sink, as I hurried
beneath its high shelf back to the door.
I must not be the only one
surprised by its gaze. A gazelle
has taken its place
and now stares at the zebra
hanging on a discrete wall by the door.
Quiet dinner with my husband
on a perfect spring evening.
We sit along the sidewalk
to people watch over soup.
He refills drinks inside and I watch
the girls at the next table.
Over the chatter, familiar sounds
catch my ears. I listen carefully
to the melodic French flitting
between them and try
not to make eye contact.
One is disgusted with a Facebook post,
the other agrees. All the while,
I smile. I wonder if they guess
that the girl sitting at the next table
actually knows what they’re saying.
Dreams of white sand beaches
and foggy mountain peaks,
bustling ancient cities
and bistro table-lined streets,
silent ruins filled with stories
and gardens bustling with life,
as I sit in front of a computer
waiting for summer to come.