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When Your Mother Dies

When your mother dies, you will take care of things. You’ll call her friends on the phone and tell them one by one that their friend has died. You will listen as they nod and wait for them to tell you stories about her but they won’t. They’ll keep what they remember until later. Now…

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Lift the Anchor

Captain Nan’s was one of a dozen beautiful white boats bobbing in their slips on a dock lit by tiny white Christmas lights. Her sign said she did tours of Islamorada and that’s what I wanted. After years of staying in the same tiny ’50’s era resort on the bay side of the Florida Keys and a couple of disastrous boat rentals when we tore up tender habitat trying to find the elusive boating lanes, churning brown sand into the water that could be seen for miles, probably recorded by satellite for later prosecution, I wanted to take to the sea. I wanted to buzz under the Keys’ bridges, sneak around…

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Spoiled Rotten

The beauty of blogging is twofold. First, there’s no waiting. And second there’s no editing. Both of these turned around and colored with a different crayon become ugly things. Not every piece should see the light of day thirty seconds after it’s written and lack of editing means that ugly prose will stay that way. The fortunate thing about blogging is that a piece can always be fixed if the writer has enough sense to know it needs to be fixed. A blog post can be edited on one’s phone standing in line at the grocery. There is an endless opportunity for improvement if a writer is committed to making something better…

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Stuck

In every meeting, the boxes she drew got smaller, tighter, lines into boxes, triangles, subdivisions, tiny cubes stacked too high to last or matter, the paper filled up with no place to go. _____________________ #50 in a series of 100 in 100!  

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Girl Hive

As I get older I want bigger and bigger rings. I notice at the pool that the very old women have extraordinary rings on their fingers and I think that it’s appropriate, justified for what they’ve gone through and what they’re facing next. Of course, I wonder who gave them the giant rings, whether it…

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Say What You See

I started my professional life at 27 as a White girl in a Black anti-poverty agency called the Social Development Commission where the first day I was called out for shrinking back from a hug offered by an associate director who laughed at me and told me I didn’t have anything to be afraid of. “It’s okay, girl. We’re not going to hurt you.” My fear was that I would hurt myself, that I’d say something or do something that would show that I was carrying the same giant load of racist baggage as every White person in America. I tried to pretend that I didn’t notice that anyone was Black.…

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Replacement Parts

“Who are you? What are you doing here?” “I’m looking after Bob. Who are you? “I’m Bob’s wife. Bob’s my husband. Why are you here in the ICU? Who let you in?” “Bob did, honey. I met him in the elevator last week and he made me promise I’d always be here for him. So I’m here. All the nurses are fine with it. We’ve been chatting, you know, about what kind of help Bob needs after he gets out of here.” “Really? You’ve figured it out already? So I could just leave? “Do what you want, Sugar. I’m staying.” _________________________________________ Written as a response to a Light and Shade…

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Pedal Pusher

Two kids were shot today while they were riding in a car with their mother. A 10-year old boy and an 11-year old girl, probably sitting in the back seat arguing about whether the window should be down or up got popped while their mom was driving along a city street. They didn’t die though,…

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What Mother Thinks

“She has the face of a goat.” “Isn’t that a little unkind? You know, she has a quite beautiful spirit.” “Just make sure she wears a turtleneck and a very large hat if you ever take her anywhere important. Maybe a scarf. That is, if you ever do take her anywhere important which I bet you probably won’t. In your heart, you know she has the face of a goat. I’m only saying what you’re thinking. You remember, don’t you, that I know what you’re thinking.” “When she smiles, she’s beautiful.” “No. She just becomes a smiling goat.” “There are worse things, mother, than a smiling goat.” “You will have…

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Time in a Bottle

That’s my brother on the bed, being a new baby in the afternoon, the afternoon’s sunlight softly sprayed across my parents’ bedspread. He is waking from a nap and because he is their first baby and still new, my mother calls for my father to fetch the camera. It’s the light that she loves. It’s…

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