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The Man at the Boat Launch

He drove up just as we were starting lunch at the picnic table under the trees at the boat launch. A black Dodge Ram truck with a squat camper like all the autoworkers used to have in Flint, pulling a flat bed trailer with a blue plastic kayak and a red off road vehicle, we…

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Friday Poem

I meant to write something profound deep Move people impress with my erudition touch I forgot what I would write in a sea of waterlilies Instead I reached in black water Pulled two slick stems Wound white blossoms in black rope Floral masthead for my canoe just enough Then I saw yards ahead in a…

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On Anonymity and Shame

The distance from anonymity to shame is a short, taut rope  with the letters S-T-I-G-M-A dangling from the line. So I am glad when I see people who are homeless choosing to speak up and be photographed or filmed. When a person who is homeless looks into a camera and tells her story, she might…

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Failure of Imagination

Last night I dreamed I drowned. No. I dreamed I was writing a story about my drowning. But the details of it were so vivid, red in their terror, that I would have had to actually drown to know how to describe drowning so well. After I drowned, I could see my husband walking from…

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Family Heirloom

Originally posted on Red's Wrap: So I’ve been in California for the past few days picking up rope. I’ve seen some relatives I haven’t seen for many years and others I’d never met but who looked familiar to me like they might have been sitting at the children’s table at Thanksgiving dinner for the past ten years. “You look like a hundred people I know,” I said to the 13-year old son of one of my nephews. His short hair reminded me of my brother’s 50’s butch haircut, clean and eager like the Boy Scout he was. This boy was smiling as if he had been waiting for me. He…

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Lovely Enough

After I put the paint away and finish cleaning my brushes, I see the spots I missed. They emerge like tiny arid ponds on the unblemished wall. A white dot here, a thin white line there, giving lie to the imagined perfection of my new orange wall, my burnt orange, sorrel, chestnut wall. I know…

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Dressed Down

I bought a dress online, a long black summer dress that I thought would make me look earthy and graceful. Dresses are foreign to me but I keep trying, like all the years I kept going back to Spanish classes thinking this next time I would become completely bilingual. Buenos dias! The dress, so chic…

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Don’t Make Me Leave Hastings

Originally posted on Red's Wrap: Just an hour ago, the sun was shining on my back while I painted the window frames. In the distance I could see the fog coming our way off Lake Superior and wished I’d started painting earlier. Now we’re enveloped and I hope it doesn’t rain. I love painting our house up here, scraping old paint, putting on primer, having the perfect coffee can to hold my paint and a new brush. And no sound except for far-off voices I think are coming from a sailboat just off shore. Maybe not. A few months ago, I went to Hastings to visit my parents’ graves…

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I Used to Be So Smart

Know-it-all friends. Ever had one? Ever been one? My husband and I were friends with a couple who always had all the answers no matter the topic. They were like human encyclopedias but with a yellow post-it note on the page with the right answer, the right instructions, like they’d already sifted through all the…

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