The Flu (a blessing)


May a kind soul give you warm soup, the kind you like.

May another bring you elderberry syrup, the dark elixir,

which may or may not help.

When your body shivers and quakes from the cold earth shaking within,

May the bathtub fill quickly.

May the hot water never run out.

If you have children, may they rediscover the joy of reading.

May you have a bed and soft pillows

to absorb the aches

from this unseeable burden.

And when you lie down to sleep, may you sleep.


You’ve been bested.

Forgive the one you think gave you this misery.

Accept that you will feel this way for the rest of your life.


Until you don’t.


Your mind will be sharper than it has been in weeks.

The unbendable wooden chair that was your body will be supple and free.

The world will look different

as if you’d drunk from the fountain of wonder.

This, may you carry with you into the new year.

May it be your beacon

through the snow, the heavy rain,

And recaptured with the first flower unfurling.





Home is there just as I remember:

Fatly painted bulbs on a long needled pine,

hot, ripe, ready to grow.

It has never known winter.

Dad pounds pipes he cut with a hand saw

into the soil to hold up

Plywood Mary, curved and low,

Rectangular Jesus,

The cupboard of Joseph.

The camel is a cloud and Santa uses the front door.

Mom bakes Bishop’s bread

No one eats.

We listen to Christmas with Conniff and roller skate on the balcony.

Sometimes there is fire on the mountains.


We leave this home to grow older

but come back to live on top of a mountain

In a house called Vista Linda.

It has a pretty view.

Dad lays out a village on the buffet table,

cuts up a mirror with a knife,

to make a frozen pond.

Mom bakes Bishop’s bread that will remain uneaten.

Friends come over.

The rum is warm.

There are no ice cubes.

But we are all here.

And the sun is always coming up.


It seems so childish,

The way my impractical heart

pulls at me,

just wanting to go home.