Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021



I keep seven calendars, six clocks,
and live in a brick house on a street with no wolves.
There is wind sometimes,
and I like to read when it rains.
I have been here twenty years and buried five dogs.
I was married before,
considered suicide,
kicked booze,
had a garden.

Every morning, I rise early.
Things must be begun immediately, worked on steadily.
I like muffins and coffee.
I think of my father tearing out his feeding tube,
eager to die if he couldn't have an omelette or a cigar.
The butter and blackberry jam are superb.
I will write another poem this morning,
do dishes,
take time for my projects,
watch some tv.

There is a new spot on my neck. It's nothing.
My dog watches me watch myself in the mirror.
I wonder if anyone will want my books when I die?
I shake it off, go and put on boots.
"Come on," I tell him, "We have jobs to do."
We spend the day outdoors,
come in happy and tired.
I give him part of my snack as a movie plays.

Then, time for bed. 
Brush teeth, 
consider what got done and what didn't,
go around and double check that the doors are locked.
Who would take care of my dog if I died?
We are both just heart beats
in a bed in a house in a sprawling world.
I kiss his head, turn off the light.
"I love you," I tell him,
as I used to tell my spouse, my child, my other dogs.
"See you in the morning."
I close my eyes and sleep easy, as if it were a given.

for Dverse Poetics The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, hosted by Linda Lyberg.

image: Woman With An Airdale Terrier by Edvard Munch


  1. In one tremendously wonderful poem, I learned more about you than I have in over a decade. Thank you.

  2. Wow Shay, wow. Thank you for a wonderful day, and some deeply mined honesty. This was vulnerable in a beautiful way — and you made me feel present. Thank you!

  3. Oh wow... This is mesmerizing and there's so much honesty to it; I'm sitting here, stunned. I admire greatly how open and honest this is, and to accomplish that in a poem, that's really something else. I struggle with honest writing, and the way I felt when reading this poem, I felt more human in myself than before--that feeling that lunges at you when you can see yourself in a poem even if it's entirely different. You wrote such a beautiful and eloquent piece Shay. It's amazing, absolutely heartfelt and vulnerable.

  4. 'We are both just heart beats
    in a bed in a house in a sprawling world.'

    This really got to me, Shay! It can all turn on a dime; each precious moment of love is what matters.

  5. Replies
    1. I tried to comment at your place, Ain, but you seem to have switched from Medium to some other platform and I can't get through now. I did read your poem and liked it.

  6. "eager to die if he couldn't have an omelette or a cigar."

    Such beautiful storytelling, Shay.

    I feel I know you a little bit now that I've read this piece. It's beautiful, as are you.

    David [ben Alexander]

  7. Now you've gone and made ME cry Shay. One shift in the wind and it can all blow away. Beautiful.

  8. "We are both just heart beats/in a bed in a house in a sprawling world.." You manage to take light and darkness and mix them into a dish that is fragrant as any meal made in heaven. You write through the dark to the light here, and you don;t know how much that means in this current world, (or how much I envy you.)Beautiful, luminous poem of love and life that won't be quenched.

  9. This is just so good to read. I feel the comfort in the way you describe your small world... so many things I feel. Will anybody care for the books when we die... I took care of only a few when my father died.... I have come to realize that the only reason people keep book is appearance.

  10. Shay, I love, love, love, love this! It's all the little details you lay out so vividly, your whole thought process throughout the day, the lines: "I wonder if anyone will want my books when I die?" and "who would take care of my dog if I died?" <3

    It's honestly so beautiful and moving. You really understand the power of the short sentence and say so much in so few words. The first stanza in itself is wonderful and then it opens up into a beautiful detached storytelling of a strong woman who has outlived many loves. I am moved <3

  11. Vulnerable, matter-of-fact, brilliant, poignant. This is a person who is well aware of their coordinates and is ok with where she is.

  12. I love how you have woven together the big the small, past and present in such a way that it is like we have spent true time with you. Absolutely amazing my friend!

  13. I am living your actual poem, except no dog right now. I wonder about my books too. I loved every line of this, especially "we are both just heartbeats...." i always love your poems, but this one is extra special.

  14. Yes, this is a real gem...thanks for sharing a glimpse into your (autobiographical, I assume?) home, head, and heart.

  15. this poem made me weep, Shay.

    thank you ~

  16. Shay, Reading this reminded me how precarious existence is, and how the homely things (books, jam, the motions of the day) are all caught up in a sum of moments that can evaporate forgotten. I felt too the courage, the joy, the hope and the transfiguring love in you through this poem, a simple, eloquent glimpse into the place where you "live." It's a ballad about loving too, people, dogs, the one you worry about, but you "sleep easy" because you know he'll be taken care of too, like you, like it's "a given." The glimpse of you I saw here (including your poetic genius) humbles me and heartens me. I know the former wasn't your intention but I hope the latter was, because that's what great poetry like this does best. A rare gift.

  17. … and if, here rests a swan song. So close to the skin. So honest. Real. I admire that - you. It’s a penetrating portrait of a human being. It’s touching, but also very controlled, and matter of fact. Of the craft, it is a masterpiece of storytelling. This says to me, I know who I am, what I am, and where I am going.


Spirit, what do you wish to tell us?