Thursday, March 11, 2021



Pre-teen girls all want to know:

Why am I always so mad?

Why does my heart pound?

What is this raging low hum 

Thrum, like the swarm of bees

Holed up in our garage wall

That no one else seems to hear?

Of all the things to wonder.

Ask me about sedatives, I say,

Or the best way to peel an orange

Or how to train for a 5K.

Let’s figure out the rest,

All the things that bewilder and vex.

One at a time.

Sit with me.

Take out your math

And we’ll find the greatest common factor.

If you have to cry, then cry

I’ll find a box of Kleenex.

Let’s kill some time

And match up the missing socks

Collected in all these baskets.

But don’t ask me if he really likes you.

I don’t know if he’s here to break your heart.

It’s not for me to say.  

It isn’t just bees;

I called my own exterminator, long ago.

But it comes in waves.

Sometimes it’s a buffalo stampede

Through our tidy rows of summer squash,

A flash flood trapping you in a desert canyon

When the banks of the wash are steepest,

An avalanche when you're just trying to learn how to ski.

Sweet girl, our reactors are unstable,

So many things to make us seethe,

Always a single miscalculation,

A moment of distraction from meltdown;

Our own heritable Chernobyl.

Get everyone else out,


But you, my love, must sit with it.

Watch and tend to it,

Bathe it in coolant.

Try to shorten the half life

Without putting it completely out.

You’ll need that fire

Down the road

When you’re older

And have learned how to love

And for all the things that matter.


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