I’m not sure what to do with you
You fickle
Little foe

I want to run back there
To the black and white

Like Mary Poppins
In her paints

Put my body back
Into that skirt
And yet
“all in”

I know what
And who
Was on my left
On my right

The two of us said we’d drive
And peak over the world
So we did-

We did what we said

Puddle Splashing


It was the perfect Madison, fall day. My two and a half year old daughter was the queen of Vilas Zoo, prancing from giraffe to ostrich, flamingo to rhino. My 1 year old sat humming in a bag pack chewing on a toy; he was the king of my back.

We came to an open area which offered many options, snacks, picnics, polar bears, black bears and birds. My daughter seriously scanned her options and then chose, instead, to go straight for a puddle created by the previous day’s rain.  I watched her place the ball of her right foot in the water. She gave me one right eye, smiled that kind of a smile we mother’s know as, “I just found a piece of really old candy on the floor and I am telling no one!!”  I smiled back but did not a thing.

She jumped!

Her light blue shoes turned navy;

She jumped!

Her pink pants became soggy, drenched a deep, dark red.

She jumped!

Her laughter brought on a feeling of tingly euphoria;  I was sweetly tipsy.

Next to my daughter was a friend of hers who slurped that puddle up with envious eyes; he headed straight for it. Before he was able to dive in feet first his mommy panicked, “No! We don’t have a change of clothes.” He was a good boy; he stopped, dropped his head, and walked back to her dry as a desert. She glared at me and reprimanded, “I can’t believe you are letting her get all wet!”

As if in quicksand, my mind left that autumn day and found itself on a cold, winter day in December; Dec. 31st 1981. That day became a line on my palm. My older, half sister just picked me up from a sleep over. We were heading back home. We were very close to our neighborhood when she pulled over. She was delegated the unfortunate job of telling me my mother had died the night before. Probably while I was eating an Oreo and playing Mrs. Packman.

When we walked through the front door I saw that my kitchen was converted into an anthill of frantic, nervous Jews. There were bagels, cream cheese, pastrami platters, corned beef; so many strangers and familiar faces asking me if I was hungry.  And there were tears. Tears that were black and sticky, painting my face with charcoal grey streaks. So many red nails and polish all through my hair, wrapped all over my body.


I ran upstairs to find my father sitting in his favorite over-sized chair, paralyzed. The chair about to swallow him whole.  “Dad, can we get another one?”

“No Jessie.”


I sprinted down the steps; I was a race car, the finish line the end of my driveway.

Why there?

Past the driveway there was nothing. Behind me there was nothing and everything.

I found myself looking down at a puddle which used to be a mound of old snow, before the cars, the ants…the chaos…. In this puddle I saw the reflection of a scared seven year old girl.

I jumped!

In went the patent leather shoes;

I jumped!

Then the white tights turned a spotted, dirty grey;

I jumped!

The hem and skirt of my velvet dress became  heavy with slush. A few droplets made it into my mouth and I tasted, what I know now is, the succulence of childhood. For a short , sweet moment, before my disappearance was discovered, I forgot she would not be home when I returned from school; I forgot… I was motherless.

My eyes focused again on my daughter and her buddy who were now heading towards the polar bear. As we followed, I turned and looked at the boy’s mommy who lingered behind me. She was still looking at me as if I stripped down into my skivvies right there in the middle of the zoo.. She was baffled. “You don’t care that she is sopping wet?”


“I don’t.”


Please read my Dear friend Ann Imig, as well as other talented writers:


Hidden Treasures

I slipped the white,Mom dress

chiffon dress over my small frame

it smelled of bitter moth balls

and stale air

in desperate need of a

Spring rain

I tied the ribbon

beneath my breast

pulled back my hair


in a tuck

never taking my eyes away

from the perfectly fitted gown

from the curve of my neck

from the similar, duplicate image

of you


Reading each page

gown circling around my knees –

my sentences

my questions

my innocence

You recorded my thoughts

I kept reading realizing how much

you adored



I let me hair fall

over the pleated shoulders

clicked my heels

and wished for you

to appear

you are a gentle figure

in my imagination

a realistic plunge

into my past

and a mystery

I will never solve


For the rest of my life

I will walk a little crooked

and have no choice

but to accept

the unbalance.



Big Bar in the Sky

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I raced to find you

100 stories high

I had to find you

in the bar in the sky


The air was thick

the stairs too slow

where were my wings

I knew you would know


I found you at our table

by the window

in the clouds

junipers and olives

ice to the top

you ordered me one too

we talked for hours


You told me to

slow down

sit still

I love you

Paul Auster, Saul Bellow, William Goldman

read this


When I wake up

will we meet again?

I’ll find my way back up 100 flights

too drink with you

and then


you can tell me to slow down

sit still

I love you

read this


The big bar in the sky


on ice








I loved eating pomegranates

with you

because you loved it

as much as I did

peeling small white blankets

off of glistening ruby stones

black shirts

t.v. trays

red fingertips

I loved eating pomegranates

with you

My Mother ON Kings Road

Golden Streaks of hair

reflected off from the sun

then dissolved

back into a strawberry auburn

when the sun was swallowed


Cranberry isles

Chilean raspberries,

an  embarrassed mango

picked up

as heavy as dust

feigning fear –

the prospect

of probably being eaten


She puts them back – reds and yellows

sliding down lengthy, lean fingers

you can hear nervous relief

a fruit cacophony –

The air feels calm

my hands tingle

from the moisture

of the clouds


I open my eyes

take my father’s arm,

the two of us smile

as we turn our way

down Chelsea Manor