Trying to sink myself




My bed is a deep pool; my day is a boat.


From morning to night, I row across the hours until my shoulders ache. I want to throw myself overboard and sink into the depths of sleep.


I enter the pool, lying atop its surface, snuggling into the down comforter, and nuzzling the pillow. If I can sink into those waters, I can replenish myself.


I turn off all the lights in the room, but my brain refuses to turn out the little lamp in the corner where it keeps my files. It busies itself, quietly at first, but I cannot sleep if there are any lights on.


From that corner of my mind, I hear the rustling of the papers. Every time I feel myself sinking, my brain burps or starts talking. The words make me buoyant.


I lie on my back, roll to the left, need to scratch my foot, and then shift to my right side. What do I do with my right arm? I can’t rest lying on top of it. I put it out straight, then under the pillow, and finally across the top of my body. My hand is near my neck, and I feel like I’m choking myself.


Then I notice that my knee bones are pressing one another, so I pull one knee higher. If there were a camera on the ceiling, I would look like I’m running. I hope there isn’t a camera. My brain starts telling me a story of hidden cameras. I pull the covers over my head and try not to listen.


I rearrange my limbs in an effort to relax. I’ve thrown my body overboard, hoping to float down into the deep waters of sleep, but my mind clings tenaciously to the side of the boat. It makes my limbs thrash. Let me go, I beg.


But my brain wants to talk about what the boss said yesterday, the phone call I need to make, and the dumb thing I said to my coworker. My brain wants me to get back on that boat. When will it shut up? The body is willing, but the brain is not.


I roll onto my back and visualize myself as a stone, sinking into the mattress and pillow. I relax each part of my body, starting with my head and scalp. My face goes slack; shoulders release their tension. I continue until my toes separate, each one loose and mellow. One by one the fingers of my mind let go of the boat. My body floats atop the sea, dips beneath the surface, ever so slowly sinking down.


Then my husband opens the bedroom door, and the hall nightlight throws my brain a life preserver.


River bed

In praise of



In praise of

The prepositional variety

Of those that screw on, pop off,

Seal up, keep in

And shut out


As well as those that

Require tools to remove

Whether bendable or breakable

Hinged or unhinged

Hard as roofs for the dead

Soft as tents for pies

Sturdy as helmets for pots

Or merely heaps of pot


Atop the heads of rich and poor —

Who need to be warm

Or want to be cool


Mighty eye shutters

Doors to dreams both night and day

Locking you inside nightmares

Opening up to set you free

Blink and wink makers

Whipping your forty lashes or more


Pandora’s temptation

Flipping open angry and crazy

Keepers of secrets

Stoppers of talk


Everywhere you look or don’t

Lids, lids, lids

In praise of


Photos:   Commode lid     Orange lid      White coffin    Eye     Hinged chest    Decorative Lid


Winter’s night


DSC_2929 - Version 2


The shadows have been there all day, waiting for the light to slant. The world turns its back on the sun as the shadows tilt onto the ceiling above the kitchen lights.



Twilight awakens my longing, lets it loose like a hungry hound, searching for a bone I buried somewhere long ago. I miss the ones who have left. I hunt for them along the trail of memories,  following a familiar path that leads to the river. Here as always, I lose their scent.


Evening washes the room gray. My eyes cannot adjust; details fade like memories. Darkness brings its own weariness. I wear it like a cloak or shroud. I am too tired to go further. I long to hibernate, to crawl inside the barren night, and sleep and sleep and sleep.




I listen to the lullaby of dark; I am weary, friend.

Don’t stop.

But I must sleep away this night that seems to never end. My tears will drown me if I do not stop.

Don’t close your eyes.

Why? Just a bit of rest and I will start again.

There is no starting after that sleep.

How far until the light?

Stories from Miss Pronunciation


I hate to brag, unless I can do so in a manner that appears as if I am in fact being humble. It’s not easy, of course, but humility never is.


In my department at school, my ability to teach ELL students to “talk purty” has earned me the moniker, Miss Pronunciation.

Miss Pronunciation


Since it’s my first moniker, I naturally feel a bit of pride when I hear the other instructors call me that. Most of the time I can’t even mention that I have a moniker because that would be bragging, and as my husband’s mother used to say, “Pride stinks.”


To avoid even the hint of what I like to think of as verbal flatulence, I have to be discreet when I secretly but seemingly casually mention my colleague’s flattering opinion of me. Thankfully I am able to insert it into this post since there is a tenuous relationship between my moniker and the main point. Both concern pronunciation.


In a previous semester, I was the bridge instructor in a speech class for students whose first language is other than English. One of their assignments was a persuasive speech. Before the day of the speech, the students and I had time together to practice. One student chose the topic of young children and the negative effects of watching too much TV. While arguing for reduced screen time for small children, the student repeatedly looked straight at me and urged me to reduce scream time.


While looking through my notes, I was reminded of this good advice. So, for the next week or two, I plan to reduce scream time as much as possible. And I promise not to brag about it, unless I have to or can.



Rather large mouth courtesy of