I climb down the hill from the house
The land here always leaves you walking sideways and towards some
Of water.

It's a bit treacherous
It is green and it is squishy
And there are many purple flowers
And arctic cotton
Broken up by Red and desert like rocks.
It's quite easy to slide and lose your footing on descent.

We walk along a little gravel pathway at the bottom
My borrowed sled dog and I
And she picks up bones and drops them
Scattered and bleached white
Powdery and light like chalk
A hip bone
A jaw
Part of an ankle

You spend a lot of time looking at your feet out here
And it's easy to forget.
Where you've been and where you are going

I'm a bit wary
Even with the dog. By myself looking for polar bears. It's unlikely
It's very very unlikely. But they have been spotted not so very far away.
And there are icebergs in the bay
In August. Stranger things have happened. Global warming.
Leads to polar bear warnings.

Climbing back up to the top again
Is when and where things get truly difficult
Heart pounding and breathing through the mouth
The south is soft and the south leaves me very soft
My body unable to work the way it should do

While here I am climbing
And I am trying to climb a little bit higher every day.



That moment when you finally rediscover/find your favorite dress
Missing all these weeks
In the pile of discards
Clothing and bedding
On your left side
The bed side that no one is using

Hat moment whb you finally rediciver/fond tour favirite dress
Missing all those wrrks
In the pile of discards
Coorhing and bedding
On your lty side
The bed side that no one Is ising



I go to work. I look like death but act like I don't. I lift heavy bags of extruded animal protein and binders.

The other moments I spent sitting on a chair.

We usually don't get a chair but my leg

Later I buy a pink and red twisted rope for my dog at home. She lies on top of
It while chewing on
an empty


I make dinner:
Chicken fat

I watch the spreading thing
Going on with my

And Lori

Traces a circle around it
So that
We can watch it overcome its perimeters

Will I run out of blood?

June One

Two days ago I fell into a ravine. Something about falling, exposing blood and torn flesh mixed with dirt brings back memories of childhood like nothing else can. I am still young. I can still fall and get cut up. The resulting scrape was fairly large but stopped bleeding very quickly. I walked home slightly self conscious about it and the grass stains on the back of my pants. I washed it with orange soap in a lather. By the next day a red rash was growing around it and a swell. By nightfall it was becoming painful to walk and off to emergency I went. Doctor's consult: Rapidly spreading skin infection, wicked antibiotics. I had to start them immediately. The nurse handed me two horse pills and a paper cup of water. I am still young. Still young enough to visit the ER in every town in which I am living. It should begin to subside in 24 hours.

Last month I was bitten by a dog.


There is this constant
heaviness and pressure
in the chest

I think I know what it is now
my heart gets bigger every day



There are
some really, really bad things that happen in life and then there are
you can be hurt so very, very terribly and then you come across an amazing bundle of
they're on the lawn at your friendly local
and they're frolicking on the grass (one of the only times it is fitting anymore to use the word "frolic"
it just suits these
to an absolute frigging t).

And when you climb one leg at a time and over the fence
oh it is so amazing to be one
covered in

"There is something so fantastic about puppy smell" I yell across the field and
he yells back
"I know, the greatest". Some people just really get it---right away.

Puppies pulling down on the skirt that I bought because it seemed to fit
that downtown aesthetic
I was going for at the time
But of course, there is very little need for downtown sensibilities
when you're standing in the middle of nowhere

Just sky in all directions
and a falling down barn behind you
and there are five little souls wriggling around you
each destined for an airplane ride to a far-away family somewhere
but for right now and for just these twenty minutes you are their entire world
and being.

And for you, for anyone else
Twenty minutes can absolutely repair any multitude of sorrows.


Yesterday I had this idea
about the way that I felt
shedding tears in embrace

Because on the way to somewhere I saw a
raccoon innocent and massacred on the side of the highway

I passed in my car-- upon reflection, a death machine itself
there is something so violent
about the way that I drive.

The sight of the animal, brutal
on the roadside
its various insides coming out of its mouth
pink and round and long, and tangled
I thought
in my self pity
that's just the way that I feel right now
With all my insides coming up and out
My feelings choking in my throat

And I shared this with a friend
More an acquaintance
who says "how macabre"
And we left it

Today there is a small changing:
A very small changing but
I see life
A life much better
after all
now and then
And you can put it away


Five Year Engagement

I really like Emily Blunt, I could probably watch her in any film and I've loved Jason Segal ever since Freaks and Geeks. Thus, I enjoyed this movie. I saw it with my mom and we sat in the almost front row. I asked how she liked it and she said "It's different." And by the end she said "I like this movie more now". That's probably because SPOILER ALERT: it has a happy ending.

Alison Brie is also very good and has a stellar British accent and she and Emily Blunt have an awesome scene where they speak like Elmo and Cookie Monster, respectively.

Go and SEE IT.



We have a cat at work right now. We always have one homeless cat, looking for adoption. His name is Shadow which, I think is a terrible name. I call him Kingsley which some among you may also think is a terrible name, but at least it's a slight bit more distinctive than Shadow. Shadow is a black cat. When people come in and see him their black cat prejudices often come out. They say things like: "Stay away from me black cat" or "I don't need any black cats near me" etc. One person broke trend by saying they had heard black cats were good luck. That's cool. Kingsley/Shadow is unquestionably a beautiful cat. He is very tall and lean. His legs are extremely long and he is short-haired. He looks like a panther, thus Kingsley because he has this sort of king of the jungle look about him. He is also quite self-possessed. He does not shrink back from prodding hands or hulking dogs. When he and my husky were introduced he didn't hiss or run away but rather allowed her to smell his bottom in a very dignified and gentlemanly manner. I imagined taking him home to be my cat. I imagine this about every cat that comes into the store.

Black animals, I've heard are the hardest ones to find new homes for. I assumed that this was because of the old black cat superstition but apparently it's because they're lacking in distinctive markings and have less "personality" in their looks. This is what I've been told, at least, and looking at the photo collage of all the cats we've adopted out it's true that the handful of all-black cats are very similar looking and somewhat difficult to tell apart.

Kingsley has been hanging on a bit longer than the last few cats we've had, it's true. But I think it might be due more to intimidation than anything else. He is beautiful and talkative and likes to be pet and cuddled but he also has a penchant for scratching and biting. He isn't vicious but he's a bit bossy and likes to direct you with his teeth. When it came time yesterday for me to put him in his crate for the night he immediately assumed a fighting position: belly up, teeth ready and claws out. He is big and strong and I was going to get scratched from whichever angle I grabbed him. After several fearful and aborted attempts I was forced to just go for it and when I grabbed him he let out a terrible hissing scream that made my stomach lurch and he gave my one hand several long red scratches. I was convinced that I had just completely destroyed our up-to-that-point entirely pleasant cat-human working relationship, but once on his perch he settled down immediately and stared at me for just a moment before settling in for a nice long self-grooming.

UPDATE: Kingsley was recently adopted by a construction worker who has never owned a cat before. No joke. Happy story, the end.


Find Me

I found this little beauty hiding in the poetry(?) section at my work. I'm gone half the week so sometimes I miss out on new and special arrivals. The PEN/ O. Henry Prize Stories, always a wonderful, inspiring read if you're into that sort of thing. SF-- not speculative fiction or science fiction: short fiction.

I'm only a few stories in but already smitten. My heart gets bigger with every one I read. Recommend.

My Weekend Work

Petting the cat
lifting bags of pet food
climbing and descending ladders
opening and closing the till
making tea
stapling receipts

wearing a name tag
still in training


NYTimes Book Review's: "By the Book"

I was really excited to see this new feature in the New York Times Book Review-- I love seeing what famous people (and anyone) enjoy reading.

This week's famous person is the Girls-y Lena Dunham and I'm proud to say that I have read both of the "best books about girls" that she mentions-- Lolita and Catherine, Called Birdy. The latter was assigned to my class when I was in Grade 5(!) 

Dunham and I are the same age so maybe this was like...a really cool book of our generation? I still remember the anxiety that came when I was asked to read from it out loud in class and was forced to say a swear.  

The amazing and talented Jillian Tamaki illustrates  the column and while I don't think this week's necessarily looks much like Dunham it is still very pretty.

Check it! 


Breaking up is hard to do

DSCN2175 by _stringsong

Breaking up is hard to do

Sometimes you hate the person so much that you know you're going to dream about them all night long.

Sometimes you imagine what you'd say to them if you saw them again, something like: Enjoy your future finding women who appreciate ____________ , _____________ and terrible ___________! etc.

Sometimes you can't believe you lasted through the hatred for so long. You can, I think, physically feel when someone hates you that strongly, they don't need to verbalize it. It touches everything between you. It colours you both.



In my dreams
a cat hanging on hydro beams
its twin on top holding on to save the fall

I met someone in the grocery
in my dreams he followed me

and up the stairs I turned with
a friend I don't see anymore

she spoke of a woman with seven children and I followed her
while an elderly gentlemen spoke
of the aunt who had raised her on bended knee
scrubbing black out of flooring



It strikes me in this moment that as humans we like very much to think that small and insignificant things truly matter while attempting to convince ourselves that the big things really don't.


Creativity is on the side of health-- it isn't the thing that drives us mad it is the capacity in us that tries to save us from madness.

-Jeanette Winterson, from Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? (encore)



The tub
a perfect fit
when lying flat-backed against the bottom
my head is touching the edge and
knees folded just hit
the other side
so my ankles can cross over
each other
and my elbows too
just touching on each side
the white porcelain

I lie there waiting for
water to rise
to fill my ears in
so the music playing
gets drowned out gradually
and graduates so only
sound left
is falling water
and thumping
heart beating
slightly fuzzed by the escaping liquid
of the heart's murmur and
the deepening water rising just over
the chest

causing deep echoes, melody

I can forget



Today an update a
Reader (1)
Could it be you?

What would you have said?
Oh it is only bread

A recipe
a blog with a tongue and cheek name
description of
rolling out dough
just the way you used to

Where could I find a table top
work surface like that one
nothing too porous
to pour flour out upon

There must be some way
to secure the surface
some sort of non-toxic
non-porous shield to put

to keep the two sides from touching

I imagine that's how you would want it
how you've wanted it
for a very long time

Today I Discovered

Patricia Lockwood on Twitter and found she is a poet and found some of her poems like these: posted on The Awl and now I would like to buy one of her books if she has any. And I'd like to write the way that she does.


I need words because unhappy families are conspiracies of silence. The one who breaks the silence is never forgiven. He or she has to learn to forgive him or herself.

-Jeanette Winterson, Why be Happy When you Could be Normal?



Written on the imaginary list of to-do's I had perpetually carried with me were the words Lady Baltimore Cake. It was pretty. It was frothy and fancy and fruit-filled. It was the kind of cake that you don't bake so much as build. I saw the photo in Food and Drink right before the cruise we took in 2010. We were road tripping with my family to Baltimore and we liked cake and it was called Lady Baltimore and our anniversary was coming up. It seemed like a good idea. I said I would make it for him. I wanted to be that kind of wife. When we got back we were very soon moving and we were fighting and we were living and I never got around to making it. Something intimidating about the layers of meringue, the candied fruit. I baked other things, he baked other things but never the list thing. I think I was that kind of wife. 


Herr Collector

I collect furniture
bitter words

good and evil

fallen acorns
sea glass

new shoes


From Nathan Englander's "Everything I Know About My Family on My Mother's Side"

44. She is gone. She is gone, and she will be surprised that I am alive to write this-- because she, and everyone who knows me, didn't think I'd survive it. That I can't be alone for a minute. That I can't manage a second of silence. A second of peace. That to breathe, I need a second set of lungs by my side. And to have a feeling? An emotion? No one in my family will show one. Love, yes. Oh, we're Jews after all. There's tons of loving and complimenting, tons of kissing and hugging. But I mean any of us, any of my blood, to sit and face reality, to sit alone on a couch without a partner and to think the truth and feel the truth, it cannot be done. I sure can't do it. And she knew I couldn't do it. And that's why it ended.


Hard to explain why but reading Best American Essays 2011 makes me feel like a proper human again.


Tonight, the one thing that I have is that my hair smells really good. I also stole my tea back. Thirdly, I've become newly interested in fasting for health reasons and am a wee bit excited to try it out.



I subscribed to Harpers magazine. I thought I would carry on some of the traditions of my former, married life. By traditions I guess I mean "things we used to do" or something like that. We used to subscribe to magazines. I used to read a lot more...

The subscriptions were all in his name. I thought it would be nice to have my own. 8-12 weeks is a long time to wait.

When the first issue came my dad left it for me on the kitchen counter, right between the coffee maker and the compost. Hours later mysterious stains appeared on the cover. My sister dripped tea all over it. This felt like an assault of sorts... or maybe just a disappointment. I felt sad that my Harpers was all defiled like that. I tried and failed to rip the address sticker off to cover the stains.