The Stages of Grief

The call costs five cents a minute and you have to be ready with a form of payment. On the other end of the line there is

A princess stuck in a well

Bears curled in around a wee-sleepy home invader

A girl in a badly blended family with a knack for the most inconvenient footwear

And all the rest of us-

sleeping beauties, garden-of-Gethsemane-tired

Of hearing about

This impending crucifixion.

Stories small pebbly things

The previous night mother had attempted to make tea.  Tea then coffee, that was the plan.  In the little pre-packaged pouches provided by hotel concessions.

Upon inspection mother noted two nay, three things:

Advancing, almost marine rust on the warming plate

Water in the well from some previous occupant of the room

No heat, no perk 

So she reported it to the desk clerk, all the while noting the following-

A previous hotel encounter wherein a woman of rapidly advancing years has chided the desk clerk for a similarly broken coffee maker.

And the likelihood that somewhere, somehow, the night shift clerk possessed a hog, of the Harley-Davidson, not Charlotte’s Web variety.

He said they were all out of fresh coffee makers.

He said he would transmit her request for a new one to the day guy.

Who ended up being a woman of short stature.

Who said she would fetch a tall person to fetch a new one from a high shelf.

This leaving mother to picture the places in the hotel with high shelves and coffee makers

…as she returned to her room.

And talked to her lovely and prepossessing daughter approximately thus:

I was surprised you did not come to breakfast.

Well, in truth, it was because I knew you would bring back the good stuff.

I wanted you to come down because there was a family next to us. Grandparents, a dad discussing his absent son who was allowed to drive down on the highway.

He described the process the way you might describe throwing a child into deep water in order to swim–“eventually he stopped weaving and wobbling”-which of course makes one wonder about when he was “weaving and wobbling.”

Then the father called his son to breakfast-whisp of a boy with hair like a tornado-whoosh!

Knock on the door.

Daughter opens it to a young man, tall, dark, and handsome, like a prince in a fairy tale, only coffee maker instead of glass slipper.

He proffers the box, offers to install it. Mother says she can manage, not realizing that he is a prince, the door is a portal and that all along the coffee makers had carefully conspired to bring these two together.

Sleeping Beauty and the treachery of images

they say her dress

obscured her face when they found her in the river

he as young as his eventual wife would be

when she went from girl to muse

muse is a tricky thing, Child

who never was a pipe

I inventory both the cause and the cure for addiction

The need, the proper remedy, the clouds white amidst blue in the cup of your head

Chose a different slumber

Not opioid, not heroin, not poison in the fruit or spindle, not locked in a room, not guarded by dragon

Medicinal sleep

Antiseptic reset, white coats, gently beeping monitors

Let the girl rest

Let her own dreams fell the dragon

So that when the spell is broken 

The clouds and sky will spill out over her

Beautiful, fragile babies

The Real Girl

You always used to say I was not 

Your “real mom”

And I say,


What you really need to study are tropes.

For instance–

all the insinuating places

Fairy godmothers turn up:

  • Mitigating curses
  • Magically changing  the appearance of the most ordinary pumpkins
  • Mending what has torn and broken
  • Saving a girl from “steps” of one sort or the other

(…Or in your case just your own lost-girl soul)

  • Changing epithets into flowers 
  • Or mirrors into enchanted doorways  for the…

The forever, the divine, the set-free, the 

Real girl you 

Should recognize in the faces now of your own

Bewildered children.

(Wake up, sleeping beauty…wake up)


gone too long

A litany of good-byes 

Signifying everything 

We want from Light

The shapes of letters resemble

Hands raised in supplication

Bottomless things

Somewhere in between I find you

In the story you beg me not to tell

Even though you are the hero of it

The boy who quietly 

Saves the headstrong girl

From so many foolish choices