Born in Pennsylvania,

he lived in Manhattan, and

somehow came to live in Belhaven

as a teenager.

He was the third husband

of my Memom.

Bald, sometimes drunk and

impatient with us,

he was also brilliant.

He taught me to play chess

when I was about 6.

He taught himself how to locksmith.

He took me places

I was too young to be,

but always left me in the car.

He had a bad temper,

especially when he drank,

but he was never violent.

He was sweet and funny, too.

He told me

years after he crossed,

that he’d always thought of me

as his granddaughter.

I was touched.

He was a good foil

for my volatile Memom.

I once spilled coke

on his reel to reel.

He found this vexing.

Bob was a Navy man.

When he became ill

with the lymphoma that would

later kill him,

he suffered

from the experimental treatments

he received at the Naval Hospital.

He said he’d have taken a gun

and shot himself

if he’d known what he’d go through.

His mother died rather young,

and his stepmother lived

in a big house on Main Street.

I always wanted to see the inside,

but he and the stepmother

weren’t friends.

He build a boat for my Memom,

and named it ‘Edna’ after her.

He could do anything.

He’d wear a pith helmet in the summer

to shield his bald head from the sun.

He was a Cancer,

thus he absorbed knowledge

and emotions.

I wish I knew him longer.

He donated his body to science.

He was a loyal, devoted member

of the Lions Club.

To entertain us,

he would pull his chest hair out

by the handful.

It always amazed and impressed us.

He loved their Pekingese, Ginger.

She was stolen at the beach,

and I rode with him to find her

in another town.

I cowered when he was yelling

at the thieves.

Once Ginger chewed his dentures.

He found that vexing.

He was mysterious, and exotic

in some ways.

I smile as I remember him.


A Lady Named Ruby


called me the ‘other wife’ today.

She was being kind,

and I took it thus.

Mother of my sons,

Giver of Life,

Ruby knew her first.

She knows a family,

who lost their youngest daughter,

and this family lost

their own lives as they’d known them.

I entered this family,

became an instant Mom,

to two precious boys,

the grandsons of Ruby’s neighbor.

I’m the other wife.



He was a nice young man,

this high school friend.

Admired by many,

for his sweetness

and good looks.

Our 10th reunion

he’d lost his hair,

but his smile was still sweet,

very present.

Later, his wife heavy with their second child,

he was in the wrong place.

At the wrong time.

A disgruntled client of the attorney

he was visiting

came in, shot and killed them both.

This random shooting

deprived a wife of her husband,

and 2 children of their father,

and left many old acquaintances

sad and empty.

Today I heard a song

that always reminds me of him.

For the first time,

the memory was joyful

untainted by the loss of him.



Sometimes I’m able to run with the big boys.

Most times I am not.

I want to know, to learn.

Usually I don’t feel the need to try.

I also want to teach.

What is the lesson?

There’s a feeling of emptiness,

it’s small, just a flicker.

I could fall into it.

Presently, life feels too right

to fall into doubt and despair.

There’s a lack nipping at my heels, though.



I went to the beach

and didn’t cross the road

to peer at the ocean.

I was relaxing on the Island,


A beautiful guesthouse in a

pine forest,

I hardly left during my stay.

Content to be surrounded by aquatic


bunnies, birds and bugs.

Papyrus stalks from the plant on the front stoop

Elsie came with.

The Clark Bar


The most vivid part

of the memory

is peering through the screen door

into the kitchen,

pondering the risks and consequences

of reaching into a large clay cookie jar

to take an exotic Clark Bar.

I may have had a


It seems like I discussed it

with someone-perhaps just my

7-year old self.

I scurried in, and across the floor,

quietly, trying to be quiet.

Certainly I couldn’t reach it

on the counter.

I don’t remember how I got it.

But I got it.

I ate it, but don’t remember

eating it.

I only remember

bursting into tears

when my mother asked me

if I took it.



I am looking for full time work.

It’s a topsy turvy process.

I feel confident, capable,

but there is a draining of


some of it positive,

as I willow and wallow through

this tangle.

While I feel good

about most things,

it is very alien.

In 25 years I’ve had 2 jobs.

With a brief temp job,

and child rearing–


No, child rearing

is the hardest, albeit rewarding,  job.

I’m not complaining,

just processing.

It is so new and,

in a way, fresh.

I like meeting people.

I’m happy I like change.

If I didn’t, I’d be a ragged mess.

My spirits have been good,

and my family is well.

I’ve felt joy

and some fear.

How I haven’t felt fear constantly

is anathema to me.

I don’t think I fear, fear


That helps in life.

This fearful voice in my head just said,

What if something happened to Tim,

or one of the boys?

Fuck you, fear!

Love trumps you any time!