as green as my mother/brother


sometimes both of my eyes are as green as my mother/brother
and sometimes my kitchen walls dock on the magic carpet ride
color wheel wedge, from whence mother/brother and i do spy
miraculous flying fish leaping lively from deep-dish slices
of time outside her sundowner’s window. they leap with such
intensity we all swear it’s one hundred percent real, our
happiness, our green, hand-on-the-bible, evening time oath
(yes) i suppose one can say all of this wish-wash is un-
intelligible sea speak – i’ve had to do it a lot lately,
lie down in springtime, be perfectly prone in a mountain stream
just to begin to get an inkling of the kind of green we mean,
the green as green as my mother/brother and i/


for PAD and Daily Post


What I Want for Christmas

December 11: Mom called.  “Do you know what I want for Christmas??”

I knew very well what she wanted, because she’s made the same request for the past 5 Christmases since her mind’s been slipping.

“A calendar?” I played along.  “…And do you want to know what I got you?? ” Her response was irrelevant.  “A calendar!” I blurted.PhotoFunia-34e34cf

I told her to keep our secret when she opened it, and she forthright practiced a prepared line of utter surprise and thankfulness. We laughed, but I knew the calendar really would be a surprise by the time the 25th comes, because of the Alzheimer’s.

I can’t wait to give her the 2015 calendar, because to her it’s like liquid gold! I added all of our faces to each page, and a thumbnail picture of each honored family member celebrating every anniversary or birthday, hoping this will help her keep track of the people she loves.

New Mom needs a little help. She is a sweeter, softer, slightly shorter version of the mother I knew growing up who knew EVERYTHING about everything, and let everyone know it!

The girls will get to know this little lady a little better this year, because she’s coming to stay with us. It’s obvious I got my smile and laugh from her, as well as my hot foot! I’m sure Mom won’t venture to drive on our California freeways, but something tells me she’ll be egging me or my brother on to “get into the fast lane,” and to “step on it!!”  Some things never change, for which I’m grateful.

She will celebrate her 49th Wedding Anniversary in March, and turns 67 in November. But this Christmas, I want time to stand still so I can hug her a little too long and breath in every part of her familiar fragrance. I want to sit beside her on the bed at night after she rubs Oil of Olay lotion over her face, so we can relive the day’s events before they slip away forever.

I want my mom for Christmas.


Dear Dementia,

This is only a generic salutation I’m going with, so don’t take it as a term of endearment.  By no means are you “dear” to me. I’d like to forget you, but you’d probably like that, wouldn’t you? So, I’ll keep one stink-eye fixed on you.

As far as my mom is concerned, you may be discouraged to know that she hasn’t forgotten herself. She still remembers her own motto and lives by it. When a woman exceeds the age of fifty, she’ll want a little more sparkle. True to form, when I saw her last week, her ears sparkled, the back pockets on her jeans sparkled, and so did practically every shirt she unpacked from her suitcase.  She was beautiful.

I concede that you made her forget what day it was (every day), and which toothbrush was hers, but you haven’t diminished her sparkle.


Her Daughter


This place is nice enough, but it’s not my home.  I think I’m on arrest.  My wife surely hung some photos on these walls; she surely did, but where are they? Where is she? Room 222.  Where is she? I smell dinner cooking, so I look for Mabel in the kitchen.  A nice enough woman serves me meat and potatoes, saying, “There’s going to be a full moon tonight, George.”

“You don’t say?” I gum lumps of potatoes in my mouth. 

Perhaps this is the same woman who helps me up from the table and to my room.  There is something familiar about her.  I love this woman and my eyes tear involuntarily.  Good women are hard to find.  She lays me down to rest and says, “Bath time is in the morning.”

“You don’t say.” I rest my bones on a twin mattress as the sun pulls the earth to itself  like a blanket.

“Goodnight, George.” The door shuts, and Mabel’s voice vanishes. 

I turn my head to the window where hummingbirds gather.  With eyes wide open, I’m caught between worlds.  Sweet nectar, sweet woman, sweet night.   Lilacs are in bloom. I am restless in the light of the moon, or is it the sun? I must undress for bath time, I think.  Yes, I will undress.  A bath will put me at ease.

caught between the sun

and moon, Christmas and July,

 I flounder for her

haibun moon 

~photo prompt courtesy of Penny.  I’ll be out all week, or 6 moons and 6 suns, so will miss reading all the other entries until Saturday.  Please accept my apologies for not responding to comments until then…but please…still leave your comments!

Brave Women

Tell me… One more time
How Grandma roller skated–
Hell-bent for Heaven.

If any image should be lasting, it’s the one of Grandma strapping on roller skates, throwing caution to the wind and her fragile bones to a higher power. When I think about it, that’s the best story I could pass on to my daughters. Be funny. Be coy. Be smart. Be trouble. Be happy.

But above all, be brave.

Don’t be stupid, though. My mom and I did affix a brown velour couch pillow to Grandma’s tush using my dad’s belt. We held her hand, ensuring she accomplished her lifelong wish to skate. The brevity of Grandma’s time on wheels was matched with the levity of her legacy. We laughed and tried to steady ourselves. I held and pressed the button down on the Polaroid camera. As long as I live, I hope to never forget that shining moment in time, in the backyard of my 4th Street home with grandma, mom and me.

Be brave. I now tell the same woman who cinched up Grandma’s belt.

Be brave. I tell myself. I’ve been spared another day, because mom still knows my name.

I’ll remind her tomorrow about the time we helped Grandma to skate. I’ll cinch my belt and skate around the catch in my throat when I call. I’ll remind her that it’s Mother’s Day and I’ll say “I love you, Mom.” We’ll both be brave.


Going, Going, Gone

A name patch attached to her shirt collar is our last attempt to save her.

Ambushed by targeted rain, a neurotransmitter rebellion, she washes away.

The tag says “Stella,”

but let’s all remember her as mom.

This weekend, we are revisiting a prompt we’ve done before. We are giving you three words and asking that you add another 33 to them to make a complete 36-word response. You may use the words in any order you choose.

Our three words are:


Rhymes in a Song-a Villanelle

I dedicate this rhyming poem to my mom because she thinks there’s no other kind; and Psalm 13.


she longs for rhymes in a song
and scrubbing dishes in soapy warm water
for mom it works like a balm

for confused thoughts that go all wrong
drained by a loitering squatter
she longs for rhymes in a song

more and more she’s less and less strong
so she calls on me, her only daughter
or mom it works (like a balm)

i try calming her with a psalm
about clay awaiting the potter
she longs for rhymes in a song

i fear it will be a mean, long
bleed of memory into a blotter
for mom “where is the balm?”

the comfort, “you’ll always be mom”
dies a slow death to mental slaughter
she longs for rhymes in a song
(for mom) it works like a balm

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Mail it In DpChallenge

Dear Mr. Funderburk,

Your name is so distinctive, and I must apologize for not recalling how it is that I know you as the friend you addressed me as in your recent email. I gathered that you are from the Advocacy department for the Alzheimer’s Association, which I applaud you for.

As a health care provider for the elderly for over twenty-five years, I am a staunch advocate for elderly rights and compassionate care. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease that robs families of their loved ones even before they die. If I can help in any way, please let me know, Mr. Funderburk.

Your name is so distinctive. I must apologize for not recalling how it is that I know you as the friend you addressed me as in your recent email. I see you are from the Advocacy department for the Alzheimer’s Association, and I applaud you for that.

I hope you find a breakthrough. I’ll be sure to tell my daughter about your Alzheimer’s research as she has recently been reading up on the subject herself.

Pam Addle