Still Life: After Thanksgiving

1 Dec

As I slip my toothbrush
into its toothbrush cup
for the night,
I see
for the first time
in five days
its companion

my daughter’s
travel toothbrush holder
on the side of the sink.

10 ways to support friends who are parents going through divorce

23 Nov

How do you activate your village in the middle of a divorce? I find it’s hard to put into words what I need while I’m grieving.

In one week, I moved out of our family home and into my own place and I opened a new bank account, while K got a new puppy, who is quite likely the new love of our daughter’s life.

Thankfully, I have a community of family and friends-who-are-family, who check-in with me regularly and field my crisis calls and S.O.S. texts with love, kindness, strength and clarity. Sometimes they even know what I need before I do.

So I thought: If I share some of how my village has shown up for me, and some of what I’ve asked them to do, will it resonate with someone else who’s struggling to activate their village? Maybe.

Here is what I wrote that week, which was first published on The Next Family and then today on page 4 of the Windy City Times. ❤



My Lesbian Divorce –> The Next Family

11 Oct


Love and gratitude to the folks at The Next Family, who invited and published my reflection today on divorce:

I never expected to stand in front of a hundred family members and friends in a long white dress, lighting candles, exchanging rings, and proclaiming my love and commitment to a woman. I never expected a ceremony like ours to be fully and legally binding. I never expected to want to be legally bound.

I never expected to be a mom, or a stepmom.

I never expected to sit around my dining room table in pajamas one Saturday morning, breaking the news of our divorce to my twelve-year-old daughter. I never, ever, ever expected that.

And yet …     [read more]

The Big D-

28 Aug

“The two of you need to agree on when the relationship started,” the mediator tells us both. She and Kelly and I are sitting at a small round table in her office.

In order to dismantle this life we built together, we have to agree on when we began.

Our first date. The day I moved in. Her first business trip, when young Grace and I sat at the kitchen table playing cards, entirely unsure of one another and both of us – I think – trying not to cry.

Our first Christmas together. Meeting Miss E for the first time, all three of us holding her in our arms, marveling over her.

Grace’s prom. Our year in London. Moving houses. Moving houses again. Changing jobs. Not working. Working part-time. Leaping from the corporate world to real estate. Not moving to Texas. Getting legally married in front of family and friends.

Our family narrative is rich with milestones. Beginnings. Endings. Change.

Bringing the girls to college and Kindergarten on the same day.

Now this.

Now: Divorce.

Is it only people from broken homes who understand?

You need to be intentional about keeping your home intact. You change the oil in your car. You oil your wooden counters. You replace old furnace filters. If you don’t, there comes a point in your marriage, too, where simple maintenance won’t help. Oiling won’t help. New filters won’t help because you’ve allowed the damage to permeate so deeply it’s beyond repair.

How do people not know this? Does no one listen? Why do people believe they’re exempt from the hard work of keeping love alive? Why do people think their lives, their hearts, their love, their families are different?

Hey! Hello! Whoever you are, you have to nurture love every single solitary day.

At the grocery store, I pay special attention to the middle-aged women. I’m drawn to the women who move with confidence and decisiveness, whose faces tell me they’ve weathered some storm and come out the other side.

I am who I am because of the life we shared. She is who she is, too.

Like our dogs yesterday, I am always listening for her car door, the beep of her car alarm engaging, or the rev of her motorcycle arriving home again, her steps on our front porch, the squeak of our kitchen door.

I am listening for her.

She is not coming.

I am still listening.

“Tell him how you feel,” I tell my friend.

“But he doesn’t mean it like that,” she says, shaking her head.

“I know. That’s why you have to tell him how it makes you feel: He doesn’t know.

I want love to last. I want love given a fighting chance.

I do not let people off the hook easily these days.

She sent me a small sweet gift a few days later – after she told him how she felt, after he changed his behavior. Her relief was palpable. My gratitude was deep, is deep.

We are all here for each other, here on this planet. We forget, but it’s true. I am grateful to be reminded.

Someday, there will be a study on our generation of queers, to see how marriage equality unbalanced the long-term relationships we carefully built outside the legal system.

Meanwhile, my grief is every day.

I don’t blame marriage equality. We just sequenced things badly, Kelly and I.

When did we begin? When did we end?

There is no great entry point for this story — the story of my family, the story of my marriage, the story of my divorce. It’s why I’m telling it in pieces.

Every morning when I let the dogs out, I make a point to notice the weight of the sun on my porch – the slant of its light, the intensity of its heat. My morning communion with the sun is what carries me through the day.

In my twenties, I had whole days without people – waking when I wanted, moving from sleep to coffee to… whatever whenever the spirit moved me. I could stay in my pajamas all day long. I could write, nap, talk on the phone, turn off the phone – whole days where nothing was expected of me, days where the only expectations were those I had for myself. I had forgotten the simplicity and the beauty of this kind of unfettered time just billowing out in front of me like a sheet lifting in the wind, anchored by one corner in each of my hands, gently tugging me forward.

The sun. My daughters. Friends. The wind.

Pulls me forward.

Even when I am in the house alone for

Hours. Nights. Days.

My gratitude for friends who simply take me as I am goes far beyond words.

My gratitude for friends

We are all here for each other, here on this planet. We forget, but it’s true.

I am grateful to be reminded.

the change

30 Apr

I hold her, this self
I knew, too loosely. She slips,
one crack down her side.

* * * * *
National Poetry Writing Month
30 poems in 30 days

did you know

30 Apr

Introverts on break
pull energy from walls, re-
charging all the things.

* * * * *
National Poetry Writing Month
30 poems in 30 days

This Public Door

29 Apr

This public door,
This wooden cutout
hanging on this public door,
This wooden cutout
of a human silhouette
hanging on this public door,
This wooden cutout
of a human silhouette
in half a dress, half a pant leg
hanging on this public door
says I don’t care what you wear
to pee anymore.
Come on in. You
are welcome here.
You are. You are
welcome here.
We defy
the need to know
how you identify.
You are. You
are welcome here.
I love this public door.

* * * * *
National Poetry Writing Month
30 poems in 30 days


28 Apr

Can we relate?
If we met each other
in the here-and-now,
in real time, in the context
of our everyday earthly lives,
would we be friends?
How to decide?
Do you know?
Do we have the same
Does it matter?
Does that make us
more or less
to be friends?
Why are you online?
Why am I?
Is it to
I behave sometimes
as if my words
are weighted,
as if the internet gods
will one day post
a word cloud
of annual shares
and measure me
on some political scale.
Whose side am I on?
Who do I play for?
Where do I stand?
It isn’t true. I don’t think
it’s true, but if they ask:
I stand for equity,
justice, love and peace and if
I’m pressed to choose
just one
I choose
the one
designed to
hold them
all –


* * * * *
National Poetry Writing Month
30 poems in 30 days

nothing so delicious

27 Apr

I inhale. There is nothing
so delicious as a new book.
Dusty or pristine, borrowed or bought,
its weight, its cover, the layer by layer
discovery of what’s inside,
the definitive turn of a page
– or a phrase – I inhale.
Sharply. Slowly. Laughingly. Silently. Loudly.
Eagerly: There is nothing so delicious as a book.

* * * * *
National Poetry Writing Month
30 poems in 30 days

we used to know

26 Apr

We used to know without pause
which blouse, which skirt, which shoes,
which size was right –
what time work ended – how to connect
when one of us failed
to answer the phone.
If one of our kids
was melting down,
if it was too late,
we’d wait with each other
in public until it passed.
We used to know
each other’s allergies.
We used to understand
the village
wasn’t only for our kids.

We used to decorate ourselves
and our spaces, too,
with feathers and disco balls,
slippers and smoking jackets,
on fire with possibility,
forging bonds in that fire,
unbreakable bonds.

We cleaned each other’s houses.
We brought each other soup
and tissue and wine.
We watched each other’s kids on snow days,
holidays, sick days and in between.
But we never sealed the pact. There were gaps,
days we missed, moments we drifted off.
In the center of our lives
was this open-air home we’d built together
and I (because I can no longer speak for all of us
and probably never could) – I thought it would stand for

all over the world
and maybe,
just maybe
that was it.

Maybe that
was the cause
of its demise,
all those different signs
on one door.
I don’t know.
Maybe the mortar never set.
The walls didn’t match up.
Those signs
were too heavy.
It was never a home.
Too big,
too small, too restrictive.
It had too many rooms.
I don’t think
any one of us
can point to why in that singular moment,
the sledgehammer dislodged possibility
and we all came crashing into the here, the now.
I still don’t know
what caused the rubble –
I didn’t see –
a series of moments maybe,
a shift in our foundation.

A cluster of infinitesimal seismic shifts.
Dynamite. A lack of faith. Silence.
Divided loyalties.
It was preventable.
It was inevitable.
It was what it was.
Now it is what it is.

But as the sun
peeks through the trees,
I’ve noticed
each of us,
wanders back to the site
and stands awhile.
We assess damage. We gather
what we treasure most,
each stone,
each mirrored shard
reflecting who we were,
who we wanted to become,

as we linger
by the hammer, still in the center
of what used to be the floor,
that if we decide
more intentionally this time
to build a village square,
it only takes one of us
to begin.

* * * * *
National Poetry Writing Month
30 poems in 30 days

%d bloggers like this: