Monday, May 30, 2011

Flowers on Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day and in a little while I will be arranging flowers on my daughter's grave. It's rather late in the season for white tulips so instead, I bought some tiny, white chrysanthemums. Last year, finding white tulips was sheer luck. They were languishing in a crowded barrel--a sad little bunch with the leaves already turning brown. But the waxy, white flowers seemed to speak to me in a way that the other, more brightly-colored choices did not. Perhaps this is because our lives are like canvases colored by the things we experience and my daughter's life ended before her canvas could be fully formed--when it was still a waxy whiteness without the color and messiness of life. Although they are not waxy, this year's chrysanthemums are a comparable substitute. They are not the full explosions of chrysanthemums we will see in the fall, but mere buds with the centers still green and a hint of white petals around the edges.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Versions of Chai

Since I am in the process of revising my chapbook to submit to a contest sponsored by Finishing Line Press, I have decided not to post the remaining 5 poems. For my faithful blog readers, I want to save a few surprises as I hope Fertility Rites will eventually be published. So far the revision is going well. This is mostly due to a valuable critique from my friend, Julie Hensley, who has a poetry chapbook coming out in July through Finishing Line entitled The Language of Horses. To pre-order a copy go to

However, it would be a shame not to post a poem so by special request I am re-posting the one for which my blog is named. It all began a few years ago at Live Wire coffeehouse when three friends each ordered different versions of chai.......

Versions of Chai

Cup in hand,
I contemplate the versions of chai
while the musician plays my request,
the one about the girl and the poem--
her smooth facade.

My version is hot and steamy
vanilla with espresso swirled inside
like the dark layer concealed
beneath my pale skin.

Her version is spiced and iced--
so much flavor mixed with coolness.
You can have a taste,
but she'll never let you in.

His version is blended like a milkshake
with whipped cream on top.
Forever young, everything
is ice cream to him.

We each sip our own
'til the strains of acoustic guitar fade
and the versions of chai
are replaced by applause.