Birth of a Woman

When I was young
and a boy
broke my heart
for the very first time
I called my older brother
and begged him to come save me.

“Hurt him,” I said.

“Yell at him.”

“Beat him up.”

“Make him suffer the way I’m suffering now.”

My brother held my hands,
hugged me,
kissed my head,
wrapped me in his love
and said,

“You can handle this.”

“Whatever you need done,
you can do for yourself.”

“You don’t need me to save you.”

“You are strong.”

“You’re gonna be okay.”

“You’ll always be okay,
even if I’m not here.”

He was right.


The Morning Squirrel

His bright, brown puff of a tail flicked the window, beckoning me to feeding time. He always came in the afternoon, a little bit twitchy, a little bit daring, always hungry for almonds. Or pumpkin seeds. Or whatever I had on hand. His comrade came in the mornings, silent and slow and never as eager to beg but always willing to sit and share in my company. The afternoon squirrel came only for food.

Once full, he’d bury any excess nuts in my various potted plants, tearing up my precious soil. In his defense, I always let him. Rarely would he linger. He’d never stand and stare, resting on his hind legs with his front paws crossed over his belly like a gentleman. His little whiskers never curled into an imaginary smile, nose turned up as in laughter.

No, not the afternoon squirrel. He flits about, anxious, never still, always hungry. Certainly always fed. He was the heavier of the two.

The morning squirrel comes and sits as if invited for breakfast. He waits politely for the food to be placed before him, served to him, rather than over-eagerly sniffing fingertips. Sometimes he’ll sniff the plants in greeting. Often he’ll stare into the house imagining the unending pile of nuts that must reside inside, but never is he bold enough to knock.

No, not the morning squirrel. He simply visits for a time like a neighbor passing leisurely by, making his way home before the sun gets too high.

I loved the morning squirrel. When I left that happy home I missed him most of all. I think of him often, his paws crossed over his belly, his imaginary smile. I left my potted plants behind in the hope that both might enjoy the nuts inside.


If words were enough
I’d take the time
to speak the words of
thanks in my heart.

Thank you for seeing me for who I think I am.
Thank you for seeking, each moment, to understand.
Thank you for supporting every dream I have planned.
Thank you for telling me I can.

If words were enough
I’d take the time
to speak the words of
love in my heart.

I love you for sharing a part of my life.
I love you for listening late into the night.
I love all your strength, kindness, and insight.
I love you for shining so bright.

If words were enough
I’d take the time
to speak the words of
truth in my heart.

I don’t know if I’m worthy of your faith,
but I’ll strive to be worthy anyway.
With your support I’m a little less afraid.
In your arms I feel more safe.

If words were enough
I’d take the time
but there’s depths even
words can’t go.

Let me pour myself out
through this pen instead
and give you a piece of
my soul.

Walk with it lightly.
Don’t hold it too tight.
Be gentle. Be tender.
Take care.

Know that, should you need me
to stand by your side,
say the word and
you’ll find me there.