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Preparations for a festival
 from the tomb of Djeser-ka-re-senab at Thebes

Family, Friends and Lovers

With this edition of Family, Friends & Lovers, we begin to turn away from romantic love toward essential family bonds. What does it mean to struggle into motherhood, to have or lose a baby, to nourish or defend a child, to etch your own outline in your mother's shadow, to lose the woman who gave birth to you? These stories take those questions on. Let us know what you think about them at Moxie's online forum, MoxieTalk.

Abortion Lessons
I had an abortion six months ago. I offer no poetic nuances to skirt the issue. I am twenty-six, married, and college-educated. I never imagined ..(more)

Affairs of Normalcy
Ever since my mother dressed me in lace anklets and little white shoes and carted me around stores for people to admire, I was a good girl who needed to be bad...(more)

Alien Dates
"So, do you believe in Aliens?" the guy asking me this is a seemingly-normal man. He is serious....(more)

Always the Friend, Never the Bridesmaid
It has happened. Once again, a friend is getting married. Of course, I'm excited for her even though there is not a single prospect in my life (kissing some guy at a bar this past Saturday night doesn't qualify). The bride-to-be and I have been friends for a long time, so of course I want to hear all the details: how he proposed, where they're planning to register, what kind of gown she's going to wear, and of course, I can't wait to find out who the other bridesmaids will be -besides me, of course. Since we've been friends for so long, at one point or another we discussed making each other bridesmaids once Mr. Somehow-Better-than-the-Others proposed... (more )

American Gothic Romance 
He'd fallen in love with her at the Art Institute of Chicago. She said she flew to Chicago twice a year, because she thought she'd meet her soul mate looking at the American Gothic. She loved that painting. It should have been his first clue, but her independence intoxicated him. She was a successful...

And Where is Georgia Now?
The nondescript houses huddling together in the early winter dusk reminded me, even in my anger, of overweight old ladies whose corsets had lost some of their stiffening... (more)

Another Wednesday
It's Wednesday, and being a woman of routine, I don't see any reason to alter my weekly schedule. I arrive just after she's finished her dinner, peek into her room before I enter, try to determine what kind of night it's going to be. An attendant has seated her in an armchair by the window and she's staring outside. The fluorescent lights in the parking lot ...

I wore the standard-issue ugly bridesmaid dressó
Pepto-Bismol pink with poofy sleeves,
Old-lady lace down the bodice and
The usual big butt bowó
And stood there on pinchy shoes dyed to match
With flowers in my hair and...

August 6, 1946
Dedicated to the Hibakusha

There's a grave

for my mother at Hiroshima

Where you can still see

victims' shadows printed...

Bada-Bing, Bada-Boom:
Ahhh, Sweet Revenge
I recently went to my high school reunion. I went for no real reason. Well maybe just one...I wanted to show my old boyfriend what he missed out on. Now don't think me petty or bitter. I'm not. After ten years I would be pretty pathetic if I still harbored any feelings, good or bad, about him. Not that I have any, really. Okay, okay, maybe I do still have some negativity towards him, or did anyway, but going to the reunion helped me gain major closure. The first night of the reunion, there was...(more)

I'll admit it - I'm bi. Bimodal, bizonal, bidimensional. Bipartisan, bimanual, bilateral. I swing both ways, vote independent, blow whichever way the wind is blowing. I'm AC-DC, attracted to any adult human with a pulse, anything, as they say, that moves.

I'll shout it loud - I'm bi and I'm proud...
(more )

The Bike Trip
My mother nearly gave her friends, her fiancé, Charley the Chest, and her boss heart attacks during the summer of 1956. She decided to quit her job as a school teacher, leave her friends, and cancel her wedding plans so that she could ride a three speed Schwinn across the country... (more)

Boggy Meadow
Yvette knelt on the splintery floor of a shack. Outside, through a fractured pane of glass she saw rocks tumbling down the bluff, heard them pounding the shack's corroded roof, the rusted metal vibrating in a thunderous roar. All around her, the shack trembled and shook, threatening to collapse at any second--and then, she sat up in bed. In the room across the hall her husband, Robert, snored...(more)

Breast Pump
When our nearly four-week-old son weighed seven ounces below his birth weight, I was terrified. I wanted to be able to nurture, to nourish my own child, who was not feeding well. His gums were razor sharp-no one had mentioned that babies could induce pain so long before their first teeth poked through-and he gnawed at my nipples. He tired easily, falling asleep at the breast quickly ...

Burning the Buddha
Barefoot, stepping on grasshoppers,
I come through the door you left open
and return to the bedroom and the bed
where you remain, sitting cross-legged,
wanting to know if I have again found my quiet...

Caroline's Prince
My three-year-old daughter Caroline believes that people come in three categories: princesses, princes, and workhorses. Inevitably, I (her mother), fall in the workhorse category while she presides over the princess line. Minutes after she was born, her father carried her around the delivery room and to everybody's astonishment she held her head up high and looked around with the attitude of a Queen...

A Case of Sympathetic Divorce Syndrome?
Just after I graduated from college almost four years ago, my parents separated. My dad moved into some scummy apartment, and Mom stayed in the house. Of the three daughters, I was the least shocked. My two sisters were already away at college when Mom packed her bags on a sunny spring Sunday years before. She got only as far as the garage, and I never did learn the precipitating event or the conciliatory actions. This time was different though...

Cheap Hallmark Moment
It was the worst of times and it was the even worst of times. Then my mother was born and all the pain and suffering in the world was blamed on her. The woman destined to be a saint has, throughout her life, pushed forward to live by her life's creed and "do what she has to do." And boy has she done it... (more)

The Chicken and the Egg
I was only two years younger than Brooke Shields when the world was staring at her scantily clothed body in Calvin Klein ads. I had heard about Pretty Baby, but of course hadn't seen the movie. A caring, responsible mother didn't allow her child to view such inappropriate material - let alone allow her to star in it. However, Brooke's mother wasn't your usual caring, responsible mother. Unable to make the transition into acting after being a successful model, she had high hopes for her daughter. It's a dangerous and insidious business, this drive for immortality. It usually isn't as obvious as thrusting one's naked daughter in front of a camera; instead, it tends to come in the form of quiet and not so quiet expectations. We expect our daughters to share our interests and to take advantage of the extraordinary opportunities we provide them.


Confessions of a Midlife Bride
In the late fall of 1995, I got married. There is, of course, nothing unusual about that, except that I was forty-six years old and a first-time bride. I had considered marriage many years before, when I was in college. I considered it so carefully that I broke an engagement. Then I didn't think about it much for five or six years, when I became encumbered by an uncooperative would-be fiancÈ. After that...

Daddy's Little Girl
Ruth groped toward the stairs in the darkened hall. She descended toward ghostly objects-a plant, telephone stand, hall tree.... Suddenly a door opened, framing a stout woman in the light. The woman paused ...

Dating in South Carolina
When I left the land of non-committal, upwardly mobile beautiful people in San Francisco, I traded my fast-paced life of IPO parties and over-stimulated sensory awareness for a more peaceful world. In Charleston, South Carolina, I knew I would find people able to commit to coffee at least one day in advance. Perhaps men would be interested in more than the sport-dating of San Francisco, where something better is always just up ahead...

Dead Reckoning
I dodge a stainless steel medicine cart and a nurse's aide -- "Excuse me!" -- with capped front teeth, silver, and sprint down the corridor. "Ma! Ma!" I cry, as I wrap myself around my mother in an uncharacteristic hot-dog roll embrace...
( more)

I waltzed into the crowded Elat kosher market just two hours before doors closed for Passover. It had been years since I lived in Los Angeles or New York, and I had forgotten the feeling of being able to buy everything within my grasp. With the excitement of a child in a toy store, I walked around gaping at the aisles and aisles of shelves displaying "Kosher for Passover" products, stopping dead in my tracks when I saw ten brands of rice staring back at me. I grew up seeing...(more)

Do you know where youíre going?
The waitress placed two cups of black coffee and the bill on the table. They both reached for their coffee. "I donít know when I realized it really. How do you realize that your life is going nowhere?" Mary smelled her steaming coffee. "If I had to say, I guess it was when...(more)

you & I
naked in the dusk
listening to the dulcimer...

Emotional Chicken:  A Double Entendre in Sex Acts
Iím driving fast on Lake Shore with the radio blasting, dancing in my seat, shouting at the top of my voice, and spitting in a very unladylike fashion when hair lands in my mouth. A Lincoln Town Car in front of me taps his brakes as we round an "S" curve. I gun the engine, downshift, and whip around him, pressing the accelerator with gusto. The song ends, I...

The Face You Wore Before You Were Born:
for Noah, breech at 37 weeks

"This could feel a little cold,"
the ultrasound technician warns,
warming the electrodes -- or something
more benign -- to place upon my daughter's
swelling belly, bringing life to the idea
of her yet unborn child, at twelve weeks --
now revealed!...

Fifteen Years of Lorraine
When Daddy was living in an apartment he'd pick my brother, Jack, and me up on Saturdays. We'd have fun, the three of us. We'd go to McDonald's for cheeseburger Happy Meals, over to the corner shop for penny candy, and to the Bowl-A-Rama. Whenever it was my turn to bowl...

At 12 years of age, Angela Adams stood a full head and shoulders over her classmates, boys and girls alike. Her frame was slight and angular, except for her hands, which were somewhat large and clumsy. The nails were bitten to the quick...

Free the Breast
After months of colic-filled evenings, sleepless nights, near-toxic diaper changes, and sore nipples, my baby daughter and I need a break from our monotonous routines. I am tired of smelling like spit-up and she is weary of listening to taped babbling brooks and crickets chirping from the CD player. We need to feel the rays of the sun on our faces...

Freezing in the Sun
Today it was spring and somewhere in the world it was dawn. The smoky morning light hadn't made it to me yet. That didn't stop the alarm clock from buzzing and flashing at 4:30 in the dark... (more )

Giving Blood
The water carves a broad, sluggish swath, darker than the night. Steam lifts from the surface like breath. This is the Missouri as it slips south, six blocks from the house where I grew up. The air is thick and soft...

"Eleven-eleven. Make a wish!" I said, looking at the four neon green lines that scored the small, dark dashboard clock. It was more of a conditioned response than a conscious statement.
When I was young there was, I remember, a similar situation ó four bright green cells, each a precise replication of the others, lined up neatly in the upper left corner of the new microwave oven in my kitchen. "All the numbers are the same," my cousin Sarah told me. "You make a wish." And so I had, each time I...

Gutting the House
Fifteen years ago, when I was forging my way through the corporate business world, Bruce took me under his wing. An absolute charmer and master of words, he taught me his secrets for success: always put yourself in the path of opportunity, make sure you know your audience, and dare to take the weapon from your opponent's hands. His advice worked. My career took off. And so did my heart...(more)

Hair Today
I was standing in a crowded beer tent, choking down warm beer and swatting mosquitoes when I first saw it. Long and thick, it seemed to beg to be stroked, even playfully tugged. Sporting just the slightest hint of a wave, it was subtly teasing as it gently swayed with each body movement. When I had gulped down enough...

Hearing Kiri Te Kanawa
When we first met, my husband told me about a piece of music. "You have to hear this," he said. "Itís like hearing the voice of GodÖ." Later, after we married, he bought me a tape of Kiri Te Kanawa singing Canteloube's "Chants D'Auvergne" Series 1, 2, and 3ó folk songs a medieval shepherdess sings to her lover across a mountain meadow in France. I used to listen to it before...

Heart's Desire
I have always disdained diamonds.

I came of age in the 1970s wearing love beads. Diamonds symbolized wealth - wealth better spent feeding starving Biafran children. I could no more put a diamond on my hand than drive a Mercedes or wear a fur coat....

His Warm Kiss
Naomi surveyed the frost-burnt Boston fern that hung from the hook screwed into the porch roof. Her neglect had caused its bushy leaves to shrivel and turn black. Now that the plant was dead, Naomi felt guilty.
What to do with the dead plant? She loved to

At the stainless steel sink, I scrub my hands with the bristle brush until they are raw and aching. The smell of the antiseptic is strong, lingering. It should be; this is the routine all visitors must go through to kill any germs; germs that could kill our babies...

I Got As Far as Hello
So there I was, on the 6, just like Jennifer Lopez, headed towards Union Square. I was meeting Carol, Nadine and Alicia for Friday Happy Hour and dinner at Luna Park. Alicia had seen the place highlighted on Sex and the City, so naturally we had to check it out. Now that we were college graduates and scattered around New York City, our lives were supposed to be like the show. My friends were always...

I Want Mystery: 
One approach to keeping love alive...
I want an old-fashioned relationship. I don't just mean that I want a man to open doors, pick up the check, and take my elbow on the street. I want him to lead when we dance, play cards like Frank Sinatra, drink like Dean Martin, talk tough like Humphrey Bogart. I want a man who can take any other man in the room. I want to feel safe and I want to feel like...

In My Mother's Shadow
My mother is a damaged soul. I don't know the who, when, where, how, or why. I suppose the specifics are no longer needed. She is definitely the product of something gone terribly awry. I spent many years at the hands of her wrath. As I approached adulthood and marriage ...

In Sickness (and Health)
Iím lying on my side, my back stuck against my husbandís naked back, my sore ear facing down toward the bed. I try to concentrate on his back and press into it with my own so that our heat will reduce the frequency of his spasms. An hour goes by and another, and we sleep fitfully, turning over now and again, repositioning ourselves...

In the Beginning
A noise from the parlor made her jump, and though Jimmy had been dead for a year, it still frightened her when she heard a sound. "Damn you Jimmy Murray, why can't you just leave me in peace," Kathleen said as she slammed the kitchen window shut, cutting off...(more)

It Ain't Puppy Love
I could see that my cat had had a better vacation than I did. And sheÕd stayed in town, while I traversed two continents...(more)

Barbara was nine to Jazine's eight. Storming through the schoolyard towards her with one of her disciples, Barbara came up to Jazine in the schoolyard during lunch recess. Her heart was beating with terror; Jazine feared what she was going to do. She thought of running away but remained frozen. When Barbara was practically face to face with her, she coolly asked. "Why did you lie about the stick?"... (more )

Inside the Bone
and even if we do someday say goodbye to each other
even if tender words fading crumble fall and blow away
saccharine love songs echo wistful melodies in an empty hall...

I want to move up close
And sense the smell of you
Your un-minted breath,
Your damp, sweaty pores,
Without concealing perfume....
(more )

Jelly Baby
So on this Playdoh and Yankees August afternoon he says, "Should we go it?" She looks up, at him, and says, "We should definitely go it," adding something like, "I was just thinking that myself." He claims he stole "going it" from Thomas the Tank Engine and she likes his perversion of the uptight British cartoon. He used to ask her, "Do you wanna do it?" but then, after the kids started looking up from Lincoln Logs and Legos, definitely wanting to do whatever "it" was, he developed the lightly encoded "Should we have a date?" For her, though, the "date" phraseology was lacking... (more)

The Kiss of Death
She never expected to hear from him again. Never. So when the phone rang in the middle of the afternoon she thought nothing of it and answered on the second ring, "Hello?"...(more)

A Kodak Moment
"Wide load coming through. Wide load!" said my husband. He tapped the four-by-six print with his index finger, creating a strobe-like effect that intensified the blue of my favorite maternity dress and tripled the striped sailor-suit cuffs. My quadrupled weight filled the frame...(more)

The Last Frontier
"Two drafts and two cokes," I gave Mark my order, put down my cocktail tray, and looked out the window. Once again, it was snowing. Large billowy white flakes swirled down from the gray sky, blanketing the parking lot. It was May. However, this was not like any May Iíd ever known. This was Alaska.
In the three months since Iíd moved from San Francisco, Iíd seen...

Learning How to Swim
1 He tells me that he loves me because I am so full of dark dark soul soul which is the well where you get your best water from and I live in a dark apartment swirls of blue paint in the front room a string of blue Christmas lights scented candles and cigarette smoke for even more ambience. This is the room where he first unfolded me. He lay his hands on me and there was no end to it.

Love Revisited 
Early this Sunday morning spring is breaking out all over. When I come in from the garden there's a message on the phone recorder, "Please call me." It's Ted. His words sound formal, deliberate, unlike him. When I call, eagerly as always, he begins with...

Love Story 
You were there All along I didnít know I stumbled against you You caught me. 

You slept soundly The sheets coiled around you I turned away And thought of these last months When we circled each other Like children, spoiling for a fight. We...(more)

The Marriage Plant
It stood on the balcony, twisting itself towards the south, reaching for horizons of sand, rejecting the island of concrete and steel that kept it aloft in the captivity of civilization, roots curled into a gigantic clay pot that could not possibly substitute for its natural home. Stranded in this ridiculous container, it made the best of the situation and grew, year after year, demanding of its keepers...

The Most Important Thing
My affair was a comfortable, casual, once-in-awhile thing. My lover lived in a distant city and we saw each other only occasionally. That was the way I liked it. The final fight with my ex-husband had left a sour taste in my mouth about men in general and I'd vowed to have nothing more to do with love. It only caused heartbreak... (more)


Entangled in the messy acrostic
of father's and partner's names.
I'm laughing wry tears
as I find that becoming

Mother Sniping, Its Rise and Fall
Motherhood, groggy from decades of blastings from writers, psychologists and the general public, is now reeling into the 21st century. Her condition, while precarious, appears to be improving. The 1990s and '80s were kinder to mothers...

My Son
My son tells me dirty jokes. Not just kid kind of dirty jokes, but adult jokes. He is sixteen and growing into manhood in a body that he has lost control of. "He has issues," I tell people when they ask why he...

Ode to a Stumbling Parent
Failed again yesterday to be even a decent Mom. Not just failed, singular, but failed each hour to pull myself together and deliver a chipper and creative version of Mom-ness. So I tell myself that I am not a "Maman Poule," a mother hen. And I ask myself if there is a place for such a Mom. I do not enjoy playing games, singing songs, or searching my children's brains for more of their wonder...


Ordinary People
The most extraordinary thing about my family is how ordinary it is. I read the memoirs of people like Alice Walker and bell hooks with envy, reveling in their ability to transform emotional details into almost physical experiences. My own family creates no such imagery...


Painting the Nursery
You lay over me stroking my ribs, my breasts. And then when you began kissing me I thought, But weíve just been kissing. You asked me what I wanted next.
"Touch my tummy."
So you did. I thought, I donít know this man. My tummy knows this man...

The Phone Call
The phone rang. I answered hoping it was the cute boy from my history class. The voice on the other end was a familiar one, my stepfather. Strange, him calling me at school. It was usually my mother who called. There was a moment of silence...

Phone Sex
The first thing I noticed was the way my mind seemed to splatter all around, twist and shout, corner the room. Nobody understands what we mean when we say we leave our body, and I donít know if thatís really what we mean. We donít really leave; we compartmentalize, put a shade over our soul. We move back, divide, recede, elevate, but we donít leave. If you look real hard, you can find us in...(more)

Play Ball
Celia Fleming waved good-bye to David, her eight-year-old, as he went through the schoolyard gate. The return wave from the small figure bundled up against the cold was a half-hearted one. She shook her head in exasperation and tried to concentrate on the job she was headed off too - potentially a very profitable and satisfying one. The client was Di Sawyer, wife of billionaire J. T. Sawyer... ( more)

Private Parts
I was pulling out of the hospital parking lot when I recognized the man. He was across the street, leaning against a pole, waiting for the light to turn in his favor. He appeared to be an ordinary man wearing chinos and a golf shirt. He lit a cigarette and stepped off the curb.

Ten minutes earlier the doctors had told him his newborn daughter was dying. I sat holding my own infant son three beds away in the intensive care unit of a Children's Hospital. Several doctors and nurses circled his daughter. They stood silently while the man wiped tears from his eyes. His body was so still otherwise...
( more)

The Proposal
I am standing in front of Richard, a man I am dating, and he is holding out a wedding ring. It is a half-carat, circle-cut diamond in a platinum setting with tiny diamonds trailing along the band. He tells me it used to belong to his grandmother, who was happily married for thirty-two years until she died of a heart attack. The ring sits in the middle of...

The Reason
Three little girls
baby-doll, white-bowed,
egg-nog speckled pearls
know another was on the way...

Reflections and Refractions
Every clear, full-moon night in south-central Kentucky, a moonbow appears over Cumberland Falls. The mist offers itself to rays from the moon, and these rays bounce off some droplets, bend through others. The result is a moonbow, sometimes white, sometimes faint with color, and a visitor could easily miss it if she weren't...

I watched from my window as you built another life, in another place, with another woman, and still I didnít get it. I didn't seem to notice that you were not coming in my direction, that what I had to give, you would never take. The only thing I ever offered that you willingly accepted was the knowledge that no matter what levels of humiliation and loneliness you took me to, no matter how many times I was left standing alone in the rain, I would take you back. Even when you didn't even want that anymore, I waited. I hoped. How deep, how painful the...(more)

Sorting Christmas cards I found Mike Klineís name
and remembered his black hair swaying in a doorway
in the Art and Architecture Building, blending in
with the black curls of his girlfriend in college.
I wanted to be kissed in public that way and soon

My world crashed the night Bud Morrow skidded off the curve east of town and plowed his dad's new Monte Carlo into the grove. Folks blamed the wreck on excessive speed. No one knew it was my fault. But as surely as if I'd been in the car egging him on, I was the driving force. He was just eighteen, and so was I. During these ensuing eighteen years, thanks to Bud, I have come to realize a key truth: Don't peak early... ( more)

Sandraís World
Sandra had been vacuuming Scandinavia, dusting each of Norwayís fjords, when Greg called to say that although he thought he would always have feelings for her, they werenít the feelings he once thought they were, and since he was going to be in London on business for the weekend, perhaps it would be a good time for her to...

Scooping Mary
Mary, here's what's up with your futon:
I came home from two weeks vacation
Trailing my stepfather and a shriveled up bush from the Island...

Screw It Up
In South Korea, food is one of the highest forms of adjustments for Americans. You make it past the fetid fish smells, the fiery-sour kimchi, the relentless supply of rice and noodles. Fine, I expected this, you think. But then, when you've settled in, thinking you're nearly Asian, imagine the unbelievable disappointment: you see the most luscious of donuts, filled with what appears to be gooey pudding or a wispy froth of an icing... (more)

Seeds of Doubt
I stood in the doorway for a moment, then let myself be pulled into the silence and shadows of the room. Tigger and Pooh and Big Bird watched, frozen on the walls as I bent and brought my lips to the pillow where that head should lay, as I looked into eyes I knew should be...

Self Portrait
It was my first date in seventeen years. Ken picked me up promptly at six. Apparently the friend who had fixed us up needed glasses--or at least a measuring tape. Already sensitive about the pounds I had added in the last few months, I saw with dismay that I not only outweighed my date, I also towered over him. Our smiles when we greeted each other were strained...

Sixth hour
with a translucent sheath of color
a dank scent of mother and earth
he still dons exhilaration, that of which
we've let fall from our hands: grimy, saturated
with the sweat
of passing time.
At first glance,
he could be made of crumbling bark and salt,
milk, and the incomprehensible depth of water's breath....

The Sky Asks No Questions
On a night like tonight, when the sky William captures on
canvas is unobstructed by clouds, sounds are magnified. The air
is filled with the riotous, untuned concert of cicadas, frogs
and a restless bird who screeches as though her nest was robbed.
Above it all I hear William's heavy breathing and the little
murmurs and moans as he makes love to yet another woman.
I am curled up in my bed down the hall...

I must have been warned of this in a dream. You look so pale darling, please sit down. You look lovely dear, lovely but so pale. People act as though I have seen a ghost. And maybe I am seeing a ghost. There. Wearing a long white gown. She's in the mirror. Waiting...

Snow Day "Francis, come to bed."

"Soon." He didnít look up.

"Define ësoon.í"

"Jesus Christ, Alice, Iím working."

"I wish youíd work this hard on us."...(more)

Stolen Kiss We had both known that it was only a matter of time before one of us would pluck up the courage to steal a kiss. Whenever I looked at him I could see his longing, sense his desire and would then watch helplessly as he fought, and lost, his battle with shyness. I knew he wanted that kiss as much as I did but...(more)

The Tablecloth
It started with a tablecloth - Belgian linen, hand-stitched, long enough to cover the three boards that widened our oak table for company. I was nine and in love with my mother back then, the way most sons feel at that age, the way I still feel about her. I'd invent excuses not to play outside, preferring to watch her perform magic in our kitchen... (more )

Tambourine Dancer
"Busy tonight, Rivka?" Mom asked as she gathered up a half dozen economy- sized bags of generic potato chips in her arms. That was just like her, trying to grab hold of as much as she could... (more)

A Taxi Story
Itís a perfectly clear, hot summer day. Iím late. Iím supposed to meet my babysitter at the pediatricianís office, where she is bringing my daughter whoís due for her one-year check up. If Iíd left the office twenty minutes earlier, I could have taken the subway and been there on time, but guilt kept me at my desk until the last minute. Iím the only working mother in my department, and Iím sure everyone notices...

Technology and Choice
I was 17 weeks pregnant with my first baby when the results of an amnio told me that the wanted child I was carrying was not healthy. I have always been pro-choice, and never considered it a moral dilemma to terminate a fetus with severe Down's syndrome, or other life threatening or debilitating abnormalities. I was aware that my advanced age of 39 increased my risk of potential problems, but I was totally unprepared for the results, and the choice I would have to make...

Terribly Twisted
Your tongue
fleshy denizen of your mouth
your biting tongue
rebel tongue
tongue that stung the roof of my mouth
and then some
deadly weapon behind a benign barricade
of pearly whites
your lying tongue
conniving tongue...
(more )

That Garlic
We fell in love because we both liked being fat. In all honesty, she gave me that. She had no doubt about whether or not she was happy in her body; she was joyously rotund, erotically ample. Before I met her I had thought I should want to be a skinny boy, but getting there would have taken too much effort and that didn't appeal to me. Olive oil appealed to me....(more)

The Third Baby
He hated the way she brushed her teeth. It wasn't the way she brushed, so much as it was the way she spat out the foam from the toothpaste when she was done. A grating, "pa-too, pa-too" sound, that after ten years of marriage, two children and a third due any day, was really getting to him. He was beginning to realize... (more )

Thoughts On A Letting Of Blood
He hated the way she brushed her teeth. It wasn't the way she brushed, so much as it was the way she spat out the foam from the toothpaste when she was done. A grating, "pa-too, pa-too" sound, that after ten years of marriage, two children and a third due any day, was really getting to him. He was beginning to realize... (more )

A Time of Water, A Time of Trees
I met Louisa through my work as a geriatric social worker when her doctor referred her to me for psychotherapy because of her refusal to have a polyp on her vocal cords removed.
"She acts like she deserves it," he explained. "She must be clinically depressed to feel that way."...(more)

Trash Day
"Anne, what are you doin'?"

"I'm making him grilled cheese."

"But why are you cuttin' off that crust?"

"He won't eat crust."

"So? This is my nephew, and I won't have you treatin' him like a baby. What will my sister say when she comes to pick up the boy? "You turned her son into a momma's boy, that's what!"...
(more )

True Love?
I felt certain the love bug struck me when I came to know my now ex-husband. He seemed to have those qualities we all look for in a man, so I married him. I never knew love quite the way I knew it with him, nor had I ever allowed myself to get so close to another human being. I didn't know much about relationships, except for the bad things I saw with my parents' defunct marriage, so I convinced myself that...

A half a dozen or more skipped across the rutted road that led to the pale yellow house sitting at the end of the driveway. There always seemed to be plenty of them, darting across the New Mexican desert and stopped only when they hit a fence - tumbleweeds. They were like most men, Tessa McKane concluded bitterly, always on a roll from town to town or woman to woman... ( more)

"Kozashi chi no hadae ya kiku no nirinzaki"

I collect my gifts from the North Pacific Ocean -

Green and shimmery purple seaweed like lasagna noodles

Laid out to dry on my sidewalk ...
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Ultimate Feminism
The man in the produce aisle dropped his eyes to my protruding belly, a sneer pulling at the corner of his lips. My son giggled in his stroller, drawing the man's attention away from my girth for a moment. Shaking his head, he looked up at me...

Understanding Mother
My mother died four days ago and all I've been able to think since then is, "Uh-oh." I've tried to muster something more profound, a little more soul searching-ish; I'd settle for straight sorrow...

Up the Neck
After getting married the big debate was whether or not to have a television in the bedroom. She'd read a magazine article that claimed a television in the bedroom was the main cause for sexual decline in a marriage...

The Upstairs Nursery
"Congratulations! A son !" The doctors and nurses cry in unison. Through her exultant tears, Selene says, "Oh, he has the most beautiful little rosebud mouth."
When she brings Gabriel home from the hospital, Selene gives thanks that she has finally given birth to a healthy baby, whose eyes sparkle with a hint of sea-green in their new-born blue. Sometimes he...

The Visit
I fully expect to read that the French have taken over the world in tomorrow's headlines. Of course, that always happens whenever I see my French in-laws...

Wanted: SWM
"I'm not very good in bed. I used to be, years ago, when it was important to both my partner and me. I could go outside of myself, practice positions, don exotic undergarments, fling my hair provocatively, carve wicked, lipstick-mouthed smiles and looked at you with a promise of naughtiness... ( more)

The Way the Heart Survives
The way the heart survives
is to see the day let loose
on the streets like a beggar...

We Have Found Each Other
We have found each other. Quite a feat considering the mass of humanity on the railway station platforms. Rush hour on a Wednesday at St. Pancras. The immense iron roofs stretching over our heads hundreds of feet up, wrought iron curving from one platform to another. Generations of families and lovers have met in this exact same place...

Wedded Bliss?
Call us old fashioned, but I didnít actually live with my husband (I still can't get used to that term!) before we got married. Not for any strong moral or religious reasons, it just didnít suit us at the time. He had a house, I had a house, both of which needed attention and upkeepóso we lived our lives separately, together, if you know what I mean...

The Weddings
By the time she arrived in the small town, Shivani was half delirious. She had been traveling for close to two days and was in serious need of some coffee and a bath. Her black pants were dusty and her red jersey was crinkled with sweat. Her face had already turned a shade darker from...

What I Can't Say
It was a relief to be able to say something. Finally, to be allowed to say something when I felt restraint would make me burst. It was hard to breathe after he'd said it to me; my jaw muscles ached from so much smiling. But, I could not be the first...

When Two Worlds Collide
Since my mother threw a dart on a map of the Southwest and moved from LA to the desert metropolis of Silver City, New Mexico, we have visited her more than a dozen times. But none of these pilgrimages was more intriguing than the trip we made there to meet...(more)

Where Passion Meets
Mickey slapped her dusty mitt against her thigh then tossed it on the roof of her yellow Volkswagen. She hoisted her foot on the bumper to tie her cleats, still muddy from the last game. She played softball nearly every chance she got, all week long and on weekends, too. Tonight was her co-rec league. She was a star on the mixed team, playing third base so well, the opposing male players did not aim their hits at her like they did weaker women players. They knew she could catch...

Why 'I Do?' 
Only 23% of the U.S. population stays single their entire life. That means most of us will get, are, or have been married at some time. So then why does every man complain about what his woman won't do and every woman complains about what her man does? Why do people...(more)

Why Marry?
Why get married? Dunno. I honestly did not have a particularly good reason at the moment it occurred to me to, hey, why not tie the knot?...(more)

A Woman Knitting
The first time that I saw her, she was sitting in the corner chair of my gynecologist's waiting room, leaning over her knitting, intently tracing a pattern across the beginning rows of her work, with fingers surprisingly youthful for a woman of her seemingly advanced years. She had a blue tint to her silver hair ...

Wonder Boy
Lisaís mind wandered as she drank her morning coffee. She wondered what the guy who lived in the upstairs apartment was doing at that moment. Was he drinking coffee as well, or was he drinking tea? Did he prefer a can of Pepsi or maybe a tall glass of cold orange juice? She imagined him in his Wonderbread factory uniform, the blue shirt with the red and yellow logo on the name tag baring his name, Jeff. His...

The Wrong Kind of Music
He'd opened her bedroom window, Diana discovered. She could hear the cars whizzing by on the rain-slicked street outside.
"Is that all right?" he called from the bathroom.
"I love fresh air," she lied cheerfully.
"Reminds me of the theme from The Bodyguard," he said, stepping out of the...

York Bites
Don't ever eat York Bites on the day of your sister's surgery - especially if you haven't showered in two days. Because you'll imagine her stomach opened up and malignant tumors popping out like popcorn. And when your head starts to itch and your eyebrows tickle you'll just know you must have head lice... ( more)

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