Nora’s Lullaby

Welcome, baby,
to end of day.
Time for dreams
to carry you away.

You’ve kissed your mommy,
your daddy, too.
Hugged your brother
and he’s hugged you.

We’ve read a story,
now your head nods.
We say our prayers,
give thanks to God.

Good night, baby.
Welcome sleep.
In my heart
you’ll always keep.

In my heart
you’ll always keep.

~ AJ

The Second Sunday of May

If you were here today,
to celebrate Mother’s Day,
I would plant an herb garden for you.

Come summer, you could have
the bright taste of parsley in chilled tomato soup
and quirky lemon balm in your tea
– in winter, a leaf of sage
in your favorite butternut squash.

Year to year, some of the plants,
like basil and dill,
would need to be replaced –
but who doesn’t like an excuse
to buy a new Easter dress?

Heartier herbs go round and round.
You’d always find steadfast rosemary
right where we’d put her, while sweet mint,
that gadabout, would spring up
wherever space allowed

amidst spires of pencil holly,
among the showy iris, rubbing
leaves with the sociable butterfly bush.

And versatile lavender, cool and warm,
would be heavy enough to touch you,
her scent woven into the memory of air.

The Tablecloth

Dyed the hues of harvest
the rich cloth caught my hand
while we shopped the Rue de Cler.

Plum wine and violet,
oranges, burnt to umber,
for years we shared a feast of gifts.

Ripened yellow lemons
and green of lime and grass,
raw but truthful words.

Companions with bread
we would sit at the table
graced with this reminder –
once friends in Paris.

Sweet Sugar Mine – Happy Valentine’s Day

I love –
chocolate-covered cherries.

I love caramel-coated pecans with creamy, salty nougat in the middle.
I love cinnamon-flavored jelly beans and the black Necco wafers.
I love Valentine conversation hearts and Easter Egg malted milk balls
that leave your tongue blue and your lips a chalky white.
I love m&m’s on a hot day when the insides are melty and gooey and
the outsides snap thinly between your teeth. Chk.

I love airy peppermint puffs that evaporate on your tongue like dry meringue.
I love dry meringue.
Growing up I loved chewing on candy cigarettes,
saving the Red Dye #5 pretend fire painted on the tip for the last bite.
I love Good ’n Plenty, Ike ’n Mike, and Dots.

Chewy. Gummy. Crunchy. Candy.
I love it. I want it. I crave it.
I am a fructose-maniac.
If I loved anything half as much as I love maple sugar, cane sugar,
corn sugar, honey sugar, beet sugar? I would have to marry it.
Adopt it, steal it. Hoard it.

Sugar and me? We should be
the Eighth Deadly Sin or the Eleventh Commandment:
Thou shalt not eat your weight in sugar every day.
Thou shalt share your sugar with your friends.
Thou shalt brush your teeth after you eat Cracker Jacks.
Not before. Sugar.

I want the Archies tune for my ring tone.
But I don’t have time to talk on the phone.

I’m too busy lovin’ on my sugar.

Dang It: A Love-Hate Relationship

I love to shop, shoes and books,
clothes especially,
but the thought of working in Retail?
I’d rather slit my wrists with a hanger.

And hangers are why.

When I hang my things I can see:
1 white long-sleeve T-shirt
2 white short-sleeve T-shirts
3 white tank tops

Same T-shirts neatly folded and stacked:
1 I can’t tell what’s in the pile
2 I waste time rummaging through the pile
3 The pile is no longer neatly stacked.

But hangers leave dimples
(only cute on Shirley Temple),
and anything with straps gang-chains
hangers, entwines them like lovers, like wrestlers.

Perhaps the patience angels
see me lose mine as I heave
the plastic and metal to the floor
with a strangled yell.

My fear of hell isn’t fire and brimstone.
It’s an eternity of sorting a warehouse-
size box of hangers
after a one-day sale at Kohl’s.

~ Jane