Writes With Pencils

fiction, memoir, essays and poetry

Tag: Gift

Find a Penny


As I payed my parking meter
you passed behind me
then stopped,
and doubled back three feet
to pick up a penny
from the sidewalk.
Embarrassed, you smiled sheepishly
and apologized
though you’d done me no wrong.
“I don’t really believe in it, but…”
your voice trailed
as you clutched your prize.
I smiled back and hoped
that you did believe
that all that day
you’d have good luck.

I Don’t Want to Fall in Love



It happened in the desert of New Mexico.
I was 13. He was 15, serious, and foreign.
For six years we wrote,
revealing ourselves on sky-blue breaths.
I read and reread his words,
folded and refolded them,
looking for hidden layers of meaning
until the papery fragments of our hearts
were held together by just single cells
of the onions we had peeled away
as we grew up together.

I had fallen in love for the first time,

Finally reunited, I willingly bared my body
as I had innocently bared my heart.
Still falling
from the outer reaches of the Universe,
the next morning
I hit the worn oak floor
of my single room plus kitchen and bath
when he retreated to the couch
where he remained
for six more weeks as I cried
alone each night in a double bed.

But still, I wanted to fall in love,

In falling I had made him my center.
In crashing,
the spokes of my limbs, mind, spirit, and heart
had no hub to repair themselves to.
Only a hole of nothingness remained
where I’d long ago abandoned myself
and he no longer was.
A few years later I fell again, and then again.
Each time I fell and crashed
the spokes were more twisted
and the hub of nothingness grew.

No, I do not want to fall in love,
ever again.

The sensation of falling
has always turned my stomach.
In the third grade
I backed down the ladder,
enduring snickering jabs,
rather than jump from the high dive
at the public pool.
Yet in love, I fell, and fell again
because I trust the validity of words
and believed that’s what one had to do
to feel love’s fullness and joy.

It’s been twenty years since I last fell in love
and I never will again.

The last time was once again a fall
into a whirlpool of false pedestals.
In vertiginous terror my disembodied heart
plummeted through air
without the compass of my gut,
the rudder of my mind,
or the sails of my spirit.
Slowing only slightly when it hit the water,
I let it sink for a dozen years
deeper into airless darkness
where I nearly drowned.

But I’ve never turned my back on love,
and I never will.

I now face it as a falcon
with trusted wings,
keen eyes,
and an open, resilient heart.
I can fly and hunt and build a nest alone,
but I welcome and prefer
the care and gifts of my beloved
and choose to join him
where the wind meets the cliffs
above the blushing, sun-kissed earth.
There, I spread my wings and with him
rise in love, and soar.

Of Wheel, Loom, and Needle

IMG_7329 (1)


Spiraling strands of gifts and burdens

from my mother and father

and their mothers and fathers

and all of my ancestors,

from the beginning of time,

weave the cloth of body and mind.


With calloused fingers

the fibers are spun

of wool, shorn from sheep

who graze free in all seasons,

and of flax, beaten from straw,

harvested from drought-riddled fields.


On this sturdy homespun

with clumsy stitches, life sews

into the double helix of my DNA

a random patchwork of experience

and elegant patterns of emotion

that both adorn and strengthen it.


The most beautiful of these

are embroidered by love and loss

in eyelet, feather, and cross stitches

in brilliant peacock and orchard hues

of silken thread: unraveled cocoon,

fine and delicate,

yet the strongest of all.

Bookmark Quote #91


The love of books is among the choicest gifts of the gods.

-Arthur Conan Doyle

Read the story of 1000 Bookmarks

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