Snow globe full of lies

I took the bandage off today. I would really like to heal.
The scab between my breasts is bright hot angry red.
I gently scrub with soap and the scab slowly peels
showing the crater in my chest. I am the walking dead.
The small child wants so badly to believe your word is true.
You say you’ll be her friend forever no matter what.
My devil laughs, a cynic. My angel turns away from you.
When you walk away you drag behind each inch of my child’s gut.
I see the wound is pulsing and now I give a start.
You break your word, you lie, to my much abused small child.
The pulsing mass I see is my aching bleeding heart.
Every injury triples on the child you hold inside.
I don’t stop loving even though I am gravely hurt.
You’ve never loved at all: you grind hearts into the dirt.


For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: snow globe.

A world built of lies, like a snow globe. Detached from reality. Contained, with music, and you can shake it up. It looks so pretty, but it isn’t real.

Bear with me

Merle is in his tiny cabin. The cabin far away in the woods. He is holding his guitar. When he realizes where he is, he puts down the guitar, carefully.

He hears crashing outside right away.

He looks. Bear. It rises onto it’s back feet. It is a sow, with cubs! Three!

No, thinks Merle, two cubs. And: “Kurt!” he yells, “Run!”

Kurt just looks at him and turns back to the cubs. The sow is looming outside. This is wrong, why isn’t she attacking Kurt? Kurt is pushing and wrestling the cubs, who are large.

The sow knocks on the cabin wall. “Merle?” says the sow.

Merle doesn’t say a word. This is all wrong.

“Merle?” says the sow bear. She is talking in bear noises but it’s also words in his head. “Well,” says the sow, “you said you could read my mind.”

Merle does not answer. He shakes his head. “Kurt.” he whispers.

The sow bangs on the wall again with a great paw. “You said you’d always be my friend. I miss hiking with you. The rest of it, forget it. Phone, texting, the other stuff. Let’s just hike.”

Merle remains still.

The sow drops to all fours and then sits, her front paws on her back paws. The forest is greening at the tips of the conifers. The grass is electric green from the rain. Kurt and the cubs roll around. Kurt looks ok, really.

“I gave it 50/50 from the start,” says the sow. It’s a meditative growl, if that can be imagined. “I thought you could choose. It was a lie that you could read my mind. You read what you wanted to read. I let you. I thought you’d either keep your promise or break it. I thought you could choose, but maybe I am wrong. Maybe that’s the thing about trying to control other people: if you realize that they are not controlled, you never speak to them again.” The bear rocks forward and back a little. She does not look cute. She looks lethal and smells like bear.

Her mouth opens wide and tongue lolls. “After all, I think people can change and you think they can’t. If you change, then I am right.” She coughs. Merle realizes that it’s laughter.

One of the cubs barrels into her, rolling. She swats it away. Kurt is right behind the cub, but she catches him. She sets him aside, standing up.

“Up to you,” says the bear. She turns towards the woods to the north. Kurt gives a wave and he and the cubs scramble after her.

Merle struggles out of the dream like a diver coming up from the deepest possible dive. “Kurt,” he says, “you said you’d come back and tell me the truth.” He shudders and gets up.

I took the photographs in June 2017.


Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt is anachronism. I guess that would be Helen Burling Ottaway’s watercolors, since an AI can do them, and my work as a physician. The American Academy of Family Practice (AAFP) wrote: “So, the AAFP looked into an AI assistant for clinical review that can “pull the data together in a problem-oriented manner and give you a snapshot of exactly what’s going on with your patient without having to search and click and find things.”

Um. Ok, I am thinking of a patient who was about to be transferred from our small hospital to a bigger one. His notes came across my desk. I called the hospitalist. No less then four physicians during the hospitalization, starting with the emergency room physician, had written that his abdomen was “flat, soft, non-tender, no masses”. What this told me was that 1. Not one of them had done an exam. 2. Not one of them had read my notes nor the surgeon’s notes. 3. The bigger hospital was going to laugh themselves silly if they did an exam. Why? He had an 8 by 8 inch enormous umbilical hernia present for 20+ years, which had not gotten fixed yet because of other medical issues.

Great. So let’s make it worse by having an AI pick out what is important from the patient record and have it make up exams, which people are too lazy to do. Physicians are too lazy to do. People, you had better read every single note your doctor or nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant writes, because you want to go on record in writing when they get it wrong. It is an absolute horror show. Read your notes, because your doctor is most likely not reading the notes from the specialists. I find it amazing, horrifying and sloppy.

I learned to paint watercolors from my mother. I am not primarily an artist, but I learned all sorts of techniques from her. We do not learn from plugging an idea into a computer. We learn from doing. And yes, it is work to learn techniques, but it is worth it!

National Museum of Women in the Arts

I took these photographs at Christmas 2017. My daughter and I visited my son and my daughter-in-law in Maryland. We went to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It is fabulous. They have been closed for renovations, but I hope they’ll be open next time I visit my son and daughter-in-law.

The Smithsonian is also working on a museum about women and about time, too.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: museum.


I took this last May. Let’s celebrate with watermelon balloons hanging from the ceiling! They are red like the Valentines though they are green too. I thought they were awfully cheerful and rather unexpected.

Happily, these are not suspected spy balloons and do not need to be shot down.

Meanwhile, a zoo has gotten creative about ex partners. For a small fee, they will name a cockroach or a carrot after your ex and feed it to a zoo animal. I hope they don’t get indigestion. That really is delightfully silly and creative.

There are still people found alive in earthquake rubble: more prayers and let’s celebrate that.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: celebrate! Welcome to our newest prompter, Perpetua.

And here is a celebratory song:


I try to be so gentle with you
trauma drama boy

I know just what it’s like
though mine is not the same as yours

you run away, though
again and again

saying that you would never try
to hurt me ever

that is a shut down

since you disavow all intention of hurting
you do whatever you want

your attitude is that if I am hurt or sad
it’s my own fault

you take no responsibility for failures
as a friend

trauma drama boy, you run away
once more

and this time
I’ve had enough

This time
I let you go

Beloved bless you and keep you
for the days you have left

sending love

quiet woman 2

mirror mirror

I am culpable as the mirror
hiding hiding hiding
curious about you
what is it you want to see?

I am always surprised
when a man lays his fantasy over me

I have hidden and studied people
for many years
now realize that that is why
the fantasy gets overlaid

I did not know
I was hiding behind a mirror

I think about four men
serial monogamy
over fifteen years
a year break after each

a mirror reflects
a man’s own anima: his ideal woman

all four so different
yet there is a thread that binds
trauma like my trauma
and closer and closer to an opposite

I do not want to be a mirror
any more

the connection of the damaged child
I tried so very hard not to trigger
until the mirror broke
I hold pieces up in my bleeding hands

they leave when the mirror breaks
now I understand

this time was hardest and least hard
at the same time
I could almost see what was happening

and now I can see
and break the pattern with the mirror

my friend says
why don’t you let them see
who you really are?
they would never have let me work

I had to wear the doctor mask
even with other doctors

the nurses and the staff saw through it
right away
they’d call me for patient needs
and knew I’d answer

did I have to wear the doctor mask
or did I wear it to feel safe?

water over the dam
but it’s time to take down the dam
and be myself
and not a mirror

I didn’t know this quiet woman is me


For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: ART!

Thank the agates

I thank the agates that I’ve found at the beach. They teach me. I butt my head against things over and over and the agates say, we are harder.

At last I agree: you are harder.

We don’t change, say the agates.

My feet are in the sea. The waves laugh in and out softly. They don’t argue. Sometimes they are not soft at all: when there are many stones, the stones crack together rolling as the water washes back into the sea. Stones sounding like coins, like bells, like music.

The waves and I. We are mostly water. The sea and I change, slowly. The deep part of the sea changes, slowly, while the surface weather is sunny or stormy. The sea may throw up huge waves on the surface, but the depths change slowly, deep currents.

The agates change too, whether they like it or not. The stones are smacked together, cracked, smashed. If they don’t crack in half, they still are worn smooth over time. The rough spots are changed. Sometimes they break. We don’t change, say the agates, but they lie.

The sea changes suddenly when the earth opens and molten rock rises in the sea. Piles up, fire and rock, pouring from the earth and building a mountain until it hits the air: a new island, a new idea, a fiery sudden change. The waves spread from the fiery center, smacking the stones harder, further.

Thank you, agates. You say you don’t change, but you lie. Water wins, always. Water flowing, evaporating, floating, falling, freezing, sublimating. Water changes and water wins.

Don’t be afraid of change, stones. It does no good to resist. You can be knocked together by water until the rough edges are smoothed, you can be melted in the burning core of the earth, you can be crushed into a new form by the movement of the world. Don’t be afraid. Thank you for teaching me.


Are the stones trying to be aquadynamic?


stone shaped heart
refuse to love me
refuse to let me in

I don’t try to change you
I am here to change me
not you

not to bury or change or rewrite my past
but to unearth past feelings
to examine them without prejudice or fear

to hold them with love and care
so that they don’t inform the present
so that my feelings are now and not mixed with past

I listen to what you say
I am here with you to learn
what are you saying to me?

you say you are always truthful
but you break laws
you smoke some stuff, legal now

you say you do not speed
sometimes you do not speed
sometimes you do

you say you never watch series
when I suggest a series
now you tell me you are watching a series

you say you never try to hurt me
mostly you never try to hurt me
except when you do

you say you never lie
you seem to believe what you say
I don’t

I try to pay attention to what I say
I try not to say never
I try not to lie to myself

I watch you and wonder
what lies do I tell over and over
to myself and others?


Written 6/22/22