For the Daily Prompt: mnemonic.

I know lots of mnemonics. The first that I learned is “Every Good Boy Does Fine”, for the lines of the staff of the G clef, for playing my flute. Medicine is full of mnemonics. An out of date one: Shock, shock, shock, everybody shock, big shock, little shock, shock, shock, shock. This used to be the order of shocks and the medicines for cardiac arrest. It has changed…

…but I would rather look at the photograph than think about mnemonics. It is not a nebula, but that is a star. I took this with my cell phone when it was almost too dark, so the nebula like shapes are the tops of trees, a block from my house.


I wrote this after the tsunami in Japan. I was thinking about PTSD and triggers and being overwhelmed. And the flooding now in Texas….


I cry because
the laundry overflowed
the sewer blocked again
we might have to pull up the floor
and lay it down a third time
I hate the laundromat
water runs across the floor
as fast as the tsunami
crossing the fields
crushing the houses
catching the trucks
in Japan

I cry because
I have to ask for help again
Help comes
but the memories of asking
when it didn’t
help didn’t come
and I was abandoned or humiliated
rise up and overwhelm me
I am flooded
I am helpless
someone help those people
The shaking earth is bad enough
But the ocean rolling inland
Over all
Breaking all
Beams to toothpicks
Those are the memories that rise up
And flood me
I think of the soldiers
and victims of wars and disasters
and PTSD
of memory


previously published on

For the Daily Prompt: memorize. In PTSD, the memories are not what people want to memorize.

music  Randy Newman Louisiana 1927


cabin door

Another door, this taken by my daughter,  of me and a door. We stayed in a cousin’s cabin because our most functional and least ghost occupied cabin was set for a new roof. My cousin kindly let me use their cabin.

My parents helped my aunt and uncle build this cabin. My father talked about it. I have been going to the lake since I was a baby. Now I go about every other year: too far for yearly.


This is a beach but not the ocean. We were on Chesapeake Bay, the Western shore, three days ago.

For Memorial Day, this takes me back to my paternal grandparents’ house, on Topsail Island in North Carolina. The two small black items are fossilized shark’s teeth. As the water erodes the shore, the fossils wash up. My grandparents walked the beach every day and as kids we learned to hunt and spot the shark’s teeth. The white tooth has been replaced by black stone. They are shiny and that curved pointed shape stands out with practice.

My skills returned on the Bay beach. We found other fossils: a fossil dolphin tooth, fossil coral, fossilized bone and wood. The sand and sky and foliage and shells are so different from my Pacific Northwest beaches.

Happy feet

This is for photrablogger’s Mundane Monday #111.

Though it isn’t a mundane Monday, is it? I always miss my mother on Memorial Day because her birthday is May 31. The end of May makes me a little sad. She died of cancer in 2000. But…. my feet look like hers.

It’s a selfie with shells and a beach, near fish… A shellfishie….

Break your own rules

If I say “Food fight.” you may think of Animal House.

I think of my mother.

I am in high school in Alexandria, Virginia. My sister is three years younger. We are in the kitchen, it is hot. 99 degrees F and 98 percent humidity and the back door is open. We do not have air conditioning. We are eating watermelon. The old kind: with seeds.

My mother holds up a seed, pinched between her fingers, looking wicked.

My eyes narrow. “If you shoot that, you started it.” …. not in the house, is the unspoken rule that echoes.

She shoots it at me.

We all three start pinching the slick black watermelon pits at each other, laughing like hyenas. In a large kitchen with open shelves and dishes placed on all the shelves, often nested. It devolves into small chunks of watermelon, hurled at each other. No rinds, because of the open shelves. At last we all run out of pits and watermelon and stopped

There is silence while we survey the very impressive mess. There are watermelon seeds everywhere. And the floor is pretty wet.

Watermelon is STICKY.

We laugh more and start cleaning up. I leave for work or school or something.

Later my mother says, “I washed the floor three times before it stopped feeling sticky. And I kept finding watermelon seeds in the dishes on the shelves for the next two years.”

And: “It was worth it.”

The photograph is of my mother in high school.