Thanksgiving Ghosts: Shadorma


for life, love, and food,

we gather


around the table to eat

where ghosts watch, smiling


they hover

as we make toasts to

absent friends,


spirits in our memories

sit with us in peace



This is a Shadorma for Eliot’s November Challenge.







I Close My Eyes and Dream

Monday Morning Musings:

“For myself, I declare I don’t know anything about it. But the sight of the stars always makes me dream.”

Vincent van Gogh, letter to his brother Theo, July 1888

“I think about our ancestors. Thousands of years, wondering if they were alone in the universe. Finally discovering they weren’t. You can’t blame them for wanting to reach out, see how many other species were out there, asking the same questions.”

–Captain Kathryn Janeway, Star Trek Voyager, Episode, “Friendship One”


At night

ghosts sail to stars

dazzling the universe

with wild poetry,

that thing there—

see it?

the liquid blush of desire

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 6.41.06 AM


Earth spins and orbits our Sun

but all is not right

(in day or night)

the heavens rage

the surface heaves

the forests burn

the oceans churn

(do you hear them sigh)

and creatures die

on the stars I make a wish

for planet, us, for birds and fish

and then under the glowing stream

I close my eyes and then I dream


I wake to see bright Venus,

high above

she sings of love

there in the eastern sky

she dances and she wonders why

(as do I, oh, as do I)

we are not swayed from the hate

and do not counter or negate

the dotard’s words of folly

but instead sink into a melancholy—

(as do I, oh, as do I)

under starlight’s beam

once again

I close my eyes and then I dream


We watch Star Trek Voyager

Earth’s greeting of friendship gone wrong

a civilization pushed headlong

into nuclear winter,

the next day—synchronicity

a radio story of the real Voyager

the golden record as it would sound to aliens

Simplicity? Specificity?

We want to reach out,

to know we’re not alone

the moon smiles and gleams

I close my eyes and then I dream


We have a holiday dinner

missing daughters, sister, and niece

still I present the soup and loaf

(a masterpiece!)


with apples, honey, and some wine


we drink and eat and we are fine

(we pour more wine)

talk of movies and van Gogh

(there’s a new movie out, you know)

wonder about Ben Franklin’s diet and life

then matter-of-factly my mother’s zinger

that he did not sleep alone

at ninety-five, she was so in the zone!

and with that, the laughter lingers


like the honeyed fingers

from the baklava and apple cake

she mangles the middle

and picks at the pieces

but sister laughter

follows after

and after


We drink more wine, again we’re fine

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under moonlight sky and starry stream

I close my eyes and then I dream. . .


of the universe’s wild poetry

of singing stars and humming moons

of spirits soaring and swaying to the tunes

before dawn’s blush of desire

turns the sky to fire

I wake and look up to the sky

to see Venus shining bright

I gaze and wish

for us, for cats, and fish

for dogs, and horses, and for birds

(and yes, even for the dotard)

for the planet, earth, and trees

and for the seas

under Venus’s beaming gleam

I close my eyes and wish and dream


So, we watched Star Trek Voyager and saw an episode about the result of a probe that was sent out from Earth that was very similar to the real Voyager and its golden record. Then the next day, I heard this story on NPR’s Weekend Morning Edition and the Oracle gave me that poem. Synchronicity?


Some of you may know because I’ve ranted about it   that I’ve been working on two reference books about rape. I am happy to report that both manuscripts have now been sent in. I also finished another project over the weekend, so I should now have time to answer e-mails and respond to comments and prompts. At least until, I receive copyedited manuscript (first one is coming next month).







The Holiday Dinner

“It’s a great day for roast beef!” exclaims my great niece.

brisket plate

brisket plate (Photo credit: Maggie Hoffman)

Casseroles in ovens; soup simmering on the stove.

Bread sliced. Table set.


Cats removed from the table.

People arrive in a flurry of hugs and kisses, doorway gymnastics, and

awkward introductions.

The text message arrives: “Sorry, we’re going to be late. There are some issues. We’re on our way. Start without us.”

Should we wait?

Where’s the wine?

I need more wine.

Do you want red or white? Maybe a glass of white now, and then a glass of red?

This image shows a red wine glass.

This image shows a red wine glass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Food on the table; cats off the table.

Everyone seated. Finally.

More wine poured.

Sammy, why are you under the table? Get back in your seat.

Sorry, we’re late.

It’s OK. We’re just getting to the soup. Go sit down.

Have some wine. Or do you want a beer?

I hope the meat isn’t dried out. No, it’s great. You outdid yourself.

Don’t you want to try the noodle kugel? Just a little piece? It’s really good.

(Whispered: Here, I tried it. You take the rest.)

Yes, I’ll have more meat.

Everything is delicious.

So how is your semester going?

Sammy, get back in your seat. Eat your spinach.

Do you like your new job?

Yes, of course I have pictures of my grandson. Here.

Awww. He’s adorable.

Yes, I think I’m feeling better.

I’ve had two knee replacements, you know.

Conversations around the table.

Kicks under the table.

Please pass the wine.

Is it time for dessert?

Where are the kids? Playing video games.

How did your cat get up THERE?


Is it time for dessert yet? Almost.

Who wants coffee?

It’s time for dessert.

Do you want apple cake or baklava?

I ate too much. Well, maybe a little sliver.

I’m going to vomit.

Do you want to take some food home with you?

How does Aunt Merril make this delicious food?

Oh, I get it—the most important ingredient is love–oh, and beef, says my grandniece.

Well, I don’t eat meat. But it’s all made with love.

Holiday dinners.

Food, family, friends, love.

–And the joy of leftovers the next day.

A sweet new year!

A sweet new year!