Passages and Secrets

SamHappyIt was a Paul Simon kind of morning, a rhythmic kind of morning, and everything built around a peculiar beat. The Alabama sky was dazzling blue, and Sam put on clothes without a fight for the first time in a week. Caroline lost her belt, and she nearly forgot to wear shoes, but nobody shouted getting out the door, and the Darth Maul mask didn’t have to go into time out like it has so many mornings lately.

Sam read to me last night, each word precious and halting, a hard won battle of chosen sounds. I didn’t learn like this.… Read the rest

Under the Veil

Tamekia had no grace. None of them did. Yet even the most awkward dancers moved with an unstable kind of beauty. “No Barbie toes!” Shari, the instructor, called out. “Use the balls of your feet, Tami.” Tamekia rocked down, so her heels weren’t so high in the air.

TamekiaStoryThe class was working on the taqsim, with its gentle vertical motion. “I think I got this figure eight thing.” A woman at the end of the line herked her hips up and down.

“You’re getting there! I can tell you’ve been working on it. You’re all getting better. At the end of six weeks, you’re going to be amazing.”

Without meaning to, Tamikia let her thoughts wander away from belly dancing.… Read the rest

All My Best Friends Are Dead Rock Stars

deadrockEarlier, John Lennon wanted me to join together, or maybe that was Roger Daltry. Lennon was the guy telling me to let things be. But who can keep those old rockers straight? Half of them are dead anyway. Doesn’t stop grandma from blasting them all over the house. She’s even got LPs for Christ’s sake. I tell my friends they’re like early MP3s to save having to explain vinyl and EPs; 78s, 45s, and 33s.

She sashayed past my room an hour ago with a broom, and now she’s belting one out in the can while she scrubs the toilets. I do not want to hear about her good vibrations at this moment.… Read the rest

Moving bodies in space

It’s easier to rock backwards than forwards; the push comes faster than the pull. My thighs quake as I strain, and for a moment, I’m holding up a hundred pounds of wood. I want to repeat this moment of perfect balance; I want moving furniture to come with the rhythm of sex. I want the crack of our bones when we come together to be the sound that formed the universe. I want the crack between our bodies to be an infinitesimal quark.


I always get nervous when I use two definitions of a Trifecta word. Note – I have #2 and #3 in there.… Read the rest

Look Homeward

LouisvilleI can keep memorabilia; dishes, furniture, knick knacks, and books. I can take pictures of the rusty old house, its weatherworn shutters so incongruous under the new green roof. I can cradle my memories like flowers once pressed between dictionary pages. I can even recreate the flavors in my grandfather’s recipes.

But I cannot hold onto  the smells. The basement’s dankness. The musty cedar fragrance of my uncle’s old bedroom. The layers of soap in the bathrooms.

This is my deepest grief about the Louisville house. That when it is sold, I will never again close my eyes and inhale the mixture of fall leaves and motor oil that hung over the driveway or the combination of mulch and roses that exuded from Poppa’s gardens.… Read the rest

Trifecta Meet N Greet


photo copyright Tara R. at the Thin Spiral Notebook. On the left, Lisa, then Tara, then me, then Scott. Caroline is tucked into his armpit, and Sam is celebrating black power at the end.
On the right, you see Lance, then Deana, then their adorable kids, one with golden hair and soulful eyes, the other with dark hair and gentle poise.

This is a quick post to say how much FUN I had this weekend at the Trifecta Meetup. Our whole family loved getting to meet Lisa, Tara, Deana, and Lance. The Burson kiddos clicked instantly with Caroline and Sam, and Caroline kidnapped Deana for a walk down the beach collecting seashells.… Read the rest

High Noon In the Park

Three old men sat on a park bench, setting aside their canes for a little while. In the distance, children shrieked ignorance of their own mortality. But the men rested together, each hoping the others would return on the next sunny day, all well aware that one day soon they would not.



This post is for my grandfather, my Poppa, who will have been gone five years this September. For that long, my mother has held onto his house. But it’s time for her to let go, and she is getting ready to put it on the market. This week, I’ll be with her, helping to uproot memories we’ve both held for lifetimes (it’s the house she grew up in, after all, the one I visited as a child), dislodge furniture that hasn’t moved in decades, and dismember a bit of history, because we must.… Read the rest


“It would appear that you are correct.” Shana’s lawyer studied the sheaf of papers again. “But why give it to you?”

“I’m sure he thought it was something else. He’s been handing over my home office piecemeal.”

“And you videotaped the exchange?” The lawyer scratched his head.

“I film everything I have to do with him.”

The lawyer leafed through the pages and pulled out the deeds again. Five of them, rental properties, and Shana’s ex-husband had purchased all of them during their marriage. “You think this is what happened to the savings you inherited from your mother?”

“I know it.”

“And you recorded…”

“Look.” Shana pulled out her phone and played a short clip.… Read the rest

The House of Many Clocks


“What time did the ghost appear?” The spectrologist adjusted his laptop.

“Midnight.”  Dana, the large woman sitting beside him on the couch, edged closer, looking over her shoulder.

“But…” The smaller woman, Beth, fidgeted in her chair. “That means it wasn’t… wasn’t midnight. If it’s twelve o’clock in here, it’s already twelve oh five in the bedroom and nearly …”

“But midnight exactly in this room.” Again, Dana edged closer.

The sisters contradicted each other this way throughout the interview. What time did they eat dinner?  (Five, five oh five, quarter past five.) Go to bed? (Nine, nine oh five, nine fifteen).… Read the rest

Use your words

This is how the advice sounds when I’m exasperated. It’s not fair at all, because one of the things about Asperger’s for my kids is that it makes the path from idea to vocal cord very cumbersome indeed, and one of those concepts that I have to explain regularly is, “The words in your heart don’t reach my ears if you don’t use your mouth.” But it’s been a “Use your words” kind of weekend around here, and so I give you the advice I all but shouted to my children earlier today. (Parenting fail.)

Thanks for letting me vent, Trifecta.… Read the rest