Archive for the Uncategorized Category

The frogs we have in common

Posted in Uncategorized on December 18, 2013 by clancyjane

The frogs we have in common are noisy tonight at Quala’s edge, Kokaking! of herons and empty chairs.

O’Hara packed some tangerines when he set out to find you,

but I arrive fruitless with only the thought

Why’d you do it? Why’d you leave us?

Too soon, and without your brown hoodie.

Aren’t You, Kid?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2011 by clancyjane

I wasn’t there when the wild thing got her.  I knew it like you know things in dreams, without knowing how or why– but knowing, with a certainty unrivaled in the walking-around-world.

I didn’t know her, though.  I didn’t know who she was, or her name, or how she came to be mauled by a wild beast in the middle of  northern Missouri.  Still, I somehow recognized her 80 year old self as an unknown other rolled her, in her wheelchair, into church.

Mom and I were seated a few pews back from the front.  The lady entered, and terrified, I ushered Mom to the far end of the row.  I scanned the entrance for a sign that the wild thing had re-found his victim and followed her inside.   I readied for a threat that never came.  As hard as I watched, it was only the lady, and once safely seated she smiled and nodded her relief.  Mom and I made our way back to the opposite end.  We were close enough now that I could see Joan just ahead, and very near the lady.  We fastened eyes and the fear faded enough that we could all sit down.  We settled back in our seats a little, but I kept one arm linked together with Mom’s, and the other extended, aisle-side, to ward off whatever wrong thing might come.

Mom took note of this new arrangement and said You’re still trying to protect me, aren’t you, kid?  And I said Yeah, Mom.  I’m trying my best, and I stayed there like that until morning, positioned between her and whatever harm might want to find her, but day broke and the sun burned through and I opened my eyes to find she was gone again anyway.

Not The Kind Of People

Posted in Uncategorized on May 24, 2011 by clancyjane

We are not the kind of people who have lumpectomies.  We are the kind of people who sail through a summer with Carole King blasting, luring handsome Kansas boys from 17th street for a dance and a drink.

We are not the kind of people whose parents die.  We are the kind of people whose Dad’s take us fishing, whose Mom’s take us swimming, for picnics at the creek.

We are not the kind of people

We are not the kind of


We are not the kind of people and we are

the kind of people who

are not the kind of people

we are not.

A Kinder Matriphagy Than Some

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2011 by clancyjane

You might think it cruel

of the Black-Lace Weaver

to eat his parent alive

(within minutes!)

when he’s barely one week old,

but I think I’d be grateful

to the boy for making

such quick haste.

Some species draw it out 50 years,

leave their parents broke

and footless and ask them,

“Can I still have your jewelry?”

the night before they die.

Deb Asks Me What I Think Of Ichter’s Trees

Posted in Uncategorized on January 13, 2011 by clancyjane

This morning, in the very early morning,

I ribboned through the Allegheny foothills aboard

an eastbound train, where I first saw the trees,

the closest trees to Ichter’s trees that I have ever seen.

These trees that postured upward

were hopeful, lean, and tall in the mist of a

Pennsylvania hillside,

in the midst of a hundred other trees that

were much more squat and half again as round-

happy with themselves just to root and make do.

I thought of the Ichter trees and the who

of  he that drew them, wondering if the child he once was

fashioned trees like these

and pinned them on the school hall wall

next to those of his classmates-

with the little round figures of

people-potatoes with legs,

and the requisite yellow sun,

burning bright with the hope for a bigger role

in the upper left hand corner of

the crinkled Big Chief page.

It’s hard to breathe on a moving train

with trees like these around and reaching

high on a Pennsylvania hillside

toward a lacustrine sky–

especially as the train moves on and

the trees give way to the stone remains

of Someone’s former home,

crumbling its grief around the remaining foundation.

Maybe one day in a long way later

I will tell Mr. Ichter about the

willows I grew up with,

whose branches lifted me dry

across creek beds on the way to the

train tracks that cut through Lucerne,

past the chert rock roads

and the beanfields and the Red Brush

water rushing someplace else.



Beautiful poem by my beautiful sister Mary

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2011 by clancyjane

West Putnam Ups and Downs


Stitching, seam after seam, it took her the rest of recess to secure my circle skirt to its top and

restore the dress my mom had made for me


I hadn’t yet learned all the lessons the slippery slide had in store


I knew—through siblings or smarter classmates—that wearing shorts underneath

prepared you for playing


I knew but didn’t

that day so now I know that

good as it gets, there is the capability of tearing things in two


It takes a skillful teacher to,

on one hand,

sew–despite it not being in the job description–on this side of the door and

send away sight-seekers standing on the other.


She made it seem effortless she seamed so smoothly; mending she made all things seem possible.


I learned a lot that day


My beautiful dress broke in half

it’s back together now -you can’t even see where it hurt my feelings, mom

thanks…to Mrs.Boland


and from skillful schoolteachers before and since…

have hopefully helped others learn some lessons


now all I need to know is

how to sew

a broken heart


The Day The Pines Fell

Posted in Uncategorized on October 11, 2010 by clancyjane

I imagined myself back home.  With my sisters.  With my brothers.  With no home to go to.

I made an offer a door down from Auntie. And waited.

It’s not exactly the hill.  With a well.  With a hedge.  With the bones of our buried.

It might could still work.  I whisper.  So’s not to jinx it.

I slept and was wakened.  The sound of a big engine.  Dad’s boom truck.  I looked for Georgie, but couldn’t see him through the dark.  The sounds were farther than the back yard, and south, toward Stark’s, toward the backhill.  I understood.  Red Ross on the road grader.  I intuitively knew that Roy was with him.  Without seeing them.  Without seeing anything through the pitch black night of the Lucerne sky.

My eyes opened to the sound of a big engine.  Not a boom truck.  Not a maintainer.  Not under a black Lucerne sky.

The timber men were here.  The Georgia pines began to fall.

The call came.

It’s ours.

Two doors down from Auntie.

I slept that night on a bed full of feathers.  I awoke on the hill.  In the chill of December:  Mom warming soup on the oil burner, Dad dragging in the Christmas tree, and Georgie not yet walking.  Mary carried me to Grandma’s house in a frozen moment.  I stood with Gram between her two mirrors.  I  saw her go on forever.

My eyes opened to a light unexpected in this mis-shapen Missouri, through a window forever shadowed by a thick wall of Georgia pine.  I stepped outside.  I walked the red ground toward the empty land where the stand had been.

I looked up and saw the bright northern sky for the first time since I’ve been here.