The Blue Pitcher

that which may be filled and emptied

Month: December, 2007

Sticks and Stones

I have been thinking still of trees: pear trees and peach trees; skin-and-bone trees; stick-and-stone trees; red trees, blue trees; the tree on the hill in Wyoming; the pecan tree in Mama Heaton’s backyard and how we’d crack the shells with our teeth; the crabapple tree over at the Miller’s and how it stank of sweet. Then there is the Weeping Willow, the huge Weeping Willow out at Lake Lure. I was eight, maybe nine. Something terrible was happening. Divorce or insanity or someone sick or dying. Mom was drinking coffee on the screened-in porch, talking from early morning until night until her throat was sore from too much talking, then sleeping–fitfully–and doing it again. I remember going and laying under that Weeping Willow and knowing that I would always remember that day; staring up through the willows, I marked it. All these years later, I can’t remember which grief we were suffering; I only remember the tree and the hard ground beneath me.
All last week, I drove around Oklahoma, stunned by the damage from the ice storm. Trees were completely uprooted. Piles and piles of limbs waited to be carried away. People said that the most frightening thing during the storm was hearing the broken branches shatter when they hit the ground. Imagine: sitting in complete darkness (save the flashlight you’ve dug from the crowded kitchen drawer) and hearing glass after glass crash to the earth.
I’ve only been back a day, and already I’m having trouble recalling the devastation. I guess I’m most struck this afternoon by how insular our lives are. Perhaps it’s the only way to be, the only to way to happily be: to feel just the earth that is under you and to be thankful that it hasn’t been pulled from beneath you by some giant invisible hand.

Here, in Brooklyn, outside my window, a man holding orange roses has turned his back from the wind to light his cigarette. Winter is settling in. This old year’s hours are numbered, and the sun casts a long shadow across the wood of my desk, a shadow that–come nightfall–will be all but forgotten.

One Pear Tree

Missing only the partridge:
And you…
what do you miss?

Morning Again

I sit in an upstairs room of my husband’s parents’ house. My coffee cup is empty but I’m afraid of waking the others. The windows have waves of frost in their perfectly square panels, and I am craving a Clementine. Badly. I want to peel it, section it, bite the section in two. I want to wonder if I should have another and then I want to peel that one too. The clouds are so thick, the day feels still yoked to the night. In his childhood bed, my husband sleeps. I wonder what dreams he has.

A Blue (Pitcher) Christmas

Wishing you all the very merriest of Christmases.
Much love.


(Stars may fall.)

Poetry: It Runs in the Family

This is my little brother, Tommy:
And this is his poem:
Red is a watermelon
I’m getting ready to eat.
Red is the color
that flows through my feet.
Red is the apple
that is starting to ripe.
The U.S. flag has many a red stripe.
Cinnamon candy, Christmas bows,
Tomatoes are red, everyone knows.
But did you think of red cars,
red fish or the planet Mars?
Did you think of red dresses made of silk?
How about a cold glass of strawberry milk?
Did you think of red birds
flying high in the sky?
And if not…why?
Cherries are red,
flowers are too.
I don’t know if you like red,
but I know I do!

The Promise Land–Literally

I’m heading back to Oklahoma today, and just in time, I stumbled upon this. It’s pretty wild. I had always thought of I-35 as nothing more than a strip of road where I’d smoke cigarettes and chug Diet Dr. Pepper as I made the trek from Norman to Tulsa and back again. Looks like the interstate has a higher calling…
“And a highway will be there;

it will be called the Way of Holiness.

The unclean will not journey on it;

it will be for those who walk in that Way;

wicked fools will not go about on it.”

Isaiah 35:8

Health & Fitness Tip #22

In general, avoid ingesting foods that end with the word “ball.” While a meal consisting entirely of cheeseballs, meatballs and cakeballs may sound like a delightful idea, you will inevitably wake up the next morning (as mild and lovely as the day may be) feeling like a lardball.

Flights of Fancy

For those moments when the utterly indulgent
feels terribly necessary…

Visit MamaBird: here.

New Poem

The Trees

In a hot bath I think of you
but turn my mind instead to the trees
my mother cut down late last spring.
They wouldn’t let the sun in, she said,
and the neighbors shook their heads.
It is, after all, Oklahoma,
and with those unbearable summers,
who wouldn’t want the shade?

Now winter,
her voice breaking over the line,
limbs buckle with the weight of ice,
and even this far away, I feel
the brittleness in my own bones.

In the fogged mirror, I rub
a circle with the heel of my palm.
My throat catches my breath.
I hardly recognize what I see.