Friday, March 2, 2012

cigarette fish.

i like standing around
           together outside
              like we’re smoking cigarettes
  i used to hate cigarettes
now they are fog
  maybe that ember on the end
spitting ash
        glowing nicotine
brings warmth.
it is Now, februarygone,
that i begin to think of the ocean again.
   skin burned all copper like pennies.
 and watermelon and stained freckle cheeks.
           we are fish.then.
    we are colors
                   even the water is warm.
     then. too warm.
 like the sparks
out of the cigarettes
             and hit the blue.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Orange Tree

More writings for my Persuasive Writing class. It's so much fun!

Sun shoots through my window and shatters against my eyes—green, with orange circles—and the inside of my eyelids is an orange tree. I think of the orange tree that was the only fence between us and Maria Teresa, the only fence between our driveway and hers. It was the only fence between me and that old lady who grabbed my shoulders once and shook me and yelled Spanish at my ears. But sometimes—when the blossoms smelled so strong I could feel the smooth rind of an orange in my hand and taste the bitterness of opening it with my teeth and the sweetness of juice dribbling down my throat—I’d step off our driveway and into her grass. The tree is gone now and so is she. She died—she was dead on her tiled kitchen floor for two days before someone found her—and Greeks moved in with screaming kids and funny names. They cut it down. They cut down that old orange tree, but I can still see it when the sun shines green and orange on my eyes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Salted Sea Grass

An exercise for my Persuasive Writing class. Winter makes me talk about the beach.

  Sand scratched my shoulders and the bottoms of my feet, itchy with salt water. I watched ichthyomorphic clouds sit blobularly in the sky. Intorted waves threw a dead fish next to my toes; its tessellated scales were peeling and it already smelled. I walked toward the jetty, stepping around crabs that were cutting anfractuous paths through the shells and the sea grass. There was an old man standing on the rocks; a fishing pole dangled from his hand. His skin hung from his bones like an oversized leather jacket; a scraggy white beard hung down to his belly button; dark hair tufted along his shoulder blades. My brother fishes. He takes a boat into the waves and comes home—sandy and salty and sunburned—with a cooler full of fish. We wrap them in foil and lemon and pepper and grill them until their tessellated scales peel off with the blackened tinfoil.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dinner Plate Moon

We walked hard through thorns and cow patties. A fence stretched along a ridge of the hill. We sat next to it, sweating with the dirt and yellow jackets.

Grass hoppers chased us down, hopping on our shoulders and slapping wings against our faces until we crossed the road and climbed up onto the rocks. The setting sun turned the water pink and made my hair look red. I changed into my swimsuit; the water was dark when I splashed in. Fish jumped across the river--spooky sounds in the twilight, the full moon rising like a yellow dinner plate over the hills. I climbed back onto the rocks, my hair dripping cold against my stomach and my thorn-marks stinging in the night air. My fingers smelled like water. A friend and I discussed tattoos and life and death and beauty and sorrow, and the moon kept rising, shrinking, like a dinner plate flying into the stars.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lingua Latina

This morning I sat in the library, my gray computer chair squatting low like a tweed mushroom. The dingy cord of my earphones hung from the computer box; 14th century church music played in my ears. The words were in Latin, but I could understand them. Suddenly this "dead" language came alive to me. Because I am learning this ancient language, I am becoming connected with the church of the past.  Words penned by monks in candlelight and sung by monks in cathedrals are words that I can now understand. Quia Linguam Latinam novi, veterem iungor. Let this Latin chant touch your soul, even if you cannot understand the words.

Viderunt omnes fines terrae salutari Dei nostri:
Jubilate Deo omnis terra.
Notum fecit Dominus salutare suum:
ante conspectum gentium revelavit justitiam suam.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Headlights glint on the sleek fur of the moose. It throws its tall rack up as Bailey pounds the gas and her little green car bucks out of reach of danger. Blood shivering in veins, we continue the journey to the peak, slipping around three-foot ruts and barely avoiding potholes. The sky is stars as we start a fire and unload our camping gear by the light of the flames. When the tent is up and the sleeping bags unrolled, we bundle in jackets and move slowly through the dark, toward the rocks. I find my favorite crevice and curl up to stare at the moonlit Palouse, at the lights of man below and of God above. Stars fall across the blackness like acorns bouncing from oak trees; the Milky Way is bright and the Big Dipper hangs behind me. We whisper and laugh, but we don't tell ghost stories--we'll be able to hear coyotes as we fall asleep tonight.

Morning slips through the trees, the sunlight like a secret. And before us stretches an entire day on my mountain: to hike and climb and eat roadside berries, to study and dance with bees and find mushrooms and build fires and to breathe, to breathe that fresh, clean mountain air.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Apis Me Petit

Until this weekend, I had never been stung by a bee. On Sunday I was stung by a yellow jacket while hiking along the Snake River. Last night a bee dove inside my shirt and stung me three times while I was biking through town. Hives started to crawl along my forehead, around my back, up my arms and into my armpits. It felt like five hundred hornets and twice as many ants were having a family reunion on my skin and weren’t too happy I’d showed up.
My roommates told me to take a warm oatmeal bath and gave me Benadryl. While soaking in the mushy water, I called my mom. As we were talking, I started wheezing and coughing. Because I’ve had asthma for so long, I’m used to having a difficult time breathing. It doesn’t scare me anymore. But my eyes were swelling and my ears were hot and my whole body was red as a clown’s lips. Mom told me to go to the Emergency Room immediately.
Bobbi and Emma (two of my lovely roommates) and I piled in Bobbi’s ancient car, which smoked and shuddered us down the hill to the hospital. In Orlando, people are spilling out of the ER. You have to wait for hours as smashed skulls are sewn up and tree branches pulled out of stomachs and dangling bones set until it’s finally your turn to get fixed. At the Moscow hospital, however, there wasn’t a single person in the ER waiting room but the receptionist, who immediately led me into a room.
A nurse hooked me up to a pulse and blood pressure monitor, and handed me a nebulizer tube. After years with my dear Mr. Neb, this all felt very routine. Then she went for my elbow pit with a giant needle; I quickly told her that the veins in my arms are too small for needles. So, the thick needle went in my hand and I could feel the cold medicine shooting up my arm.

Doctors and nurses kept popping in and out of the room to check on me. It must really have been a slow night. But once I was finished being hooked up on the IV, we had the room to ourselves.  As I sat there in the hospital bed, feeling my veins carry the medicine through my body and getting loopier and loopier, I talked and laughed with Bobbi and Emma. In Latin. It was then I realized just how much of a nerd I am. I kept talking in Latin. After experiencing a severe allergic reaction and being taking to the emergency room, I was speaking Latin. And asking Emma to read her Lingua Latina chapter out loud to me. And telling her the story before she could read it. Gotta love Latin.
Hours later, I feel fine, albeit a little shaky.
And beware: I now carry an Epinephrine pen.