“I’m not depressed now. I’m sixty.”

Things broke into pieces,
then the pieces broke into
The pieces broke into pieces
and then those pieces broke into

Finally, there were so many
pieces I couldn’t remember
what the whole thing
had ever looked like.
A patchwork settee,
I created,
but on loan. Went back.
Red lamp, then
pois de soie.
I just liked the word
my Copa Cabana lamp
I called it.
Found somewhere,
can’t remember where
re-created. Then gone.
Because I thought it was
the thing to do. Once.

One time mattresses on
floor. He got the bed.
And my sister said
she never thought I’d
live like this.

Green plaid cotton outift
in college.
I bought shoes that didn’t
fit me because I needed
something to wear that night.

He said. He said something
about how my body moved
when I read poetry. And
took it away from me with
the words. It was all I
had. He pulled it out of
me like a shaman
in a ceremony.

Some people used Prozac to
put the pieces back together.
My friends did.
I took lithium once for two days.
I never believed in drugs.
I was from Missouri
did things the plain,
honest way.

Pasadena Playhouse the $5
table. Red then blue.

Stickley rocker for $10
a yard sale.
My friend keeps it in a garage
and won’t let me have it back.

Hounds tooth sofa. Expensive even
then. That was when I thought
things were suppsoed to last and
lived my mother’s rule to
buy good things.

One woman made flower pots
from all the shards of precious
china the earthquake left,
sorted pieces night and day,
by shape and color. Arranged
them like stained glass windows
without light.

Star Trek was the only thing
on Saturday afternoon.
The pieces kept breaking up
until it was only
one moldy trunk with a broken lid,
that was all the space I could


Drove around with my ironing
board in back of car, because
the ironing never left me.

They said married women have
rights. I knew they didn’t.
Got married anyway, in case
I had just imagined my

The pieces didn’t begin to come
together. Kept breaking up.
Uglier and meaner in the way
they did it. Down to some
books, a desk, one chair to sit

Couldn’t remember the pieces.
Couldn’t miss them. Didn’t know
what they were.

Didn’t know how to save my life,
a ship without wind.

Had to wait it out.
Cutting my feet on all the
broken things.
China patterns rubbed off
from so many years in

Sat on steps looked across
steet. Didn’t know how
pieces happened.

He was oblivious to pieces.
Couldn’t help me fix things.
Cried when her glass fell
in the sink and broke.


Fat whales in my living room.

My daughter needs a dress,
he wrinkles his nose
and won’t answer me.
I buy his daughter a purple
one, because she likes
that color and I am allowed
to use his money for that.

Fat whales in my living room.
Blubber. Dirt.
Pieces break into more

Come home tired. Carry in
firewood. Cat won’t leave.
He doesn’t get up from the


Just when you think life
can not degrade you
any more.
You get married.