Old grey friend

Old Grey Friend

My old friend       makes another visit to my place.
She weaves a new guide wire to her web.
It catches the morning light
in tensile, tightrope fashion,
attached under a  cedar clapboard –
A suspension bridge from her dwelling to mine.
Certainly she sees me,  even through
the long window as together we work:
Now she patiently waits.
I create lines with a pen,
the click of a keyboard, pause to consider –
       compose a thought…
pick up my cell to make a call –
       sip cold coffee –
stretch and stand and sit again,
fill      space in Time’s calendar.
This common grey house spider
seems to uncommonly know me –
Better in some ways than I might know myself.
In that moment of synanthropic industry
we are connected by threads spun from life.
Some day’s wind, or rain, or errant passerby
makes the work a challenge, yet
when broken       we rise up
to new lines each new morning.
The silken tie reminds me how easily
Time can break    lines and leave    them
Remnants to drift away.
She keeps her connection spare
but always there. I can depend on her vision
and her will to keep on building,
my old eight-legged friend’s tenacity –
reminds me, renews me.
My old grey girl has children to think of…
her lines flung forth sing forth tomes played by
the fingers of this morning’s airy hands:
Our time is love!
Our time is love!

Bottle Dump Find

for Heidi

We unearth old bottles, the unbroken one

our treasure – suddenly bees bubble up

bursting behind us as we fly out of the woods.

Elbows and knees pump,

ramparts of open air can’t hold back the picadors.

We said it must’ve been your flaxen hair,

flashing like a matador’s cape.

Dad scoops mud, smooth and cool

in his mason-rough hands.

He hums low, soothes your stinging welts,

raises an eyebrow at me.

The cool tap water

baptizes our bottle,

washes away the bottle dump dirt –

fills it with weight.

Red food coloring drops,

unfurl into the world of water,

their tiny, wispy banners

blend into a tide of bottled sea.

On the sill’s ledge, in the sunlight

it stands, blood-red brilliance.

from my bed I’m transfixed

by our ruby-baptized bottle dump find

and I wonder how those piercing rays

can cut right through glass

without causing any pain at all.

Pin Curls

My mother spent silent after-dinner hours

standing behind all three of us,

one at a time, by the kitchen sink.

She dipped her comb into a glass,

the edge upon which the comb’s teeth played,

droplets trailing in tonal drips,

over and over the same wet path.

The comb was her instrument.

It twanged and pinged the vessel of water,

while we each took our turns at the counter,

while we each sat on a stool in front of her,

while we each waited, our long hair hanging down in whispers.

My friends that summer had shown off their new shag haircuts,

the latest rage, boy haircuts –

Women everywhere were burning their bras.

It was on the six o’clock news,

and Dad would not allow it, none of it, and

Mom’s transistor radio told of it.

Our mother toiled over the three of us,

One at a time, in silence those nights –

standing over us, our backs to her work,

separating the strands into girly bundles,

wetting, combing, coiling, and winding,

pressing each twist of hair into a tight-set pin curl fist

to our tender, scrubbed scalps.

She, crisscrossing Bobby pins, giving us a headful of x’s

placing and pulling the hairpins swiftly from her teeth

with fingers which smelled of bleach,

digging in to assure the secure fit –

to ensure the perfect result.

-Bonnie J. Toomey


Work is writing
writing to work.
Working through
the work of writing
through writing itself,
trying to find Time to Write…

all the time…
indulging my Muse,
now that is Work.

Reading Pleases

It pleases us to read

a need which raises

society up and the

propriety of the child.- BJT


Jennifer Chang Reads at Bread Loaf

Jennifer Chang Reads at Bread Loaf.

May Day Lore

No one cares for May Day,

at least not any more!

It seems that all the May Days

once hailed from the great outdoors

have been clicked and tagged and filed away

in electronic desks and drawers.



The deer in early May in Sandwich, NH.


French Lesson

French Lesson

French Lesson.

French Lesson



French is not the easiest class to miss.

I missed almost two weeks straight

after Mom died

and a lot of other days before that

and now I am really behind.

Mom wanted me to take French

because she thought it would help

in ballet class.

Dad lost a couple of bids.

He says people are losing

their jobs,

the economy is bad.

The TV keeps warning

unemployment is up,

gas prices are up,

and people are fed up,

according to Dad.

I don’t know why he

has to watch,

it only makes him

yell at the TV.

Dad says we need to conserve

more than we have been.

Now the house feels cooler

and when I complain

Dad says

to go outside and come back in,

then I’ll feel warmer.

Harriet and I spend our time bundled in

an extra layer of clothes

dragging around our afghans mom made

like giant moths in cocoons.

We are out of butter again.

Dad says

to try using peanut butter.

Well isn’t the word


in it?

Harriett won’t eat her toast

and it just sits on the plate

getting cold

like the floors

in this house

and suddenly one phrase comes to me.

Il fait froid.

Il fait froid dans la maison!