Shake the Dust

For my teachers

Ms. H,

fierce leader

of p.m. kindergarten.

And Peg,

with her peppery bob

and even temper.

For Renee,

who we hugged and

called mom.

And Terry,

who said hard things

at hard times.


who made sense of x + y.

For Jack B.,

and smiling

those dreamy smiles.

This is for Ms. Chase,

lover and demystifier

of poetry.

New Mother’s Group

I drop out after

admitting to what is best.

We are a pair of misfits,

mother and child.

You, who just sit there with no tricks.

Me, whose breasts will never feed you.

It’s all background noise,

the high-pitched voices,

the cooing,

the stupid conversations.

I stare at you,

devising our exit strategy,

which you know all about.