Thursday, June 20, 2019


"The title of the book is
Antlers in the Tree Top"
I told my dad in my most 
serious third-grade voice.

"The book was written by
Who Goosed a Moose" 

I'd overheard the joke
on the school playground
but I failed to imagine
my father's response.

He bent double. Great gasps 
of laughter heaved out
of his wide-open mouth
Tears flowed down his cheeks

That rendered the joke indelible
glued in my mind for 73 years

I can't forget watching
him wipe away his tears
still hee-hawing.

Thursday, June 13, 2019


To whom it may concern: this is my last will and testimony regarding my body and its disposal after my death.

After considering the matter of maggots, the advancement of Science and the hope of my heart pounding in someone else's chest for umpteen years, I have decided to dedicate my body to the Plant World.

Therefore, it is my last will, wish, and desire that I be placed in a plain wooden casket and buried beneath a cottonwood tree in such a way that the tree can absorb my body for nourishment.

For those who want to measure the degree of my sanity in making this request, let me say I wish to feed trees because trees fed me. I am a writer who words have gobbled many a forest.

My choice of a cottonwood is childhood nostalgia for my days near a river bank where the rustling of wind through the cottonwoods seemed the purest music I ever heard.

I wish to be a lullaby, my body singing to some other child.

Also, I believe that in our world it is crucial that plants outlive humans.
We are tearing the earth apart, limb from limb. I wish to replenish it.

So do not give my eyes to science, my heart to my next-door neighbor
or my son; no, just put me inside a simple unfinished wood casket (I hate the thought of dirt on my eyes) and bury us both in the earth beneath the tooth of a cottonwood tree.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Scaring Myself to Death

During a recent storm, our house electricity vanished. Ignorant, I lay in bed sound asleep. If it hadn't been for the telephone lady, I would have slept right through the storm, but she felt compelled to ring and tell me if she was "on" or "off."

After she woke me twice, the storm intruded. Lightning flashed outside my bedroom window and I heard the thunder's responding roar. 

Hoping to calm myself back to sleep, I lay still and watched my breath: in, out, in, out. 

Then I heard a tiny sound inside my body: bip, bip, bip, bip.

Oh no, it's my heart bipping! 

My mind kicked into rapid gear: I'm just an animal, like a deer or a bear, human but an animal. And like us all, I'm just one "bip" away from death.