Veronica's Garden

I originally started this blog to promote my novel, Post Rock Limestone Caryatids. Now I write essays and poetry about everything, including the Flint Hills, healing, parenting, etc. WARNING: emotional content, sometimes intense. Read at own risk of feeling.

Tag: poem


I just got a rejection letter from this fine magazine in which the editors said they “admire my bravery with the subject matter” of this poem. I’m taking that as a compliment, but face it, no one’s going to want to publish this, while my friend Laura wants to read it, so here it is.

Little-known fact: a little bit of bladder leakage is common in women after childbirth. You likely know someone with this problem, but you don’t know because she doesn’t talk about it. There is help for this. So ask and don’t stop until you get it.

Pelvic Floor Therapy

I’m working hard to get control
over my watery issues, the therapist
coaching me in lifting, lifting, until
the device gives me a score. I can
barely feel. Everything I think is right
isn’t. I’m learning to sneeze, to squat,
to let go and let flow, and to hold
when it’s time to hold. Lifting, she says.
I’m learning to stand and sit and stand and sit.
And it’s the rain that gets me at last.
It’s jumping over the wide flooded
sidewalk. I fail to hold. It’s shoveling
last year’s soaking dead leaves from the
drainage channel. Let the water flow!
And the snails hidden deep in the leaves,
drowning in the flood that rose up too fast.
Clinging to any flimsy blade of grass adrift
in the water. There is so much water
everywhere, oh the rain. The sky
has let go. Come little snails
onto my shovel, I will land you safely
on the wet grass. Squatting and lifting
a shovel of water, it’s too much,
I lose control. I am wet.

snail on green plant

Photo by Kenneth on

NaPo Day 22, King of Roses

King of Roses, reversed

The King of Roses brings (naturally)
roses, and he carries no weapon
but wears mail because he is, after all,
a man of power and authority.
Healer, lover, warrior, in this
lush garden fecund with blooms
and verging on wild, where ivy climbs
the elegant arches and his chair
sits empty behind him, standing
because he will leave, when so called.

NaPo Day 21 Archangel Michael

Link for more about National Poetry Writing Month.
The prompt is Major Arcana Card 9 of the Akashic Tarot deck. I don’t know if this card resembles in any way common ideas about Michael. For what that’s worth. Also, there’s a lot more to be said about this card, this felt like a good stopping place, and I want to go to bed.

9, Archangel Michael, reversed

Michael of the forest, protector of children,
whose fierce passion will surprise you
if all you know of him is his kind, unlined face
and those luscious locks . . .

wide etheric wings to wrap around you
and hold you safe until you’re big enough
to survive on your own.

Heart like flames rising up
because love is hot.

Oh Michael, do not let the child in me fall.
Catch me. Hold me. Carry me safely home.

NaPo Day 20, 7 of Roses, The Journey

I won’t reach my goal of writing a poem every day this month, but here’s more about NaPo/GloPoWriMo. I’m using the Akashic Tarot for prompts.

7 of Roses, The Journey

It is time to leave the known
and civilized city, the massive
structures with polished stone columns,
and the gentle waters of a safe harbor.
Sailing into the sunset means
something has been completed
but it’s equally a new beginning.
It’s okay if you don’t know
where you’re going. No one
ever does, really. Try not to think
about all the years of your life spent
a thousand miles from any ocean, think
about the power of wind and current.
Instead of thinking about how you could
walk a thousand miles through prairie,
desert, and mountains if you had good boots,
a knife, and a sleeping bag, rather
feel yourself being cradled in a stout vessel
by the loving ocean. It is the nature
of the body to float in water.
Embrace the journey.
Others will take care of the baggage,
and only time will tell
if you have brought too much.

selfie with wildy

NaPo Day 19, Card 20, Wisdom, Will, and Mind

Got overwhelmed a bit, dropped NapWriMo for a while, but I’m back now. The prompt is a Major Arcana card in the Akashic Tarot.

20: Wisdom, Will, and Mind

Fire rises. Water falls.
Light, too, has its laws which must
be followed, in bending, splitting,
moving through space.
The perfect symmetry
of the Celtic knot binds these forces
under the crown (corona)
and we think they’re static,
when we see them at all,
while they shift in and out through
dimensions and space
easier than navigating a parking garage.
Will we ever go back to church?
Will we return to those days
when I drove the car, when I imagined
being on a path ever closer to
mastery? I knew even then that
it was illusion. Drive enough and
eventually you crash. Just
remember, underneath it all
is the triskele, trio of armored
dexter legs: “Whichever way
you throw me, I will stand.”

Photo Aug 21, 8 05 38 AM

We have an abundance of bibles around here.

The Fabric Disintegrates

Do you ever have a moment
when suddenly you wonder
if all these things you do
are really far less than
you thought. Not that you thought
you were competent,
but maybe you could be of use,
could play some chords that would help
people sing together,
could write a poem
that might help someone feel.
But what if even that is delusion?
The accompaniment detracts from the song.
The poem is a slag heap of broken words.
It’s possible that
those who don’t believe in you are right,
and you are blind and misguided.
But some people like what I do,
you think, they told me.
What if, those times,
the kind gesture revealed
not who you are, but who they are?
It would be kinder in return
not to put them in that position.
Just focus on behaving appropriately,
presenting yourself well:
already more challenge,
after all, than you can expect
to master. We knew that.
You’d thought you could put together
a unique outfit that actually works,
from these thrift-store finds,
dollar store clearance items,
the antique silk scarf
inherited from your mother,
its colors still brilliant
even as the fabric disintegrates.
What you took for creativity
was only poverty. No one
is inspired by your clumsy pretensions.
You should spend a little more money
and try to blend in. Speak less.
Try harder. Show respect
for their standards. People like that.
It helps them know where they belong.


Everyone is triggered these days.
It started with that man, liar,
gaslighter, fraud. He brags of
touching women’s bodies
with those greasy little hands.
My whole body reviles at the thought.
Now his nominee, and the excuses.
He was a teen. Everyone was doing
such things. We women have heard
them all. But it really wasn’t that bad,
compared to some things that happen
to other people. She was drunk,
she should have known better.
Also, he didn’t do it.
Everyone is triggered. We are
triggered. We ride the flow of memories
rising up from the black swamp.
This time we have the tools to heal
ourselves. We heal each other. We
stand together, arms linked. We
are coming. We are an army.
We are an ocean, a tsunami
that will wash you all out to the depths
and all the debris that comes along
will threaten to choke the ocean itself.
There is no safety from the undoing,
once the trigger is tripped.
The ancient feral Goddess has been unearthed.
She will not go back into the coffin.

Rings of Saturn

Om shram shreem shroom Shanaichiraya namaha.
-Hindu chant to Saturn

The day I saw the rings of Saturn,
gas giant, Slow-Mover, earth star,
reaper, a whale in the Pacific
was carrying her dead baby
for the 16th day. That day
we gave a trunkload of stuff
to the thrift store, and bought
other stuff to take home. A woman
with lots of tattoos saved two kittens
abandoned at birth by their mother.
One died, the other lived.
The old patriarch was retrograde,
a trick of perspective making him appear
to move backwards from day to day.
I woke up and saw gray mist
clinging to the walls, and knew
it was time to smudge the house,
this day the sun and moon and earth were aligned.
The President told lots of lies, which
he did every day. My husband
wrote a sermon about Elijah killing
worshippers of Baal, which was really
about prophetic Christianity.
A doctor okayed my children to play sports.
I got high on chiropractic.
That night we took a bus to the location where
the telescopes were erected.
My daughter knew the nighthawks
circling and swerving in the deepening dusk.
It was August and the sky was hazy,
but as we stood and waited, our faces ghostly
in the moondark, more stars appeared.
And more, faint specks of dust
in the indigo sky.
An expert talked about
constellations vs. asterisms,
and about light pollution. I waited in line.
Then there he was:
746 million miles away, bright disc
wrapped round by a frisbee of light.
51 years he was my neighbor, my father,
Saturn, gas giant, slow-mover,
reaper, his weight pulling me even
here on Earth, as we orbit our star,
our source, together, and I never saw him
until this night.

Mind vs. Body

Dang, but my poetry is messy these days. It’s why I haven’t been posting much, though I’m still writing. I feel like everything needs major work before it’ll make any sense whatsoever. This one is a perfect example, but I think it’s kind of about the messiness while demonstrating it, so I’m posting right away, and you can take it or leave it.

Mind vs. Body

What does the body mean,
when it changes or moves
or doesn’t move? This
conglomeration of tissues, organs,
fluids, that somehow manages
to be one animal, presided over
by a mind which thinks itself
separate. Godammit, listen to me,
the body says. Things are changing
and we need time to adjust. You
off floating around in outer space,
pondering unimaginable enormities
while we are down here performing chemistry,
digesting molecules, identifying that which
needs to be gotten rid of, constantly breathing,
pumping, organizing, keeping house.
Give us a freakin break.
Okay, says mind, but there’s
a little thing called a checkbook.
It’s just a thing to you, but to me
it represents abstractions that,
long story short, are relevant
to stuff you care about, like food,
and a comfortable bed to sleep in.
Don’t get me started on geopolitics and
Oh for heaven’s sake, shut it.
Balance your goddam checkbook
instead of yoga, we get it.

It goes on like that all day,
mind and body struggling
to get their needs met,
both knowing they need each other,
but not sure exactly why,
or what they’re even talking about.


I wrote a poem about the lunar eclipse, but it’s not ready. Instead I’m sharing with you this one I wrote a while back, but since we’re all under the whip of the Shadow now, I think it works pretty well for today too.

you have just reached the point
at which everything you write sucks.
These poems you’re compiling for a book:
dim words that lay on the page like a dead fish,
if the fish failed to stink or bear a moist,
slithery texture, nor had ever lived in the first place.
Sterile, then, like the hands of a surgeon,
though his scalpel has been misplaced, and the patient
has no need of evisceration. Go on,
proceed with the project. This attack of self-loathing
is an inevitable phase, which passes.
The book will be fine, but your perception
of light and depth is now compromised,
and you’ll have to go from here blind,
by feel, by memory.

%d bloggers like this: