Memoir Sonnets

Parts of a Whole

Benefitting from opportunities,
parts of a whole held in a tight, wide grid
in fly-over land, a community
of prairie townsfolk, where farmers had kids
for chores, and Catholics practiced rhythm—
we watched families of sixteen, eighteen
mimic sports teams’ deftest algorithms.
Our parents liked and loved us by all means.
At nine, we were still a large family,
and I, finding my way in the middle,
acted old with bossy sibs, hammily
with the young, never a second fiddle.
Separating, on our own, self-assured,
we grew interdependent and secured.


Needs Clarified

How to say no to God. A scrutiny.
I answer His call, enter the convent
at eighteen, young girl giving humanly
body and soul, to superiors, bent
on serving fellow sisters, divine spouse,
the congregation’s good neighbors. Mother
of none, and all, taking the solemn vows
to succeed in this shiny for others
vocation. Gaining from silence, prayer,
I acted in faith and love until gnawed
by doubt, knew I needed to leave, to dare
limit this mission from the vastly broad—
to hope for less, and more, defined allures:
husband, children, career, my rules assured.


Endless Pledges of Allegiance

Breathe in never-ending audacity:
Caroline, Maxwell, Charlotte, Theodore,
Grace, Louis, eight, six, five, four, two, one. Yie!
We’re their old Nana and Papa. They roar
approval of us. We are sway-wavy
sun-shines, stars twinkling, nursery rhymes, songs,
to them. We hug, croon “Rock A Bye Baby,”
belt out “This Old Man,” hands bopping along.
“Baa, Baa, Black Sheep,” “Bingo,” “Hokey Pokey.”
The kids clap, bounce, giggle, jiggle, and shout.
A State Fair—grand get-together—homey,
thumping rhythms, bodies, minds hanging out.
“Hail! Hail! The gang’s all here.” True rhapsody,
benefitting from opportunities.