She said
those Mennonites
who live
outside of Gomer
are uppity.

That means
she thinks
they think
they’re better than
she is.

What if they think
she thinks
she’s better than
they are?
So they have to wear
an uppity air?

Mennonites, Catholic,
Baptists–we’ve all been brought up
to believe
ours is the only way to live.
It’s hard not to be uppity
when you KNOW you’re right.


Lauer locked women in his office,
Trump groped,
Franken kissed.

Meanwhile, over in Myanmar,
Rohingya Muslim women are raped roughly,
after being forced to watch their husbands
and their babies die.

The Burmese soldiers rape because
they have been taught that that’s what soldiers do.
It’s the expectation.

The current American rapist thinks
“I will make her love me.”
His problem began in the 60’s,
when sex was freed.
No longer did you need to be married
to get it;
it could be consensual.
But with every right
comes an expectation.
If you can’t get consensual sex,
what’s wrong with you?
You might have to be proactive.

God bless Matt Lauer
for not being a Burmese soldier!
God bless Donald Trump
for not being Matt Lauer!
God bless Al Franken
for being a fumbling, bumbling teen!


Shortly after Thanksgiving,
as Evelyn and her parents started
their long drive back to Ontario,
I found a teaspoon in a potted plant.

I had already found an unopened jar
of baby food (beef gravy)
in the refrigerator,
and in the laundry basket,
a napkin showing evidence of Evelyn’s meal.

First grandchild, Evelyn ruled that
Thanksgiving table like a queen,
bestowing careful smiles.
We were so thankful she was there!

But that was seven years ago.
Today was like any ordinary Thursday
in Canada and Evelyn went to school.
So did her brother, Frankie.
And Robert went to Beth’s Day Care.

We had decided years ago that winter driving
in Ontario and Wisconsin was too risky,
so winter holidays would be better celebrated
long distance.

Today Evelyn’s mother sat at the end of the table
on a Skype screen.
there were two Wisconsin granddaughters here
to rule the table with their queenly smiles.

Tonight in the family room
I find evidence of Petra and Tulia:
penguin binoculars by a computer,
seven crayons on the floor.


There is a fluorescent moment
after sunset
when spirits like to play.

Tonight my twin uncles
are all over my front yard,
playing ghost tag and basketball.

Karl, who at 18
jumped from the stalled car
onto the coming train.
Paul, who saw it all
and never was the same.
He just died,
age 91,
a bachelor.

They missed each other so much
for so long!

Karl and Paul leave behind
no children,
but they have nineteen living nieces
and nineteen living nephews.
Our families will fill the church.

Watch your front yards, my cousins!
The twins are making the rounds.