Sonnet #12: Week of May 14, 2017


I used to call her when I was upset;
Or when I had a funny story. She
Would hear of things accomplished, goals unmet;
And listen, commenting subjectively.
That’s how it is with Moms, the best of which
Can nurture with a gentle, guiding hand.
But on this day that comes in May, we switch,
For I’m the one who listens now. Unplanned
Is the reversal of our standard roles;
She the child and I the mother now
Who coaxes, coaches, and at times consoles,
I wish that I could turn back time somehow.
I promise to remember all the things
That bind me to you with a million strings.

Sonnet #11: Week of April 23, 2017


The smell of Spring’s a green and yellow blend
Of lawn and heavy-headed marigolds;
Of rain-soaked decks; of mulch and soil to tend;
Of all the hope a growing season holds.
We breathe it in, and welcome change, adjust
To newness with an ease that’s nature-based.
The January resolution’s dust
Is sprinkled on the garden. I have faced
So many alterations and I see
That turning over ground and rising strong
From compost (shit) that slowly rots can be
The only way to make one’s way along
A twisting path of days. I love this strange/
Familiar season of new growth and change.

Sonnet #10: Week of April 9, 2017

JHUP pix 017
The Johns Hopkins University Press   (Photo by Keli M. Strickland, my talented colleague.)

I think Johns Hopkins twice has saved the day;
First when my youngest son was barely six.
The bullseye rash that’s common—from deer ticks—
Did not show up on him. I learned to pray
In earnest by his bedside, thanking God
And all the specialists at JHU
For sparing me the pain of living through
A loss to Lyme disease. It’s kind of odd
How Hopkins surfaced, saving me again
With my employment and admission to
The MA program: writing helped me through
The chaos of my life in twenty-ten.
I’m grateful to this university
For things far more profound than a degree.

Better than a Sonnet! Week of April 2, 2017


Thank my Pop, James J. Flood
For the Irish blood
Compelling me to say
Some words on the groom to this packed room
On the eve of their wedding day.

When Patrick was two
I would read each night through
An A.A. Milne verse, anyhow…
One night I suppose I fell into a doze
He recited the rest, Holy Cow!

It was then that I sensed
That we had commenced
A wordy relationship, we
Could often be heard vying for the last word
In the home court–presiding Judge, ME!

How I loved all those times,
He eschewed nursery rhymes
For nonfiction books on the planets.
I learned about Mars, and the black holes and stars
Now I have no rhyme, so, “Pomegranates.”

Well, Pat grew up blessed
With an insatiable zest
For learning, unstoppable still.
His joy—so contagious, his humor outrageous,
And tomorrow I’m thrilled that he will

Take a partner, a wife
Who will bring to his life
The depth and complexity of
Intelligence, grace and kindness—
This is found in Kristin’s love.

Raise a glass “where you’re at”
To toast Kristin and Pat,
While I wrap this thing up in whimsy
I think that it’s cool, I’m an April fool
For love, as we all should be!


A few notes for the non-family reading this:

My grandfather, James J. Flood, was a Vice President of J. Walter Thompson in NYC in the glory days of advertising. I have a memory of him writing, carrying a yellow legal pad with him. I heard he could move people from tears to laughter in a phrase. This is one of my writing goals.

The verse I reference that Pat memorized at age 2 was “King John’s Christmas,” by A. A. Milne.  It’s a good read!

Pat’s sister, Laura, is two years younger. As children, each could choose one book before bedtime, and she would sigh in disdain when Patrick would choose a very dry book on Mercury or Saturn. “Not another Sinus book,” she would complain!

“Where you’re at” is a Baltimore phrase that I particularly love, and never heard until I moved here. I felt I needed to work it in.

We have adopted the toast “Cilantro” because a year ago at a restaurant in Scotland on a family vacation, Pat raised a glass to toast but temporarily forgot the Scottish toast “Slainte,” substituting “Cilantro.”

We wish Patrick and Kristin a lifetime of love and happiness and laughter!

I am so proud and grateful to be his Mom.

Sonnet #9: Week of March 19, 2017


So many jokes about those lucite plates
That press your breasts into a painful square!
A necessary test. The patient waits
And holds her breath until the answer’s there
Some two weeks later, in the mailbox, where
A letter states: “Come back, we need more views.”
And possibly a sonogram. We share
So many things as women, and I choose
To write about a test that is “old news:”
The 3-D mammogram. Go get one now!
The notion that you have a lot to lose
Should motivate you through that moment—OW!—
When you are standing, one arm in the gown,
One breast compressed, one worry clamping down.

Bonus! Sonnet #8: March 17, 2017

I pick a wine out based upon its name.
Its label—be it witty, clever, smart—
Will influence my purchase. It’s the same
With basketball for me. My picks to start
In this mad March are based not on the stats
But rather on the mascots, logos, hues
Of jerseys—and the far-flung family that’s
Residing in a state. I take my cues
Not from the networks or the experts, so
I’m somewhat of a novice, and it’s cool
To see my bracket still alive. I know
That I’m a longshot in the family pool.
But 14 of my teams are moving on!
Today I’m gleeful as a leprechaun.

Sonnet #7: Week of March 12, 2017


I think that every spring, the hour lost
Should fuel a meditation in the dark
At two—the moment clocks turn back. The cost
Of loss should generate a jolt, a spark
Of light and clarity. The time we spend
On tasks that have no meaning is absurd!
But only when we start to glimpse the end
Of this great gift of gifts, then we are stirred
To give it freely, to a parent, child,
Or friend or dog who needs a moment now.
So let’s do something crazy-good and wild
And toss out our to-do lists, and allow
Ourselves to use time consciously today:
Loving every minute blown away.

Sonnet #6: Week of February 26, 2017

I watched the movie “Moonlight” yesterday.
That small and silent boy is in my head
In scenes that will continue to replay
Just beneath my consciousness. I dread
The memory of addicts and their pain:
Their “sorrys” that accomplish nothing more
Than putting on their victims all the strain
To be forgiving, and forget. What for?
It cannot be undone—abuse, neglect,
Betrayal by the cold and focused need
For any sort of substance—I suspect
Leaves a lasting gut-punch, and we bleed
For generations. Wish I could unsee
What is exposed in Moonlight, perfectly.

Sonnet #5: Week of February 19, 2017

Ordinarily in Maryland
A February Tuesday would be cold.
A scarf around my neck, a mittened hand
Would clasp the collar of my coat. I’m told
Tomorrow will be sixty-eight degrees.
I greet this fact with trepidation, so
I’ll dress for Spring, anticipate the breeze–
But likely will wake up to ice and snow.
Oh Maryland, my Maryland! I’m peeved!
The simple task of picking what to wear
Is complicated. Short or longer sleeved?
Wool or cotton? Boots? Let’s say a prayer
That this is an anomaly—not forming
A year-long season known as “global warming.”

Sonnet #4: Week of February 12, 2017

The Valentine balloon you bought for me
Slipped off its dime-store curling-ribbon tether
And floated, drifted unexpectedly
This morning over Baltimore. The weather
Offered up a sky completely grey.
I stood still in the parking lot to view
The bright metallic heart-shape soar away.
But in my own strong, shiny heart I knew
The moment was a perfect symbol of
The color that you brought into my life:
The vibrant and the brilliant, happy love
That made us second husband, second wife.
The metaphor both makes me laugh and cry;
Whatever time we have on earth will fly.