Notebook Excerpt: Norma

26 Oct

Late this summer, a woman died. She was a best friend to my grandmother and a warm, warm presence in the lives of my entire family, and a former nun with a whole host of adventures to share as we laughed over pub tables. I know, as, I think, does everyone who felt her unwavering belief in the world ahead, that she is still sharing laughter with friends; she’s just sitting at a bit of a higher table now. Though I still have not written anything that does her justice (I would need a novel!), here is a very, very rough first draft of a poem that I wrote this August during FOCUS. The entirety of these stanzas are copied from scribbles I made during a panel about Yale and New Haven…at that moment, my mind (and pen) were elsewhere.


before, we sat in

three seats with teetering martinis

and laughter from the inside out

(she was a nun to none or one, at least, as me,

with stories of teaching and God and the life she led

since those foreign countries)

she traveled from my 20 years of life to her two weeks of dying in hospital beds

and I had a suddenly-whittled brain of words and hobbled tongue


now, it’s just one more conversation

I will not have,

breaking bread,

one more dinner, pseudo-grandma-adult-shaped

intersection of my nights

just one more




later, maybe

her absence will take the

shape of stiffened


hungry hungry

evenings in my bed,

that thank you letter we never wrote


and in ten years,

I will be passing these names

tied with story

tied with heart string of

faded loyalty,

fear of time,

of love




4 Responses to “Notebook Excerpt: Norma”

  1. February 14, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    Wonderful post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Kudos!

  2. Kindergeburtstag Mannheim April 17, 2013 at 2:29 am #

    Actually when someone doesn’t be aware of afterward its up to other visitors that they will assist, so here it occurs.

  3. September 4, 2013 at 12:36 am #

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  4. Home Page January 17, 2015 at 11:52 pm #

    Excellent post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further.
    Bless you!

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