In Progress: On My Porch

Some mornings, Natalie wants to go outside and wave Aaron off to work in the dark. Occasionally, we’ll stay and watch the morning come, and even though it makes us behind on some other things, it’s a magical start to the day.

Flickr Creative Commons: The Auto Motovated Cyclist

On My Porch


On my porch,
there is a small chair for me
and a rocking chair for my grandmother.
But we both sit on the step,
our bare feet flat
on the cool sidewalk,
to watch the morning come.
Grandmother wraps me in my old baby quilt.
The street lamp scatters
light through our tree onto the ground,
like a painting
in the big museum.
Not so far off, the highway
already rushes and hums
like a seashell held to my ear,
and I think of my mother
riding to work on the bus,
and the people in cars going to jobs
in tall buildings,
and maybe children in the back seats,
looking up at the very same sky.
Darkness hangs like sleep
in my eyes.
© 2014 Stephanie Parsley



After so many years

grief becomes a solitary
thing: you Google her
at work, the library 
air thick with late
Around you
swirls of students,
some the age

she would be,

flutter and throb,
as you click and click
the online family tree
to see her name
and image, a leaf
bud frozen.
© 2013 Stephanie Parsley
leaf bud, wiki commons

Always With Love

For my birthday in August, I bought myself pens and a new notebook, which I wrote in for a week before setting it down, until now, more than three months later. Today I read the first entry and found it worth sharing, if only with myself and any other lost, post-transition writers who find themselves wondering if they ever were a writer, and if they’ll ever be again.

Happy 44th birthday to me — new pens and a notebook — and so long I have been away. Even standing in front of the pens at Office Depot made my torso tighten, as though I could select the wrong instrument, when the whole point is that any pen, any paper, will do as long as they are moving together in this way beneath my right hand.

In my left arm, a baby girl nurses. Last night I thought she would suck the life out of me, that each additional 10 minutes of sleep I lost to her restlessness was 10 minutes off of my very life. She was awake much of the night. At some point, I became at peace with her wakefulness, put a loving hand on her belly, snuggled her to me, and we slept. Now, it is well near 9:15 at night again, and it is late for a baby to be up, and she has napped little today, and it seems like I’ll never get my life back.

But I know from experience — from the 13-year-old girl in the next room — that it will fly, the time, and that one day this sweet one will mouth to me silently as I enter the school she is exiting with friends, “What are you doing here?” and not in a happy-surprised sort of way but in an are-you-insane-coming-near-me-in-my-public-realm sort of way, followed by such time in the car, in our private realm, when she will complain of needing new jeans today, and would I take her to Chick-Fil-a before her piano lesson. Oh, time, you are the trickster.

As I write this, I am surrounded by piles of dirty clothes, boxes and boxes, and disgruntled animals — cat rolling on my bed, dog sighing beside me on the floor — and more boxes, full of the clutter we’ve accumulated in the American fashion. It is overwhelming.

But in the back of this new-to-us house, near the hot kitchen, lies an office-y room in which I shall set a table and a chair and some books. I will go there each day and work. I will ask, and pray, and hope, and write, and revise. And I will know that it is what it is, this life, so hilly and uneven with its high highs and low lows, but always with love. Love. Well, most of the time at least.