Veggie soup

peeling this sweet potato
i can smell the earth
i close my eyes and smile
then cry —

when did i get so removed
from the soil, the land
from simplicity —
the family garden
in grade school
my bare feet on warm dirt
i was so happy
there were carrots
and worms
and life
was carefree —

i finish making soup
do the chores
the day was busy
i am tired —
the nights
when there is time
enough leftover
to snuggle into bed
a little early & read
and i can keep
my eyes open
long enough for it —
this is heaven
simple, free, happy
heaven

—Terri Guillemets

Weighed down

the scale now shows me
one hundred sixty-eight
but in those simple digits
I see rejection and pain
sugar, laziness, exhaustion
hormones splayed out of whack
menopause ready to rumble
plaque buildup and repressions
anxiety, regret, some depression
the past, the future, sheer panic
tension, disoriented expectations
ice cream, sweet junk addictions
griefs, hurts, disappointments
bad habits, cliffs, fear, falling
the eating of all my emotions
gluttony and gorging ghosts
turbulent raging blood glucose
sleepless nights, too-busy days
nerves, toxins, worry, age
unwelcome rapid-fire change
lack of trying, trying too hard
loss of control, culinary excesses
no longer fitting into my dresses

—Terri Guillemets

Midlife midriff

Eating a lot of garbage and dessert-obsessive
for several months, I put on a few pounds
      — and more.

Waddling is hell, and fat is a problem for the heart
      — I’m hungry & in pain.

Waist weight is a cruel joke, and age is no help.

—Terri Guillemets

scrambled blackout poetry created from David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day, 2000, pages 136–139

In a hospital

In a hospital
it’s difficult to listen
to sad, scary sounds
      “code blue” on intercoms
      wailing, grieving families
      beep-beep-beep of machines —
But if you listen
more carefully
you can hear
      the sound of hope
      of healing, love, and support
      caring, confident voices
      of nurses and doctors and staff
      the din and melodies of
      our imperfect and indispensable
      healthcare plexus at work

—Terri Guillemets