Betty is cutting hair, sharing her new approach to life. “It has to do,” she pauses to make wavy snips in the air with her scissors, “with ignoring angry birds at Easter.”

I sit up straighter, wish I had pen and paper. I don’t want to get this wrong.

“Angry birds? “

“Yes, you learn to block everything out. Like the other day I was driving to work and had everything so blocked I was having an above the body experience.” She twirls me in the chair, presses down with her foot and I am elevated. Floated, even. Except for  those scissors about to take out my eyebrows.

“But then a black Honda cut me off, so I lost the zen moment. At the corner of 5th and Grand.”


Federally protected ducks. Loaned images. How do you give an image back?

Every time Frankie stops by he tells me:
We go back to the Indian Wars in New England. 

Tell me again who we are.

I brace for the bad instruction, the omitted fine line. And you, still teaching the difference between a watch and a warning, when will you give up?  I’m easily given in to stalled speeds and my own planetary set.


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website:

7 responses to “magnets

  1. Kathleen Kirk

    I got a little scared during the haircutting. And the driving…

  2. i lose the zen moment everytime I hit the brakes. something about that zings you right back to reality.

    thanks for your comment re: brain tumor. You’re right, from that perspective bell’s palsy looks pretty darn good. My daughter can’t pass it, we’re scheduled tomorrow morning for a scope down the throat and another $1000 bill from the hospital.

    I would cry but. Seems so pointless. And I don’t believe God gives us stuff to handle. I think you’re right — this is just life.

    • redmitten

      katy- exactly so with that zing that takes us right back to reality. and so do quarters. man, i am bummed that she has to go through all this (and you.) i’m glad to hear we feel the same way about what is or is not given to us to handle. i usually keep that to myself, but pretty much felt like the quarter was not part of a grand plan. living just hurts at times and comfort comes from unexpected places. if we can get to a calm moment (that zen moment before we hit the brakes again!) we can maybe tune into that comfort for a moment before the next quarter gets swallowed. hope all goes good for you tomorrow!

  3. Suburban Soliloquist

    I want what Betty’s got. Til she hits the breaks, that is.

    “Tell me again who we are.” May I, may I just say that sent me into a screeching halt. And then, stalled speeds and planetary sets. You have a way, Sherry. And I have a feeling I’ve missed some posts.

    Wil be back for more…

    • redmitten

      jayne- oh that is so great that the line “tell me again who we are” reached you. these things stay in my head and only by releasing them “on paper” can i stand back and understand. helpful to hear you understand as well. every time i say “stalled speeds” i lose my breath. oy and ouch.

  4. wow. great combo essay and poem. as usual, your work slays me.
    there’s something about this phrase: I’m easily given in to stalled speeds — it needs clarity or more poetry, something. i love that N has her own planetary set! and how angry birds is never really explained. so much white space, just filled with you

    • redmitten

      mm-am glad the angry birds worked for you. i had it in my head they could just be there with white space because i thought we all have ways to relate to that. (?)

      as far as stalled speeds- gosh, this is something i’ve had on my mind for some months. i recognize it, own it…but now for the hard work of digging into the layers and revealing more of it. one of the neat things about blogging is that someone posts a comment that sheds light that helps me realize something about myself…and then, yeah! i lift it and apply it to my poem. so- the operators are standing by. “stalled speeds”, anyone? 🙂

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