The Right to Vote

The day was gray and the air was colder than expected for early November in Ohio. The rain was beginning to turn to snow, making the street and sidewalks slick.  My great-great-great-grandmother Franny, her daughter Nettie, and her 23-year-old granddaughter Vivi (my great-grandma) stood side by side trying to keep warm as they waited in line…

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An End to Bitterness

Lately, I feel like I did as a child, when I would spin and spin in circles until I fell to the ground with dizziness. As a little girl this was fun. As an adult, not so much. In the past five years I can’t seem to find a single thing that I haven’t examined.…

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Brave and Honest

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This was the prayer that I recited each week for one year in a little metal building with the letters AA discretely stamped on the door. I was…

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A Bitter Reminder

I was ten years old when I traveled with my mother, brother, and grandparents to Throckmorton, Texas, to spend a few days with my mother’s grandparents. We drove for three days from Ohio and stopped at tourist places along the way. Carlsbad Caverns astounded me. It was as if the “bigness” of the world was…

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To Bleed and Break

Sometimes all I can see of my heart is red. Red for the bleeding, the breaking, the pain. Red for the sorrow, the wonder at the way I’m wired. It takes a lot to hold out my heart. To bleed for others, their hopes, their suffering, a relentless concern for those who repeatedly break me…

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Wrinkle Cream and Eternal Glory

The cheap, squat container of white cream makes a wild claim: the power to stretch time, to make it elastic and supple. All I have to do is grease my face nightly, submit to the sting, and it will dam the water that is bubbling beneath the surface, conspiring to burst forth and rake my…

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The Encounter

I lie still, my back pressed into the blankets on the summer sheets, arms clasped across my chest, eyes closed. I cross my feet. Sinking, sinking, not drowning. Gravity compels the air to form to my body, enclosing me, swaddling me. As my body floats, the bed disappears.

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With No Purpose

Every year I look forward to the passage from winter to spring. This year I hardly noticed it. During this year’s transition month, I was admitted to the hospital three times, each time sicker than the last. Surgery was the last option but the eventual outcome. Then ICU, then complications, and then, finally, I was…

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If Life Was a Food Fight

My critical eye takes in my form in the long oak-framed mirror as I tuck the billowy white top into my jeans. On principle, I don’t wear white. “White” is my lunch, make-up, and pit stains on display for the world to see. It’s impracticality, stamped with an expiration date.

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The White Dress

Bagpipes resounded “Amazing Grace” as the June rain pounded the roof of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church. After the bridesmaids processed in pale pink tea dresses to the tune of “Canon in D,” the large wooden doors shut. Thunder clapped, marking the redemption of this day, the many dark chapters of our stories now expanding and…

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