Assumptions (8)

She holds his hand today

Like she did when he was three
And they walked out in the gardens
And gave names to every bush and plant

She holds his hand today

Like she did when he was five
And clinging to her arm
Half-tearful, half-anticipating
On his first day of school

She holds his hand today

Like she did when he was sick
And all the doctors in the world
Couldn’t tell them what was wrong
Or how to fix it

She holds his hand today

Though the breath comes in no more
And the weight of a thousand worlds is there
And the light of a thousand suns is missing
In a giant house
Full of everything
That will evermore

Be empty


(Assumption: “Rich people never deserve sympathy.”)


Assumptions (7)

Personal boundaries are not limits on love; rather, they help define the self necessary to make love possible. If people do not reach out to you at a time you think they should, remember that each of us dwells within our own wilderness, and that we all have fields to cross, mountains to climb, and weather to endure that few (if any) ever know about.


(Assumption: “If people don’t call me, they don’t care about me.”)

Assumptions (6)

He works in a hospital,
Goes to the gym —
He’d love to chase love,
But the girls chase him.

It’s like a big contest,
They’ve been in for years —
He’d like to play ball,
Maybe have a few beers —

But somebody wants him
For sex or for thrills.
His boss’s wife said
She would pay all his bills.

A lot of guys hate him,
Or whisper he’s gay,
But he wants a girl,
At the end of the day,

Who he’ll have to seek,
And to try to impress:
Somebody who’s more than her
Makeup or dress,

Who’s smart, and who’s funny,
Who loves and who tries,
And sees those same qualities
In his dark eyes.

But he knows, for now,
People see what they see:
“Good looking” ain’t all
That it’s cracked up
To be


(Assumption: “Good-looking people have everything easier.”)

Assumptions (5)

She wakes to squalor,
A smell of burnt coffee,
And a baby crying next door.

She has a cold, or at least,
She hopes it’s a cold:
She can’t afford anything worse.

On the way to work,
She sees people staring at their phones,
Walking dogs, yelling at drivers,
Waving to friends. She passes by
The bakery, with its long line,
To go to a little place where a cup of coffee
Is only 75 cents.

It’s by a little art shop,
And she loves the paintings they are
Showing in the window now:
Abstract, bright, cheerful,
And nothing at all like anything she sees at work
Or at home.

At a time and in a place
Where she tries her hardest not to feel,
These paintings make her feel —
But in a good way.

She does not know the artist —
Young or old, male or female —
But she knows she’d like to say “thank you”
To whomever it is.


(Assumption: “Good art reflects real life.”)

Assumptions (3)

“Oh, this younger generation,
  Duckface selfies, shallowness,
  Vanity — it is no wonder
  That this world is such a mess.”


Her friend receives the silly picture, and laughs:
They make fun of these types of photos all the time.
Best friends growing up: one now a pilot, the other
Still in school, working on a master’s degree.

Their mothers were best friends, too:
One was a bank teller, who raised her daughter
To believe anything was possible, even things
That had not been possible in her day —
Like flying.
The other was a housewife, who hid the bruises,
Even from her best friend. Her daughter learned,
As had her brother before her,
That the world is both more and less than what it seems.
That drove her to study psychology: it drove
Her brother into social work.

They knew what their father was:
They refused to let it define them.
She thinks about the pile of papers she needs to grade
As part of her teaching assistantship,
But her now distant friend’s laughing reaction
To her ridiculous selfie gives her just enough feeling
Of connection to bring a real smile to her face
And her heart.

Adult daughters of proud mothers,
Bearing now the glorious weight of so much possibility.


(Assumption – “Humanity has gradually gotten worse”.)

Assumptions (2)

Math is easy, always has been:
Science, language, everything —
But she feels alone, and different.
Like a stretched and fraying string,

She is at her very limits.
There’s a guy she likes, but he
Likes cheerleaders and won’t notice
When she wins the spelling bee.

So tomorrow, she’ll stop seeming
Quite so smart, she’ll change her hair,
And she’ll get this guys attention:
Somehow, someway, and somewhere.

“Intelligence is key,” they teach us.
Smartness is a thing we vaunt:
But, while it can help us know things,
It can’t tell us what

To want


(Assumption – “Smarter people are wiser.”)