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BLURBS

It is difficult to adequately describe
how one loves. Sometimes,
it is little more than a feeling.
Other times, it is all-consuming,
burning and rippling through a soul
uninhibited; inextinguishable.

~

I am fascinated, drawn to each
quirk, each characteristic that
makes him whole.
When did that strand of hair,
the constellations on his back,
the subtle scent of his neck
become my everything?

~

I know now that love is comprised
of little things, like sacrifice, the ache
in my heart that no one sees, and
the spaces between our fingers.

~

Time went on, and our innocence wore down
in storms of tears and fury
as the morning air grew cold.
We strayed like crackling, falling leaves –
leaves no longer gold.
We met in fields of amber before the winter glow, and
those shades of fiery autumn were
glorious, you know.

On your worst days,
I will strengthen you and become the bones in your legs
when your knees begin to buckle.
I am the peeling birch's bark, bending in your shadow
to lightly brush your skin. I am the nectar in the myrtles
blooming in July, and in the eyes of your love when he looks at you.

Though we are separated by time and space, know that I am never farther than the pulse in your palm. Know that I am more than what they make of me in churches, in books, in government, in theory. I have a plan for you.
I am your God.

I am never far away, and
even when you lose faith in me,
I will never lose faith in you.

~

She feels safest within her self-proclaimed limits
that affect her own transparency in the mirror.

~

And so, mere books to most
Become, up close, rectangular windows
Of the soul of a small-town girl.

EXCERPTS FROM THE SUMMER CLUB

"As his eyes held mine, I realized I didn't need light to determine emphatically that they were amber, because I already knew. I could see their kaleidoscope of colors burning in a long-forgotten corner of my mind, shooting to the forefront of everything as his memory came rushing back to me."

"Adam. How fitting for my first and only."

"We turned onto my block then, a tidy row of houses lining the street with perfectly manicured lawns edged with tulips; one house the same as the next. Cookie-cutter. Predictable. And here was this boy, who had managed to shake everything up that had been expected in my life, walking beside me like it was something we did regularly. He was a glimmer of something more in a world that had formerly been monotonous, and I was already hoping beyond what was appropriate after a first date that he would stay awhile."

"Skyscrapers lined the street, standing so tall that the tops were barely visible, even with an arched back and a shaded view. A sweet and delicious scent permeated the air – hot, fresh-baked, mouthwatering, but then suddenly tainted with the stench of something sour. Horns engaged in streams of angry dialogue. Streetlights blinked. So this was New York City. It was animated enough to be its own person."

"I felt like I was in a scene from 'The Twelve Dancing Princesses,' but there were no enchanted slippers or golden leaves, here – just a man who understood grand gestures."

"That night – that deliciously unspoiled night in September of 1948 – was my reality, and no musings about the future or stress over the upcoming school year would ruin it. I was seventeen years old, riding shotgun in a sky-blue car beside a boy I could never get out of my head, my two best friends in the backseat singing along to a Peggy Lee song at the top of their lungs with a disgruntled Stan between them. Everything felt exactly as it was supposed to."

"I felt myself grow warmer with the sweet tickle of those words at my ear – a fireplace kind of warm; a kitchen-and-gingerbread kind of warm that feels like home and joy and family. And promises. I love you was a promise."

"Each morning...I'd grab my leather briefcase, stuffed to the brim with ideas on crumpled paper and sporting the freckles of ink stains. That little briefcase was my constant companion each day in each new cafe; my coffee partner, perched on the chair opposite mine as I gazed through the nearest window into the snow globe of the city and jotted down every idea that came to me. Nothing was too raw; nothing was too personal. I wrote half-sentences and full sentences; partial and complete paragraphs. I wrote about Adam; about Spring Lake; about feelings I hadn't accessed in so long, articulating them with words I'd nearly forgotten how to say."

"We stood, dumbfounded, staring at each other like we were looking at the memory of a dismissed ghost."

"My odyssey through so many possibilities rendered me strangely perspicacious, as I realized I was now aware of all the choices I could make – perhaps even had made – in a parallel universe."

"I was now familiar with the precise vocal quality of any word or sound that originated from his throat – the man I'd followed in blind faith, and perhaps by intuition, to the edge of the ocean, where I'd let him drown me in the story of my own life."

"I've always loved you. In every circumstance, through every argument, in every universe where there's an 'us' and even in the ones where there's not – I love you."

EXCERPTS FROM CLOSURE

"You weren’t shy about moving your arm around me a few minutes into the movie, your hand coming to rest on my right shoulder and causing my skin to smolder beneath my sweater. I stared straight ahead, pretending like I was utterly absorbed in the story unfolding on the screen, but I couldn’t have told you a single thing about the storyline. In truth, I pretended that I was absorbed in the movie because I was paralyzed by feelings I hadn’t known were real until that moment. I was afraid of how strong they were; of just how much you were capable of making me feel."

"I felt like an island, surrounded by you on all sides, yet completely alone."

"I left no pocket of that Barnes & Noble unexplored, roaming through the aisles and running my fingers over each book as though they were precious commodities. Some people liked the smell of old bookstores, but I reveled in the scent of new books. There was a type of studious freshness that hung in the air; something about the way the ink of the text, bold and black, stood out against the ivory backdrop of each crisp, untouched page."

"I loved you more than any song or line or memory could ever express."

"We climbed the steps to the top of the museum, which for once wasn’t overrun with tourists and joggers. One of the most famous spots in Philly was suddenly exclusively ours, and it offered the most incredible view of the city’s center, complete with the dome of City Hall – a miniscule William Penn peering out from the very top – and the tips of illuminated skyscrapers piercing the darkness. 'Everything sparkles here,' I whispered, sitting next to you on the top step as I looked out in wonder. But you weren’t looking at the view. You were looking at me."

"You can't separate yourself from a feeling."

"Outside, we were the only two people to be found. It was midnight and freezing, and the wind scraped frosty fingers across our faces and blew snow up around us, making it hard to see. I tried to tuck my chin under my coat and drag my hat down over my eyes, and you walked in front of me to take the brunt of it. We threw some snowballs, made snow angels. You chased me, tackled me playfully to the ground. It was the most beautiful moment of falling apart I’ve ever known."

"In those moments, I allowed myself to feel everything that I was going to feel for you; for us. About what it would be like to not know you, to not love you anymore. And my throat closed and my heart collapsed through my rib cage onto my stomach, and I was a mess of caving in and sputtering and leaking like something broken."

"That entire last year with you, I learned that the process of letting go can actually begin long before goodbye."