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Tricia's Blog 

Tricia McCallum is a Toronto freelance writer and also publishes fiction and poetry.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I visited my parent's graveside yesterday.

I was in my hometown again after many years to speak at a memorial of a dear high school friend, a soul mate of mine. I think we kept each other from going crazy in those early years.

The day following the event I left my hotel with a large coffee in hand and headed for the cemetery and a visit to my parents' graveside.

It was a perfectly glorious day. Sun splitting the rocks, fall colours abounding in full splendor, a light breeze scattering the few clouds above.  I was the only person in the entire cemetery. Aren't Sundays the day people visit these places? My only company was a symphony of bird calls from the forest behind the gravesites. I couldn't have ordered better accompaniment for the visit.

I cleaned off the debris from their stone, now slightly weathered, laid down the small stone angel I had brought to place there, and sat down on my blanket, also brought for the occasion.

Where to start, mother and father? Mom, you've been gone 22 years, Dad over 20. Your grandchildren, some of whom you never met, are grown and thriving, and carry so many of your hallmark characteristics. Scott's twin Brooke has your forthright manner, Dad, and no nonsense demeanour. But she still loves a good laugh, just as you did. Mom, I see your gentleness in Dana, and your disinclination to judge.

Father, you said we didn't need a place to come like this, that we'd remember you without it, and of course you were right. But on a rare day like this it is a place to come and be alone with you. To just be.

I trace your names etched alongside one another on the stone.

Are you together in heaven too? I have no idea about any of that. But what a lovely thought. One I'll hold on to, for today at least.

And while I'm at it I'll think of you both deliriously happy, somewhere, beyond anything we know.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Wedding Cake.


Once on a plane
a woman asked me to hold her baby
and disappeared.
I figured it was safe,
our being on a plane and all.
How far could she go?

She returned one hour later,
having changed her clothes
and washed her hair.
I didn't recognize her.

By this time the baby
and I had examined
each other's necks.
We had cried a little.
I had a silver bracelet
and a watch.
Gold studs glittered
in the baby's ears.
She wore a tiny white dress
leafed with layers
like a wedding cake.

I did not want
to give her back.

The baby's curls coiled tightly
against her scalp,
another alphabet.
I read new new new.
My mother gets tired.
I'll chew your hand

The baby left my skirt crumpled,
my lap aching.
Now I'm her secret guardian,
the little nub of dream
that rises slightly
but won't come clear.

As she grows,
as she feels ill at ease,
I'll bob my knee.

What will she forget?
Whom will she marry?
He'd better check with me.
I'll say once she flew
dressed like a cake
between two doilies of cloud.
She could slip the card into a pocket,
pull it out.
Already she knew the small finger
was funnier than the whole arm.
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Monday, September 16, 2013

A backward glance...

Leaving Westie Way. 
Why must it be
the most beautiful
the day we leave
for the last time,
autumn sunlight dappled just so,
never saw it ladled quite as deliciously.
The family of loons not seen all summer
now suddenly patrols the dock,
not wanting to seem
the slightest bit interested
in the ruckus.
The chipmunks will wonder, peevishly
where their nightly trove of Spanish peanuts has gone.
Grover the groundhog will sigh wearily at the prospect
of having to charm new owners yet again.
The male and female cardinal will look for us in vain on the front deck
after countless nightly visits,
and decree their human companions
to be fickle at best.
Taking our leave,
the dirt road behind us will unspool,
dustily, as always
and we may miss the new fawn
who pops her head out from the brush,
wondering at someone leaving such a place
when all around her is golden.
September 16, 2013.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Any Heavens.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Washed Up..

Washed Up

When did everyone start washing with Purell

Every time you turn around?

As if we could prevent anything.

Stop germs

if they have any interest in us



When did greeting cards start costing 12 dollars,

for real.

No one else notices:

The guy in front of me buys four.



And while I’m at it


Did it become a crime to dress.

You’re so dressed up,

spat out

like the worst possible indictment,

And there is me.

The unforgivable,

in heels, and ok,


a sequined brooch.



Sunday, August 25, 2013



Orphaned and standing in the rain
But it’s not as bad as it sounds,
I can hear Bonnie Raitt's voice from a car
in the parking lot.
A kid just smiled at me
from his seat in a shopping cart.
No reason.
Just smiled.
The forecast is for better days.
I smiled back.





Monday, August 19, 2013

Rejection, the sting of same.

Just had a (gracious) rejection of my new poetry MS entitled “The Music of Leaving,” from the Brooklyn Arts Press, and (as I sob) I am still on the fence re the following:
Is an outright generic rejection easier to swallow than one that laments the decision and prompts you to continue writing? Not sure… I am leaning toward the former but the nettles of this one are still deeply imbedded.
So wanted a home there.
Onwards, of course
But not quite yet...