Excerpts from And Now, Still

Worth a Shit

We take turns kissing
her goodbye at the
bedside. I’m first,
then dad, and we
walk down the hall
toward the elevators.

He steps in as the
doors slide open,
I follow, they
close, he says
If we lose her, I’m not
gonna’ be
worth a shit.

My mind races.
I put my arm around his shoulder.

Neither You’re right, you
won’t be worth a shit, nor
Sure you will—you’ll still
be worth a shit, at
the very least, seems an
appropriate response.

Our descent ends,
doors slide open, and
I remember more of
who he is—the man
the Sea Bees
and Marines called
Joker on the Gilbert and
Mariana Islands, who
somehow worked a
New York pipe wrench
through his seventy-
first year.

She’ll be fine,
I say, and you’ll always
be worth at least
a shit to me.

He almost suppresses the smile.
Says nothing. We walk to
the car. She survives him
by almost four years.

(Some of) Her Own Words
– for Anne Marie –

Her thesis, QuiltSongs,
Ulterior Motifs & the
Spine of Creativity:
Patchwork Stories, Meaning
Making & Metaphor:

I’m an intuitive, non-rational,
nonlinear thinker     who
favors asymmetry
in patterns          and
landscaping,                            random
harmony in song, and

the                   unexpected
general.                     I

thrive on                                              improvisation.

Student musician singer painter quilter poet
Scrabble-player party host persona rubs up
against spouse, daughter, sister, friend,
administrative assistant shadow who yearns
for straight, fresh asphalt and double yellow
lines, within which creativity flourishes and
improvised, asymmetrical meaning is made.

The Sniper

breathes deep,
squints through the
in the cross-hairs,
the solution,
precisely committed
to freeing the hostage.

Last resort,
attainable horizon, not
a solution, but


solution when
negotiation or
hard work             fails
or        takes

If only it were that easy,
held hostage as we are—
bliss and rage, reason
and myth,
all of them,
always them, without
we might see
find freedom.

Who was the
sniper for the pain
that held you hostage?

What did she see,
or not, through
that narrow scope
before she squeezed the

another option
perhaps, just outside
her field of view,
a hair away from
your final

We all
play each role—
taker, hostage, sniper—
moment-to moment holding,
held, setting free.
Problem and solution.

We love the scope
the crosshair’s promise,
at      times
too          slow,
or quick to squeeze
the trigger, 


the solution’s
allure and

Copyright (c) 2001, 2010, 2016, 2020 by Reggie Marra