Writing Snippets

The Bug

I noticed a bug
in my glass of water today.
I drank it
to see if I would die.

I didn’t.

I think I will start testing
other things
Mom said were true
that might not be.

The Enemy

I used to see women as the enemy. Maybe it was because they saw me as the enemy. If a girl didn’t like me, Mom said it was because she was jealous. I think all moms tell their daughters that.

Now, some of the dearest people I know are women. They comfort me. We share similar sorrows, similar joys. I’m glad I have finally let women into my life. And I guess they were never jealous — or I got ugly.

Single Working Mother

As a single working mother

I didn’t have time

to be successful and neat.

I gave up neat.


My fifteen-year-old son

thinks I’m stupid.

I depend on that.

I can move stealthily through his life

in an ambush mode,

moving about freely,

as my cleverest maneuvers

look stupid to him.


(Published in A 5th Portion of Chicken Soup for the Soul.)

We had a basset hound named Rufus. We called him the “dingdong boy.” I don’t know why. He was a very, very sweet soul. He never bit man or beast. When the vet cut his toenails too short, making them bleed, he would cry and lick the vet. Mean dogs befriended Rufus and turned nice in his presence. Someone told me once that if the dog world had a Jesus Christ, it was Rufus.

Rufus died yesterday. He was fourteen.

I went for a walk in the park today. The world felt different. Changed. There was one less sweet soul. There was a missing piece of the puzzle. It wasn’t just my world that was different, it was the whole world, everyone’s world. People I passed were unaware of the change. They looked so centered, so normal. They didn’t know the world had changed. I felt so small and alone in the knowing.

When I tell my clients that I wasn’t in the office yesterday because my dog died, it will sound small, insignificant. Everyone has a dog die at some point. But somehow it feels like no one ever has or ever will feel … what I feel today.

Someone once said that love feels like a kind of exclusivity. Maybe that’s what it is. Maybe what I’m feeling is love. It feels like I have an aura that’s radiating shades of blue, and there’s a red lightning bolt running through the light blue part, clear to the center of my being.

I love you, Rufus, and bless you, and send you, somewhat reluctantly, to your new adventure, hoping it is filled with fields of green grass, chew-bones, all the treats you can eat, and strong legs without arthritis to run in the green fields.


Parents are

people who believe in you,

for no actual reason.


Friends are

people you love,

that you don’t have to.


One evening

Dad and I were playing

with the Ouija board.

I blindfolded him

to prevent cheating.

He asked the question,

“When will I die?”

The pointer moved to


then to the number “1”

then to “No” again,

then to the number “1” again.

Then it spelled out the word “dies.”

“No 1, No 1, dies.”

Except for the spelling,

it was an amazing



Joe O'Hehir Design