Here in our world, which is cold and dark at the moment, January just became Write a Poem for Friends Month. So all my posts this month will be poems I write for friends. This one is for my friend Danyale Thomas Ross. I considered her a friend for many months before I met her in person. Approached by neighbors–strangers (me and Knox)–via email, she jumped onboard whole-heartedly with our crazy Hopscotch CD–1.8 Miles of Fun! idea without a second thought. Made creating the event far more fun, made the day far more fun, just like she made the neighborhood far more fun. She’s been inspiring me every since: as a human, as a small business owner, as a woman, as a neighbor, and as a well-grounded person who takes big scary life leaps. Her courage and openness lift everyone around her. Love you Danyale!


And I Rise

Whenever I think
“The deck’s stacked against me”
“I have nothing important to add to the conversation”
or even
“This path that we’ve chosen is way too hard”

I think of you

And I rise.


Whenever I wonder
“Can a woman really do this?”
“Do good people really get ahead in this world?”
“What in the holy hell do we do now?”

I return to you, listen more closely
to your wide open story


And I rise.


When I give in
to self-pity
and frustration
that I’m not exactly where I planned to be
I think of you
and your mother
all the women who believe
in themselves
and each other


And I rise.

Whenever I fail
which is often
at being a good neighbor,
supportive friend and partner,
or small business owner
I come see what you’re up to
just to check in
to remember who I am


I see you at rest
and in action


And I rise.

There you are
teaching me
that our world needs nothing
but my presence
wants nothing less for me
than joy
that I can stretch beyond each


with nothing but our shared history,
wits, kindness, and some friends


You haven’t taught me, yet
how to cut hair in the CD
how to farm in Texas or
how exactly to move from
this here to that there


But you teach me


every day, my friend

how to rise