My Mother was a Hummingbird

photo by Amanda Delsohn

photo by Amanda Delsohn

My mother was a hummingbird.

Taking quick sips of coffee,

gesturing with child-size hands,

punctuating sentences with drags of an ever -present cigarette,

she darted in and out,

her thoughts flying past so quickly,

they’d disappear before you could grab one.

High strung, nervous was how slow minds

with lumbering bodies described her.

And all the while her wings danced circles around them

leaving behind microscopic feathers for calling cards.

I sense her sometimes now

as she darts into my atmosphere,

vibrating at the speed of light,

a different species on an alternate plane.

She hovers near me,

I reach out and hold her tiny body in my hand,

her speeding heart stills,

and we rest in each other.

Heart—Posterior View

Made up of two halves,

the heart is divided by the septum.


Where did the rift between us occur?

Left subclavian artery or aortic arch?

Perhaps the right atrium, always pulsing,

pumping out those feelings.


Or was it the oh so superior vena cava?

Most likely the inferior.

My inferior vena cava has always felt, well, inferior.


After all our history, your footprints

were all over my pericardium.

How could they not be

after confessing every heartbreak

every fear, every shameful secret?


And each triumph

when shared with you

more meaningful.


When you abandoned me

my left common carotid artery

bled out.

I was half a person

with half a heart.


I blame the septum.

Always divisive, controlling

what comes in and what goes out.

Published in Soul of the Narrator Anthology Vol. III, Fall 2012

Mixed MediaLinda Townsdin

Mixed Media
Linda Townsdin


In my Friday night writing group our prompt was to pick a word for the year as a guide and companion. The prompt was based on a blog Nevada City poet Molly Fisk wrote about finding a word as an alternative to a list of resolutions. It turned out to be the perfect catalyst for finding my own word for 2013.

My word was AND. It arrived with a pop after mulling over words like ALLOW and FLOW (as in go with the flow). I even considered some hyphenated words, like sovereign-self. I read that in a book and loved the idea of being a sovereign-self the way Native Americans have sovereign laws and lands.

I thought of choosing two words. WHAT and IF are two of my favorite word combos. WHAT IF is almost as good as AND.

I thought of my favorite phrases, but the process was getting away from me so I went back to the one word. The one true word to carry with me for an entire year.

My ego wanted a word that was unique and cool, so I tried to shake off AND. But no, the lowly and overused and much abused AND was my word. The AND of run-on sentences.

And yet, simply saying it out loud lifted my spirits.  I realized that AND has a higher calling, maybe even the highest calling of all words. It’s definitely loftier than OR and more decisive than BUT.

It’s inclusive. It means I can work on two novels simultaneously. I don’t have to choose. I could even work on three at once if I wanted to, and write short stories and prose poems and….

AND works across all areas of life. It brings relief to any obstacle or setback. I can feel sad AND know I’m still okay. It’s liberating to add any amount of them to wish lists and goals. It’s a word that means infinity, endless acceptance, endless adventure, experiences and possibilities.

Do you have a guiding word for 2013?

photo (2)

Found Poem


photo (1)

Expand or Contract?

Two articles appeared in front of me today. One felt like a door closing and the other one expanded my outlook on life.

The first was in the Fast Company online newsletter by Francine Hardaway, Why Blogging is Dead—and What’s Next.

I hope it’s a lingering death. I love reading others’ blogs and writing mine. I believe people want to be heard and also want to discover new things.

The second article, The Art of Being Still by Silas House, was about writing, my favorite subject. House once asked novelist and poet James Still for his writing advice. Still’s answer was to “discover something new every day.”

Most answers to that question advise you to sit at your laptop for a specific number of hours, or attend workshops/conferences or join writing groups. All good, but limited compared to “discover something new every day.”

For me, what I learn from reading blogs has expanded my life in many areas, not just writing. I’ve read amazing poetry and learned about new writing forms like postcard fiction and tried out a few of them. Each click on a blog is a new discovery. I especially like reading About Me pages. It reminds me that our world is filled with people I’d like to know better.

According to the “blogging is dead” article, in the future people will do all their reading on mobile devices, so long forms like blogs won’t be viable.  I like Twitter, etc., but also think that whatever platform(s) replaces the blog will have to offer enough content for me to “discover something new every day.”