Dust to Dust

Choking dust encircles my head

Creeps alongside my bed

Like so many forgotten chores

When life has opened other doors


Yet times await in this short life

Places, sites, or smells delight

My fancies for a lack of toil

Instead to be on peaceful soil


Where no one asks for sweet perfume

Nor hedges straight and in full bloom

They care not for a new prediction

On yet another health affliction


And thus I seek new ways to feed

My already weakened memory

Of he who used to share my bed

Since all that’s left is in my head


—Victoria Emmons, June 2012

Alexander the Great

Unopened mail lay precariously in stacks about the great room, a distraction for which the recent parents had forgone in favor of cuddling baby Alexander. Each winter’s sunrise melted into the next as though days were not meant to be counted, nor even minutes. They marked time by their baby’s latest achievement. He turned his head. His eyes blinked. His feet kicked and stretched out. He grasped his fingers around his mother’s thumb.

When Alexander turned onto his side without assistance, his parents played La Marseillaise in full volume so that the neighbors complained to the concierge. The day their wunderkind held his head up for five seconds, contracts were already being drawn up with local paparazzi for magazine photo rights. His parents were convinced that the Great Alexander would coo, whine, and hiccup his way to fame. Better be ready for the onslaught of reporters and TV cameras. This child was like no other. People would be coming from far and near to greet him.

“Sometimes life…

Sometimes life hits you right on the head,

like that acorn that fell from the big oak tree in my backyard,

and then you know you’re still alive.

— Mary, character from one of my stories


Dear Sirius,

Are you serious? A $2 “invoice fee” for my SiriusXM Radio service? So when did you decide that I had to pay all your administrative billing costs? That I had to PAY for you to send me the invoice for your services? That is absurd. I protest! I can get a lot of other radio stations for free, you know. In all seriousness, your stations are not so fabulous. I mean, some of them are interesting. The one with the French music from Québec is nice. The POTUS channel is occasionally intriguing. But it’s hard to figure out all the other weird channels. Why should I even keep this service? It just came with my Infiniti when I bought it three years ago, so I decided to renew it when an invoice arrived in the mail about six months later. But an “invoice fee”? That is truly an affront to my sense of fairness. You should pay the costs for your own billing. I expect you want my email address instead so you can just send me an email invoice. Or even better, you probably want to just have an automatic charge to my credit card every six months so I forget I am even paying for it. Then will I get an “online invoice fee”? And once you get my email address, will you barrage my in-box with a zillion email ads like all the others do? If I am paying for your lousy billing costs, have the decency of not adding it to my bill. Just bundle it into the service payment and don’t tell me I am paying for the invoice. Ignorance is bliss.