Anxiety 101

I’m sitting still; they are talking. I see their mouths move, but no meaning comes. I am quivering. I want to jump from my seat, yell, maybe run. At least hop on one foot. But I sit and try to take a breath. It is small, as small as I. I. I worry about things: the siren, the rain on the street, what everyone else is doing in the world. Somewhere someone is starving; someone else is writing a song; on the corner a homeless man waits. I am sitting at a white table in an aqua chair. I forget if I have a body and tremble like a spirit instead. I am just a vibration, an idea, a small bit of fear. Darkness hovers; I should do something. Get busy. Hurry. Be useful. I go into the kitchen and unload the tiny dishwasher. It is easy to find where things go. I wash the skillet from breakfast, put our dishes in the washer, wipe the counter with my palm (we used the last paper towel yesterday) and stand. From my bubble I wonder what is happening, why I feel this way. Through the clouds their laughter comes and I return, scoot my aqua chair and sit again. I count my breath in threes, like a waltz, and slow my core vibration. Their words slide into focus. I join them. We talk and laugh but my inside self still feels like bands of rubber breaking.

27 St. Stephens

They gather to hear

be heard—harmonic sounds

of the heart. In their ripening

they descend

toting mugs for tea

in twos and threes arriving

in coats they hoped to leave

behind at Easter.


Cold and rainy out

they bring their warm inside

and with wooden windows open

they fill the living


room. Pillows, blankets

scooting chairs. Shy, shuffling laughter

a caesura before


the music begins

taking us inside the language

of the soul. Bared spirits

meet, speak

of that unseen.

Naked, fully clothed

we know.

Back Bay in Spring

Colorless birds call

through dried sticks of wood;

yellow flowers defy death,

waving ruffled heads. All

the brown, the loss, the lack

quivers, rises, turns; you

can almost feel the birth

of song. Sunshine, shy,

peeks through April

clouds. I

tuck my scarf

bow my head,

and walk into the wind.


New Review of Lily Harp

What a delight to stumble across this review of Lily Harp! Thank you Ruminate Magazine for airing it and most especially Jim Prothero for writing it!

“Through all this multi-layered imagery of faith and fear, of mother and child, of God as a mother, Barton challenges the reader to consider love and faith, foolishness and grace, with skill and with subtlety…” read more 

Winter Solstice

Every year I forget. Forget the pain, forget I am in exile. Forget the reality that my fibers are made of dust. Stardust. Winter comes through Advent and even when I forget the Stations of the Cross that appear in foreshadows in those purple candles round the wreath, I ache for spring, for death. Even in the balmy tropics where I live my heart grows dormant once a year. And even though the tinsel may spread thick, the holly and the ivy call, the roasted nutmeg and rummy eggnog fulfill my mythology that all is good…the evergreen dies. But as in Narnia, the White Witch’s power is not greater than the Lion’s Sacrifice and so through the dead of winter that begins when the bright wrappings cease, my heart–encased in yesterday’s seedpod–waits for spring rain, soft earth, and the intuition to sprout. For it isn’t winter or even Father Christmas that I long, but resurrection, redemption and the chance to see the stone turned that I might shine, a star, in the heavens once more.

Today’s Manifesto

I believe in intelligent design, inspired by divine love.

I believe that the natural laws of the physical world offer universal truth.

I believe in the existence of both good and evil.

I believe that humans are triune beings of mind/body/spirit.

Through the rhythm of nature, I see the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, and experience life at its essence as eternal, pointing to divine design.

As an eternal being, dwelling in a physical body, my mind connects the realms of heaven and earth through the sight of my spirit.

From my spirit connection to the divine, I understand that love and wholeness are available to all, in a cycle made complete throughout eternity.


Once mine, they leave

on the tide,

return to the deep,

swim leagues

to find bright coral


born of brilliance.

I watch their freedom dance


from the tidal pool.

Late in the sun,

silver minnows swim

like party ribbons,

crabs chase my toes

a sand dollar grows

salty in my palm;

treasures once mined

by my young

who this day

spray their way

to sea


leaving me

heart to heaven

body in sand.

The sun falls away.

I stand wondering

how he painted the moon

to bring the tide

and draw it back,

leaving me


in the dusk of mourning.


The air shifts cool

as velvet curtains

close the night.

Stars rise,

shine on the skin

of new whales

diving again


and again




forgiving is like that, he said

don’t tell me this breeze


blues singing

on midnight porch

with patient dog lying


is not


or that this

wicker chair

wedding lights

your arms

those eyes


won’t be


don’t tell me I forgot

my mind

throwing well-fanged words

like venom down your side


I fear most

the less     the loss     the lack

unremembered mingling

of blonde and brown hairs

‘79 hatchbacks


but see

see     see     see

my crumpled

heart beating

watching your bleeding

struck by my gin

broken on brick

lost shine of moon


dark      shadows      light

dawn translucent

dark troubled eyes

grey stubbled skin

in Easter dew


you      you

don’t tell me

how  it is with you


but enfold me

ruffled with guilt

reclaim my fault

your pain

our seam


with one whispered word