Onesie Pajamas.

Sister calls yesterday to tell me about her fantastic plan for the annual Martin daughters Christmas photo. This picture accompanies our extensive letter updating long-lost friends of family accomplishments (Kat moved out; Dori’s in college; Zoe reads in bed a lot). Christmas kitsch at its finest.

Anyway, the girls started planning for this year’s picture early. They found a selection of color-coordinated dresses at the mall and the theme snowballed from there. Kat worried that I wouldn’t go for the idea, so she called to make sure.

“Really?” I responded. “Do you remember what I wore in last year’s picture?”

Family Christmas!

Origin Story


Born in Memphis August heat, wailing into the same maternity ward as rock ‘n’ roll.

Sleeping in the Field of [American] Dreams.


Swept 12 miles off the Atlantic coast, baptized in brine and confirmed by Block Island breezes (the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a pelican).

Raised in a raspberry patch: Green Mountain shadows, sticky purple baby fingers, smiling blue eyes.

          I am breast-fed by a maple tree.

Winter chill, sub-zeros too cold to attend church, too harsh for God.

Endless golden summer, tadpoling around my own Walden Pond in search of grown-up legs.

          In these woods I am Sherlock Holmes. I am Eve. I am wild and filthy, irreverent and alive.

          I am wary of rabid animals.      

Interlude in Vonnegut’s Indiana, return to a Hoosier heritage not my own.

          I am tamed by suburbia, domesticated by the rules of pavement and picket fences and Catholic education.

Opened the gateway to the west and sat to rest 10 years, more.

          Eight homes, no hometown.

          Tether-less again: Everywhere and nowhere to go.


I keep a digital clock in my room. It’s travel-sized, with multi-colored lighting that at first I couldn’t stand. It gave me weird circus vibes every time I checked the time. I’ve gotten used to it and even come to love the insistent neon blue of the colon and the marigold final digit.

I only need it at night when I wake up at odd hours and want to know approximately how inappropriate it is for me to be awake at that hour. Problem is, I keep it across the room from my bed and contact lens-less, my vision’s shot. Too lazy/half-asleep to put on glasses at 3:34 a.m., I usually just resort to squinting across the room trying to decipher the blurry cacophony of colored hours.