4 Years from the 5th of May

Four years ago today, I learned that my brother Stuart would die from pancreatic cancer. I bought an orchid for him at the corner store and took it with me on the train to see him in CT. I needed to be with the him and his family there: my brother, my sister-in-law, and my niece.

Stuart loves orchids.

I miss him so much. Today I saw this beautiful phalaenopsis, and it reminded me of him, that day, and my cousins, who have helped me get through the trauma of his illness and death. At the time, we all kept buying orchids. Somehow it helped.

So today I bought this one and took it home. I cleared away some sphagnum moss that was blocking its roots from the air they need. It can breathe better now.


2/2 Drama: Squirrel Disputes Groundhog


Overheard on Groundhog Day:

Squirrel: I don’t care if you saw your shadow. Six more weeks of Winter is still an early Spring. Six more weeks of winter would bring us to March 16. That’s 4 days before the vernal equinox on March 20. In NYC, it’s going to be at 12:15pm. Lunchtime.

Groundhog: Hey, it’s always lunchtime. And yes, I know it’s the same thing whether I say I see my shadow or not. But I get my 15 minutes of fame, and sometimes a party. Nice way to cheer up on a cold day. Don’t be blue, it’s Feb two. That’s my motto.

Squirrel: Dude, you’re a publicity hog.

Groundhog: No argument, squirrel-friend.

© 2018 Anna Mosby Coleman

Sixteen Years & September 11

Stuart called to tell me the first plane hit when I had just risen with the startling sound of it flying low over my

Manhattan bed. I was buried in covers, content for the last time.

We were still on the phone when plane 2 blasted into the twin &

We knew what it meant.

No accident of navigation. It was a missile of hatred — full of our beloved.

We prayed for the city.

Then I ran to work on that antithetically beautiful day. I ran towards The Towers thinking I must show up for my duty — whatever that may be.

We all showed up. Our dogs were heroes. At every turn,

New Yorkers abating chaos, showed up with their own ragged agápē love & a miraculous organization of wit & unity &

It made me fall in love with each person in my city, every cop, every firefighter, every nurse & emergency responder. And yes, New Jersey became our best friend.

I passed an art store. The manager handed me a mask. It filtered the debris & for a while the dust of precious bones & stone & steel stopped choking me.

Many walked passed, covered in that dust — wearing underneath it uniforms of the free market. No longer so free.

Heads were lowered in sorrow, we tried to find a way home & loved ones lost.

Phones rang with “Are you safe?” across seas & continents. Thank you to each who called. I wrote the Queen.

Fires raged for three months. Black plumes replaced our Twin Towers compass.

We walked around without knowing where we were.

We didn’t laugh. We hid our tears behind dark glasses.

For many years, each beautiful fall day reminded us of that one.


© 2017 Anna Mosby Coleman