Roses and Strawberry Jam

“Now, you’ve done it,”
My dear aunt cried.
“The flowers were too near
the dish, now we have petals
in the jam.” We looked at her
mouths filled with stolen rhubarb
and clover, crooked smiles–hair
unkempt. Her head shook, lips
turned up, slightly, in pity.

We were free-thinkers with rough
edges, raised by a beatnik and
ex-debutante. “Unfortunate,” blew
into linen napkins, presumably
out of earshot, like a sneeze or an
afterthought. My sister, the blonde
one, crawled over red and white
leather pumps. A casual shoe
perfect for afternoon tea.

How hard it had been, since her
mother died. A deathbed promise,
but the children, like wild, little
beasts. A spoonful of chicken salad
fell on her demi-plate. A single sugar
cube handed to the baby. The fallen
rose petals circled the delicate white
bowl, which impeccable displayed
her prized and delicious strawberry jam.

Susan Ward Trestrail, 2017


Reading Pinsky and Remembering


It is a pleasure and an honor to accept your childhood. I am lucky to have literary and artistic memories to draw on for my art. Flowers were a big part of my home life. My mother, grandmother and aunts all had spectacular gardens. Lately, I have had time and space to reflect on those memories. Here are some ramblings that have come from that bit of space.

Ordinary Days

I’ve come to savor the scent of flowers,
especially forsythia. It reminds me
of my mother’s garden on summer days.
If not for rusted nails, shoes and socks 
found on wooden floors and mending bins.

Old women with painted-on lips and settled
cheekbones, smelled of tonic and lime. 
her nails dug in, as she sang a verse...
“Oh, what a gal.” Her feathered hat tickled
my cheek a little, but I wasn’t scared.

Chicken salad with grapes and slivered
almonds heaped on dinner rolls and bone
china. The kind with pink and green blooms
etched in white. Her lime-woolen suit smelled
a little of moth balls and dusty rosewater.

Cocktails, jazz riffs, separate tables/beds.
I liked cummings, his verse seductive and
short. My father’s books. His life. Stacks
upon stacks of days, dust that clouds and 
settles on my own wrinkled pages.

Susan Ward Trestrail,

It’s Just Two Pigeons

DSC_0351.JPGI love this photo. I don’t think that many people share my love of pigeons, or even my like of them. However, this is a really cool photo.

I am a writer AND a photographer. I am not certain when the time actually arrived when I could say both of those things in one sentence. Here is another one. I am an artist.


What does this have to do with two pigeons? Well, it is about the mundane and the spectacular. I spend most of my days looking for something spectacular. Most days, I find the mundane.

These two pigeons look like they could be one and an ominous reflection. They could be friends, or they could be partners. Nonetheless, I looked for a way to take an unique photo of them. I think I found it.

So, it may just be two pigeons. And, you may or may not like pigeons, but if you are an artist, you must look for something spectacular each and every day.

Happy Writing!


When You Can’t Write, Write

I have been busy. I haven’t had time to take morning walks or contemplate the complexities of life. But, I have to write. Granted, this writing isn’t very good, but it hits on some issues that have been plaguing me of late. The point is, when you can’t write, you should still try. Get some words on the page. That is all for today.


Things are not always as they seem.
Frankly, your misfortune overwhelms.
I’m always pulling green bean cans
from the bottom row of the pyramid.
I’ve always lived my life in reverse.
I offered you a piece, you refused.
In that exact moment I knew,
you pitied my children and my poverty.

Hate to hate
Jealousy to jealousy
Greed to greed
Anger to anger
Ash to ash
Friend to friend
Kindness to kindness
Light to light
Love to love

No, not always as it seems,
my mediocrity bores you.
I live my life in straight lines.
I’m living longer now.
long enough to see the good.
The clichés ring true.
There is no softer, easier way.

Susan Ward Trestrail, 2017