Bio of Gail Denham

As my poem indicates, I'm a fan of my husband, Dan, who can fix most everything, and if he stumbles, he reads the instructions. Huge contrast between us - he an Electrical Engineer, me, a right-brained writer. For 40 plus years, I wrote. Many short stories, news articles, poems and photographs were published nationally and internationally. In between, we raised four sons and helped with many grandchildren. As empty nesters, we now stay in touch with family -- I write and he still keeps the wood box full, among many other projects. And I'm thankful to God for Dan.


A mighty ship on course. A tortoise, he moves steady,
dives into projects few would tackle. Blessed with skills
to embarrass pony-tailed handymen: changing tires,
rewiring electrical misbehaviors, building sheds.

He exudes how-to, bookkeeper – holding budget wolves
at bay. Computer problems, banes to my existence,
sizzle his brain, a burbling coffeepot of ideas
and “try this” possibilities.

Steam pours out his ears. He attacks kinks, “won’t work”
apparatus – Ahab on the sea chasing monstrous white
whales of modern life. TV hook-ups, sink stoppage, toilet
parts disintegrating in mid-flush – putty in his grasp;

molding them, pliable dough in hands that seek solutions.
Life flows again, for a time, without spasmodic eruption.

And yet, when restless grandchild climbs on long-legged
Levi lap, together they pursue words connected with book
pictures, a find and capture chase.

Grandchild calms to lean against raggy-armed denim shirt,
a worn-out declaration of tractor repair, car valve replacements,
splitting seasoned wood; wood – that guardian against
temperatures dropping relentless cavalcades of cold
on our home, the freeze – wood fire repelled each morning.

Calm wonder, balm of Gilead to my soul. Silver-lined help.
Dozing, open mouthed in recliner each evening, brave protector
against mean winds that ever beat at windows, challenging
“aging” threats, forays of world pressure; bullet trains
of fear not stopping at our station this day.

Summer Slips Into Fall

Burning leaves and crackle piles
for diving kids – a part of our past.
Now it’s black leaf bags with pumpkin
faces, lined up for trash collectors.

Still, a touch of autumn memories
remain. Aspen leaves clap rattled
songs. A forgotten drift of cast-off foliage
fills my desire to shuffle and crunch.

A different color paints the air,
lunch pails clank against small bodies,
school buses hold up traffic
and mothers do grateful dances.

Gail Denham


found poem
Dressed in oranges, red, light
and dark greens, pale cream, with warty
skins, squash stands in for pasta
and manicotti, with hazelnut mole.
Is it any wonder we grab corn ears
to celebrate the end of summer? Steam
corn, team it with a college-educated
cabbage or potato head; there’s a meal
real people can understand.
Not warty, pale, or smooth yellow
string squash that someone tossed
in your open car window on Sunday
while you sat patient in church.

Gail Denham