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Original Work

by Katie Newbaum

December 2019

In the quiet I am melancholy

Restless, but mostly tired

This is all very heavy at times

And patience wears thin 

When there is so much waiting

When we are in between

Anticipating the next step in the process

Not knowing exactly how it will go

Or how I will feel

I try to find the bright spots

Hold on to optimism

Put on a brave face, even for myself

Protection from collapsing inward from fear

Showing my people I am strong enough

For the journey ahead of and right beneath me

But, in the quiet there is only truth

The truth that I am both

Brave and Scared

Fearful and Eager

Anxious and Steady

Ready and Not Ready At All

In A Hole and Facing The Sun

In the quiet I am melancholy

But I am also courageous.

October 2019

I'm wearing a scarf.

Picked out of the closet in the morning,

it finally came down off the shelf

to greet the colder weather.

I lean closer to read something,

or listen more intently,

bringing my fist to my chin

and instinctively, the scarf along with my hand.

Looking as if I am in a frozen tundra,

too cold to breathe,

my face half covered with the soft material,

I smell my home.


September 2019

The night she turned 34

She had a glass of wine

And she pondered this life she'd been gifted.

She thought about how a half-life ago

She was 17 - just beginning.

She wondered about that young girl she was then.

She wondered about the grown woman she was now.

She sat on her patio and breathed in the late

September air.

What will this next year bring?

What about the next 17?

I'm still just beginning, she said to her glass.

Then she went to bed because it was after 9:30pm.

August 2019

The other day I heard Ed say

“Thank you” to Siri

And to my surprise

The robot answered back “You’re welcome!”

Over time I heard her say several responses to this:

“No problem, Ed” or “Don’t mention it”

What sorcery is this?  I wondered

I myself have barely spoken to Siri

Ya know, because she’s a robot

So the next time we did speak I ended things with

“Thank you, Siri!”

Nothing… nada… no response… not a word

How rude!

I tried again, same result, total disrespect

I took my exacerbation back to Ed -

“What’s her damage?”  

“Katie…” Ed said calmly

“You have to press the little icon at the bottom”

OH there’s an extra step to a thank you?

You have to be sure they can HEAR you?

July 2019

I often play a game

With myself 

Since the year 2016 or so.

And so far, 

Each year 

Gets more intense.

I play:

“Is this crippling anxiety?

Or is this America?”

It’s a terrifying little game

Where I constantly feel



And fearful

For all of those people

Who feel far worse

Than I do.

For those who experience

Regular racism




And much worse.

I wonder 

If I should consume less news

Less social media

Less in general

Just so I feel more okay.

That’s white privilege - to have that choice.

I wonder if my generation

Will be able to 

Raise their children

With less fear

Less hate

Less atrocity.

I wonder

If it will get any better

For any of us.

For any of our children.

Is this crippling anxiety?

Or is this America?


And we can’t give up.

June 2019

I click and click

Trying to discover

Who these people were

So long ago

That led the tree to me.

I scan the old pictures

To see if I recognize

Myself in any of their faces,

Finding lost family

Endlessly fascinating.

A great grandmother

Might have outlived

three husbands

In the late 1800s -

I hope it was a scandal.

All these families

Connected through time

I can’t help but seeing

The world as a big web

Creating the fiber

That holds us up

And together.

May 2019

My mother visits me

From somewhere else

That is not here with me

But somehow still is.

I don’t know what to call it.

I never have.

“Heaven” isn’t quite right, is it?

But I feel so grateful

For the place I am in

Even without her

That I feel she must still be here.

Or there.

Wherever that is

Between here and her.

April 2019

I love the feeling 

of the first few weeks of spring 

When colors are in bloom 

and the sun warms the skin 

While the cool breeze

still flows in the shade

And you need a jacket 

that you will take off 

And put back on 

and take off again 

All afternoon

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