Grace Cavalieri

I took my husband’s medication/pills this morning by accident, without thinking, along with mine. but I’m still standing.


  • When my granddaughter graduated from college, she tatooed my poem on her arm! With my graduation money!
  • Received the key to the city of Greensville, S.C. for my play “QUILTING THE SUN” (but it did not open anything)
  • A student from 25 years ago remembered that I said to always use gerunds: “There’s nothing like a good gerund in a poem,” she recalled.


  • Navy Wife (Casa Menendez)
  • Sounds Like Something I Would Say (Casa Menendez)
  • Anna Nicole: Poems (Casa Menendez)
  • What I Would Do For Love (Jacaranda Press)
  • Water on the Sun (Bordighera Press)


Millie’s Sunshine Tiki Villas

Nobody remembers Millie. No one knows why the Seniors’

Residence was in her name. Some believe she must have been

a show girl because of the antique bar in the craft house

displaying a picture of a flapper with yellow curls and a bit

of a knee. Some claim to have known Millie but when questioned,

fade off to blurred memory. It’s still unclear if she imagined

the resort cottages  as homes for retired actors, or senior citizens,

what with  the decor of show biz and the indoor/outdoor  stages

at either end of the complex. Who knew of its beginnings, this

semi circular grouping of beach houses with thatched fake grass roofs

which flew up and down with each breeze, and who could have

foreseen the future occupants — (“Elders Only” dictated the by-laws )

who’d come to spend their final days amidst imitation  Hawaiian

grandeur. The plastic volcano once went down into the swimming

pool, then it sported a bar along the top crag, (with barbecues at its rupture ),

now all gone, all dormant,  fires out, pool emptied and a world of seniors

taking their air along the pained path.



Harry’s wife was known only as “Harry’s wife.” No other Christian name.

Harry moved to Millie’s Retirement Villa first, she following months

later, so naturally everyone knew Harry, and naturally, when she arrived

she was called “his wife.”  A scrawny little thing who didn’t

even attend the water aquatics Wednesdays and Thursdays.

She never raised her voice above a whisper and once she told

someone she kept a plastic dish in the cupboard to throw when

agitation set in. It was yellow with a rose at its center.

One could see why. Harry was a philanderer and everyone knew

he energized in the strangest of ways. Once he stood outside a

shopping mall and handed every young woman he saw a stick

of chewing gum. When he saw a security guard approaching,

he’d go to another exit and switch to hard candy.

Motive, opportunity and evidence all there. But what he thought

he was doing, no one, even Harry’s wife could know. He ambled home

for lunch, satisfied by another morning spent in momentary

acts of pleasure. Harry acted as if he had a nine- to- five job

standing around the mall.



From the everlasting sleep of human confusion, Muriel

was sure that Conrad loved her. Muriel felt it the moment

she met him. And after Coco left her each day at four, Muriel

would stop by to see if Connie wanted dinner. He never did,

we already described his eating style, but on this particular day

Muriel outfoxed the Conrad man and brought her favorite dish

with her. She didn’t warn him of this cooking triumph.

It was “Tuna Ole” and once she’d won a contest with it,

with two prizes, a trip for two to Mexico (which she never took)

and a blue and yellow casserole dish (hand painted) which she did.

Up to the door she came. Conrad looked and he almost got away

but for his shadow which she must have seen crouched behind

the door. The door flung open (He must remember to buy a lock)

and there she was looking straight at him as if he were the last man

left after the bomb had exploded. He looked shaken.

She beamed as if she were about to set off a wonderful memory

all of her own “I brought you a surprise.”

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