Sisters of Different Mothers

Driving through Northern Arizona from Albuquerque to San Bernardino to have breakfast with my friend Shoshana that I met at La Verne Law School. So excited that I leave at 4 am when it’s black out and one can see the shooting stars and those that are still only flickering. A couple of hours fly by down I-40 and I’m near the Painted Desert signs and light is coming up all around, so I pull off at Highway 77 to the State Park.

It’s pink, peach, mauve, ivory, and palest of yellows, tans, mochas. The colors are overwhelming, remembered when one closes their eyes to sleep or writes poetry about such momentous events. I pull the car over and wander out to stare at such bounty saying a silent prayer of gratefulness to the Almighty. How did I get so lucky to be here in this moment in time?

Looking down at my shoes I remember from college geology class that most of Northern Arizona was once under water and seashells are everywhere.   I am positively enthralled at what I see. Seashells, lots of seashells near my feet. I reach down grabbing several handfuls laying them gently in the bottom of my purse. Off I go to meet my best friend and bring her a present of seashells. I can’t remember if I ever told her about the Grand Canyon being carved out by the waters of an ocean.

A couple of hours later I pull into a Denny’s and Shoshana is already at the table inside. I start chattering as I always do when I see her or hear her voice. I tell her about the stars, the colors of the desert (she hates cactus), and of course the seashells. She feigns interest, smiling as I reach into the bottom of my purse and place a handful of shells in the middle of the table.   She bursts out laughing, shaking her head.

I respond with, “What?”

“One certainly can tell you’re a poet,” says my friend.

“What do you mean,” I ask?

“Don’t get upset,” says Shoshana. “Those are pistachio shells, not seashells.”

All rights reserved. ©2017 by Sara Fryd

My friend died Saturday last.  This was the last email I received from her.

—– Forwarded Message —–
From: Shoshana Anne Simon <>
To: “Fryd, Sara” <>
Sent: Saturday, February 11, 2017 3:00 PM
Subject: Sea Shells in the Desert

Ever since you found shells in the desert and we may have mis-identified them as pistachios, something about that whole transaction has bothered me.

I’m reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which I’ve never read and is now a classic, and the boy (the hero of the book) find sea shells in the desert (in North Africa) and I’m bounced right back to you and me and the pistachios, which may have been shells.
In this book, the idea is that everything in the world/universe is connected and that the desert was once the sea and is just waiting for the transformation back again to the sea.
So, a google search turned up this neat article
With pictures.  I thought your poet’s soul might appreciate this turn of events. Especially in the time of craziness.   And I hope we don’t have to leave this country with it’s “religious registries” and clown president.

A Painter’s Daughter

blue ford

Before I knew the words to describe a rainbow,

I could mix the colors of heaven,

of mountains; of Arizona in the spring.

Each morning in darkness before the molten Phoenix sun

would crest the parched desert,

Papa would sneak out the door

quiet as a whisper

to paint this house or that castle.


With one eye around the blinds covering the window

I heard more than I saw.

Sounds my Papa made loading his royal blue

1948 Ford pick-up [truck] with ladders and brushes,

turpentine, putty, tarps and cans.

Oh, those magical cans of paint

that could change the heart of a room

from sullen to sunlight

from dreary to delicious.

Some knights ride into a little girl’s heart

on horseback or steed

large, tall, strong with white mane flowing.

My knight drove a short, wide blue ‘48 pick-up

with a three-speed stick shift on the column

and white wall tires;

pulling a bed filled with cans of colors streaming

for all the rainbows that surprised us after a desert storm.

For all the saguaros, yuccas, Joshua trees in need of renewal.

Mostly though…

for one little girl

who wanted her room the blue of the sky

after angels washed it with an August storm.

A Rock Slice

On my desk is a plastic baby doll dressed in pink (another story) and a large glass jar with a lid.  In its former life on my desk at work, the jar held trail mix of raisins, walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, and sunflower seeds for visitors, now it holds treasures of shells, sand, notes, and rocks.  It also holds two prized possessions – an orange rind rose and a rock slice. a rock slice

When you are veterans of a Holocaust, have been homeless for most of your teenage years and twenties stuff and money matter most.  They matter more than shelter or food, because stuff can be traded for food and money buys food.  My childhood home was one where money, material items (stuff), and food mattered.  Often we believed they mattered more than we did.  They argued about everything; even the plastic covered couch and who had the right to sit on it.

I spent most of my childhood learning how to become a “success.”  I have a very different idea of what that means to me now than what it did then.  From my teens on, I spent most of my time trying to succeed at becoming financially and materially successful according to the values of my parents, which meant education, nice car, good job, great house, money in the bank.  The American Dream personified.

In 1992, there was a recession that hit Southern California harder than any earthquake I have lived through.  I lost everything of material value – my job, my house, and all my stuff.   Everything I had worked for my entire life, with very few options (or so I thought then), and very little money left.  California became a bad dream as I moved near my family in Phoenix, Arizona.  Probably should mention here that I married in 1967 to escape Phoenix and the family, so having to come back divorced and broke was a fate worse than prison or death (one and the same in my book).

One day, contemplating my financial failures with daily reminders from the family, I wandered into Van’s Rock Shop on 7th Street in Phoenix for lack of a job or anything better to do with my time than write or listen to them.  I must have looked like death walking, wandering up and down the aisles of this block long store.

A young female clerk came over and tapped me on the shoulder.  I thought she was going to ask me if I needed help.  When I turned she handed me a polished rock slice – pale tan with colored concentric rings of dark rust and orange (like a slice of an old cut tree).  I told her I didn’t have the money to pay for it (it was $1.98).

This beautiful young woman with a sandy blond pony tail whispered, “It’s a present.  Remember it took millions of years of stress and pain to create something this beautiful.  It’s yours.”  I clamped my jaw shut, my eyes filled with tears ready to drop, and I nodded “thank you” to keep from sobbing.

I have a clear glass cookie jar on my desk filled with treasures.  My rock slice and orange rind rose are inside.  Remember it takes millions of years of stress and pain to create something this beautiful.  It’s free, it’s yours.  May I share them with you?

All rights reserved.  ©2009 by Sara Fryd

After Shave


The car engulfed
with waves of mulled citrus mist
warmed by your face watching mine
in the mirror from the hallway
as I lacquer on deep burgundy
candy apple lipstick
before the sun awakes early
one April morning.

Memories of orange blossoms
permeating the night sky
on Route 66…
the beige top down on
the old black convertible with red leather seats
When I was eighteen

and Steven French kissed me
behind Paradise Mountain
where the sheriff watched
with the gigantic flashlight
and I was told “good girls” never go

Underneath the auburn henna
graying hair peeks.
Longer jackets of fine silk smooth the hips
and lengthen the torso.
Longer skirts cover the knees.

And still…

I am overwhelmed by emotions
that smother my driving
North on the 605
with one whiff of warm mulled citrus
transferred from your face
to my sheerest pink silk blouse
during our dark, early morning embraces
that still make my knees weak an hour later
my heart pound.
Remembering again how it felt
to be wide-eyed, eighteen
and waiting for my prince.


Albq enhanced

I have loved the thought of you since dawn…

My soul was touched at twilight,

melting my five year old heart

as first stars appeared on the horizon in winter.


Hold my heart’s attention

like the saxophone notes

that breeze past gracing walls

as sounds drift up the stairs

stirring my eyelashes

as sleep envelops me.

For I have known the thought of you since nine…

When Alan pulled my hair and made me cry.

Not felt feelings this intense since twelve

when Michael kissed my mouth in darkness

on my childhood porch;

As she was imminently awaiting me,

the woman I could hardly wait to be.

I have heard the music of this melting voice,

my blood has turned to maple syrup more than once.


So intense they’ve since become

a warm caress of summer sun, ivory sand in late July.

For I have loved and lost but not as this,

knowing love and loss go hand in hand.

I still can hardly wait to feel your kiss…

This love of yours will surely be the one

that lifts my spirits higher than the plains.

Gently held in trust above the clouds,

time escaped though never lost in vain.

My arms are open wide to grasp the sun as if in reach…

praying for your touch so warm at dawn

as sleep surrounds my silent waiting heart.

Joy as this comes only once then may be gone.

For I have loved the thought of you since dawn…

and I will love the thought of you till I am gone…


All rights reserved.  ©2009 by Sara Fryd  

Ballerina Dance

Georgia O’Keeffe, The Lawrence Tree, 1929


A ballerina twirls

With silent joy

The sun has come out to play

To warm the wisps of hair

Left loose to fall

Down the back of her neck

What beauty

Pink ribbons

Crisscrossed about her ankles

Barely blushed like her cheeks

As she spins to music

Only she can hear

Cascading from the heavens

To uplifted arms

That envelop her with passionate moves

Escalating from pirouette to twirl

To twirl, to twirl

To twirl…

All rights reserved. ©2011 by Sara Fryd

Base Camp

You asked for someone KILIMANJARO

To make base camp with

So we could climb mountains

And I had never

Climbed to the third floor

Of the building where I lived

Let alone Kilimanjaro with a man

You offered courage, strength

Songs as slow as molasses sap

Running from a tree in a cup

Joy, rich as dark chocolate melting

Melting in a pan

Heating with cinnamon and milk

I heard saxophone music playing

Wafting down

Somewhere from the third floor

And I was certain I might need

To learn to climb stairs

After all


All rights reserved.  ©2009 by Sara Fryd