Michelle Webster-Hein

About:

First: Michelle
Last: Webster-Hein
Bio: Michelle Webster-Hein writes and teaches in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where she lives with her husband and daughter. You can find her work (now or soon) in upstreet, Midwestern Gothic, Ruminate Magazine and Perigee, among other places. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Work by Michelle Webster-Hein has been included in Issue 15.1. She is co-editor of River Teeth's Beautiful Things weekly column.

Michelle's Blogs

Beet
I sliced a beet in half and discovered that it has rings. Rings like you would find on a tree stump to mark its age--one ring, one year. But beets are young, have only known one spring, one summer, one early fall, perhaps also one winter passed inside in a dark, dry box. So what could each ring represent?
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Morning
When my infant daughter wakes at two in the morning and her father cannot coax her back to sleep, she and I curl up on the mattress in the guest room below the big window...
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Hymn
This morning at church I plunked out the four parts of an old hymn while above my chords the congregationís voices took flight. And I thought of geese...
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Dust
I was struck today by a couple of things--the perfume of hyacinths, a woman with white hair that hung down to the backs of her knees--but I have finally settled on dust.
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Benediction
Today, a work day, I made it through one class and graded half a stack of essays before the daycare called to tell me my daughter had spiked another fever. I have missed too much work already; I am haggard, forgetful, behind. But leaving campus I noticed...
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Snake
This afternoon a friend brought over, among other things, a garter snake she had rescued from her cat. There was also the armful of forsythia branches she left on my porch, the violets she picked for my daughter, but the snake...
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Cold
My little love is still sick--her nose a broken egg, her coughs like tiny barks. She has been sick for a couple of days, but today...
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Cardinal
Had it not been for the vainglorious crimson cardinal strutting up and down the branches of our lilac tree, I might not have noticed...
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Papers
My husband took the babe away early this morning so that I could spend the entirety of today marking the first drafts of my studentsí research papers. I have tried so hard to find beauty in my work...
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Home
This afternoon, before the youths from our church arrived at our house, I was distracted by the scarred baseboards and stained carpets and how much the kitchen walls needed washing. But then...
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Green
Today, weary of traffic, I took the back roads home. Now is the season of every green imaginable...
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Dishes
When I was twelve years old and so afraid of dying, I wrote in my journal that maybe by the time I grew old I would be ready. Perhaps after ninety years, after approximately 32,400 breakfasts and lunches and dinners and nighttimes, I would be weary of life.
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Writing
I was dense today, rushed. I kept losing important things--the keys, the phone, my daughterís pacifier. I forgot to keep an eye out for something beautiful. But I do have this quiet moment--
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Bicycle
After work I fetched my bicycle from the shop where they had tuned it up--wrapped my Ramís Horn handlebars with fresh tape, tightened the brakes, flossed the cassette until it sparkled.
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Seder
Tonight our Jewish friends shared the Passover Seder with us--explained the ancient symbols, sang the Hebrew songs, recited the old, old prayers. We dipped our greens in salt water, our pinkies in red wine. We spread bitter herbs on unleavened bread. I learned the Hebrew word dayenu, which means it would have been sufficient...
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Play
There is perhaps no better way to celebrate resurrection than to spend time with children. Today my younger nephews and I pulled their Easter kites up and down the horse pasture, and I spent the evening hours chasing the older ones around their grandparentsí yard.
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Bedtime
No matter what pandemonium has shaken the day, there comes a time a little past nine in the evening when we turn down the lights and close the curtains and our beloved drifts off to sleep in one set of arms or another.
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Office
When I arrive early at the office on Tuesdays, the morning sun floods the eastern windows, and I hang my coat and empty my books onto my desk and wait a moment before switching on the overhead lights.
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Beethoven
Were it not for my infant daughter, I would not be home on a Wednesday morning in my pajamas, catching up with yesterdayís dishes and laundry and forgotten clutter. But I also would not have thought to blast Beethoven's Ninth Symphony...
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Age
We have just spent a long weekend introducing the babe to her aunts and uncles, first and second cousins, great-grandmothers. We stayed in the house where her fatherís fatherís mother was born, where she cared for a dying son and where, at ninety-nine years old, she still wakes at dawn and sips her instant coffee over the newspaper. So I have thought a lot about old things these past few days...
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Dandelion
We have a carpet of dandelions over our front lawn--bright yellow heads peppering the cushions of moss and tufts of grass. I don't understand why they garner so much resentment...
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Grandpa
My motherís father is slowing down--growing quieter and more forgetful. This evening, while my grandma cooked dinner, my daughter and I sat with him in the den. He is too frail to hold her or bounce her up and down on his knee, but not too far gone to notice her staring at the birthday balloon floating behind his chair. Slow as a turtle his hand reached back...
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Garden
Once again, I have decided to grow a garden. These aspirations tend to end in hard green tomatoes, withered basil, and parched soil. Yet today in a surge of optimism we shoveled the sod from our raised bed and lugged home giant bags of dirt.
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Name
Iíve recently dedicated myself to learning the names of trees. Before I never thought it made much of a difference, but the beauty of their names compelled me.
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Silence
Today there was the slumbering hush of a house in the morning with everyone else asleep, then the vacant stillness of an empty house in the afternoon.
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Cat
Since the birth of our daughter, I have been short with our cat. I shush her or toss her off counters and chairs. It seems to be all I can do. I am already being screamed for. I am already giving more of myself than I can give.
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Nightwalk
I read a story once about a woman who gives herself over to the night. She encounters no one, just sneaks outside, surveys the dark desert, and comes back changed.
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Carrot
Tonight I peeled and chopped carrots for dinner, tossed them with oil and thyme, oven-roasted them. The simpler the ingredient, the more miraculous it seems to me. A carrot. What must that have been like, on first discovery?
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Dandelion
A short and seasonal classic from the original 28 days of Beautiful Things, originally posted on February 21, 2014.
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Morning (repeat)
When my infant daughter wakes at two in the morning and her father cannot coax her back to sleep...
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