Tuesday, February 11, 2020

When the World Is Dark

I watch her bloodied fist punch and punch the grief-drunk girl in the mirror, while screaming, “Why is my glass always half empty!”
Once upon a more naïve time, I would try to calm her storm, suggest that her glass might find its way to full if she stopped shattering it to pieces every time things got tough. Then she nearly bit my head off, our friendship got stuck between the rocks of my rage and the hardness of her self-hatred, and I felt it proper to lose my know-it-all suit.

I still believe a cooler head might serve her best, but I don’t voice the words. I just watch her and let her see me, hoping actions speak louder than words…

when the world is dark,
I taste the moon on my tongue
and the sun fills me

 
for Poets and Storytellers United (Weekly Scribblings #6:Turn Cliché into Poetry or Prose. Take one cliché, two clichés, three clichés, or as many clichés as you like and turn them into poetry or prose).

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Under Her Breast

So many hearts fell
for the silver in his tongue,
for a mouth that licked minds
dazed
before sinking teeth into flesh;

every heart
but the one under her breast.

She had tasted
the fakery that oozed
out of the shine in his eyes,
watched him sign contracts
with the blood of shackled sheep,
while sitting on the backs
of the choice-robbed
and the enthralled.

She had wondered
if any of them would ever see
the muck that stuck to his bones,
the worms that rotted the hollows
that should’ve housed a soul;

will they sense the incubus
under the wealth-made halo,
or has he sucked all the marrow
out of their future and wits? 
 

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Under the Ashes

The two men arrived the same morning the world froze.

She let them into her cabin, but ignored the way their cold bones leaned towards her fire. “Why are you here?” She already knew—the leader of their madness had turned tail, leaving them to feed on old lies and new mountains of snow—but she wanted to make sure that they knew it too.

The younger man tried to hold her gaze and failed. “We’ve no place to go,” he said. “And we’re hungry. I don’t know these lands. And the storm’s… Please, ma’am, you don’t have to help me. But my grandfather, he’s… he’s unwell.”

She watched the old man. They had been neighbors since before the cancer took her grandmother. She had never learned his first name. But the blue chilling his stare was burned into her memory’s eye on the night he paid two kids to set fire to her grandmother’s garden. She could still taste the smoke, hear the screams ripping out of her throat, feel heat biting into the skin of her hands. Anger still twisted in her gut, but she wasn’t a heartless beast. “I don’t have much—”

“What did I tell you?” the old man said to his grandson. “This kind of people—”

She continued talking as if his spew hadn’t envenomed the air. “But I have enough to get us through winter. If we are careful.” 

“Just tell me what to do,” the young man said to her. “I’m strong. I know how to listen.”

Lips pursed, the old man walked to stand by her fire. 

She let him. But when she saw him eying her grandmother’s iron rocking chair—the only thing that had survived the burning of the garden—she said, “No. You sit on the floor. Or you can walk outside to find a spot that suits you. There is plenty of room under the snow, under the ashes.”

 
photo by Craig Tidball - on Unsplash