For My DaughterDear daughter-I-do-not-have-yet,
You will be my perfect. You will be my proudest moments in one small person. You will be made in love, or maybe anger, or maybe even desperation. But that won't matter. What matters is what you will be made into.
You will have Daddy's hair and his nose, and my eyes and my smile, the smile that happens not because someone with a camera told you to, but because you're genuinely happy. But you will have your very own heart and will be full of all the things that give you your you-ness. Whether you sing in the bath or make Valentines for everyone in your class or give your last homemade chocolate chip cookie to the boy sitting alone at recess.
I will write you poems and stories about how you are my miracle. I will read them to you sometimes, just to remind you. As you grow, not a day will go by that I'm not thankful for everything you are. You will be dazzling and beautiful and brilliant and compassionate and playful and curious and all of the things
the opposite of a love letterSometimes, I think you forgot me.the opposite of a love letter4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
To admit it, most days I've forgotten you, too. But sometimes a moment comes along that feels like you in my bones, and suddenly you're crashing through my veins, riding my pulse straight to my heart. And you sit in my chest, heavy and unwelcome, and it's hard to breathe because I cannot shut off the reel of memories playing in my head. So I close my eyes and count to ten, breathe evenly and steadily, tell myself that you are miles and years away. But I wake up the next morning with a dry taste in my mouth and a hollowness somewhere in the pit of my stomach and you're hanging onto me like a shadow even though it's already high noon.
You are a seasonal affliction. During the winter you are buried with the sunlight, but the moment the heat rises and the days lengthen, I can feel you. Last Tuesdays I drove for no reason with the windows down, the scent of fresh rain on hot pavement and shaved grass slapping my face, and it smelled like the curve of your c
wanderlustshe was a s e v e n t e e n year old girl from nowhere [or was it everywhere?] with dark hair and long eyelashes and skin that was always pale white. when she was young she played in the poppy fields of greece and when she got older her tongue started yearning to speak italian and russian so that she could travel to other far off places.wanderlust4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
she was born on a friday between two ice storms, and the first word she ever heard was b e a u t y. her mama told her that when she first opened her dark blue eyes, her pupil was surrounded by a ring of pure white. the blue stayed but the white turned to green [and from then on her eyes were always her favorite feature].
she always had nightmares, never good dreams, but maybe that's because she could never stop d r e a m i n g with her eyes open. all she ever wanted was dirt roads and stars and mud under her fingernails.
[maybe one day, when she's older, she'll take a crinkly old map and
CelebrationThe night begins with bile-blocked throat and half-sandy eyes. Atop sheets that haven't been changed in forever, atop a bed that is sour with lakes of sweat, I roll over and retch. The floor is a million miles away. I seem to be clinging to a puffy white cliff. There is a metallic stench that shoves itself up my nose, my mouth, and with it, a drip-drop sound. There is someone else in my room.Celebration3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I sit up just as an insistent whisper starts. "Who's there?" I say loudly.
"Calm down, Quint. Be still, Emma. We're discovered, Veronica."
The voice mumbles and fumbles, but also somehow shines with a proud, dignified youthfulness. Though my stomach has not quite settled, I swing off the bed to investigate. My hands spread and swim as if through cobwebs. Icy fingertips tap my nape, and I stifle a scream. I turn. There's a girl, young, maybe eleven. Hair a dark and voluminous curtain, eyes rapid-blinking sirens.
"Hello there, friend," she says.
"Hello," I say, my heart slowing because I know
Dear StrangerDear Stranger,Dear Stranger3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I hope you are reading this letter before you have gone outside. I imagine you will have a few questions on your mind when you see how things are out there. Luckily, you happen to have this conveniently placed "doggy-door" through which I have slipped the letter you now hold in your hands.
First, I would like to apologize for the state of your mailbox. By this point I imagine you have ventured outside and seen a few things worth the raising of an eyebrow or two and I assure you, all will be explained. The mailbox. I am deeply sorry for the condition it is in. You may notice that the box itself is hanging askew, the flag seems to have disappeared(I searched high and low, I promise.), and the post seems to be broken in several places though I have done my best to repair it with duct tape. It might also be worth mentioning that it has been moved several feet to the left.
You see I was driving home late last night from work (They have me working another man's shift while
High (First Draft)My Dear,High (First Draft)3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I must confess. I never told you, but I got high once. And once before that.
The first time was the day I met you. In that old bookstore we touched fingers among the fiction shelves reaching for a Joyce. An awkward moment made majestic when you laughed. I knew right then and there. This girl is outside my comfort zone. Then you took my hand. As you led me through the aisles, I ran my fingers across the books and prayed inwardly for osmosis to give me the right words to say.
And like some Forrest and Jenny escapade, we were off. We took turns riding the rolling ladder across the biography shelves. We encouraged an Asian boy in the self-help aisle. We asked the clerk, "Where in the dickens is Dickens!" He rolled his eyes. So we tipped him. We recited Hemingway for the war history buffs and Geisel for everyone else. We laughed at an old lady, blushing and shivering, leafing through the romance novels. And when she heard us, we blew her kisses. Peas and carrots. Hair an
SacredI want your breath in mineSacred3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Your heartbeats like the most beautiful bass I've ever danced to
Your laugh like my favorite song
And my name spilling from your tongue in a gasping prayer
Y(our) arms, legs, fingers twining like overgrown ivy, clinging to my crumbling walls
I want this to be the best disaster to ever happen
in the twin bed that is too small for us,
but much too empty for me.
I want to do the most unholy things
(although isn't this as sacred as you can get?)
I want to pin you down
Take you in
With your eyes and your hands and your grin
And, damn, your skin skin skin.
CharlieI had a stalker.Charlie3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I didn't know his name but I'm sure he knew mine.
I called him Charlie.
He always had a camera hanging from his twig thick neck and he cradled it in his hands; a wispy finger stroking the shutter release. His dark brown hair was a curly mess and his shirts wrinkly and thin. He had the most perfect eyebrows, sweeping and gentle. He must have the most captivating eyes, I thought every time he'd glance my way. We'd never made eye contact. Charlie preferred it that way.
He came into the bookstore once a week, not to watch me leaf through the used books or reach high to shelve the approved ones, but to actually browse them. He read the unknowns; the virgins with their unbroken spines. I imagine he liked the smell of them aromas preserved for him alone. Charlie appreciated the books wearing dusty coats and factory perfume a decade old.
The rest of the time he spent on the outside looking in. My co-workers were tickled pink. "What a geek." "Poor guy doesn't realize you
StayHe doesn't know her very well. He really doesn't.Stay4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
But he wants her. He wants her like
-like, for example, he stayed online until one in the morning, until he saw the little green bubble next to her name, telling him she's there, and he lets out a breath he didn't know he was holding.
She makes him laugh.
He makes her blush, and loves when she does it, how she hides her face in her hair, and dimples crease her cheeks.
She says things he doesn't even have to ask her to say, because she just knows. She knows he's as insecure as everyone else is, but the thing is, she doesn't mind.
He knows her heart is glass, and he doesn't want to hurt her, he really doesn't, but when there's an ocean and miles and miles and miles, it's inevitable.
He knows there's more than one way to break someone's heart. And she knows this, too, but at least he won't have to be around to see it happen.
But he wants her like sleep. He hasn't slept like this in so long.
She makes him sleep and sleep and stay.
The Cartographer's DaughterEvery night, he would fold her into his arms before she slept. Creases grew into her, turning brown with wear, and she loved them. When she woke up in the night, dreaming of darkness, he would take her to his desk and draw for her a map of her face, turning it into another world. Tracing the contours of her smile, he would scrawl a warning, "Here be monsters", whispering to her that she was a dragon when angry.The Cartographer's Daughter4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
As she grew older, she populated his maps with creatures and peoples from the books she read, or her own creations. He taught her to draw, and to write with an old inkpen, in a cursive script her teacher could make neither head nor tail of. She made him angry once, drawing in the drying sand with her finger, and smudging the ink. When he was angry, mountain ranges grew across his forehead and caverns opened in his cheeks. Here be lions.
Walking home from school, she knew the local area inside out; from the maps he had drawn and taught her. He would copy them onto o
BlueI am completely in blue today.Blue6 years ago in General More Like This
"Rhapsody in Blue," you murmur. I shake my head.
"No, just blue."
"Nothing is 'just' anything with you."
Blue because it's the color of the sky when I'm happiest, water (the same shade as the sky), the cover of my favorite book-of-the-moment (I'm always reading something different), and my cousin's eyes.
Red is your favorite color because it's the color of autumn leaves, fire, your mother's hair, and the ink I'm using (it's smudging onto my hands).
We Summer Salt dizzily through the ocean tide. You find red coral and I find my blue water.
"Mix blue and red and what do you get?" I ask.
"Purple..." you answer hesitantly. I grin.
"I never really liked purple," I tell you.
You distract me by k
The Rainfall KidThere are raindrops on his fingersa glistening cluster of perfectly silver droplets that read like some shining, ethereal roadway mapthe night that he comes for her with the thunder of a summer storm rolling forward on his footsteps. The low rumble of it jolts her from a book induced slumber, the cover rough beneath hands and the jumble of last-read letters blurring on the underside of blinking eyelids as rain begins to fall. Although it's almost been longer than memory will allow, she knows that there is no mistaking the sudden upheaval of the outside world for anything other than his arrivalafter all, it hasn't stormed in years.The Rainfall Kid3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Soon enough, her shoulders and the soles of her bare feet are collecting water along with the hardback that had slipped, forgotten, through outstretched fingersnow laying broken-spined with white pages exposed and its words all bleeding together in thin rivers of smudged ink. The leafless trees seem to shudder, emerging from
anemic, broken, and growing up anywaywhen my sister was five, she dictated a letter to me in her strong little voiceanemic, broken, and growing up anyway4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
while dust drifted in the sunshine
of our creaky old room.
dear me [she said],
barney is the best. i will wear blue all the time even though i'm a girl. my heart beats without me telling it to and that's pretty cool. i think people always feel better if you tell them you love them. i will always smile because i have dimples when i smile.
"did you write it?" she asked, and i told her i did, every word
with the chunky yellow pencil i'd fished out of my school bag.
i handed her the letter, and she folded it up carefully
and she smiled.
when my sister was fifteen, she was a little bit broken
anemic and pale, with unsure hair and shaky hands.
when i came home to visit she whispered to me that
she didn't understand
and when i asked her what she didn't understand, she said
she wrote another letter that night.
dear me [it said],
this isn't a suicide note. this isn't another angsty poem. this
For Sarah, Forever AgoI worked the midnight shift last night. It was the sort of night where you body feels so heavy that your mind just starts floating away. I was exhausted, worn. Sleep reached for my heart like a vigilante reaching for a gun, and I couldn't stop thinking of you.For Sarah, Forever Ago4 years ago in Letters More Like This
You filled my head with poetry.
I could write something beautiful, that it was a clear night and the stars were out, that the moon shone above me like a love song in the sky. But it wasn't. The clouds were low and heavy and the streetlights painted the sky orange.
It was the kind of night that makes you feel trapped. The kind when there's no one alive but you, no sound but your heartbeat, a wolf howling and a siren in the distance. The kind when I decided that the world isn't big enough for us. The nights that turn into sunrises the sunrises that break apart the horizon and pull the breath from your lungs.
You know the nights I'm talking about.
The nights when the wind lashed our lips like we were sky-sailing to
SunriseYou say my name like a poem you will never write. You look at me like a sunrise you'll never witness because if you stayed to watch, I would be real, instead of being just the promise of something beautiful beneath the horizon. You touch me like a question I can never answer, like words I scratched into your back that you can't quite read, like the only phrase in your vocabulary is "what if." I don't know how to fix this. I don't know how to use tools or how to follow directions. All I have are my two hands and the sheer determination to do something right for once in my life.Sunrise4 years ago in Emotional More Like This
I'll duct tape phone lines and life lines and fault lines back together. I'll peel off my nail polish and rub my skin raw, so you can see I'm not a sunrise, I'm just me, don't worry. I'm not. I'll pretend I can hear your heartbeat in your smile and I'll let you think I can handle myself just fine.
You pinned the butterflies in my stomach against the cage of my ribs and tied the corners of my mouth to transcontine
The Hour-What would you do if you only had an hour to live?The Hour3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
-You heard me.
-Well... I guess I'd call everyone I love and tell them how much I care. Then, I'd... I'd sit down and spend whatever was left with you.
-How sweet. But really, what would you do?
-First, we'd have amazing sex. Then, we'd have mind-blowing sex. Then we'd have sex that showed us that there really is a god. After that, in whatever time I had left before the end, I'd post a Facebook status telling everyone how much I love them.
-That's a bit more honest. Now, what if after this hour was up, you just went back to the beginning of it like nothing had happened, but you were the only one who remembered?
-Okay... now you've lost me.
-You have one hour. After that hour, everything goes dark, and next thing you know you're back here, having this conversation with me all over again. But I don't remember, only you do.
-Like... in Groundhog Day?
-Yeah. Like in Groundhog Day.
-I guess I'd... hm. I'd do all the thi
The Solipsist's LotThere's something about yourself that you don't know. You probably don't remember the circumstances very well, but I do. If you enjoy things the way they are, if you revel in even the smallest speck of ignorance, you need not read ahead. I won't force you. But from what I know of you, you don't like secrets. Especially not when they are about you.The Solipsist's Lot4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
You see, when you were born, so at once was everyone else. Your mother, she sprang into existence, just like that, the instant your tiny infant brain achieved the smallest semblance of self-awareness. Woven out of the ether, she remembered everything that never happened, and she looked down at you, cradled and squirming in her loving arms.
"Oh," she said. "So here is life."
The doctor was there too, although a moment before if there ever was a moment before he was not. He just nodded, smiling assuredly, and said, "Here is the beginning."
JarsMy childhood home, a gray, old farm house, sat nestled near the small town of McKean Pennsylvania. My father moved us there from Pittsburgh in 1954 when I was no taller than a limp potato sack. I was their only child at the time. He said the city was no place to raise a family. We needed room to run and explore and my mother needed a quiet place to work on her writing. However, in three years of living there she gave birth to four of my brothers. So much for peace and quiet. There must have been something in the water.Jars4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Folks in town liked to whisper about that house like it was some kind of architectural Jezebel. By the time I could spell my own name I had heard dozens of rumors and stories surrounding our home. There were certainly enough to keep my young mind racing through many sleepless nights. Some of the more elaborate stories suggest a mass murder of the previous occupants by their deranged
love is coming home--i don't write about God.love is coming home--4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
i don't write about God because it's writing about love, it's writing about faith, it's writing about trust and hope and belief and pain, the kind of gut-wrenching betrayal you feel when you've given up and you're waiting for someone to save you, only nobody ever does.
and who else are you going to blame?
it's easy to write about a God you don't believe in. it's easy to pour out all your hate and anger and hurt and deepest, darkest broken fears and fling them from your fingertips and scream, this is not God! it's easy to believe in nothing.
it's not easy to believe.
believing is opening yourself to the pain. it's letting go and falling back with your eyes closed, your heart in your throat because you can't see whether there's anyone waiting to catch you. and what if you hit the ground? what if there are no hands waiting to embrace you? what if there's nobody waiting at the beginning, when you finally turn around ready to try again; what if there's
Go ForthDear Sixteen-Year-Old-Me,Go Forth3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I'm pretty sure you're afraid of what hasn't come yet it's a long way off in your head. I'm pretty sure you're also smarter than you think you are, because that's usually how it works, you know. You should trust yourself more. And trust people to like you for you who are.
You sit like a dude. Sometimes you don't brush your hair or look both ways when crossing the street. You sing when you wash the dishes. You pick holes in your tights, and bite your nails, and chew on plastic. You make Post-It paper cranes and Valentines with too much glitter. Although, really, when is there ever such a thing as too much glitter? You forget doctor's appointments; you were never good at being patient anyway. You've never been kissed and you know there's more than one way to break someone's heart. You are an unnatural disaster. You are good at making friends and excuses.
But remember that you are perfect; your own brand of perfect.
And did you know that what matters most
Lion HeartIt is building up deep within her fragile body like a heaving monsoon forming over the dry, cracked, heavy heat of an African savannah; an unforgiving and all-consuming storm desperately willing to drown out its less than fleeting welcome. Flickering with ceaseless coils of skin-searing energy like a grey-faced fugitive's adrenaline stricken heartbeat, it is not a bringer of life, but a threat to itand even the most reckless are hardwired to take flight in the face of such a colossal and uncompromising foe.Lion Heart3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Beyond these white-washed walls, the world would have her believe that she is brave, a lioness, an exception confronted by the inevitable; but outrunning the storm is no longer an option, and she has never felt more betrayed. Slowly, it is emanating from her heart and through the pulmonary arterythere, free to roll and crash, it engulfs her lungs in a terrible thunder that rattles the brittle bones holding her together. The ominous feeling that has settled into
SycophantI like to think that if I tore my dress and mussed my hair and rubbed your anger like rouge across my cheeks, you'd notice. I like to hope that bending over backwards isn't the only trick you'll ask of me; that jumping through hoops ringed in fire is a feat to be applauded, not expected. But the truth is that you are so much better at spite than hate - you're like me in that sense - and if I penned your eulogy across my skin you'd tell me that I'd never get a job with a tattoo that ugly. The truth is that you could color me like a sunrise with that slap across the face, and I would only turn the other cheek and tell you, "A little too much backhand, dear; would you like to try again?"Sycophant6 years ago in Emotional More Like This