Porch Swingi. It's December,
the warm part of winter
snow is a blanket
and the fireplace crackles.
We eye the elephant-package
covered in crumpled birthday paper.
The paper flies
beneath it we gasp,
and the boys and girls
smile and take our picture.
ii. We're safe
from the April showers
beneath the roof of our porch.
We swing back and forth
for the first time.
I place my head
in the crevice
between your shoulder
and your neck.
We talk for two hours
about the azaleas.
iii. Our daughter's
runs through the sprinkler
watering the dry August grass.
She sits in the middle
on our cheeks
iv. You were the one
who wanted the apple trees.
We eat Honeygolds,
though we ought to wait
You stand up
to get another one,
from the lowest branch.
I stay on the porch
and pick at the peeling paint
on the arm of the swing.
v. By February,
has gone and passed,
and I didn't get
The Man in the Coffee ShopThe man who works at the coffee shop looks like you. I noticed this some time ago and have since frequented the place. He recognizes me now. He smiles at me when I come in. His smile even looks like yours. He doesn't say hey though- you always said hey.The Man in the Coffee Shop4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I still work at the library even though you're not there.
Sometimes I look over to your desk and expect to see you typing at your computer, but someone else is there now. It's not you.
Sometimes someone will come in who looks like you. Maybe he will have the same hair, same stature, same profile, same laugh, same voice. It's never been you.
Sometimes I drive myself crazy. I pull at my hair and scream 'till my lungs burst. I scream for and at you. I ask how you could have left me here.
Sometimes I allow myself to believe that I will see you again. By chance we will run into each other in a Wal-Mart far away.
I go to the coffee shop on Tuesday afternoons. I order a small chai tea with milk.
Sometimes the man is working at th
PersephoneI fed herPersephone3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and she cried
at every frozen sunrise
for 180 days.
With cracks in my heart
caught in my hair
I counted 180 more.
telling a sad story backwards-17.telling a sad story backwards-6 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
it smells like grief and sterilized metal.
i climb into andrews bed, though the nurses have strictly forbidden it. he closes his eyes and holds me tightly, because he says when he cant see me, it is easier to pretend i never happened to him.
he pushes the cart aggressively down the aisle, pretending to mow over old ladies doing their sunday shopping.
"stop," i say giggling, lobbing a can of ravioli at him.
for a moment i think he simply didn't see me throw the can; it glances off his chest and falls to the floor, exploding in a pattern of red arrows. i don't notice his eyes rolling back in his head or the graceful way his body collapses to the floor.
the only thing i notice is the distinct thudding sound as his head hits the metal shelf and the screaming that may or may not be mine.
later in the hospital he calls for me and says he wants to apologize for keeping secrets, and the doctors launch into a medical explanation of his cancer.
their eyes are sad.
Death"Do you fear death?"Death4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The question loomed in the air before my body, as if a sword looming over someone almost conquered by their enemy. But I looked down at my hands and then back up, only to say, "Have you ever felt the pain of watching two lovers embrace at the end of a movie? It's supposed to be a happy ending. But your heart tells your lungs to stop breathing for just a minute because it will never ever be yours."
"Do you fear death?"
A question repeated deserves an answer. But instead, my trembling hands sat clenched on my lap, the blue ink like veins showing through the frail covering that might rip apart any second. "Do you know what it's like to wake up in the middle of the night to hear a song, just to remind yourself, you're going to be all right? Over and over again until it doesn't work anymore."
"Do you fear death?"
The invisible chain linked through my fingers, and I closed my tired eyes, this time, hearing the impatience in th
LiminalI woke after thirteen hours of sleepLiminal3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and when I looked in the mirror,
there were still bruise-purple
crescent moons beneath my eyes.
tired no longer comes from a
lack of sleep—it has reached a state
of permanence, engraving itself
into my bones. When you ask
how I am, I will now answer:
cold and tired.
It was later that night when I
tasted the liquor cabinet
to see what all the fuss was about.
Whiskey burns as it goes down
and settles in the cavity of the heart,
encompassing it with a hug
that a lover will never reach.
I now want to know if I will
ever be able to melt.
I used to close my eyes beneath
the night sky, as everything in the
universe was staring me down,
and beg that one of the
billions of beings out there
would make me smaller.
If that tiny girl
in a big open field,
beneath the big open sky,
who hadn't ever seen the big open sea,
got her wish,
would she even be able to see
herself in the mirror?
Oh Dear.He is an Oscar Wilde inspired man-poetOh Dear.4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Whose subjects are as real as glass.
He is a silly chorus boy
Spending far too much time in the music room.
He is a reader,
Who hums to himself while his eyes float across the page.
He is real-
But I don't even know his name.
And I am already infatuated.
Grandfather's BirdGrandfather had a pet bird. Just a small, yellow and white parakeet; he named it Georgie, after Grandmother. Every morning, he would wake up at 6 o'clock, make a pot of coffee, grab the newspaper, and feed the small bird a small pile of birdseed. And he would gently carry the birdcage, and place it on the table and talk to her as he drank his coffee and read the newspaper.Grandfather's Bird4 years ago in Scraps More Like This
"Gas prices are up again Georgie, geez, remember when we could pay 20¢ to fill up our car?"
And sometimes the bird almost chirped in response. Years and years went by, and Grandfather grew older, and he could no longer carry the bird off the shelf, but he would still feed and talk to her at 6 o'clock.
One morning, Grandfather found himself barely able to make it out of bed. He still made his way into the kitchen to feed his dear bird. His hand shook and some birdseed fell to the floor as he carefully moved into the tray into the cage. He slowly made his way to the table so that he could sit down.
Passionate IndifferenceTo say that I have lovedPassionate Indifference4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Would imply that I feel
Something more than
Inside Out"I think I wear my soul inside out."Inside Out4 years ago in Emotional More Like This
"My soul. It's inside out."
"That's a strange thing to say."
"I have all the symptoms though."
"And what are the symptoms of this disea-"
"It's not a disease."
"All right. What are the symptoms, then?"
"I care too much about all the wrong things, I worry about odd things, my heart breaks too easily and my brain feels a little too asymmetrical to the things that are supposed to be fun."
"You know parties and alcohol and normal things. Like that."
"Nothing. What do you care too much about?"
"Everything. Global warming. The whales. Aliens. Israel. Sarajevo. The Ozone-"
"I get it. Everything that counts and you can do nothing about by yourself."
"You sound cynical."
"You sound paranoid."
"It's just honest. What worries you?"
"The fact that you are too self involved to notice."
"If I disappear."
"You idiot. Ofcourse I will notice if you disappear. I'd not
For My DaughterDear daughter-I-do-not-have-yet,For My Daughter3 years ago in Letters More Like This
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
Every Dog Has Its DayThere once was a dog who wandered the streets. He was a kindly dog who did not have a home.Every Dog Has Its Day4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Sometimes, he would see families at the park playing with their dogs. How he wished he were one of those dogs. After a time, he decided that he would try to befriend one of the children that played in the park. He was overcome with excitement and haphazardly ran toward a child while yelling "Hello!" over and over again. He had almost reached the child when, suddenly, he felt a sharp pain in his side. A man had kicked him causing him to yelp in pain. He never went back to the park again.
Despite that incident, it did not deter him from trying to find someone who wanted him. The dog promised himself that if he should ever find someone to love him, he would return that love a hundredfold.
One rainy morning, as he was searching for food, he happened to come across a pet store. Inside, he saw dozens of
2nd person fiction and YouYou like fiction written in the second person. You may not admit it to yourself, but deep down, you really do. It teases you with its confrontational otherness, its flamboyantly displayed post-modernism, its teeth.2nd person fiction and You4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Do not look at its teeth. You do not want to look at its teeth.
Fiction written in the second person and you have a long history of denial. At first, you were sure it couldn't be done. Then it was done, and it was done to you, and you liked it, too, but it was only the one time and you were kind of drunk. It was an experiment, and it was interesting as an experiment, but that was all it was.
Only, of course, it wasn't.
Fiction written in the second person has invaded your dreams, and what's worse, your sexual fantasies. You'd be picturing a luscious blonde, rubbing her rubbables, yearning for your touch, when suddenly a voice would pop into your head, calmly narrating what you were doing: "You are picturing a luscious blonde," the voice would say, "rubbing her rubbables. Hey
And So Ii.And So I4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I wrote our love story on the Internet for the world to read. The bored teenagers with their witty usernames commented on every sappy blog post, wishing me luck and cuddles through a combination of punctuation marks and letters that was supposed to resemble a face.
And it was glorious.
I reveled in you like my dog reveled in the snow that sometimes fell at the beginning of January excited, but too small. And so I sank.
Come to think of it, I never particularly liked snow. It makes the world cold and is only pretty until people mess it up. Plus, the snow that we get around here is never more than slush, and the only reason to cancel school is the black ice on the roads.
And, come to think of it, I never really needed you.
Who are you? I suppose I'll never know. I do not even think that I want to. I never even knew you back then you were a fantasy, something my disillusioned teenage mind conjured up from a tangle of hormones and a misplaced compliment.
All I knew was
My Mother and the BoyWhen that boy left, he left Mama a wreck. She sat in that creaky old kitchen rocker, her thin hair disheveled above clammy, transluscent skin, her black, birdlike eyes glittering like beetles, sunken and strange in her pale face. She moaned whenever anyone passed, but without looking at them, her hands in frantic and mechanical motion knitting row after row of snarled thread. "I let that boy into my house!" she muttered. Occasionally she would get up and pace back and forth across the kitchen, restlessly wiping at various surfaces with a greying little dish towel clutched in her bony fingers.My Mother and the Boy5 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Then Joey and I went off to school, and she was alone in the big house, filling the silence only with her own mutterings and the anxious clicking of her knitting needles. The neighbors would grab our sleeve on our way out sometimes, and ask if she was still alive in there, because she never showed her face.
One day, when I drove down to visit Mama, I found her stan
Goodbyei. He looked at me over the tops of his glassesGoodbye5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
It was the first time I had truly seen his eyes
And the last
ii. I looked at the coffee stain on his shirt
I didn't want him to see the tears in my eyes
But I know he saw them fall to my feet
iii. I stuffed my hands back in my pockets
I was afraid to look back as I walked out the door
He the one going,
But I felt that I was leaving him
BraveryOn Saturday the twenty-first of January, Elliot took a gun, pressed it to the strip of bone between his eyes, and shot himself. The bullet shattered the frontal bone of his skull, warping his features past recognition, and burrowed through his pre-frontal cortex into the midbrain. He died before the sound stopped echoing through his empty apartment.Bravery5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
This story isn't about that.
I worked with Elliot for only a little while—less than six months. Most of what I knew about him came from his desk. Unlike the smaller ones the secretaries and other reporters had, it was a stately, imposing thing. It would've been terrifying, especially to a mousy little girl like me, but it was covered in paperweights and spare pens and pictures of people hunting ducks. Anyway, Elliot himself denied fear: he was middle-aged, poised on the cusp between forty and fifty. His hair had already turned grey, but he didn't dye it, like he hadn't noticed he was getting older or just didn't care. He smiled more t
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
One LoveI'm not enough.One Love4 years ago in Emotional More Like This
I'm not super-human, not a hero either. I'm just me. Me. And what I am might not be what you need.
But I'll try.
I can promise you as much. I can try to be what you need and I can do it for the rest of my life. If I could just nearly be what you need, what he was, it'll be enough. It has to be enough because I'm not the perfect piece, I'm misshaped and confused and so madly in love with you.
Yet I'm not him.
I'll never be.
You loved him. And part of you, the one he took, always will. I can only hope the small part left can learn not to long after the one missing. I can only hope it'll learn to move on and someday - perhaps who knows? will notice me.
Sometimes I just I I just want to be everything to you.
People don't call me a fool for no reason, you know? Though I prefer to think of myself as an idealist and show them wrong. I know... I know they're wrong. I can be everything to somebody else; I can fulfil my lover's every need
the artist.01.the artist.4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the sky was earl grey
and the clouds were steamy sips
and i wanted to drink it all.
the leaves were star yellow
and the bark smelled of coffee
and the bakery was selling a moon made out of cheese.
there was an old man on a bench
he threw his wedding band in the sewer
i cried for him.
the birds were dreams
and the mountains, my obstacles,
tally ho young adventurer tally ho
i ran into an artist today
he drew signs on corner post buildings
but he also gave his lunch to a homeless boy.
my mom holds black holes beneath her eyes
and for the first time in days, she spoke to me,
"i'm worried about you. try to make some friends?"
dear mom, i am trying
i played chess with a man in the park
i helped a girl find her parents
i am content with who i am, mom,
now i am just trying to help others achieve the same.
i ran into the artist again today
and he taught me how to paint
and then he smiled at me and said, "you're different than the rest."
we made plans, me and
Piano PlayingI am a pianistPiano Playing4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
And you are my piano, dear.
I play minuets along your ribcage,
Write love songs on your arms,
And press your vertebrae like keys
To let soft chords fill the empty space.
Your hairs are the resounding strings,
Your lips are polished brass pedals
That make everything loud and soft at the same time.
Kissing you makes the whole world shift up an octave.
I am a pianist
And you are my piano, dear
So let's write a duet in the dark.
The Business of Murder"Well, now that we're through with the pleasantries, Mr. Daniels, I must ask: Why is it that you want to die?"The Business of Murder4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Joseph Daniels sighed and slumped down in his seat, the picture of unkemptness. His face looked tired, with large bags underneath his eyes and at least three days' worth of stubble. His hair was a mess, his clothes were disheveled. He seemed to exude an aura of despair.
He surveyed the room he was in, which was quite his opposite: neat, orderly, unremarkable. Blank, white walls, some filing cabinents, three windows looking out on downtown. He was sitting in a plain, wooden chair in front of a plain, wooden desk with merely a fake houseplant and laptop on top.
The woman behind the desk, typing notes on the laptop, was similarly forgettable. She was dressed in a black pantsuit, her dark brown hair in a bun. Her eyes were blue, but otherwise ordinary. She wore little makeup on her plain face. She was as unremarkable as the room, which was how she liked it.
She had introduced hers
StarsIt isStars4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
when our eyes
I see you
reflected in your eyes
you don't feel
Coffee-Stained LetterDear Stranger,Coffee-Stained Letter4 years ago in Letters More Like This
You don't know me. And I don't know you. Maybe it's better that way. But then again, maybe we would be happier if we did know each other.
Right now, I'm sitting at my desk, with the sunlight streaming in the window, writing this letter for you. Hopefully I'll finish it by tonight, so that tomorrow I can take it to the coffee shop on the corner and drop it on the floor, or in your lap, or maybe in the lap of the person next to you so they can give it to you...because they don't seem like the type to read it, so they'll obviously just pass it on.
I like music - except terrible rap. And I love the written word more than most, it baffles some of my friends sometimes. I wonder, do you like to read? I have the tiniest tattoo I've ever seen, it's a tiny fairy on my ankle, but you can't see her unless you're looking for her and know where to look...like a real fairy, they're good at hiding too you know. I saw a fairy once. She was hiding behind the strawberries in my garden. I t
Moving On“No.” It was all I could say, taking in the carnage of what had just last night been my pristine kitchen. I wanted to collapse onto a chair, but they – and our spacious table – were covered in miscellany. Cleaning supplies, random knick-knacks from the living room, a thermometer, a scale. It was all there, strewn about.Moving On2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
My legs were shaking, and I fought the urge to cry. So messy. So dirty. No, no, no. I collapsed onto the shoe bench in between the Franco Sarto and the Gucci. I don't know where Giesswein had gone. I wished I could blame it on burglars, but no.
“She's doing it again!” I called, and my husband came running into the kitchen. We watched his mother rearrange my cabinets, turning tea-cup handles to the left instead of the right. My hands twitched.
“Ma, stop it!” he said, exasperation coloring his voice. “Put these things back, they were fine where they were!”
"No," she said, her voice heavily-accented. "I will take