Norah

United States

18 | she/they | hypothetical astronaut | ekphrastic poet | haunted house

Message from Writer

Profile picture is a painting from the Rothko Chapel in Houston
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I look at the moon and go: "wow, that's my wife!"
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Currently Reading:
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez / Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? edited by Maya Schenwar

Published Work

Flash Fiction Competition 2020

John Muir

John Muir gives you a bird which has forgotten to fly away. He folds your hands over it like a gift. 

You open them and it rustles, aftermath of wind.

“It’s wrong,” you say, and all around you the forest gleams with scarcity. Many miles away you feel bulldozers break skin in the Amazon, their own kind of animal.

Muir sits next to you, humming something so old it must be stolen.

You lift the bird to your face.

Muir is satisfied that he has asked the right questions. 

He has not, you know, and swallow the bird anyways.  

On Realizing I Am American

 

  1. When I board a bus on foreign soil they have been taught my tongue in classrooms, I do not touch a dictionary once.
  2. And we tell them we’re from Canada, because Canada isn’t on the news nearly as much or because like all animals we fear retribution.
  3. Look, you don’t choose the big rock you’re born on or when, since Pangea ceased to exist things have been pretty much going to shit, any of the microbial ocean spit, the primordial ooze snacking off deep sea chimneys could tell you that. This country, hypocrite, changeable and unflinching both, has written its own history too many times to count. Babble. A cacophony banned in most places of education, sifted, false gold.
  4. They carve men into mountains and don’t mention the wars unless it suits them.
  5. I have wanted to leave.
  6. But America, one of many lumbering, slowly dying things, like all dying things, has weeds poking out of the sidewalk.
  7. I...

Letter Writing Competition 2020

where is my coming of age summer, sweetheart

Dear J—,

Thank you for the post-it notes. 

Summer’s dragging its feet. It feels like almost yesterday we were at F—’s apartment eating frosting off of spoons. I was reading Heart of Darkness on the orange line. That was the same day someone jumped. Again. And you were on the train when the conductor came on the intercom. You’re always so nonchalant about things that clearly rattle you.

I almost missed my meeting at the waterfront because of the delay. And these were the things we worried about, the things we thought about, fought about our feelings on. Public transit. I would give anything to take the bus again. 

If we were in a pandemic coming-of-age movie there would have to be a lot of time skips. I remember the last time I saw you both before the pandemic (March) better than any of the times since. 

And now I feel stagnant. Like, maybe it’s the pandemic or maybe I...

what happens when we assign blame


and brain is malleable, eats video for dinner like nothing could ever be wrong in the world. it's been decided by the woman who lives in the computer and whom I love to kiss like I might be drowning. tongue and cheek, flailing out the portal to the rest of the world. and yes we’ll talk about pixels, red lipstick, the poison, the slow-acting acid like a 50s femme fatale, her eyes neon, flickering, soft as static on desktop plastic; as horror as fluorescent light. we pretended it was safe for the first few moments, the seconds before the self-fulfillment of a big bang tech-boom and now she’s got her hands gripped around the reins. she has the switches and the buttons and the gas pedal down to breaking.

and this is not the op-ed you read about the internet making us compost, making us rot, making us slouch or cancer or mutate muscle into sand. this is the op-ed...

geese


the presidents gather beneath the mountain chattering like geese, geese who share the highest office, country club (club or country) they share civilities or coffee at the all-you-can-eat buffet and don’t mention the wars, the mountain says: I will be here when there are no presidents and they nod nervously, wondering if the mountain knows what history it bears, they cough, make excuses to leave the mountain says: there is nothing and nothing you can do to stop time, I am in attendance at every funeral and one day this stone will be sand, the bone beneath me will rejoice, the sun will smell like nothing and like the land the presidents don’t enjoy the idea of time or that their place is the keeping of it, that their place is to watch the dissolve of their faces to dust

The Unseen

introduction: the worldwide web


you just hate not knowing
line in the sand, beach day,
the way the world can tip and bob
away from sane, yellow cocktail
sprouts wings and flies
bird of paradise 
the CIA dissolves its records
calmly, frame of reference two inches
off and you watch from the shore
as music pours from the sky
with no one, no one to tell you 
how history stretches and stretches
to meet itself

The Fight for Justice

some educational counter-points to things I have seen people say about current events (+free resources)

The sentiments that everyone is writing today are good to see. It’s necessary as young people to join this fight. So I agree, yes, we should all stand with BLM, yes we need to fight against injustice and educate ourselves. There is one thing I am inclined to disagree with some people about that I have been educated about in my activism. When we center the conversations around the “fighting and rioting” we draw attention away from the real issues, the issues that caused the rioting and fighting.

Now, I know there are a lot of looters and rioters that are not with the BLM cause, who are taking advantage of the situation for their own purposes. 

But I also know that there are black people who are rioting and looting because it is their form of protesting, it is their anger at centuries of oppression. To decry the looting and rioting is to decry that anger. Or, better put,...

Sedna & Qailertetang

My lover is angry. She wears her anger cold, and calls all her creatures to her, sending currents spirally in their unforeseen wake. 

“They will not eat,” she bites into the water as I settle the seals and walruses into their guest rooms. “The men, the birds, they will starve.” 

It is bittersweet, this time we spend with our many children. They warm our section of the sea, but this time together is ripped through with her pacing, her ranting, her angry tears. The seals nudge at her ankles, she looks at them with terrible longing. They were once part of her.

I brush her hair in our bed, because she cannot do it herself. She always touches my face with her face instead of her hands, which lack their fingers. She’ll draw my hair behind my ear with her nose and I will take her head in my hands and tell her that vengeance is blackening her soul.

The...

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2020

you want to talk about their cities:


skyscrapers traded for the sub-basement
dwellings of immigrants, orange in their woven blankets
and vegetable dyes.
 
as if, in all our history as living things
tearing the last breath out of a husk that is
a home,
 
it is such a shameful thing that they
have only the dust to colonize; to sweep into corners
as it seeps from the ground, as alien
as any sand can be.
 
and what do you think it means to arrive on foreign dirt? 
and what say you to the inheritance of the Earth,
with their narrow windows and dark greenhouses?
 
the Martians cup water from red bedrock,
smooth basins into stone.
 
it is not the water which flowed in the rivers of your youth,
and maybe you feel that loss,
but they do not.
 
they grow their greens in glass jars like your grandmother might have,
and await the arms of someone that they love.
 
you...

spring on mars | #agustdv2020


forgive us, but we had to—  
cracked the CO2 canisters like
eggs, made rock into bulb under
the unforgiving nausea of the sun,
turned sand into soft dirt.

not yet, but soon,
like propagating tulips,
the face of this new planet
will be unrecognizable from our own,
no longer a stranger, all of our
transgressions slipped under a 
carpet of moss and loam, tangled in 
the roots of new carrots, new trees.

oh! for spring on mars, bright as 
a birthday card, sweet as the overripe
plum of the earth, it would be worth it. 

ring like a bell through the night

Rhiannon’s fingertips are dyed black. She sits, legs on either side of a bar stool, the ends of her mud-stained skirts touching the floorboards. You’ve never met a woman like this before. She slams down her drink and coin, gambles on nothing, laughs like thunder, and wins like her life depends on it.

“Gentlemen,” she says, when it’s almost morning, and quite a few men want to win their money back, “it has been a pleasure.” As she grabs her riding cloak from the back of her chair the room bursts into a mix of inebriated cheers and boos.

She laughs, and bows as she leaves, her hair hiding her smile. 

You follow her out of the bar, almost against your will. Her muddy white dress, the golden rings on her fingers, the way she could capture an entire room with her eyes, just her eyes, darker than the river rocks, it hooked you like you were a fish on...

remember when they made us write letters to our future selves?

Here is what I am thinking: I have begun writing in colons and lists, a check up, a diagnosis of how I might be doing, how I might be spending my day, how I might be wasting or using my hours with important or unimportant things. I do not count the things I miss, or have lost, or will lose. I count:

The things I am thinking about: How, on my longest night in New York, it felt impossible that morning would ever come, we walked through the light on our way to breakfast and I felt reborn. My friends were in love with each other and I did not know. Birds fell across the sky like leaves. How, because we stayed in a hotel room together once, I know that my friend likes to listen to punk rock in the shower. How, because of the way the world does not care about our feelings, I will not get to...

Solidarity

the separation is this

that wartime did not prohibit skin on skin baffles me now, that safety comes in different forms and that the walks through disperate streets might have still been 
lonely together, walking towards a wavering future where, alone, you would find people dead while you sat at home holding the phone, a letter.
war is also at home, illness killed people as well, and nurses went unarmed. there are facts that you can rattle off to feel safe or at least, not crazy, that the world has never known, will never know, and can never know how to feel about death. 
just this: walking through the world the differences race towards static, two rivers running parallel, bobbing with swollen bodies, and I think, we’re in it now, and I mean, when the world refuses to change course all you can do is hold your breath. 
 

every building holds its history like a head underwater

The house does not want anything. The house was built this way. 
People, with their fragile bodies and brains, take myth and story, apply and reapply the wounds, 
sanctify the unholy with drafting hallways, turrets, a staircase to nowhere.

If there ever was such a place as nowhere, no,
the house is on solid ground. The house is no more important than the dirt. 

The house has no power that the world does not already have.
The house has no desire other than the desire of dark wood.
The house has no evil other than the evil given to it.

The ground is filled with blood and bone, why
would this patch of land, tilted roof undone into skeleton 
be any better than the rest. 

Don’t they understand what haunted means? Don’t they understand that this is the crossroads,
that there are ways to wish horror into a house? 
How it is being made known to them through their own...

shame | #lgbtqpersonal

Hello, and welcome to my shame. I have an amount of it. 

I have a feeling this is something every gay person feels about the younger generation of gay people in their life, that we just came like this, in layers and layers of shame. Shame of loving who you want to love. Shame of touch. Shame of questioning, of exploring, of saying certain words, of acting out. I look at people only a few years younger than me and I am astounded by their lack of outward shame. Of embarrassment. 

It’s something I have worked very hard to change in myself, the way I cringe when other people are “too gay”. It sucks. Because being queer is about freedom. 

Queerness is about living your life the way you want it, without the constraints of societal expectation. I don’t know if you know it yet, but being gay is awesome, and beautiful, and sexy if you want it to be....

Zoom Out

she does not think of leaving

Jada has a mattress stuffed with corn husks, and orange dust deep down in her very bone. She sleeps on the floor of her grandmother’s old house. Sometimes she sleeps on the floor of Olive’s grandmother’s house, when the desert dusk is too sweet and heavy for movement, only a wavering of the last heat above the sand. 

It does not rain in the desert, Jada looks up through a naked skylight in her ceiling at the stars like small ruptures in the sky. She cannot sleep. Two days from now she will be on a caravan to the king. The journey will take her from her bed, the handwoven blanket, the rug, the community built into rock that she was born into, it’s red and yellow rock. 

She gets up. She will not sleep tonight. She walks barefoot through her room, and into the only other room in her dwelling where the fire still smokes. She crouches, stirs the...

Seven Delights

wonderful wonderful

I read poetry in bed because I want to be a poet. That is all. I watch sunsets because I want to.
I watch you because I want to. Simple.

Leonard Cohen and I are comparing mythologies while the note in the front of his collection to a grandfather who does not remember my name seeps into my hands 

my hands which never feel too big or too small, and
    the thought of Wendell Berry writing in the morning light warms me more than you know
except the wonderful thing is that we know each other quite well by now. 

Roots

dust across the atlantic

I talk about Yiddish like it could have been mine
    and I just grasped
    it with my fingers 
    before the feet stepped off
    the boat into new land
shaking off the dust of Romanian mountains,
    of the pogroms 
and
I talk about Yiddish like it doesn’t make 
me want to cry that my grandmother’s parents
lost their religion on purpose
dug through the attic of their ancestors,
    found nothing of note,
    closed the door
and refused
    to be buried next to the mock
    graves of relatives 
    now only dust
    in fields across the Atlantic
and I don’t know where this cemetery is except
that New York is a good enough homeland for me

my friend talks about the difference 
between the Holocaust and the potato famine
    and I know, that people want their suffering
compared, examined, turned over, bled dry

my ancestors lived in the peat and green...

Love After Love

I am still in love

Range after range of mountains
Year after year after year.
I am still in love.
                -Gary Snyder

And I have found inside the world, another smaller place
filled with those who wish to walk all day
and sleep slow and quiet with the rest of nature, the rain,
the home of this earth, and its trees.

I fell in love with a mountain and think of her often
in the rain, how I reached the almost too close to the sun,
saw the morning break over the green and black.

There are moments that you can ascribe meaning to,
moments and mountains in between one place and another,
and hand over foot over rock I fell for a place
and time, the wind new through my fingers, through my hair.

early sunsets make me sick for things i’ve never had

i’ve tried at least three ways— 
           no, four. enough for 
my own hook line and sinker to slink back from your skin,
to unwrap my ribbon of longing
from your legs.

because I know it keeps tripping you up,
like I tied your shoes together, something intentional and messy
           like that,
guilt and blue bile in the morning,
           you: facedown in the dewy grass.

it’s like this: the blurry white moon at four o’clock
and the man taking off his medical bracelet off in the bus-seat next to me
sighing some unknown song,
           the kind only he knows.

Star Wish

new year

“God, you’re going to make me cry.”

They look up at the stars and she thinks this feels like the first time she was drunk in a foreign country. How it felt so important and lovely, surrounded by the warm and tender hands of those she loved, making eyes at the girl behind the food truck window. 

The air was as warm as tonight. 

“All you have to do is ask.”

And that makes her want to cry. How much other people would do to keep her safe. And also how known she is. And also…

And maybe she is going to cry. It’s the New Year after all. Tomorrow she will be walking home at noon through the new sun of the new year, head tilted back and back and back. 

She thinks about her own face, and her own beauty, how she can finally understand how she could possibly be loved. 

“I have so much to give. I...

A Fictional Landscape

mostly stone

It’s mostly stone, and when it’s not, it’s sun. 

It’s mostly stone, and when it’s not, it’s sand. 

It’s mostly stone, the rest sifts and shifts around it. 

Jada and Olive sit nearly on top of each other on Jada’s kitchen floor, which is cut out of the rock like everything else, the mid-afternoon sunlight draping itself over the red and orange of the walls. 

Olive runs her hands through Jada’s hair rhythmically, watching the shadows move across the colored tiles that cover the floor.

“Are you certain they’ll take you,” she asks as the light recedes from where it was resting on Jada’s warm-brown calves. 

“No,” Jada replies, “but it’s worth a shot. Well. It’s worth the house, and the burial money for your father and—”

Olive cuts her off, chiding. “You promised you wouldn’t do this just for me, remember.”

Jada looks ahead, stubbornly. “I wanna keep the house.”

“I know you do.”

They fall into another comfortable...

Lyrical Stratum

12/11/19

LIGHTS
The technical booth of our black box is decked out for the holidays, lights strung between all the inside jokes and rolling chairs, and we can turn the overheads off, left only with the gentle glow of Christmas lights. Be said she’d bringing in a Menorah, but only after we failed to find one in the props closet. 

BLUE
I look up Elizabeth Warren’s Blue New Deal as the world shimmers outside the window, the sky as round as a snow-globe. My teacher thinks that they should stop everything, that the school is failing us, that our education is failing us. I look listlessly up at a projection explaining existentialism, and then back outside. 

LIGHTS
It’s snowing in the morning, and by evening the world is still and pillowed with white. The night is brighter after it’s snowed, the street-lamps reflecting off the ground. There is no malice in this winter yet, I feel held in it’s hospitable palm.
...

jetsam/flotsam


suddenly, haplessly, the moon went out for groceries in her 
silk sun dress and big white-rimmed glasses,
bought milk and sugar, flour, butter
she knows what she wants, of course, and falls asleep easily

oh, what it would mean to have someone rock me 
like the moon rocks her memories, rocks her mountains,
rivers never dried. she walks, silent, through greenhouses,
dripping condensation, dripping like peaches, like apricot,
stone stuck fast in her mouth like an egg: she is not barren, see!

we drive out late and she is watching from her street corner
plastic bags glowing from her hands, rippling like the surface of a lake
she watches us without malice, and you hold up a hand in greeting 
as the light turns green, like the night watch passing each other in the dark

One Home

riparian rights

1.
this is no ownership here
the shore belongs to the water and the slow tide 

the dotted lines have never breathed a word of truth
not to anything but scarred maps, co-conspirators laying
down their bodies for the freedom to walk along
weed-laden highways, in the sweat of a new day 

2.
you have a name for everything and I,
I have no name, yet sit
like a beetle pinned to a board, under oath,
like two thousand rivers and their rights to bodily autonomy

two thousand women turned into lakes
 
I am your buttons in a jar
your rights and wrongs glinting behind the glass,
the outline of my body surrounded in chalk

3.
there is nothing here to heal,
only to let rest,
let roll over in the night to turn out the lamp

to let gently, slowly sleep

Now to Then

bloom

i.
Eva walked, blinking, into her own world. Maggie was behind her, letting the door fall shut. 

“I never thought,” Maggie said, like the whole world was Eva, like she couldn’t believe they were both here, had both made it to the other side. “I’m so glad,” she said eventually. “I’m just so glad.” 

Eva kissed her then, in the sun and scent of early morning, in a world no longer foreign. Maggie laughed into her mouth, and wrapped her arms around Eva’s neck. 

There, Eva thought, like finishing a painting, there we are. Finally. 

The sun rose higher in the sky, and they separated, still holding each other. Maggie held out her hand to the sky, and showed Eva the drop of water with a grin. 

It had started to rain. The world bloomed around them. 


ii.
When they woke up there was soft light coming from Eva’s window. 

It opened onto their home, Eva could taste it in...

Novel Writing Competition 2019

Too Dark, Too Cold

    For most of its life, the weather station had been a house, a home. It was built for a team of five or so people, and it was expected that they would live there. The people who designed it were perhaps old fashioned, weary of all the modern applications—including but not limited to a distaste for hairdryers and pop-up toasters.
    The beds were comfortably set into walls, the stairs: well worn and prone to the pops and cracks of all old things used for a very long time. It had been home to a number of teams. The old ones left to be replaced by people who brought hair dryers and pop-up toasters. 
    In short, it housed a job, but a job that had to be done with the whole body, and often created a sense of belonging to the cold and the house and the dark. About five years in they painted the walls yellow, green, and blue. It...

years at a bus stop

location: the air smells of a foreign city, finally, a scent uncertain, laundry and warm air, helicopter smoke and concrete, the furnishings of a new life, a new world

temperature: i brought an umbrella every day but the ones that counted, counted the steps from and back, counted the seats empty, the mouths unlocked, the money on my card, the glass on the sidewalk, the windows glinting in the condominiums, and an unfamiliar sky 

denizens: i fall in love too easily, with the purple beanie and the orange pants, her face aglow, a moon in her own right, the boy in the cowboy hat and the long skinny jeans lopes from one corner to the next, i see he is not a ghost after all, in the fluorescent light of the bus, see: he sits, jostled, just as human as me

lighting: i am familiar with the rules, the space i can occupy in the dark, in the misty night,...

carry

carry it above your head like furniture or like the caravans along long prairie roads / carry it sweet as new love, doors opening onto the parachutes of our youth; or the hope of being held found in the belly of a foreign city, laughing at its ghosts / carry it on the roof of your mouth like a nonbeliever’s prayer, like the sunset on your shoulders / sweetheart: I will not be the first or last to tell you how I feel, but the wool and warmth of night has wrapped us in her midnight train rides in the musty air, and the walk back home / carry my love like you would carry the child of a friend / carry it like something dear and wanting / my heart is left in the red cavity of my chest, but you hold: my sky, my highway moon, the reeds overlooking the rows of autumn houses, the golden afternoon of...

no answers but the kitchen sink

“I don’t know why you're here,” I say before heaving into the toilet again, my whole body shaking. 
    “Shush,” the woman who is holding my hair back and rubbing my shoulders says. Her hands are cold enough to hurt and I want to tell her to stop, but she pulls my head back by my hair before I can get any words out. She looks me in my eyes with her gaunt and tired face. “You will find that life does not have many clear answers, bubelah,” she says, with her voice like iron, her accent is ancient.
    I groan and wipe my mouth of vomit. I want to cry, but I can tell that she wouldn’t stand for that. Instead I grunt and try to shake her off me. She does not budge, a stone monument. She smooths my hair back in what must be an attempt to be gentle. 
    “I don’t know how to make it stop,” I...

lines and exits


there are an infinitum of homes
that are not mine— 
in this world so full of teeth and bone,
caves cut into sandblock buildings, 
the concrete of a soviet bloc, covered in vines

I dream in lines now, and exits
like even the caverns of sleep
have become unsafe 

I brush my teeth and have no place to spit;
I ask myself questions and receive nothing back
except: again, again, again
you cannot give up now

I am lucky, only my dreams can bury me

there are babies born into rubble, 
into hospitals blooming with death,
shaking with war

there are babies born and shown to me:
nestled in the safety of a photograph

the hungry blue


I
I wake up with my legs scraped up, as they always are, and as always, I do not know why. I toss off the sticky linen sheets, and rub my head. 

A motel. That seems familiar. Not home, but the closest thing to one at the moment. A transient abode, every room similar enough to be the same. Same pool out front. Same neon. Same desert. 

The highways of the American west stretch out like shining rivers, like snakes. I walk with the clothes on my back. I am always only myself, this person I am supposed to be. Bootcut jeans, leather jacket. They were on my body when I woke up, dirt stains on the denim. 

I close my eyes to the sound of cars streaking past. I do not know what my own face looks like, but does anyone? I’m always moving towards the mountains. I’m always trying to reach them. I don’t think I ever do. 
...

ankle deep

1.
There are dead things here
lapping at my ankles 
                                like the tide,
like the ocean is only foam and paper coffee cups
and the stink of grey flesh.

2.
Ankle deep I stand

I stand and the wind comes in 
with all the breath of a song bird,
like a winter morning.

3.
Ankle deep and the sky is a marvel,
                                                      still
Look! 
         Would you look at the sky? 

It is the only place I am safe,
safe from the ankle deep, the smell.

4.
I forgot how to move.

There is no migration that could rend me from my place here,
like the ancestors, stuck up to their waists in fear
I have all the memory of the peat in my bones,
I have all the memory of the mud in places now
torn from any human meaning.

I wait in the sky blue of my escape,
the trees chiming like glass,
                                           like carapace, the shells...

(I do not live in Canada) | #justoneq&a

what was the weirdest thing you've ever done as a kid?
probably tend to a felled tree branch that my brother and I stuck in the ground in hopes that it would grow back

which bird in the area that you live in do you hate the most?
Canada Geese (I do not live in Canada)

i know what google says, but do you consider turtles to be reptiles?
Yes...is this a debate I should know about? 

what is the meaning of life? (courtesy of paperbird)
42 

what do you think of soulmates? (courtesy of lasl)
I can’t believe that any one person only has one other person out there for them

(for those of you who've been here a bit) how do you think you or your writing has changed since you joined?
I joined when I was 13, about four years ago, so I can honestly say that my writing has improved quite a bit. My poetry is...

Novel Writing Competition 2019

Too Dark, Too Cold

    For most of its life, the weather station had been a house, a home. It was built for a team of five or so people, and it was expected that they would live there. The people who designed it were perhaps old fashioned, weary of all the modern applications—including but not limited to a distaste for hairdryers and pop-up toasters.
    The beds were comfortably set into walls, the stairs: well worn and prone to the pops and cracks of all old things used for a very long time. It had been home to a number of teams. The old ones left to be replaced by people who brought hair dryers and pop-up toasters. 
    In short, it housed a job, but a job that had to be done with the whole body, and often created a sense of belonging to the cold and the house and the dark. About five years in they painted the walls yellow, green, and blue. It...

Novel Writing Competition 2019

Too Dark, Too Cold


    For most of its life, the weather station has been a house, a home. It was built for a team of five or so people, and it was expected that they would live there. The people who designed it were perhaps old fashioned, weary of all the modern applications—including but not limited to a distaste for hairdryers and pop-up toasters.
    The beds are comfortably set into walls, the stairs are well worn and prone to the pops and cracks of all old things used for a very long time. Over the years it has been home to a number of teams. The old ones left to be replaced by people who brought hair dryers and pop-up toasters. 
In short, it was a job, but it was one that had to be done with the whole body, and often created a sense of belonging to the cold and the house and the dark. About five years in they painted the walls...

how it goes

    I’ve floated for a very long time. I don’t know how long. My watch broke, and they’re not supposed to do that here. Nothing up here is supposed to break, but it did. That’s all that matters now. That and the floating. 
    At this point no one is ever going to come get me. I am floating without the expectation of ever feeling the warm embrace of gravity again: to feel my feet reach the ground after a leap to nowhere. I am nowhere, and my feet will never reach the ground. 
    I’m assumed dead. That’s what happens when a space station explodes, ruptures, and flings the piece of it you were in, into deep space. I should be dead. That’s the expected outcome, I’ve done the math. And honestly, it doesn’t matter all that much that I’m not dead now, because I will be dead later, and then the people back home will be right. They can all go...

Teacher Gratitude

urgency

    Your teacher says that you will be an expert in mass graves by the end of her class. She is right, of course, she is right about many things. Mostly she is right about how we will feel. She does not tell you that you are standing on a grave until you are standing on one. You never forget that. After that you are careful. You look for signs: the earth dipping like waves, like bowls. There are bones everywhere, of course. But Majdanek. They shot people there, before the gas chambers were built, like they did before. They built them so that their soldiers didn’t have to shoot thousands of people point blank, so the sound wouldn’t last through the day, the whole day and night, the few survivors listening until dawn. 

    Your teacher, in the classroom, explains. She says, and she is pointing to you: imagine you have to shoot someone (here she points an imaginary gun at...

Word Collage

time is just an ocean

deeply unsettled by this miracle: suburbs of the dead,
neighbors of fire, he kneels beside the bathroom in his hotel room.
it is a starless, windless midnight

shepherds will say it was fairies (believing the opposite),
deeply unsettled by this miracle: an ocean of darkness, a crow flies north,
lowers the swaddled baby into the water and holds it there for a very long time

it is horrifically short on elegance: the absence of the people you long for, 
time is it’s only measure, time is just an ocean, back and forth without stopping

nobody can bring himself to give the order, 
she figures it out herself,
lowers the swaddled baby into the water 
and holds it there for a very long time
night air approaches:
no sound, no sound

why aren’t you laughing? you’re crying...why?
 

by morning

they come to you at midnight
awake, in the pale orange of october clouds

and as you were not in your bed
alone, as you often are

the terrible chill of autumn 
slid under your skin like a fish knife

cut beneath your scales and gills with 
and anger not unknown to you

it is not unknown, but you simply
failed to listen, it was always there, this possibility

the sudden startled realization
that you erred in some unforgivable way

the strange and ancient arrival of a foreign moon,
black crust and sullen, sunken eyes

you would let them flay you open
simply because living and knowing would be worse

your hatred of them is not the same 
as their hatred: which is a thing with eyes and ears

yours is blind, deaf, flickers in the night,
bows only to blood and instinct

it does not know to be afraid of the dark,
it does not know kindness 

their hatred...

Journey

après nous le déluge

we wade through waist-high water
on the interstate 
soaked up to the muscle of us
up to the bone and the marrow
in the grey water that has undone our home
into the undulating fields of the dead,
wavering, incorporeal.

we close our eyes and pretend our heavy
legs are weighed by long purple grasses

oh fields of grain
oh mountains majesty
we pledge our grace to thee

or something along those lines

yellow paint glinting below the glaze
like electric eels 

there are no mountains here
the tide is stagnant, the water is a smooth
table

sit, eat the flooded food of our country,
oh graceful angel of the West,
tell us why the roads have turned to turgid rivers
tell us why the children on our backs 
cry out

Arctic Dreams

the wind, of course

    Shauna finds Jake a five minute’s walk from the observatory, hunched around himself, staring down into their local (frozen) arctic lake. She can still see the bright orange and yellow of the observatory past the swirls of dusty snow. He left without a coat. She hurriedly starts trying to manipulate his arms into his jacket, which results in him snatching away his own arms and doing it himself. They stand there for a moment. Shauna is trying not to shiver noticeably. Jake is chillingly still, staring into the cool blue of the water, the ice on its surface turning black whenever the sun hits it. 
    Shauna starts talking, she’s never been good at conflict resolution, no matter how many times they made her take the stupid professional-development class. 
    “Be was going to come out here, you know, she was worried. We didn’t let her, but she tried. Thought you should know.”
    He nods. Or maybe he’s just...

Lunar Phrases

Any Other Steeple/Home

1.
all my dreams and disappointments
come back to me in the moon’s face;
moon man, who wishes sweetness onto the cradles
of the infidels, with their incessant crying
and sings them to sleep with his waxy patience.
only he can hold them, and he will keep them
like no other god could, and he will love them like any other steeple

2.
the moon wishes to be an astronaut when she grows up,
she tells her mother who sighs and says maybe one day
even though she means never and the moon can tell this
lie from the other truths because she rotates everyday
through the windows of her mother’s home, past the dresser
filled with dust and the smoldering cigarettes on the 
living room side table, gathering sound and mystery
while the garden outside grows ever and only upwards 

Waiting For

    There are better things to do than sit in a hotel lobby, compulsively eating mints from a very expensive looking glass vase. Almost anything, in fact, is quantifiably better. There’s science to prove it. Almost anything would be better except the task that Jaileen was about to undertake. Forced to undertake.
    Of course nobody is allowed to say “forced”. Consent was factored into the rule book centuries before. She had signed a waiver. Her fingers twitch at the thought. Her mind goes numb. That was the second rule, after the paperwork was done and the pens had been safely put away. She has no idea what she is about to do, or what is to be done to her. It simply isn't allowed. Her only clues are her loopy signature and a rising sense of dread. And her knees hurt. She wonders if she went on a run. To train? No. 
    The door to the hotel lobby,...

Flash Fiction Competition 2019

Heirloom

I was in the shower when the fire alarm went off, unaware, and stayed in the spray until the smoke started billowing from beneath the bathroom door.
    Nearly a month later I was on a plane to Italy, my only surviving possession a shell my grandmother had given to me from someone else: a girl on a beach who had shared my birthday. I asked my grandmother’s ghost about the beach and the girl. I was met with silence. 
    But she was there, I didn’t have to worry. She was there.
 

A Trillion Trees

100 Miles

    There aren’t enough trees in the world to make me feel less strange. We slept under them every night, saw the sun glow red then pink then orange through them. Tracked the shadows and the color of the light through them. Here they are fewer, sparse, displayed. A tree is such a common thing when there are so many. There was no fear of them running out, we looked and all we saw was the expanse, trees like the ones on tiny models of hills and valleys. My body wants to be back in the shade, the rain dripping, the sap, the smell. My body aches for it the way we ache for love: the simplicity of a life made underneath the leaves. The walking and running and carrying you have to do to be somewhere with so many trees. We were enveloped, we were safe, we were the carriers and the carried. And I will wish for a very...

The Strange and Wonderful Adventures of Camilla Sanchez and Melanie Katz (Part II)

The Strange and Wonderful Adventures of Camilla Sanchez and Melanie Katz (Part I)

        Melanie wasn’t going to let the van out of her site, but she was also going to follow this stranger until they gave her the information she needed. Cam followed a few yards behind her, swearing at her occasionally. Melanie yelled at the shambling shovel-wielding creature in front of her, Cam yelled at Melanie. They walked a long while, the van becoming blurry with far away heat-shimmers. Then the mummy stopped.
        Melanie almost ran into them. Cam had just finished with saying “I swear to God I’m going to blame you if we both end up dead, do you hear me? ꜟTe voy a culpar, cariña!
        The mummy took the shovel off their shoulder and started digging into the hard sand. They got to about a foot deep before Cam and Melanie stopped staring and Melanie said, “Can you talk to us now?”
        They looked up....

Song Writing Competition 2019

Stranger's Summer

It didn’t take much for you to be gone
it was easy like flash-paper
hard like stone
and just like that our love was an ocean
too far for me to cross

stretching our love taut— 
baby, you’re stretching our love taut
over the pathways and the riverbeds
of our brittle summer nights
our brittle summer lives

we talked on car rides to empty houses
we talked on other people’s beds
our love became our gravity
our hands became the tide
your hair was like the river Lethe
your eyes were like the Rhine

strangers in a stranger’s summer
strangers in a stranger’s bed
coffee in the morning 
and an ocean in your head

we go to the same parties now
and never cross paths once
I miss you while I’m leaving
like I missed you on the morning that you left
like I missed you on the morning that you left

stretching our love taut— 
baby, you’re stretching our...

Sijo

The Poet

I haven't read the note Paul left for me in the book of poems— 
told myself the pain would be better now than later, yes
but then I’d read the only words he’ll ever say to me again.
 

The Strange and Wonderful Adventures of Camilla Sanchez and Melanie Katz (Part I)

The water was going to run out eventually. The water and the food and the sky. Melanie thought that maybe it was all just a little bit too poetic, dying from dehydration in the desert. She and Cam were lying on their beat-up mattress in the back of the truck trying not to touch each other, conserving energy. The battery would be charged again soon, and they could putter a few more miles towards what could be a mountain or a mirage. None of the maps worked anymore. 
            And so it went. Rinse and repeat. Soon Melanie would get up slowly and drive until the truck stopped, and she wouldn’t bang the steering wheel because they had given up on trying to cajole the vehicle into any semblance of functionality. They had given up on blaming each other for the desert, too, and had settled into a kind of resigned silence. 
            The timer dinged. Melanie made her way...

Doorways

Breath. Again, Breath.

Rituals are still, for me, amulets before test day, and meditating, and baths on the equinox. Rituals are how New Years is still hard because of what happened two years ago. Rituals are bus rides with friends after the parade sticky with sweat and glitter, and bus rides to get cake and hold each other and cry because she just wasn’t there—just gone—just like that. Rituals are reading every day, and rituals are pulling on a rugby I earned at a place that’s home. Rituals are the Big House in autumn and that place where the swing used to be. Singing is a ritual. And dancing tipsy through the streets of Prague with the best people in the world. Rituals are breathing. And breathing. And breathing.

Fantasy Writing Competition 2019

Birth Day

I was born at a truck stop in the middle of Connecticut. I had no mother, only a midwife—an elderly woman who looked like she was made of dough. She welcomed me as I stumbled, full grown, into the world. I thanked her numbly as she wrapped me in a musty towel and wiped the viscous fluid out of my eyes and mouth. My first instinct had been to cry, but she had looked at me sternly as if to say don’t you dare.  

My mother might have been a parasitic wasp who laid her eggs in the tiled bathroom walls before curling up on herself forever. My mother might have been a mountain, an idea, Metis in the mind of Zeus. These are fantasies. I will never meet my mother.

My midwife sat me down on a fold out chair next to the two empty vending machines where I waited, shivering, for some explanation of my sudden...

Micro Memoir

But There Aren’t Any Ghosts Here, Just Bodies

    Maybe all of it boils down to how I felt at Auschwitz, or Majdanek, or Terezin. I can’t seem to write about anything else. Maybe that’s what matters. Of course I still don’t know how I feel. Is that what it’s like—to be human? It slaps me in the face in the middle of the day. I’ve been to the largest graveyard in the world. And of course I want to throw up because what does that even mean? For all I know the people that shared my grandmother’s last name are buried in an unmarked grave they had to dig themselves. Most of them would have been murdered by the Einsatzgruppen. Is that why I want to go to Ukraine and Hungary and dig up mass graves with the French Priest? Is it some kind of catharsis? I think I have at most the echoes of generational trauma and it comes from my grandmother making offhand comments about how...

Water Body

The Ocean and Other Animals

1.
we sit in the low tide
until the waves buckle at the knee

there are no
young foals here

and there is no leash that could hold
the choking deep
down

2.
we were the children
that got caught in the white foam
and spit

with salted throats we would run
into the grit and wash  
and bear our teeth
towards the sand

3.
its eyes are salt
and egg yolk

all the brine and silt
of the world
comes here
to make a home

4.
we sit until the ground
is no longer solid

we sit until the water comes
up like a slow silk garment
and we’re half sand already

until the tide decides

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2019

Interplanetary Loan

chalk has already become antiquated,
like statues and ghost stories,
mountain passes—human in their arrogance  

chalk—if only because the dust seeps into the walls,
the floorboards caked with pastel nebulae,
crushed candy hearts—also out of business.

when the map to our lives burns up in another planet’s
atmosphere
when we are gone
the mountains will have changed
and I will miss the chalk
on the warm bricks outside my old home

my fingerprint—no longer mine,
caked with color

like one day it will be important to show
our death to the universe,
to show our endless disintegration—
slowly floating dust particles, orange magic

if I gave to you these memories
enclosed in sunlight, pitching towards eternity,
would you give to me
that place above the firmament

where we can blindly
wade through the eons of chalk-dust
until our feet
slant pearl-white light
through the seams of the universe

What the Universe Does When It's Bored

It’s raining in Nebraska.
There’s a better way to say that, perhaps. There’s a better way to describe the farmland and the mud and the power lines going down and the strangling wind.
Someone’s reading a book on a train in Prague. The subway tunnel walls rush passed. She blinks.
The world doesn’t.
The world is a cocoon of life.
Below, fire, earth, water, grit and grime and above.
Well, above is a different story.
A time bomb ticking.
And stopping. And starting again. They said they would watch. Watch the oven, watch the fire until it burned out, watch the smoke rise.
Oh, we left the stove on, one nebula said to the other.
More interesting that way, the other replied
Then got back to spreading themselves over the eons and little faster. Until they got tired.
What if a person on earth stepped on a piece of snow? What if the snow got bored and decided to make...

Tiny Love Story

Gravity

She came back in the rain, while the kettle boiled. It had been more than twenty years.

Her face was aged and wrinkled, but so was mine. She had no flowers, no card, no apology. Just her hands, warm and tired and perfect.

“Am I too late?”

I didn’t reply, only welcomed her into my home.

Only after, standing by the window watching the ocean move, did she repeat the question.

“No. Nothing like this ever can be, I think.”

And suddenly it was like we had always been: two moons victim to gravity—falling back and back and back. Together.

Novel Writing Competition 2018

Second Choices

    At five o’clock sharp on a Saturday, the ferry would leave the harbor, a dozen or so anxious children leaving their anxious parents smiling tightly on the dock. The boat had extra room below deck for the sheep, and plenty of spray paint to go around. The chaperones took headcount, handed out windbreakers, and gave everyone hot chocolate. After all, the children were going to make their fortunes, a hot drink was in order.
    At around six o’clock, a withered professor who had grown too old for the even older art of augury would make his way to the school house. He would sit down in an abandoned classroom, open his briefcase and remove twelve tests, eleven pencils and two erasers. The numbers kept dwindling because the Department of Oracles had lost faith in him and his town. He would dutifully place a test at each desk, break one pencil in half, sharpen the dull end, and...

Novel Writing Competition 2018

Second Choices

    At five o’clock sharp on a Saturday, the ferry would leave the harbor, a dozen or so anxious children leaving their anxious parents smiling tightly on the dock. The boat had extra room below deck for the sheep, and plenty of spray paint to go around. The chaperones took a headcount, handed out extra mittens and gave everyone hot chocolate. After all, the children were going to make their fortunes, a hot drink was in order.
    At around six o’clock, a withered old professor who had grown too old for the even older art of augury would make his way to the school house. He would sit down in an abandoned classroom, open his briefcase and remove twelve tests, eleven pencils and two erasers. The numbers kept dwindling because the department of oracles had lost faith in him and his town. He would dutifully place a test at each desk, break one pencil in half, sharpen...

What Helps

poetry helps sometimes
when my stomach is sicker
than my gut punch anger

it feels more appropriate than maybe
what i would say
to be polite

to be civil

it is the shape of texts to friends
it is the shape of the bile in the back of my throat
it is the shape of a mother in pain

children help sometimes
the act of caring for them
of seeing them through even a singular moment
of their lives

i have the answers to her questions
about words and their meanings
about the speed of her bicycle through a puddle

it rained today
and the residential parking lot
next to her house is an ocean

and i forget
and i forget
and i forget

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2018

Queer (On Reclaiming)

I always liked the word queer.
Like a mushroom or a flower;
paraphernalia, unexplained and unexplainable.
Like a stone held in my hand,
it fit.

And maybe that was because my tongue always tripped over the syllables of ‘lesbian’
because my skin didn’t fit over my shape as well as it should have
my gender didn’t fit into my mouth,
dipped in the center and cleaved like a bamboo shoot,
queer.

I heard it in biology
outside on the lawn.
It was sunny that day,
and cold,
we were dissecting segments of grass and hardy weeds,
counting the bursts of yellow dandelion
on wind chilled fingers.

“I don’t like those people, they’re queer.”

Like the breath rushed out of me,
I couldn’t breath.
These were not the insults hurled through windows,
these were not the misconceptions and the malapropisms spewed from half-minded whispers.
It was me.

I wanted to take my sun-dipped hands and press them around his words,
strangle...

Monostich

Shower

I held the shape of worn down soap against two fingers, the shape of a guitar pick, or my heart.

Acrostic Verse

Pomegranate

Persephone lives with her feet buried in the rich dirt and leaves
only when her
mother begs her, as if she too were a prisoner, longing and lonely, cold
enough to make a winter bitter
gold enough to save the summer for those who needed it
rain only comes when persephone is home, or alone in her mother’s basket seasons
another moment sleeping in the grasses wondering about everything, and
nothing
and longing to be
two feet in the
earth, again.

The Midnight Watchman

    They sold it at Walmart, at midnight, when the store was supposed to be closed but the surgical white light spilled through the windows and the sliding double doors.
    The rest of the world was asleep, just for a moment. When the minute mark crept to zero again and the hour blinked into twelve.
    The light spilling from the store and pharmaceutical (according to sign out in front) flickered, then returned, brighter, it seemed.
    A few cars passed by, but none seemed to notice. It was a quiet town, with quiet houses and quiet yards. The streets were well paved and the sky almost clear.
    Midnight lasts eternity in the parking lot of a Walmart in semi-suburbia. When the watch is the right kind of watch, and the night is just the right kind of night.
    Nights like those nights were the best for magic. The dirty kind that was midnight chalk circles and smoke. And the back of a...

Love in 13 Words

Welcome Weight

Love is warm and purple
like truth in the summertime
but less heavy.

“In January”

In January

“Burn up with the water
The floods are on the plains
The planets in a rose
Who knows what they contain?
And my brain is like an orchestra
Playing on, insane
Will you love me like you loved me in the January rain?”
            --Mary, Big Thief

All I know is we met in a parking lot in the dead of winter.
All I know is that revolutions happen in February for a reason,
because all of January is waiting
and wondering if blood looks better on snow than on the dust of summer.

All I know is it rained
over the evergreens
in the blankness of a January sky
over the glancing white strips of road markers,
over the black asphalt.

All I know is the beauty of two colors:
red on white
green on grey.

All I know is we spiraled from the planets on their whim
and if we dreamed any bigger
we might have...

These Were the Clothes

    We were biking. We were biking and sweating our asses off. Grime and dirt and the smell of the road sticking to our skin like oil and heat. We wore shirts that breathed for us and reflective vests and black spandex with cushioning.
These were clothes that were meant to protect us. They stopped us from getting hit by cars, spared us pain and heat-exhaustion and sunburn. They were clothes made of purpose and grit and strength, because we had sweat in them for ten days on the highway, over hills and across bridges. These were warrior clothes.
    Was it the clothes? The short shorts and the tight shirts? Was it the fact that we were a group of only women biking next to cars full of men? Men who felt that it was their right to honk their horns and shout expletives out their windows as they sped past?
    What was it about us: women with sweat...

Intentions and Invocations

For the New Year

This will be the year
we sit under a towel in the rain
on the night-baked roof of a friend’s house
in the summertime.
Watching the fireworks,
and the boom of the light in my feet,
dusty from rooftop dampness.

This will be the year
my misgivings turn into mountains
physical, unavoidable,
able to be climbed and conquered.

This will be the year
I stop hoping for the improbability
of springs like I’ve remembered
and instead embrace
the violets as they come,
early or late or never at all.

This will be the year
the spoon dips the egg out of its cup
and it will not stop beating
only adapt
and listen
and learn.

The Human Condition

I.
It's warm as the beginning of spring.
In the middle of winter, it feels somewhat off,
like ice melting on the pond and the geese chattering away
beneath the gray sky.
Everything is under a lens, it seems,
monochrome, sepia,
the color of moods and thoughts and the promise of violets.
Rain is dripping, like a spattering of oil,
and the city lights seem less bright,
the buildings more permanent
as though we were afraid of something so archaic as a storm.  
 
II.
I speculate about change,
good and bad.
 
How eons
are just gaps in the profound silence
the universe has made for itself.
Brief bits of cosmic static.
 
How leaves
wouldn’t make a sound
if not for the wind.
 
III.
My greatest fear is to be an emperor,
and die before things get better,
before the city is built,
or the war ends,
that my role would be to save people I...

Flash Autobiography

4:00 a.m.

    I wake up early to shake myself out of half-sleep and stumble across the grass to the bathroom. There’s a neon palm tree uphill from where we're camping, a gaudy fixture of someone’s mobile home. The sky is gray and the brightness of the electric lights seems somewhat off. It must be four o’clock or some other ungodly hour. The stars are still out. The red above the mountains across the lake reminds me of midnight for some reason. Of times not meant to be seen.
    On the way back from relieving myself, I find myself stopped, completely, by the startling brightness of a planet, shining above my eyes. It doesn’t flicker, not like the fading candle light of the stars. It’s steady, as if it’s staring at me. I don’t move. Not until the grass under my feet becomes too soggy to bare, and I crawl back into the chrysalis of my sleeping bag for a few...

Ten Words to You

By Design

Sunlight makes the late autumn leaves into stained glass ghosts.

The Art of Specificity

Ghost in the Wintertime

There were sirens, far off. Snow bordered the water. The sky was blue. In the afternoon light I thought of all the things that could happen. But they didn’t.

Police sirens wailed in the distance as I stood at the edge of the water, the waves lapping at fresh snow. The sky was a egg-shell blue with wisps of cloud like the snow at my feet. The sun fell watery and harsh on the ice and gravel and grass. And who was I, to stand alone, watching the waves? Who was I to think something would happen? To be suddenly, inexplicably terrified---like I was standing at the lip of a cliff and no one would see me fall.

Standing at the edge of the water, watching the waves lap slowly at the snow, I heard sirens. They were distant, like the mournful cries of a computer, like the beating of terrified breath. The snow was turning into ice and the...

Talking to “You”

Witched

    You never supposed this would happen. The lake was a secret well kept, and was best kept that way because it was in plain sight. It took you years to connect well worn paths through the underbrush to the water glimpsed through leaves and branches on the bike ride back from school. You’ve never seen anyone on these paths, although sometimes you think you see a beach through the trees, and several dark figures, standing by the water’s edge. Then as soon as you ride past, it slips your mind, a bit of memory caught like a cobweb in a fine comb. Until you see it again, tomorrow, or the next day. An endless cycle of remembering and forgetting.
    Somehow it doesn’t seem strange to you, somehow it takes you years to be even slightly curious. It’s a pond in the middle of a city, surrounded by trees and roads and buildings and people, yet secret. It looks rather grimy,...

Talking to “You”

Witched

    You never supposed this would happen. The lake was a secret well kept, and was best kept that way because it was in plain sight. It took you years to connect well worn paths through the underbrush to the water glimpsed through leaves and branches on the bike ride back from school. You’ve never seen anyone on these paths, although sometimes you think you see a beach through the trees, and several dark figures, standing by the water’s edge. Then as soon as you ride past, it slips your mind, a bit of memory caught like a cobweb in a fine comb. Until you see it again, tomorrow, or the next day. An endless cycle of remembering and forgetting.
    Somehow it doesn’t seem strange to you, somehow it takes you years to be even slightly curious. It’s a pond in the middle of a city, surrounded by trees and roads and buildings and people, yet secret. It looks rather grimy,...

Third Person Limited

Her Genie

     She watched from the couch as her sister rubbed a handmade concoction of wax and oil over her face.
    “Do you have to clean up now?” Helen asked her sister, who was checking her hair in a polished scrap of metal. “We’ll be late.” Emma didn’t respond and Helen closed her eyes like it hurt. She stayed still for a few seconds, then leaned over suddenly to wretch in a basin laid out by her feet, sweat beading on her pale forehead.
    Her sister was there instantly, pulling her hair back and tracing soothing patterns over her back.
    “It’s not even your genie,” Helen said, tears running down her face unbidden, “it’s my genie and it’s gone and I feel like something’s been ripped out of me.” Emma just held her and shushed.
    “I know, I’m sorry sweetie, I’m sorry, we’ll go.” She said it with an air of guilt, running her fingers through her...

Names for Nature

Cold Brook

I.
“I swear there was river here, before.”
“Maybe it will come back, one day, maybe it’s just not the right season”
“One day.”
“Yes. Life is cyclical. Nature bounces back. If not now, then maybe when our children’s children’s children still live here. Maybe they’ll witness it’s return.”
“I really just wanted you to see it."
"I know, honey, I know.”
“One day.”
“I know.”

II.
“Describe it to me.”
“Well, it was kind of small, but it broadened out, over there, by those flat rocks. And it was cold, so cold. We lost our breath when we jumped in. I remember I could feel every inch of my body just, on fire. And it made me feel alive, I guess.”
“What was it called?”
“I don’t think it had a name, we just called it the cold brook.”
“Then that’s it’s name.”
 

Your World in Three Senses

Roadside

    There had been an accident of sorts, the bike gears rattling to the time of gravel below us, then the crunch of things just out of place. On the side of the road in the heat, the smell of sun-burnt wild flowers and dust around us like a fog, the only thing that seemed to matter was time. We read the sub-par romance novel we had bought at the grocery store, searched for shade when it moved slightly away and away again. The sun inching carefully above our heads and the sound of leaves in the slight breeze. Of course there were wildflowers and of course there was the fading sound of  cicadas. And of course I miss it all too much now. When my hands aren’t printed with the shapes of gravel and the air doesn’t smell like the road.

Turned to Stone

Place of Disappearance

      There’s nothing sinister about a soundproof room, I thought to myself as we filed into the classroom. There were big chunky computers at each desk, each about as old as I was. It occurred to me that I had never been in this classroom. It wasn't unimaginable, my school was a large and ancient institution with unmoving rules and the habit of hiding secret rooms in plain site. There weren’t any windows and that didn't make any sense. According to the logic of the building every room either had access to the inner courtyard or windows to the outside. This room had neither. It was an old lab space with floor to ceiling cupboards and a jutting wall that obscured the only exit. In all ways it seemed to be cutting the air out of my lungs, and for a second I was terrified. What would a scream sound like from the outside? Like nothing. 

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2017

I Say to Her

I speculate about change:
good and bad.
I look to the next year
the next decade.
After I’m gone,
I tell her:
After I’m gone you can find me in spring.
I always hated the winter.
I always hated how weather wasn’t normal anymore.
It was man made,
hammered out in factories
and assembled with human intent:
by us.
There was fault there, blame.
We are why the violets die.

My greatest fear is to be an emperor,
and die before things get better,
before the city is built 
before the war ends,
that my role would be to save people I could never meet.
Therefore I am afraid to be human.
Therefore I am afraid to go outside and face the sun,
to tell her why every part of me is killing someone else.

I speculate about the generations to come
how the stories I will tell them
of my grandmother 
and her grandmother
will make them see the...

Beyond Reason

Why Must our Shadows Remain Strangers?

I.
Why must our shadows remain strangers?
And why does the sky insist on changing its shade?
Why does the sun drape itself over walls and chairs and cats?

II.
Without the wind, would trees make any noise at all?

III.
Why is faith such an integral part of our soul,
and if it had a shape, would it be solid, like a bone?

IV.
Why do we feel so strongly?
Is it because of the joy, or the sadness?

Becoming Human

Typewriter

You are human,
I say to my typewriter.
You too make mistakes. 
You too have scars
and the dust of ages
caked in your inner-workings.

Signing Off

Dear Mouse

Dear mouse,
    It's not that I don’t understand why you're here. It’s cold, I know. That doesn’t mean I'm going to forgive you for scurrying through the walls at midnight, and making the cat think that the house is haunted. And I'm not going to apologize for that time I banged on the ceiling like a madwoman every time you moved. 
    I’m sure you don’t care about my math grade, or who the president elect is, or my astonishing lack of cash. I’m sure you don’t care about global warming or my decline in practicing violin. I sure you will be dead soon, quiet and still in the scaffolding. I’m sure you have lived a fruitful life, for a mouse.  
    It’s very close to Christmas and I’m coming to terms with the fact that my children and my children’s children will lead a life that is drastically different from my own. It’s very...

1 Photo, 100 Words

"Come Outside"

     “Come outside,” said Trisha, shaking me awake, jittering with excitement. I groaned, turning over in my sleeping bag. 
     “What is it.”
     “Look,” it was the laughter and joy in her voice that roused me. I looked. 
     The door was open, a near miracle in itself. And beyond…
     I laughed and grabbed her hand and we padded across metal together, drawn in by the fobidden bath of blue light. 
     We sat with the others, and pressed our noses to the frosted glass and smiled until our faces hurt.
     And when the adults found us, we could not manage to feel guilty. 

Why I Write

Because it is Inevitable...

     I write because it is inevitable, because I fear part of me will die if I do not. I write because it is an escape, and because it feels like home. I write because I hope to be remembered. I write because sometimes it's the only thing that feels like anything at all, like my words are me, like my lists will one day come true. 
     I write because everything I have not written is a vast open space, cavernous, hollow. I write to feel my bones and the wind on my skin, to see the soft butterflies of poetry land on my arms. I write to embrace the world, so I can wrap my arms around the cosmos. I write.

My December Competition 2016

Walking Home

I.
There is night
and there is the frigid half-light
of a winter afternoon.

II.
A fire truck, ablaze
rushed passed me in color.
How is it that I am terrified.
How is it that the blue and red look oddly festive. 
One gloved hand shoved hurriedly over an ear,
squinting into the noise.

III.
Christmas is lights reflected on mirrors and in shop windows,
our movement evident in the picture, 
after all, Christmas is nothing without us. 

IV.
There will always be birds and stars.
I believe.
I hope.

The Peace of Wild Things

​Unafraid

Why is darkness surprising,
the ice and the brambles and the quiet,
wild way the wind whistles after dark.

The sky is not a monster under the bed,
only the gentle silk of morning,
and the charcoal of night.

Our fears are our own creation,
the river will roar and crash and kill,
but that is how it is,
and always has been,
blood is not spilt it is spent and
our hands can neither tame nor object
to nature. 

Only look, only touch, only know.

For, in recent memory,
the sun has risen every day 
and set every night.
The mountains will remain,
and the wildflowers will find a way,
despite staggering odds,
to grow.

10 Second Essays

Saturday Afternoons and Almost Memories

Think of the yellow flowers and the orange cat resting his head in the sun, peaceful.
-Think of the porcelain frog sitting at the base of a tree in a cluster of clovers.  
-Think of shadows that are a projection on a wall of something meticulous and beautiful.
-Think of the vague shadows a tree makes in the wind.
-Think of the sky, so blue it hurts to look at it. 
-Think of warm sun on a cool day.
-Think of the lemon tree in someone's backyard. 
-Think of that night the wind was wild and woke you up in to see the moon.
-Think of that night on the warm beach with the whole Milky Way spread out before you.
-Think of sunsets and rocking chairs and crickets. 
-Think of how certain songs make you feel.
-Think of the cat lying next to you, rumbling.
-Think of that day, 2012, on the 12th of December at 12 o’clock...

Rewilding

Why We Need to Go Outside

Flizzle: When it snows and the leaves are still on the trees, brown or red or yellow. The world is muted by the flurries and the ground grows damp and cold. 

Elitra: The sun peeks in and out between the trees, blinding and then a flicker of flame at edge of vision.

Soliff: Ground made entirely of fallen pine needles, spongy and dry, smelling of deep forests and sap.

1 Photo, 20 Words

Big Bang

There was a beginning, once.
An explosion?
A miracle?
Color, bursting from a sea of nothing?

We can only imagine. 

Enumeration

Sunrise, Sunset

1) The too-bright, often salmon-colored sunrise that pierces the blinds in the early morning with strips of enlightened clouds. 

2) The sun descends as slowly as a phoenix in flame, the moon a rusting penny on the other side of the sky.

3) Fine and clear, the morning refuses to blush as the sun seeps back over the horizon. 

4) The air is a kaleidoscope of clouds and colors.

5) The world is blank and grey, the air is damp, with no sign of the sun.

6) City sunset, reflecting off a skyscraper, a bright patch of sky somewhere on the periphery of metal and concrete. 

7 Cubed

I Do Not Wish To Be Saved

Don’t. 
I am breaking; eyes defective, skin fractured. 
Don’t. 
My mind is on fire and water scalds the back of my throat like the tears that never came. 
Don’t.
I am drowning; mouth full of sand, teeth filled with rocks, crowned with seaweed like a mermaid from your nightmares. 
Don't. 

One Sentence Story

The Novice

Of course, this was all before I relized that monsters and magic were practically the same thing and learned that no one should summon a demon after midnight. 

Flash Fiction Competition 2016

A Tribute to the Once Blue Sky

Death fell from the sky, as it so often did. 
      She was sitting at the window, reading. Back then, stories hadn't run out. Back then, clouds were water, not smoke. 
      Back then, trees were full of snow. The sun was cold and unforgiving, the air: too blue. Then the sky erupted.
      Light travels faster than sound, she remembered idly. I imagine there will be sound soon.
      Even before the noise rained down, she lay down her head and asked if death would take her away.
      It takes pity on children, don’t you know, a child should never know pain.

Dear Me

Is The Future As Bright As They Say It Is?

Dear me,
     I’ve done this before.
     Seventh Grade: They gave us paper and told us to mark down what we wanted to remember, for ourselves, for the future, however dark and foreboding it seemed. I wrote down names of people, so I wouldn’t forget. 
     It seems to be a sort of reminder. I was here, I did this. Future me, do you remember? Do you remember who you used to be? 
     I am fourteen. I am a poet. I have faith in the world, I have faith that when it comes crumbling down it will pull all of us with it. I have faith that we will eventually fall into the sun. I have faith that I will eventually fall in love. 
     I have some measure of romantic ideals, I have some measure of cynical ideas. I am still a child. I wish to lay in the sun and embrace...

Joy to the World

Aique


Aique 
[noun]
The joy of being outside, the sun just out of reach, and just for a moment feeling absolutely encompassed by the entire Earth. 

Mysteries Abound

The Dove

     We don’t know what peace is, not fully, not the way we know love or joy or sadness or anger or the feeling you get when you lose something that’s right in front of you.
     We don’t know that it’s not an easy fix. There is no pill we can swallow that will end wars, no quick paint job to cover the rust and the blood. 
     We don’t know how hungry the dove is, how thin and weak it’s bones are, how tired it is of seeing us rip the wings off of other people’s backs so that we ourselves can fly.
     And we certainly haven't agreed on a way to stop this suffering.

Monologue

Every Time

THE MAN WITH THE GUN: [whispering] She's so beautiful, you know, it kind of breaks your heart. She’s so beautiful every time I see her. And every time I see her, she’s more beautiful. That's how it works, isn't it? Except, I only get to see her for a second. It’s a second exactly, every time. [raises his voice] Every goddamn time! I’ve counted, don’t think I haven’t! I’ve never closed my eyes! I’ve never had the power to stop my finger on the trigger, don’t think I’ve never tried to stop it, I do! [his voice resolves into a sob] Every time. She doesn’t know me, I’m the man with no eyes, or the man with the black suit, or the man with the gun. She doesn’t know how many times, in so many different and parallel universes I’ve had to squeeze this trigger! Even in her dreams I haunt her like some demented ghost! I am the phantom...

Everyday Magic

(Un)natural Occurrences

It was a humid Tuesday afternoon. My shirt stuck to me like a second skin, the fan, which had put up a valiant effort, was only blowing more hot air into the class. Perspiration clung to the backs of my legs, making me shift uncomfortably every couple of seconds. The teacher was droning on about participles, barreling on in the mannerism of a teacher who knows her audience isn’t listening. There was a fly buzzing around the class, bumping into unlit light fixtures and sticky panes of glass. Our eyes followed it. The kid who sat behind me, I think his name was Dylan, was slumped over on his desk, his breathe uncomfortably hot on the back of my neck.
    My mind was grinding to a halt, a part of my wanted to shove Dylan away, but my heat-laden limbs protested. He was going to have to pay, maybe when it cooled off. Despite the baking room, lulled...

After... After... After

End of the World

After the rain that fell like bullets from the sky, after the hurricane winds, after the hail, after the flood that swept everyone and everything away, after we found a few pieces of our house we could cling to, after we had to leave the dead bodies of strangers and friends alike floating in the wreckage, after our mother covered our eyes, after she pushed us forward, struggling to keep afloat, after the wind and the rain refused to stop, even after our mother begged it to, soaked, scared for herself and her children, after a palm tree crashed down in front of us, after our mother, our strong unwavering mother dragged us to safety, only then did she burst into tears, holding us close, shaking like she had witnessed the end of the world.

Illumination

The Metaphor Man

He was steady as the antique clock, left to rust in an attic somewhere, steady but never on time. When he stretched his hands, back and back and back, and the dappled light soaked his face, he looked like a waterfall, his shirt riding up, his hair lose, and like a tree, simaltaniously.

Historical Fiction Competition 2016

The One Grand Piano

    Every day we were worked nearly to death. 
    There was a phrase written in bold black across the top of an archway at the entrance to the ghetto: “work makes you free.” Ironically we were prisoners. There was a courtyard filled with sand and large brick buildings. We were crowded into small white rooms with wooden bunks stacked three on top of eachother. They took our clothes and set us to work mining and manufacturing. 
    We would return to the barracks with leaden arms and beaten bodies. Our muscles were through with aching, they were stretched and mangled. Our bodies were done with exhaustion, it was as if we were already dead. Typhoid broke out in the cramped conditions. Disease lay in our bones, a terrible hopelessness settled deep in our chests. 
    We cherished two things: the piano and the master of the piano. 
    It was a scuffed and battered, with yellowed ivory keys, a grand instrument. Raphael had smuggled...

Paint Swatch

After Rain

After Rain is the color of newly budded trees, emerald grass, damp mineral rich soil. After rain is the blank sky of early morning and the dark smell of rotting wood. 

Historical Fiction Competition 2016

The One Grand Piano

    Every day we were worked nearly to death. 
    We would return to the barracks with leaden arms and beaten bodies. Our muscles were through with aching, they were stretched and mangled. Our bodies were done with exhaustion, it was as if we were already dead. Disease lay in our bones, a terrible hopelessness settled deep in our chests. 
    We cherished two things. The piano and the master of the piano. 
    It was a scuffed and battered, with yellowed ivory keys, a great grand instrument. Raphael had smuggled it into the basement. It was our greatest hope, through the punctual gunshots that left another friend or fellow dead, through the sickness and the brutal abuse. It was in the basement that we lived, under the vaults of heaven, Raphael was as good as God, a conductor, a pianist, a teacher, a friend. His spirit refused to be crushed. He gathered us, he sat with us, sang with us. He would take...

Discoveries

Two flowers and a word
stared back in my reflection.

The white orchid, luminous,
like a ghost or an angel,
fit me like a dress.
Like watery silk,
a river sliding down my shoulders.
Slowly
the hungry ebb of time consumes my skin
and I am nothing but bone.

A violet,
blue as the sky
sitting on my tongue,
rebirth,
spring and earth and new beginnings.

The single word
written in syllables
I understand, yet cannot comprehend,
rippling lazily in the foggy glass above me
as if waiting to be read.
And I am certain if I could,
the orchard dress would become my wings
and the mirror, a window into another world.

Quartet

He, She and It

    She asked the promising ones whether or not they would like to see her dragons, nodded quietly when they laughed, never told anyone her age and took the screens out of her windows, just in case.

    He enjoys old things: books with rusted covers and finger-stained pages, a typewriter that smells of dust and archives. Sometimes, he listens to the star’s conversations, and he is not afraid of death, in fact, he is one of the few who remembers.

    It lived on the roof. We didn’t quite know what it was, other than a furry shadow thing that jumped at small noises. It would hiss at us in the early morning, outside our windows or perched on the chimney and when we were gone, it would steal yarn from my mother’s basket.

Quartet

He, She and It

She asked the promising ones, whether or not they would like to see her dragons, nodded quietly when they laughed, never told anyone her age and took the screens out of her windows, just in case.

He enjoys old things, books with rusted covers and finger-stained pages, a hollowed out typewriter that he keeps flowers in. Sometimes he listens in on the star’s conversations, and he is not afraid of death, in fact he is one of the few who remembers.

It lived on the roof, we didn’t quite know what it was, something in between a shadow and a cat. It would hiss at us in the early morning, outside our windows or perched on the chimney and when we were gone, it would steal yarn from my mother’s basket.

On the Last Day of the World

The Last Day

That heart wrenching despair. The gut-pulling, plunging feeling of loss. It hurt.
As the red appeared on the horizon, growing larger, larger.
Funny, how in all things, we went out with a slow, slow fire, not a bang,
not a sudden clean slate, nobody quite relizing what had happened.
Just the slow, agonizing knowing.
I hope I will be holding your hand.
I hope I will be crying,
as my heart beats and my mind,
with the utmost certainly,
knows how we will all die.
I hope I can cry, for all of us.
For you.
For me.
For this world built on it’s own ashes.
Maybe we might send the flowers out onto the lake,
and hope that somewhere, out in the vast beyond,
someone is leading the life that we will never have.
And we will weep for them too.  

Improbable Flavor

Night Sky

The night sky tastes clean and bright, like cold white snow.
Stars start with a bang and end with a sizzle, sweet and explosive.
The comets dance with their scarves trailing out behind,
in the bubbly dark liquid we call the sky.
It all boils down to champagne and glitz and glitter,
growing darker, ever darker, bitter almost, as the night goes on.
Until the rush is over, the snowfall is over.
The moon melts smooth and mellow into the buttery horizon. 

O’Clock

July 20, 1969


July 20, 1969
The first manned spacecraft landed on the moon

July 21, 1969
The first man set foot on the moon

They call it the last great adventure,
the unexplored vastness
unmapped
uncharted.
I wonder what it felt like to be first.
To be the first man to set foot on that big beloved rock we call our moon,
to be the only flesh and the only blood who had ever been there.
Lonley, I imagine,
small and big at the same time.
It must have been strange, forging a path through dust that hadn’t moved in centuries.
And when they looked out at our planet
what did they see?
A blue marble nestled in a shroud of black and stars.
Or home.
Space seems so unattainable,
so foreign.
We are the Old World explorers again, discovering a land not quite their own,
struggling to understand.
In the last great adventure that is the universe.

Novel Writing Competition 2015

Rain

It was still raining in the house. Eva couldn’t remember when it had started, before it had been mist, and before that, sultry summer heat. At first she had blamed it on bad insulation and leakage, then it had started raining. She couldn’t really explain that to an electrician or a plumber, she barely believed it herself. It was much easier to pretend she was hallucinating and cope with it as best she could. If only rain weren’t so wet.
    She stood in the entry way, key still jammed in the lock, door semi ajar, and watched the pounding rain through misted glasses. She adjusted her raincoat, dreading her inevitable soakage, and stepped inside. Eva closed the door, wondering for the thousandth time what her landlord was going to think. Water droplets cascaded down her jacket, and dripped from the hood into her eyes. She pulled tarps over her already soaked furniture, and took cover under the sink....

O’Clock

July 20, 1969


July 20, 1969
The first manned spacecraft landed on the moon

July 21, 1969
The first man set foot on the moon
They call it the last great adventure,
the unexplored vastness
unmapped
uncharted.
I wonder what it felt like to be first.
To be the first man to set foot on that big beloved rock we call our moon,
to be the only flesh and the only blood who had ever been there.
Lonley, I imagine,
small and big at the same time.
It must have been strange, forging a path through dust that hadn’t moved in centuries.
And when they looked out at our planet
what did they see?
A blue marble nestled in a shroud of black and stars.
Or home.
Space seems so unattainable,
so foreign.
We are the Old World explorers again, discovering a land not quite their own,
struggling to understand.
In the last great adventure that is the universe.

Dear Tree

Dear Tree

Dear tree,
Remember the backyard days of sticky sap feet and sun-kissed palms. Remember when the sun shone through your branches, and I squinted up at your majestic height. Do you remember the day I climbed your neighbor, so that I could touch your leaves? I remember how you were the biggest tree on the planet, a hundred year old titan. And I remember caressing your aging bark, as I left. Remember for me when I am gone, childhood friend.
Sincerely,
Norah 

That Sort of Person

That Sort of Person

She's the kind of person who would pack a suitcase with only her books, and she wouldn't look back, not once. 

Crash, Holler, Swish

Night sounds

The cricket drones
and an eternity passes.
As the night whispers on the ground below,
perched forever behind the star soaked curtain of sky.
And a rain drips from the old gutters
to my window sill
and onto the ground below.
Listen.
Wait.
You may hear the murmuring conversations
behind the windows of home.
A wisp of music
drifting on wind and mist,
caught in the dewy grass.
This world, half asleep,
falling into the arms of unconscious thought
and dreamless sleep
is a symphony. 

Six-Word Story

After

And the world will keep spinning...

Poetry Writing Competition 2015

blind

my eyes deceive me 

if i were sightless
i would search out all the particles
in my being 

i would lie 
in darkness

until the agony of breathless
anticipation 

suspends me in a mist
of stars and space
aware of my tumbling heart 
and the blanket of skin on my bones  

The Limerick

Animal Limericks

There was a small bird with a limp

who wanted his feathers to crimp

so he sat in the fire

took a week in the shire

then came back to feather and primp

 

*

 

A spritely young donkey named Joe

wanted to paint all his toes

so he bathed in acrylic

that no one could mimic

and colored himself to his nose

 

*

 

Our parrot is a talkative fowl

not clever or wise like an owl

we know you can speak

so just shut your beak

or I'll cover your cage with a towel 

Invisible Cities

Lux

Lux-City of Lights

    It is the candle sparking to life, bursting forth into darkness. It is the pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel, glowing, flickering. It is woven from the blackness itself, fabricated from the particles of brightness in the haze of dark. It stands, suspended in shadow, tiny, yet not cowed by the infinity of pitch and black encircling it.

    The steeples and towering spires rise and waver like flame. Glass bridges drape from building to building, trembling in the slightest breeze. Mellow lamps light the shimmering streets. Concert halls blaze, music trickling from open windows, chandeliers refracting light into the air. Fountains gush water the color of rosette. Glowing ashes rain from the sky, embers that melt into shadows then return to the void surrounding the city. The city radiates brilliance, and the darkness pushes and pulses, trying to suppress it. Neither strive for balance, but in the end that's what they achieve....

Lunar Phrases

Luna

the shimmering night 

ripples

as the moon dips her toes into its surface

scattering the stars 

like fish

flickering under the undulating pulse of dark

 

she laughs

throws back her pearly head 

and wades fearlessly into the pitch and depth

of empty sky 

 

her glow not dissipating

even miles down in watery oblivion 

she shines

she beams

she sets blazing silvery fires in our hearts

 

before the rim of dawn

slowly shuts 

enclosing her dripping form

in the belly of an oyster 

 

Fantasy Writing Competition 2015

Mother's Tale

    It was dark. It was darker than dark. It was pitch.


 

   Then the light lit between my mother's fingers. The match flared, reflecting off her eyes, Mother watched it, smiling. I could never know what she was thinking in these moments, in the silences that came before words. Her head seemed in an entirely different world.



 

   In the cavern we sat, breathless, as she held the fire up, up until we could see the tips of the dripping stalagmites clinging to the cave's ceiling far above.



 

   And so she began, as she did every time the village was raided, speaking in a hushed voice. Her words a song.



 

   "Children," she murmured, "remember the old days."



 

   She suspended the newly lit match in the air. It flickered minutely, perfectly balanced in the thick darkness of the cave. The rasping sound of a match being lit burned the air, and Mother held up another flame...

Fantasy Writing Competition 2015

Mother's Tale

    It was dark. It was darker than dark. It was pitch.

 

   Then the light lit between my mother's fingers. The match flared, reflecting off her obsidian eyes, Mother watched it, smiling. I could never know what she was thinking in these moments, in the silences that came before words. Her head seemed in an entirely different world.

 

   In the cavern we all sat, breathless, as she held the fire up, up until we could see the tips of the dripping stalagmites clinging to the cave's ceiling far above.
 


   And so she began, as she did every time the village was raided, speaking in a hushed voice. Her words a song.

 

   "Children," she murmured, "remember the old days."

 

   She suspended the newly lit match in the air. It flickered minutely, perfectly balanced in the thick darkness of the cave. The rasping sound of a match being lit burned the air, and Mother held up...

Fantasy Writing Competition 2015

Mother's Tale

It was dark. It was darker than dark. It was pitch.


    Then the light lit between my mother's fingers. The match flared, reflecting off her obsidian eyes. Mother watched the flame, a smile playing at her lips. I could never know what she was thinking in these moments, in the silences that came before words. These negative spaces that filled our empty hearts.


    In the cavern we all sat, breathless, as she held the fire up, up until we could see the tips of the dripping stalagmites clinging to the cave's ceiling far above.


    And so she began, as she did every time the village was raided, speaking in a hushed voice. Her words a song.


    "Children," she murmured, "remember the old days."


    She hung the newly lit match in the air, suspending it with her magic. It flickered minutely, perfectly balanced in the thick darkness of the cave. The gravelly sound of a match being lit...

Open Prompt

Rose Dreamed of Flying

Rose dreamed of flying, then woke again in a daze of fear and guilt. Her eyes mellow with secrets. For, in this land far from anything, flying was a sin.

 

The sun rose earlier that day than it had in many years, but no one seemed to notice. No one seemed to care, their busy lives pulled over their heads like a veil. It was this that woke her, the sudden appearance of light in the dark places of early morning. It almost seemed right, when Rose thought of it after, that it the sun should blaze bright and early that morning everything began. Then again, her adventures afterwards were nothing but bright.

 

Rose woke from her nightmare then, her arms flailing, her hair splayed on the pillow. Her now wild eyes darted across the shafts of sunlight. Her heart raced. Sinful, that's what she was, because she dreamt of flying every night, and it exhilarated her. She...

Inventory

The Inventory of a Prisoner

Name: The Reader (that is his name, as he has forgotten the one his mother gave him)

Age: (He has no age, he does not no how long he has been trapped on the Island)

Location: The Island, Sea of Dreams (fictional)

He will live for eternity on a rock. Somewhere far from here. He looks for grey hairs, and envies those who do not fall into his trap. Inside his weather-worn satchel is this:

1. A book with no jacket, scrawling script pooling around the edges of text

2. A small snippet of rosemary, kept in a green glass bottle with a label in the same script stating: "for remembering"

3. A botanical illustration of an oak tree, most likely torn out of a book

4. A bird's egg, carved out of wood and dyed a light blue

5. A hand drawn map of the Island, marking places to avoid and places to hide, scribbles and notes seem to...

WILD

Wild

wild anticipation

haunted these bones

shattered them like crystal when the time came

to get up and run

to feel the wind in my hair

those fragile things are gone

replaced by air and mist

and the rain has adorned this scalp for centuries

it seems

my crown

my gossamer triumph

come and clean the air so I can breathe with exultion

with the dew speckled grass  

turning the world beneath my bare feet