Posts Tagged ‘life’


Writing prompt image provided by the good people at Happy Square Studio

The world is watching. We stand on an outcrop of rocks at the edge of a wood with red lanterns woven through the branches. The world is waiting and they cannot look away. They will watch me disappear, my back melting into the wall of trees. I pause, straining to catch movement in the space between the trunks. I don’t know if I can do this. I hear Miles exhale, his breath mingles with the murmur of the party behind us.

He reads the list in his hand saying, “There’s nothing here about how long this is supposed to take.”

“Roger is going to time us while we’re searching. He said the game doesn’t end until we find all the items on that list.”

“Always the despot.”

“We can just grab a few and call it a night,” I say and he looks at me. His smile is crooked and the wind ruffles his dark hair.

“Let’s just see how this turns out,” he says.

I don’t need to glance over my shoulder to see his brother shift his feet in impatience. Miles takes my hand. “Ignore them,” he says. “Keep your lantern up. We’ll be in and out in no time.” We start walking and it’s abundantly clear that we are not light of foot. Twigs and dry leaves snap in our wake, and my heart strains to keep pace with our steps. Steady now. Always steady.  It’s nearly time for the sky to blush with the first touch of morning. I look up, hoping to glimpse a familiar cluster of stars, but can’t see anything through the red.

“Tell me again why we didn’t stay home tonight?” I say.

“We are wild and social creatures, Olivia. Plus we were hungry.”

“Traipsing around in the woods past midnight in exchange for free food? I don’t know who wins in this situation.”

“You weren’t complaining during cake.”

“Roger knows my many weaknesses,” I say.

“Not as well as I do,” says Miles.

I turn to him, crumpling my mouth in mock despair. His eyes soften and I feel his thumb tracing my fingers.

“Want me to carry the lamp?” he says.

“I’m no damsel in distress.”

“Not even if your arm starts cramping up?”

“Then I may or may not concede.”

Miles stops for a beat, pointing at a blue ribbon fluttering feebly around a branch. Roger has no imagination. We contemplate who gets to climb and who stays on solid ground.

“There could be bears,” Miles teases, putting me at ease.

I toss my head back, laughing, and climb the tree. Bark flakes under my hands and I think of being swallowed by the earth and rising, taller, with time winding around my limbs. When I’m back, standing beside Miles, I hand him our first prize. He ties it around my wrist. The lamplight pools at our feet, causing our shadows to twine through the grass and fallen leaves, until we cannot tell where we end and a tree begins.


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the watchful

Farmer Oak awakens at the touch of dawn. The window is boarded up.
Light seeps through the cracks and he pulls the blanket over his eyes
while the cat curls into his shoulder.

There is a cup of water on the nightstand and a lamp with a bulb at half-life.
His stomach speaks.
Nearly breakfast.
Heavy footsteps walk out of the room next to his and pause at his door.
Says Tom.
Says Oak.

Tom turns on the radio. Music sinks into the walls.
The cat turns over, mumbling something in her sleep.

Farmer Oak cranes his neck to look at her,
then pulls the blanket over her chin.
He shifts his weight. The bed creaks.
Her dark hair tickles his nose and he brushes it aside, gently.
She turns to him, still sleeping.
Her face, calm.
He is watchful.



written for Memory

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Begin with Atlas.
The world nestled across his shoulders
The weight is a kiss
Something heady,
soft and full of life.

Now passing cars stencil shadows across the wall,
follow their movement.
Evening casts a sheen
across the kitchen table.

see it?

silver and blue and perfect?

Diane thinks:
Why must the world be a burden on Atlas’ shoulders?
What if he carries it freely?

Picture the earth is a book full of stories
he holds in his arms,
where one face rests in the crook of her shoulder
fitting perfectly,
smooth skin
dampened hair
in divine exhaustion.

End with Diane,
listening to breath.


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leap day

Greetings after hours.
Bars of light spill through the lattice.
There’s a forest out there
swaying with sounds
Like his green eyes and whiskey breath
After their first kiss by the garden wall near the streetlight.
Brick fence.
The wind picks up,
gathering under their coats.
Waiting for the moment
to do what is right.
Faculties align.
Until a glass slip pools around her ankles.
Then a smile.


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a song of you

Sun salutations in
a room full of light.
It’s a reflection you see
your arms stretch
above your head
to the ceiling, slowly,
falling, at rest in prayer
fingers splayed
spread eagled
where palms do touch,
thumb prints sternum
solidly now
the heart’s centre is eager to see
three words come
to life at the base of the spine
or curl in the hollow of the throat where
love’s last breath
is but a whisper upon awakening.
Here this is the beginning of everything.

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orange alert

This drink is made with care. The cup is wide, tall, and foaming at the mouth. I wonder if I can sink my face into this foam and feel clouds sifting through cradles under the thawing sun. I am learning how to be productive. I am assembling my assets and words, measuring the value of my life in a binder. My lashes brush against a pair of lenses, framed. Erase. Drink. Start over. Realize that years of books cannot account for a moment of rest while the world is round with spinning.

Attend for a moment to the nature of glass. A familiar face drifts past the window among multitudes of shapes and lines. This face belongs to a boy in an apron. He serves muffins on Mondays. I care not for the caramel or lingering looks over counter-tops, grey. I would rather lay out the links in a line, watch them waiver. He shoulders a back-pack and his strides are clean. He wears no scarf as if winter is no big-deal while the lights are green and the grange, a slick sheet. I wonder if-

There is a song, a low roar  blooming through the buds in my ears. I want to keep it, hold it in my hands while warmth seeps through ceramic.

Tonight the Northern Lights will dance across the sky. You can see them with your eyes, unblinking.

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a letter to a young poet

Last night I dreamt I was on a train pulling into a station inside a moon-mountain. There was a man sitting across from me. I did not know his face. I remember his mouth moving, but his words drowned in a deafening horn.
Someone was collecting stamps or tickets, trading them for wrist-watches. My wrist was bare and my pockets, brittle.
There was a light tapping on my shoulder and, when the collector came, I found that I had nothing to spare. So I said to him, “You can take anything but my lungs.”
He said nothing and merely stood there, gaping. Then there was a long, sweeping intake of breath before the doors slid open. And I awoke in my bed at three in the morning with my throat parched. The sheets tangled around my legs.
I took a moment before turning on the lamp to hear the soft click of the switch. I watched the light become a halo in the corner around a web woven with intricate strokes.
But I couldn’t go back to sleep because I wasn’t ready to visit the moon or be a rose under so many eyelids.

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