Almost Viable

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(Photo: Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash)

 

She was almost there.

The core of her was almost

But perhaps not quite. Viable.

It took so much of her. To form. To build.

To be.

To sift the valued from the wreckage.

The meaning

From the hurt.

That there was little left.

Yet.

For viability.

Nonetheless it was still in there.

Nascent. Waiting.

For the rain.

For the sunlight.

For the nourishment.

For what had already sprouted and was on its way

To the life

She was.

And could

Sustain.

 

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Viable in 82 words.

 

No Time For That

 

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There was never enough time.

For that.

No time for the things that mattered but were not deemed essential. 

No time for the space that was given no paths to traverse.

None for the slow breath that could have allowed a pause

In the constant

Race.

Because there was never time.

For that.

Too much buzzed already

From the break of dawn to the collapse of night.

No time for

Time.

And so, she stopped it.

 

Stopped time.

 

She let the hands rest.

Let the heart expand inside the fluttering confines of the

Chest.

She let the breeze

Set

The pace.

The leaves, believe.

The ground stretch long and wide beneath

The feet.

The skies expand across

The dawn.

To let

The space that had

Held on,

To finally

Allow itself to be

Redrawn.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Annum

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(Photo: Jill Sauve on Unsplash)

 

They named her Annum.

For being born just as the year turned time onto its head

To start anew.

Just as the numbers tumbled from the duos to the singles

To the very first

Of firsts.

A new beginning.

Just as she was,

Finally,

For them.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Year in 46 words

 

Restashed

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She packed her bag and stashed

Her dreams into the

Locket

That held them

In the past.

She shut the door

And sighed.

She must

Return to what she’d left

Behind.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Return in 31 words

 

A Hundred Sleeps

spinning-wheel

(Photo: © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields)

 

It will only be a hundred sleeps. They said.

What length a sleep would be, they didn’t speak.

She will awaken once the sleeps are done. They said. With eyes that darted and rounded shoulders that hid words and fingers that kept fiddling with the thread.

Nothing, she observed, of how she’d be upon awakening. What she might become. Who would tend her.

If she’d dream.

Will she still know herself? Know them?

“Only a hundred sleeps,” they said.

She turned sixteen.

They pressed her finger to the quill spindle.

Blood bloomed. Dark came.

The curse.

A yarn. A spin.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

An Opportunity To Gamble

Abel Tasman Coast Track InbarAsif

(Photo: Inbar Asif)

 

As she rose out of

Her previous life’s bramble,

She knew there was going to be

The opportunity

To gamble.

With the way her life

Could turn.

With costs and possible

Return.

On what she’d have to do

Again.

And yet, there was, she hoped,

So much

To gain.

So when once more her choice of cards fell

In a shamble,

She laughed because it was

Just a preamble,

To craft herself a new

Ensemble.

 

 

Written just for fun, for Linda’s SoCS prompt of “amble”

Arrowed Cloud

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(Photo: engin akyurt on Unsplash)

 

“He’s not cooperative,” his teacher warned me when I called to find out more about the boy who’d been referred to me for speech-language therapy. “He’ll find a hundred excuses to not do the work.”

“Sounds creative,” I interjected.

“He is,” the teacher conceded, “but it is exhausting.”

For him, too, I was sure.

“You’d think he’d settle down,” the teacher sighed, “but it’s like he’s gotten worse.”

Al* had language-learning issues. He struggled to express himself, to understand what he read and what was read to him. He mixed up letters. He mixed up messages. Exposed to alcohol (and quite likely to other substances) in utero, his early childhood was marked by constant shuffling between foster-care and reunifications with his biological mother, until parental rights were terminated, and he became eligible for adoption. He’d never known his dad. Al suffered from asthma. He had difficulty attending but reportedly “no difficulty misbehaving.” He scuffled. He cursed. He broke things. He kept getting in trouble. He spoke little, read less, and his writing was filled with errors. He was in fifth grade.

The “settle down” was a reference to his recent adoption by relatives of his biological mother. Now that he was in a “forever home with family besides” he was expected to move on. He was expected to “make gains,” close gaps, and be happy. He was undoubtedly happy for stability. He was also grieving, furious, frustrated, and failing at school. He acted out. He shut down. He “did not cooperate.”

He’d had at least four previous speech therapists. The teacher informed me that “he hates ‘Speech.’”

 

“You don’t look thrilled to have another speech therapist,” I noted on our first session together.

He raised a single eyebrow so perfectly that I wondered if he had practiced the move in front of a mirror.

I smiled. “Speech can be fun …”

“It sucks.” He stated.

I nodded. “I hear ya.”

“So, I can go?”

“Good try,” I chuckled. “We’re stuck together for now.”

He shrugged but didn’t flee.

“I don’t do work.” He warned, testing.

“So let’s not call it work,” I agreed. “Let’s just figure out ways to make the other work you have to do, a little easier. Because I think you’ve had to work way too hard.”

He narrowed his eyes, suspicious.

“I mean it. And … I can understand wanting things to be easier.”

He shrugged. Crossed his arms. Leaned into the backrest of the chair.

I saw it as truce.

The next few sessions were like pulling teeth. His attention flickered. He vetoed some tasks. He tried to sulk. But he listened. And he didn’t disappear into the boys’ bathroom when it was time for sessions. He tolerated me, which was better than what the teacher (and Al?) had predicted.

We took it slow.

Then I brought Shel Silverstein’s poems to a session.

“I’m not a baby,” he bristled.

“It’s not for babies,” I retorted. “It’s also for grownups. The illustrations may look silly, but lots of this is about serious stuff.”

He folded his arms and closed his eyes. On strike.

Or not.

I read.

His eyebrows were knit together, but then his shoulders lowered, and he took a breath. He frowned. He chewed his lip. He listened.

When I finished, he opened his eyes. Held my gaze.

“Cool, eh?”

He shrugged.

“Poetry is like that,” I said. “I love how it can find words for things, sometimes.”

He shook his head. Twisted his lips. Stared at the book. Flipped through the pages.

“Want me to read another one?”

He shrugged.

I did.

I read three more.

He scribbled arrows piercing clouds.

 

The next time I saw him, he pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket. Fiddled with it. Shy.

“You have something?” I chanced.

Shrug. He stared at the poetry book I had prepared for us again. Unfolded his paper. Refolded it. Coughed. Took a breath. Thrust the note in my direction.

“Can I look?” I asked. Consent is tricky with kids who’d had others decide everything for them. I didn’t want him to think he had to show me.

He nodded. “I write it.”

I unfolded the page. Eight wobbly lines of transposed letters in phonetic spelling. A poem.

“Can I read it?” I checked.

He looked up at me, vulnerable and holding up an olive branch of trust, “yeah, but … but not loud …”

 

 

 

(Originally published in the March 2022 issue of ISSTD News as “Arrowed Cloud – The Use of Poetry in Therapy” )

*Name and details changed to protect privacy.

Spring Unfolds

luminous park NaamaYehuda

(Photo: Na’ama Yehuda)

 

The sun shone

As spring gently yet

Resolutely strode

On.

The park evolved into

A luminous

Expanse

Of green

Shoots

And pink petals

Unfold.

A respite

From the winter’s

Cold.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt of: Luminous in 30 words.

 

Herself

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(Photo: Lorenzo Fattò Offidani on Unsplash)

 

They told her to not

Make waves.

That to speak out is

Provocative

And that it is

Unladylike.

Unseemly.

And goes against the word of

God

As interpreted by

Themselves

Who see it as their duty

To

Control

Her.

They told her to be meek.

To atone

For the sins

Of

Eve.

She stood.

Unfurled.

Provocative.

As the Goddess made her.

Herself.

 

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Provocative in 62 words

 

Chalked Up

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(Photo: Noita Digital on Unsplash)

 

The swirl of white had gotten

In her eye.

Placed a tickle in her

Throat.

The door would close.

The chairs will sleep with bottoms

Against table

Tops.

There would be no more

Early morns.

No damp sponge

To erase all of yesterdays’

Chalk.

 

 

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille poetry challenge: chalk in 44 words