Almost Viable

gabriel-jimenez-jin4W1HqgL4-unsplash

(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.

 

Might As Well

sandra-crook

 

“They don’t know how to park around here.”

Gail rolled her eyes. Just like Stella to find something to criticize, instead of taking in the big picture. And this was big! “How old are those?” she pointed at the castle’s remains on the hill. The walls stood sentry still. Empty windows portals to the past.

Mom consulted the guidebook. “11th Century. Even older foundations.”

Gail opened the window. The warm air smelled of old stone and fresh bread.

“Close that thing,” Stella groaned. “It’s probably full of plague.”

“Too late, then. Might as well stop for lunch before we’re dead.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: Sandra Crook

 

Road Ready Monologue

socmia-fotografia-gpCd0ldenPE-unsplash

(Photo: SOCMIA Fotografía on Unsplash)

 

Get the kids. Get the bags. Pack the boot. Start the car.

And save that look for your Mother,

For having her jamborees so far.

Did you pee? Did you wash?

Are you sure the doors are locked?

Where’s your brother? Why right now?

Where does he think we’ll squeeze in his guitar?

No, you won’t.

Not you, too.

Don’t care if the harmonica will be something to do.

Off we go.

Off we are.

Right into bumper-to-bumper trucks.

We’ll never make it.

Best turn back.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt of: Jamboree in 86 words

 

No Time For That

 

ccc194

 

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

jill-sauve-CSlt2wHuNIk-unsplash

(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

 

Bronzed

ccc191

 

“How will I know it’s over?” Marika fretted.

“You will,” Jurena assured. A month older, she was already Bronzed.

“But …”

“But nothing …” Jurena lowered the edge of the tent and stole away. She wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near Marika. Especially not tonight.

Marika listened to the silence. She shivered and tried to not think of Undine, her neighbor, who had never reappeared. Not all did.

The darkness filled her, thick as molasses. Her limbs grew heavy. Her ears began to ring.

Perhaps it was the magic.

Perhaps it was that drink.

Shadows entered, and Marika’s mind filled with molten spears, lava on dried grass. Encroaching. Coming near.

The fire lit her from within. The biting ants. The heat. The pain.

She screamed.

Perhaps she dreamed.

By dawn the elders had removed the gloves. The bullet ants were still.

Marika’s hands were bronzed with stings.

An adult’s.

Her childhood scoured clear.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

Note: I don’t know why this photo brought up the image of a years-ago-seen video about Initiation With Ants video, filmed by National Geographic. But for some reason it did, and so I let it take me where it wanted to lead.

 

Restashed

everyday-basics-GJY1eAw6tn8-unsplash

 

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

 

Her Independence Day

luke-michael-Tdwu35bCUj0-unsplash

(Photo: Luke Michael on Unsplash)

“I don’t know what to make of it anymore,” she said.

Here she was, a youth in a country she had been raised to believe others had looked up to – and perhaps many indeed had in the past – only to see how other modern countries now look upon it with a worry mixed with pity. For what her country is losing. For the progress it is undoing. For the backward path it has been put on through the religious fervor of the few.

A country where religion ought to be free, but where one religion’s dogma was to be forced on everyone, so that freedom was no more.

She hadn’t left her home, yet hers was no longer the land of the free. Did not even pretend to be.

Here she was, supposed to feel pride when what she felt was wariness. Aware that her very voice was threatened next. Her vote. Her right to medical treatment. Her right to family of her choice. Her right to marry.

Already she had lost her right to not be used, to not be abused, to not have her body kidnapped, her soul ignored, her choice made moot.

And so, on the day of hoped-for-glory, she worried.

And she grieved.

 

She grieved for the country she had believed herself a part of, yet now the few decided to make her a thing to be controlled. A being without choice. Less than a human. Less than a body. Much less than an embryo.

Certainly less than someone without a uterus.

Again.

 

“What is independence,” she asked, the red, white, and blue furling and unfurling in her hands, “if it can be stolen? How can there be independence if it is kept only for those who take away choice?”

Pensive in jeans, red top, and white sneakers, she arranged blueberries and raspberries on a bed of whipped cream.

Her favorite July 4th dessert.

It always used to make her so happy, to see the flag represented, to taste the sweetness, and remember the freedoms others had fought so hard to gain and to protect. It had filled her with respect to know the path her country had taken through many historical wrongs, the struggles it had undergone to gain understanding. To see how people that the Founding Fathers – in their era’s blind spots – did not know to accept as fully human, actually very much were.

She’d felt pride for how the constitution was amended to better reflect humanity, to represent those who pledged allegiance to the flag and to the Republic for which it stands. In pursuit of liberty. And justice. For all.

Oh, she knew it had never been perfect. Her country. But it had tried to move toward fairness, civil liberties, and understanding those it had wronged. It worked on freedoms, on justice, on choice.

That effort, that promise to do better, was what had made her so proud … and why the undoing of long-time liberties broke her heart.

 

“I have less freedoms than my mother had,” she cried. “How can I fly this flag if it no longer represents me?”

And yet, she fretted, could she allow the flag to be kidnapped by those who have no respect for her, for her body, for her rights, for her faith, her decisions, her choice? How could she let those who steal freedoms appropriate the flag? How could she let those who take away her choice, be the ones to exclusively own what is still also hers?

No, she could not let the flag be only for those who interpret freedom of religion as their freedom to force their own religion onto others. She would not abandon the flag to those who would gladly take away her vote, who already call her names, who would shackle her and vilify her most personal body functions all while they justify monitoring and hijacking her body to their purpose!

She could not let them own the flag. Her flag. She would not!

 

So even with the shattered glass that filled her heart, she flew the flag. The stars and stripes.

And alongside it she added a flag for choice, and a flag for freedom of religion, and a rainbow flag in solidarity with those whose very right to love was threatened. To let them know that she would also protect their voice, their freedoms, their choice.

And thus she celebrated the day of independence.

Not as confirmation of freedoms achieved, but as a sign of freedoms to believe in and to fight for. Not as an agreement with the current state of the union, but in determination to protect, speak for, and vote for independence. To protest the undoing of civil liberties by an imperious injustice, and to insist on one’s rights to one’s own body and their choices about it.

She flew the flags, to remind herself of what is possible, and of the work remaining. Her choice. Her voice. On Independence Day.

 

 

 

(Note: This piece was based on recent conversations with young women and the worries and feelings they’d shared. Wishing them – and all – a good and meaningful Fourth of July. May hope and choice come forth.)

Not His Kind

daniel-diesenreither-9K8q3K_zuog-unsplash

(Photo: Daniel Diesenreither on Unsplash)

 

When he first saw her, he thought, no way!

After all, he preferred the quiet kind who’d let him listen to the crackle, to the silence, to the breathing of the cabin’s logs.

He thought her flippant. Voluble.

Disrespectful of tranquility. Wasting words.

But she’d been sent, and his household needed a woman.

So he endured.

Till he heard her soothe a monologue of comfort into his orphan’s ear.

And his heart turned dear.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt of Flippant in 74 words.