Slip From Grip

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Enslaved persons cutting sugar cane on the Island of Antigua, 1823, (The British Library)

 

 

She fed them well so

They would

Sleep,

And silently

She gave the slip,

To all she knew

Yet did not sweep

Away the bite

Of whip.

She fled,

So the child in

Her belly’s keep,

Would not writhe, helpless,

In another person’s

Grip.

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: slip

(Note: Dedicated to all who suffered and still suffer under the yoke of injustice, discrimination, racism, and pretense. We can do better than this. We must do better than this.)

 

 

 

 

If It Ain’t Broke

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Photo: Will Malott on Unsplash

 

She refused to budge

Or borrow.

She would not allow herself

The slightest

Reach.

“If it ain’t broke,” she said,

Hiding sorrow –

Holding on to life

In tatters

Yet refusing to

Give in even

A stitch –

“There is no need to seek

A fix.”

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: Fix

 

 

More To Overcome

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Photo: Jon Tyson on Unsplash

 

As soon as he arrived, she would be able to make her exit.

Take time for herself. Have a moment of calm.

She was oh-so-tired. She urged him on.

“On my way,” he said. “A few more minutes and I’ll come.”

She waited.

The minutes then the hours ticked their slow molasses of seconds. Time puddled, sticky, in her mind.

Around her the demands of life continued and her body obeyed. Her hands found zippers and did and undid buttons and washed dishes and stirred pots and hung wet linens and kneaded dough and bandaged a skinned knee and broke up fights and interrupted arguments. Her mouth managed to answer questions she did not remember being asked.

At some point her eyes no longer rose to check the clock. The sinking feeling curled up and took residence inside her gut.

She fed. She bathed. She put to bed.

She rocked. She soothed. Not knowing what she said.

As dark deepened and the night grew long, she knew.

He would not arrive.

There will be only more to overcome.

 

 

 

For RDP Sunday: Overcome

 

 

 

His Shadow

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Photo: Andy Falconer on Unsplash

 

They want to add more activity to his day. More interests. Better engagements. A hobby. A new skill.

They don’t understand.

He is fine during the days. It is the night that haunts him. Not the dark, but the solitude. The walls closing. The suffocating silence where his breath fills all the space till there is no air left. No room for words.

Then there’s the fatigue and how it erodes all his resistance. Lets the blackness in.

They offered medicine. Said it will help him fall asleep and stay asleep.

It did.

And it made it worse.

Now his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream and he cannot find the door to waking.

He feels mummified. Lost in the abyss of thoughts and memory.

The bombs. The mines. The child.

He couldn’t save him.

Guilt swallows all.

How could there be a dawn?

 

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all whose deepest wounds are unseen. May you find your dawn.

For the dVerse prosery challenge: maya angelou

The quote prompt: “his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream” from “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou

 

Plenty Enough Of That

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Photo: E.K.

 

“I don’t know what we’ll do,” she sobbed.

He lifted her chin gently till the brown-speckled eyes met his. “We’ll manage,” he said, surety threaded carefully into his voice. He didn’t want her feeling as if she was weak for unraveling or wondering whether any of what she was feeling was excessive or unreasonable. It was not.

He didn’t have all the answers, either.

Only love.

He had plenty of that.

And it had to be enough.

“Everything’s a mess,” she sighed.

It was. And yet, it wasn’t. Not everything. Their care for each other had not a single tangle in it.

“It’s like this cotton field,” he breathed. “Raw fibers that are nonetheless brimming with nascent fabric potential. We’ll pick through our grief and weave love into a new life.”

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Fabric in 131 words

 

 

One Face, A Whole World – Yom Ha’Shoah

 

This is the photo of Sarah Kol (1933-1944), my grandfather’s niece. She was murdered, age 11, along with her mother Ida, my grandfather’s eldest sister, and many others, by the Nazis in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

She is one of the millions lost to the rabid hate the Nazis practiced, spread, and fed.

Each one of those millions lost was an entire lost world.

Each murder left a gaping hole where their lives and accomplishments, their stories, their loves and joys, their children and grand-children who’d never be, would have been, should have been …

My grandfather lost many in his family in the Holocaust.

My grandmother lost many in hers.

Other branches of my family lost loved ones, too.

Many families lost even more.

Some have no one left to remember. Many have no photos. No one to tell their stories.

So we must. As we can. Tell of those we know.

Remember all.

Little Sarah’s is but one face of many.

Hers was a life all its own. Snuffed out but not forgotten.

May her memory be a blessing.

May all their memories be a blessing. Six million. More. So we remember.

So we never forget.

Little Sarah, you were born but a year before my mother. The Nazis killed you, but they could not kill your memory. You live in each of us. The memory of your mother and siblings and cousins and aunts and uncles lives on, too. I see your face in my sisters and many cousins and nieces.

We are you.

And we remember.

 

 

What Is Allowed

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Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

They didn’t know what they could do. What’s left of what they had.

So they rode the day in minute steps, a hand in tender hand.

They sought the light as morning came.

They danced into the night.

Because they knew no ban could

Fully

Take away

What is allowed.

 

 

For RDP Tuesday: Ban

 

 

 

The Truth

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Photo: Randy Laybourne on Unsplash

 

There was something she didn’t share, but knew.

She held it, close, against her heart. A snuggle for her spirit. They could not take away what they did not realize she understood.

So she hid her comprehension. Her perceptions. Her realizations that what was presented as truth, was not.

Real Truth, that which resonated with her soul, was different. It sang.

She’d been quite young when she’d learned how to discern the babble from the song. It hadn’t been easy to maintain Truth, to blanket her face with masks of complacent adoration. Still she labored at it, keeping hope afloat.

 

 

 

For the RDP Sunday prompt: Truth

 

 

Toppers

tall-frames CrispinaKemp

 

It wasn’t an easy thing for a Bottom-Feeder to achieve Topper status. Most born to the Lower Gradients remained in the dank shadows of the towers, foraging for what could be found.

But Bronson never took the easy route. Not in birth, where his footling position had almost killed his mama and had left him only one usable hand. Not in growing, when he was often the last to be fed and the first to be beaten. Not in young adulthood, when he decided that wit and perseverance would have to do what his physique could not.

He lurked. He flattered. He kept abreast of Toppers’ visits to the LG’s for the vices, and used his nonthreatening appearance to offer guidance, and sometimes, services.

When Lorena’s ankle broke on twisted pavement, he lent a shoulder, led her home, and stayed. Life was better at the Tops, even as a pet.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Not Out Of Joint

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The farmer pruning rows of trees,

The seller in the market.

The hens that daily lay their eggs,

For tomorrow’s nest (or basket).

The driver navigating streets,

The postman carting packets.

The parent shepherding a child

In mask and zipped up jacket.

The nurses, doctors

Plumbers, pets,

Who have become our mascots.

The slower pace

The seeking gaze

In meetings held in tablet.

The smaller gifts

That bloom in hearts,

As parks in flowers blanket.

The ebb and flow of day to day

The births, the hope, the caskets.

The love that feeds

The good of deeds,

The evenings’ clapping racket.

For as so many things are stalled,

Kindness grows in ranking,

And we are really not at all

Out of joint in thanking.

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS writing prompt: joint