Untenable

 

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(Photo: The NYPL on unsplash)

 

They didn’t plan to bring

With them

A legion of

Trouble.

They only wished

To find,

For their

Loved ones,

A measure of

Escape.

A new home where

They could

Be safe.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Legion in 32 words

 

Forgotten Power

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She took another sip of coffee. A small one. To make it last.

A dreary morning meant the outdoor cafe wasn’t busy. Still, the waiter would surely clear her table as soon as her cup ran dry. He’d already deposited the check to flutter underneath the saucer. Hastening her to remove the eyesore of tattered bags and unkempt hair from the establishment.

Her chest tightened and her hand trembled. She forced in a deep breath.

She used to own the place. In better days.

She could still see it, riding through her mind’s eye. Her colorfully beloved Flower Power Cafe.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: © Brenda Cox

 

A Heart of Stone

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“All you have is this little wheelbarrow?”

Marsha nodded.

Shelly shook his head.

“I don’t mind how long it takes,” the despair in Martha’s voice was overshadowed by determination. “And anyway, this won’t be too heavy.”

Shelly shrugged. “You’d change your mind after you make a few trips pushing this rusty thing uphill against the wind.”

In the weeks that followed Marsha wondered more than once if her brother had conjured the wind just to spite her. Dust and grit found purchase in her eyes and throat. Her palms grew red, then raw, then rough.

And still, she pushed the loaded wheelbarrow through gravel and scrub brush and small canyons of cracked earth that manifested overnight upon the path she forged across the steppe.

Slowly the grave-marker took shape.

“I’ve brought the stones from our creek, Mama,” she whispered as she placed each carefully. “Your heart will never again thirst.”

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

Playing Along

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(Photo: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)

 

He wasn’t going to win this game.

He learned that much from many

That he had

Lost.

And he did not care

To have his face made pie

Against another Juke

Box.

So he played along,

As if it was all

A big

Joke.

 

 

 

For the dVerse 10th Anniversary (!!) poetry quadrille challenge: Juke

Dedicated to all who had to play along, because that was the safer – if fake – choice.

 

 

The Longest Walk

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The dappled path grew arms of shade to shackle her so that her legs refused to move.

Earth’s gravity cranked itself up and higher.

It needn’t be so hard, and yet each cell in her begged an excuse.

She couldn’t.

She had to.

She shouldn’t.

She must.

She wouldn’t.

She better.

Or else.

The tree-lined corridor – so outwardly calm, so beautifully straightforward – was but a hall of mirrors.

An amplifier of her agony.

For who would see it and believe her, when none had yet, and perhaps no one ever would?

The careful greenery imposed a form of blindness on others.

A willingness to only selectively see.

Appearances, she already knew, could become everything.

It made the manicured life into a wall beyond which no one saw. Or wouldn’t.

Leaving her to take.

Again.

As in every day.

The longest walk.

Home.

And its unspoken of.

Relentless,

Tortures.

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

Dedicated to all who live behind the veils of appearances and are kept hidden in plain sight under a mirage of perceived privilege. Abuse knows no socioeconomic boundaries. Torment knows no race, no age, no god, no faith, no intellect, no education, no level of income. May you be heard. May you find a way to be safe.

 

 

Indispensable

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(Photo: Catt Liu on Unsplash)

 

She checked the items off the list.

One by one by one by one.

She’d learned to not look too far down. Better to not confront endlessness. To not have to face it that today, too, there will not be a moment when the job is done. When she is free.

Only another task.

Another chore.

Mistress claimed she was “indispensable.”

Praise or curse for why she could not get a few days off to see her ailing mother. To rest. To marry.

“We’re your family,” Mistress had said. “We need you. It is a requisite you stay.”

 

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Challenge: Requisite in 98 words

 

Resonance

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(Photo: Johnny Cohen on Unsplash)

 

The sound began

A whisper,

Only to crescendo to

A cry

That made the very

Heart

Howl

In eerie

Resonance

Of pain.

Familiar

Again.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Eerie in 24 words

 

Lady In Waiting

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(Photo: Na’ama Yehuda)

 

If he could make it there, he’d make it anywhere.

It was the axiom he had placed everything on.

He held on to the promise when his body hurt from beatings. He played the image of it in his mind when emptiness of heart and stomach kept him from shut-eye. He whispered small encouragements to himself to drown the insults that insisted he was nothing.

For he was. Someone.

He had to believe.

The words she said.

About where he could be.

Himself.

If he lived.

So he did.

And lit beneath storm clouds, she stood, waiting.

For the day.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers (Thank you for using my photo as a prompt this week!)

 

Unhollowed

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(Photo: Lucas Myers on Unsplash)

 

There was little in their heart

But ice

And calculated cruelty.

A wanton abuse of

Power.

Ribald actions of

A misery intended

To inflict.

The wreck they left

Of any who had

Crossed them,

Threatened to hollow

Even the hardiest

Protest.

And yet,

There were still some

Whose souls

Would not give in

To ugly.

Whose light

Resisted.

Insisted.

Persisted.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: wanton in 60 words

 

 

Tethered To The Queen

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(Photo: Andrés Gómez on Unsplash)

 

If only they had thought to mark their way, perhaps they wouldn’t have lost it.

Then again, the whole idea of running away was to forgo discovery. Leaving shiny pebbles would have made the whole endeavor be over well before it had began.

They trudged along. Bellies emptier than in hungry nights before.

There was a misery in a scrabbled-for freedom. And yet at least their torsos did not suffer the indignity of another whip.

Eliah’s stomach growled. He sighed. “Only mouths are we.”

“Who sings the distant heart which safely exists in the center of all things?” Lilah responded, distracting him.

The boy grinned through tired tears. He knew the correct reply. The moon of course.

He pointed at the sky.

His grandmother’s nod was filled with pride.

For one was never lost while their heart stayed tethered to the night’s reigning queen.

 

 

 

For the dVerse Prosery challenge

Prosery prompt: “Only mouths are we. Who sings the distant heart which safely exists in the center of all things?from Rainer Maria Rilke, “Heartbeat.”