Gone Swimming

Photo prompt © Jean L. Hays

 

She spent the day swimming, buoyed by the swell and fall of waves, kissed by the spray of salt, caressed by playful bursts of wind as silvery bodies and slick flippers dipped and slid and spun beside her.

The sun warmed the top of her head, then the tip of her nose and the crests of her knees as she turned to rest and float and face it.

It was like living in a dream.

And it was. A dream.

The stained glass in the open door a portal to what was. The ventilator sighed. She could no longer swim.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Blue Earth

Blue Earth NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

On this Earth Day

As we are all

One,

Cooped in

Holding on,

Blue around the fingertips

Blue around the lips,

Blue in oceans, and

In the reflections of the deep,

Blue in sorrow

Blue as sky lift

Dark sapphire

To the reified aqua

Of hope.

May we rise

Like the sun,

And not forget how

We can

Help each other

Cope.

 

 

For Terri’s SundayStills: Earth

 

 

Under The Wire

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One needed a long leash.

One needed to be kept on a short one.

Metaphor for her life, it was.

She adopted both as babies. Whelped at the same time by the same stray dog, they were, and yet they could not be more different. People did not believe her when she told them that the two were litter-mates. Had she not seen it with her own eyes she might’ve doubted, too. She wondered sometimes if it was possible that they were fathered by two different dogs altogether.

A little like her own sons. Who had.

Only that she had survived her children’s births. Unlike the dog, who didn’t.

It had been a cold spell then as well. The roads had become ice-sheets and her breath had hovered so close that it was as if the air itself did not want to leave the warmth of her body for the arctic chill. A storm had been forecast and she’d just returned from the store with extra essentials when she’d heard the whine of something small and vulnerable coming from the crawl space under the house.

The laboring dog did not resist when she’d reached for the writhing pup. Panting and with her head hanging low, she just rose heavily to her feet and followed the pup to the garage. She must have recognized help, or perhaps she was just beyond protesting.

Three pups were born. One large, two small, one of which did not survive. Neither did the birthing mother, who suckled the pups but was dead by morning. Perhaps she bled internally or was too weak or otherwise beyond recovery. With the storm in full force there was no way to call the vet. Or to bury anything. She dragged the mother and babe outside, where the cold would preserve them till she could find a way to properly farewell them. And she took the two mewling wrigglers in. Where they’d stayed. Milo and Martin.

After her uncles. One robust and placid. One short and wily.

She’d padded a box with an old blanket, kept it by her bed, and set a timer. She’d fed them with an eye dropper first, then a turkey baster with a piece of cloth tied on for suckling. It wasn’t till their eyes opened and they’d began exploring that she’d let herself realize that she’d be keeping them.

And that they will be keeping her.

From the plans she’d been making.

Her sons no longer needed their mother. But the puppies did.

So she stayed.

And three years later, they were all still there.

One with his long leash. One with the short. And her, in the middle. Held by both.

 

 

 

For Keith’s Kreative Kue 241

 

 

Over Barricaded

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Photo: Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

 

There was a wall in there.

A barricade against the world.

He’d built it, bit by bit, from hurts and slights and bigger woes.

And hid.

Within.

Where he thought he’d be safe, and from where he could watch from a distance, reassured by barriers and gates and locks and elaborate booby-traps that made sure no one got too close.

There was a wall in there.

And a moat.

Alligators, too. For insurance.

Only that they had become hungry with the years, as less people even attempted to get near him, and therefore there was less bait.

So that he was, in many ways, imprisoned.

He’d been young when he’d built the wall, and he didn’t plan ahead. So needy of a solid barricade he’d been, that he never made a way to unlock the gate.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Barricade in 136 words

 

 

Just A Crack

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Photo: Andrew Buchanan on Unsplash

 

“It is just a crack,” she said,

“A splinter off of perfection.”

‘Twas more than that, she understood,

Knowing what effort it exacted of her

To keep her direction,

To balance scales just so

They did not tip life

And hope

Into utter disconnection.

 

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: Crack

 

 

In The Blackest Night

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Photo: Hongmei Zhao on Unsplash

 

In the blackest night

She woke

To hear the flutter of her

Heart

Singing melodies of courage

In her ears.

As the hours ticked

Long seconds full of

Ink,

And stretched worries

She had long learned how to

Blink,

She held on to

Wisps of memories

Mirrored in her unshed

Tears,

And recalled the echoes

Of abandon

In the giggles

Of her very early

Years.

 

 

For the dVerse Poetics challenge: Black

 

 

Through The Night

nailed amitaiasif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

They gazed forlorn

Into the light,

Into the lumber

Burning bright.

All that they’d known

Before this plight,

Now kept them warm

Through heartache’s night.

 

 

For Sunday Stills: Night

*Dedicated to all who’d lost homes, lives, memories, and loved ones in fires and other disasters.

 

The Lost Quartet

fishbowl

 

 

He reached into his pocket and rummaged around. “I’ve brought something to show you,” he said, eyes searching mine. “But it’s a secret …”

“Oh?” I offered.

“Well, sort of,” he shrugged as an uncertain smile worked its way into his cheeks. “I took them to school … but I didn’t tell anyone … because we’re not allowed to … The teacher woulda’ taken them away and other kids maybe woulda’ told her or asked to see them and then she’d know …”

I hiked my eyes up and nodded my expectation.

The grin grew but it still held a sheen of sad.

He pulled his fist out of his pocket and turned it so the back of his hand rested on the table, then ceremoniously uncurled his fingers.

Four grains of rice in tiny vials, strung onto a keychain ring.

“They have names on them,” he said reverently.

I squinted and reached for a magnifying glass. Handed him one.

Our heads met over the small nest of palm and he mouthed the words, more sigh than voice.  “Fee, Fi, Fo and Fum.”

A quartet recently eaten not by a giant smelling the blood of an English man but by a feline with a swishing tail who had knocked the fishbowl over and left not one golden scale behind.

 

 

For The Daily Post

Survival Imagination

“For children who depend on mentally escaping into their minds to survive, imagination can become both refuge and desert island.”

(Na’ama Yehuda, Communicating Trauma, p. 148)

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