Poke Practice

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“I’ll flunk.”

Malinda sighed. Her brother needed an inordinate amount of putting up with.

“You’ll be fine,” she forced calmness into her voice. In part because she felt bad for him — Jerrod had always been too sensitive and too-tightly wound — and in part because she did not wish to then have even more of his perceived wounding to bandage.

“I’ve flunked it before.”

He had. Three times.

“You were younger and you were less experienced,” Malinda soothed. “Here, have some tea. It’ll calm your nerves.”

Jerrod folded his legs and lowered himself to the floor, only to spring back up and resume pacing.

“What if I don’t pass this time, either?” the youth fretted. His hair was plastered against his bony cheeks and his gray eyes appeared sunken under the woolen hood of his cloak.

Malinda took a deep breath. It was becoming increasingly difficult to believe that the morose youngster was ever the cherub-faced toddler she’d cuddled to sleep, and whose ringlets were impossible to resist poking a finger through.

Poking. … How odd that this was what her memory conjured. Or perhaps not so odd. Considering.

“Sit, Jerrod,” she repeated, putting an order behind her voice. He was not helping himself by fanning the flames of anxiety. He needed controlled calm in order to tame flame.

He sat and she handed him the wooden cup filled with steaming liquid.

“What’s in it?” his voice rose with a wariness she knew had nothing to do with the contents of the tea.

“Pine and honey. Nothing altering. You know I would not break the rules about such things.”

“Not even for me?”

His vulnerability and neediness grated. She breathed to calm herself. She could not ask of him what she did not require of herself. “Not even to you,” she emphasized. “One cannot poke fire when their own mind is on the flee.”

He blushed. He knew that. Everyone did.

“I’m scared,” he admitted, nose buried in the drink.

“I know,” she said gently. “Let the fear become the center of your gravity, then send it through your arm. Use it to concentrate your force. Fear is energy. Make it work for you.”

“Is that what you did?”

Malinda felt her eyebrows rise. People did not ask others how they’d passed their Poke Test. She was of a mind to remind her brother of the intrusiveness of his query, but she knew it would only further increase Jerrod’s sense of isolation. Perhaps others did not ask because they did not feel the need to. Obviously he did.

“Yes,” she replied, and the word brought back the trepidation she’d felt. The mix of terror and excitement, the flush of fear that became an arrow of determined indignation. She had passed. On the very first try.

She closed her eyes at the revisiting of the panic and the thrill.

She’d just completed her one-digit years and became eligible for attempting the Poke Test. To tame and manipulate fire was to be afforded the respect suitable for one who mastered the life-element they could none of them survive without. Fire was life. To know it, to master it, was a necessity and therefore a right of passage.

Some, like her, passed the Poke Test soon after turning ten. Jerrod had tried, and failed. And tried, and failed. And tried and failed again. Cowering before the flame he was reduced to tears, allowing the tongues of fire to do as they wished. He could not master it. It mastered him.

He was thirteen now. The oldest among those who were yet to conquer fire. Save for Leon, who was almost twenty but soft in the head. Even Sandra, who was blind, had tamed the blaze by twelve.

“Yes,” Malinda repeated. “I was afraid, but I turned that fear into a wand and ordered the flames to bend to my will.”

“A wand?” Jerrod’s eyes met hers, and she hoped that the glimmer she saw in them was of will-power rather than the sheen of anticipated defeat.

She nodded. The sound of bugle resonated. It was time.

“Come, brother,” she grabbed his hand and pulled him up to a stand. “Today, you pass from child to man. Go and tame the fire with your wand.”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo challenge

 

 

Farther

Farther chagitmoriahgibor

Photo: Chagit Moriah-Gibor

 

Stretch above

To where the flapping

Propels you farther

On the breeze.

From there to see

The light retreating

Over Earth’s curve

At day’s reprieve.

 

 

For Cee’s Black & White Photo challenge: In the distance

 

On The Stair Way

Central park stairs NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Take your time

As you climb.

Hold the rail.

Breathe in. Exhale.

On the stair way

Of life

Steps of joy

Steps of strife.

Both the rise

And descent

Are energies

Quite well spent,

As long as your heart

Can extend

To see a tad

‘Round the bend.

 

For the Which Way Challenge

 

A Challenge To Pick

climb ChagitMoriahGibor

Photo: Chagit Moriah-Gibor

 

When faced with

This-is-just-impassable,

The oh-too-dangerous,

And far-too-far

To pull out from;

One step

And then

A careful second,

With a resolute pick

And sturdy rope,

Will help lock arms

With trembling courage,

To climb you out

Of hazard’s maw.

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Challenge

 

Squirrel Away

Central Park Squirrel AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

As cold wind blows

And worries grow,

Squirrel away

Soul sustenance

And stash fresh hope.

As harsh congeals

And harm leans close,

Squirrel away

Good words of heart:

They’ll help you cope.

 

 

For the RDP Sunday challenge: Squirrel

 

Roseate

 

sunset PhilipCoons

Photo: Philip Coons

 

Optimistic in nature

Does not mean roseate

For reality may

Introduce caveat

Of the need to remember

Many times of ill fate

While never forgetting

The good we can create.

 

 

Merriam-Webster’s word for June 10, 2018:

Roseate

This post continues the blogging challenge in which Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, serves as inspiration a-la the “Daily Prompt.”

Want to join me? Feel free to link to this post on your blog, and/or post a link to your blogpost in the comment section below so others can enjoy it, too. Poetry, photography, short stories, anecdotes: Go for it!

For more visibility, tag your post with #WordOfDayNY, so your post can be searchable.

“Follow” me if you want to receive future prompts, or just pop in when you’re looking for inspiration. Here’s to the fun of writing and our ever-evolving blogging community!

 

Perfectly Premature

Elie Max Kichka 03

Photo: Elie Max Kichka

 

It is all as it should be

It is all as it ought

Whether we at the moment realize it

Or not.

When the time seems unripe

Let yourself

Be assured:

What may seem incomplete

Or half-prepared to endure

Is nonetheless just

Perfectly premature.

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

Keep Calm and Carry On

direction AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

Do not fear

The abrupt edge

Of life

When the path

Disappears

And clefts

Into strife.

Take a breath

Blow out fear

Know a brand new

Adventure

Is immediately

Near.

 

 

For The Daily Post

Incubate Hope

Central Park early spring NY

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Hold on close

To the hope

Even if

It is a bit

Tired.

So no matter the noise

Distraction desires,

Hope remains warmed

In soul

Where truth never

Expires.

 

 

For The Daily Post

Conjure Hope

Light IlyaRashap

Photo: Ilya Rashap

 

Conjure hope

From odd bits

Of despair.

Recall the magic

Of compassion

Summoned from thin air.

Remember how small light

Brightens

Everywhere.

 

 

For The Daily Post