The Conversant


Photo: A.Cohen


She’s an expert on all matters

Hearts and rainbows

And the crucial importance

Of having everything that glints.

She can wax poetic

On the concept

Of shiny polka dots in pink.

She’s conversant

Beyond measure

On the value of more dolls.

Especially after three had suffered

Unrelenting awful hair-days

Due to dunking

At the sink.



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Life, Simplified.

draw a baby

Photo: King College, London


“It’s not hard,” she said. “Here, I’ll show you.”

“You make a circle …” she demonstrated. “Then you make eyes and mouth and little bit of hair and hands and legs. See?”

She held the drawing up to show me. Lines for arms and legs sprouted out of the crooked circle ‘head,’ topped by a few smaller lines of a sparse mohawk.

“Then,” she planted the paper back on the table, “you go to the hospital and the doctor makes magic and it’s a baby.”



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Kind of Allergic

Dessert InbarAsif

Photo: Inbar Asif


He didn’t want to have his dinner.

Only dessert.

“I’m kind of allergic to the salad,” he proclaimed.

“And the stew?”

“That, too.”




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target practice belly style

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein


If the distance’s too far

And the winning too tempting

There is always the tummy

To improve odds

Of aiming.



For The Photo Challenge

A Cookie Riff

happy cookies AtaraKatz

Photo: Atara Katz


He shook his head

At jam and bread

Objected to any other

Kind of spread

And lectured mommy

From his seat

That cookie’s the only

Thing to eat.



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Berry Prickly


Berry Prickly


Gavin (age 4) is picking berries with his mom and grandpa in the woods outside his grandpa’s house. He’d picked a few himself but encountered a thorn … and now is quite content holding the bowl, nursing his owee finger, and ‘directing traffic’ to the “good ones.”

Gavin: “I know why it called a Berry.”

Mom, intrigued: “Why?”

Gavin: “Because it berry prickly!”



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“I found some words with lotta syllables!” she announced and pulled a crumpled list out of her back pocket.

She and I have been working together for some time. Born very prematurely and with various – if not always visible – neurological challenges, she has had to work hard for every milestone, every skill, each speech-sound. At nine years old, she had good intelligibility in short words and brief phrases, but her clarity was still vulnerable in longer words or sentences.

“Hi-ppo-po-ta-mus,” she read, tapping syllables on the table. “Five!”

I smiled. This girl never needed prodding. Her internal motivation put most people to shame. If she put her mind to something, you better believe it that she’d go the distance for it, and then some. She wanted to be an actress and actresses needed good diction. She was going to make sure hers measured up.

“Ca-li-for-ni-ya and Phi-la-del-phi-a … both five! I-ma-gi-na-ry … five!”

She read several more words, repeating any one that lost a sound or two in the process. When she got it right, she repeated it again, insistent on perfection.

“My dad helped me find them,” she pointed to the list. “We had fun thinking them up in the car. We found lots of words with four … like ‘as-pa-ra-gus’ and ‘par-ti-cu-lar’, but not so many with five. Are there any words with even more, like … with six syllables?”

“Quite a few,” I smiled again. “Some you probably know.”

“Like what?”


“Oh!” She whispered to herself and counted the syllables on her fingers, “yeah, six!”


“Like in writing?”

“Exactly like in writing. Then there’s: identification, autobiography, veterinarian, personification, generalization …”

She wrote each word down. Practiced saying it. “Do you know any weird ones with six syllables?”

“Hmm,” I nodded. “How about ‘discombobulated'”?

She laughed. “My grandma says that one.”

“How’s ‘extemporaneous'”?

She twisted her lips. “That’s not weird, just boring.”

It was my turn to laugh. “Fair enough.” I thought a moment. “Infinitesimal?”

“Not weird.”

She was going to make me work for it. “How about …” I winked, “mispronunciation?”

“Ha-ha, very funny,” she rolled her eyes. “Try again.”

She raised her eyebrows and waited. A moment ticked by as words trickled into my brain, six-syllabled but certainly not weird enough to qualify: visualization, spirituality, irregularity, disorganization, availability, cardiovascular. …

The room darkened as clouds passed over the sun and the wind picked up. The forecast promised thunderstorms. I was about to give up to a google search when a chime jangled in my window and with it came inspiration.

“I have it!” I exclaimed. “Tintinnabulation!”



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Dish Dash

greek handbroom

She walked into the house to a flurry of activity: broom in one set of hands, brush in the other. Guilty faces. Unidentifiable smell.


“He started.”

“She told me!”

The woman narrowed her eyes and scanned the room. The counter looked okay. No scorch marks. No splatter on the stovetop and walls like the last time when they had experimented with tomato lava. A foot in pink sock moved in the periphery of her vision and she lowered her gaze to the floor: the toes had attempted to nudge away a white bit of something. Paper?

She sniffed. What was that smell. She knew it from someplace … reminded her of dusty flea markets. Like old ceramics. Ceramics? Ceramics!

The distance to the garbage pail was covered in one giant step, arm already extended to reveal … a heap of shards, jagged shiny white, all sizes.

To the cabinet, still unbelieving: Bowls, mugs, cups. A suspiciously bare corner.

Little feet shuffled, oh so guilty.

There were no plates in the sink. None in the dishwasher.

“What have you done?”

They spoke over each other. “He did it She told me to We had a Greek wedding …”

“…so we had to break the plates,” the younger one emphasized with more hope than conviction. Even at not-quite-four-years-old he knew he was in trouble.

As for the seven-year-old? No added confirmation was required beyond how this child who disappears whenever there’s anything resembling cleaning up, had gotten herself voluntarily busy with the broom.

She shook her head, too stunned to truly feel angry. Yet.

“Where’s your big sister?” The fifteen-year-old was supposed to be watching the younger ones. She better have an explanation!

Chins tilted in the direction of the basement. Eager to shift blame. Muffled sounds filtered through the closed door. She listened. The tune was eerily befitting.

“Doing what?”  … even though she already knew the answer.

The little one piped up. “She watching big fat Greek one wedding!”



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A Local Princess

hello kitty slippers

Most late afternoons she arrives to session in frilly sleepwear and pink plush slippers, locks of hair damp from her bath. I’m on first name basis with her three varieties of Elsa nightgowns, her Dora robe, her Hello Kitty slippers, her Eloise headband.

She has no qualms traipsing the urban outdoors in jammies (or on a rare rescheduled morning, with brush-phobic bedhead). It may be that she’s five … but the short commute sure helps: she lives right across the street. No fuss. No sweat. No need to primp.

After all she is donning royalty to sleep.



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