New Born

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

He was born on a blustery night to a woman who huddled on the exposed slopes with naught but the protection of three wide backs to block the worst of the wind. The men crouched, arms linked and heads down, their eyes averted from what was taboo to watch, as they hummed the low sounds of incantations meant to shield the woman and babe from the demons and their own ears from the muffled cries.

There was no midwife.

The other woman had died not a full moon prior. It was a bad omen.

There was no spirit-guide. Their leader, too, had died.

Bad omens, all.

There was only the woman, panting desperately in the dark. And the three of them: One of whom in whose hearth she’d grown, one whose hearth she shared, one who’d preceded her in her mother’s womb. And a girl-child of barely eight winters. Pale and shivering and wide-eyed, she knelt before the woman, one hand on the swollen belly, another cradling the opening for the magic and terror that no man was allowed to look upon. But she would. She was too young. But there was no one else who could.

As the night stretched and the panting shortened, he was born.

By morning, they moved on.

A fresh mound under a rock marked the space where the smell of blood still lingered. The men had dug the hole, even though it was women’s work. A concession to their circumstance. They could not wait till the girl, or woman, gathered sufficient strength for the task. It was paramount that one put distance between oneself and the afterbirth, lest the demons seek to lug the babe back into the dark. The mother, too, sometimes.

They left all that behind.

He lived his first days in almost the same darkness he’d been made in. Cocooned inside his mother’s wraps, lips close enough to her breast to suckle, rocked by the same thunder and gurgle of her heartbeat and innards.

Sometimes, much later in years, he’d remember the indistinguishable. How inside and out did not differ by much other than air and hunger and the momentary cold that blanketed him when he was whipped out to be held above the ground to release his waste.

He might’ve stayed cocooned for longer had they not found the cave.

The old man saw it first. A black tooth in the mountain-side. Large enough to fit.

They waited two days to approach it. Demons have been known to skulk in the back of dark hollows, waiting to pounce. They were too few to risk it. Let alone with a helpless morsel who couldn’t even cling.

When nothing bigger than a ferret emerged from the entry, and when hares were spotted munching languidly nearby, they knew that whatever demons might have lived there once, had since long gone.

They brought an ember to the cave. And stones for a hearth. And moss and boughs for bedding.

The girl carried water from the spring. The woman made the tea and cooked the grain from her ceremonial parcel. They ate. They drank. They slept.

By morning the men came for the baby.

They held his naked, squalling form, indignant in the cold exposure, and passed him from man to man at the entry.

His life-force squealed vitality. His lungs breathed their collective previous misfortunes to the wind. His face, first reddened then purple with rage, summoned the sun to rise and fall. Someplace a wolf returned the howl.

It was a good omen.

They called him New Born. The reincarnation of Born, the spirit-guide they’d lost along with what safety they’d had where they came from. This New Born was a cameo. He was their future. Their hope in this new home.

 

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

A Different Kind Of Home

A different kind of home

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

A moment

For the memory of

A different kind of home,

Where sun sparkles

On the water

And you feel your soul

Fold along the crease

Of rolling foam,

And where your spirit

Sings the song of places

It has long known

How to roam.

 

 

 

Eyes Aglow

jez-timms-iRj4ZDsPZ20-unsplash

Photo: Jez Timms on Unsplash

 

In the window

Reflected

Shine from times long

Ago,

As the fire

Resplendent

Warmed cold hands from the

Snow,

And kids’ eyes

Filled with wonder

Twinkled joy in the

Glow.

Elders, too

Filled with stories

Even they’re yet to

Know.

Lights aglow

Hope aflow.

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: glow

 

 

Gratitude’s Gate

aaron-burden-AvqpdLRjABs-unsplash
Photo: Aaron Burden on Unsplash

 

They stand at the entry, grateful, unknown. They’ve come far for this, on a journey not by choice yet still their own. The sound of people’s voices pluck strings in their soul. The light of the fireplace dances on the wall, painting hope, awakening dreams of a home that was never there, yet could be … now … if they allow it in.

Hearts quaking they knock

On the door

To their forever home.

 

 

 

For the dVerse Haibun challenge: Gratitude

 

The Marianna

 

He did it. He’d pared it all down and tucked it all in and stocked her all up.

He was down to one set of waterproofs, two pairs of jeans, three tees, four pairs of socks, five undies, six favorite CDs, seven books.

He was going for eight apples, nine carrots, and ten bananas, but he ate two bananas walking back from the store. So there was that. In any event, there were many other odds and ends he didn’t count but that counted just as much: sleeping bags, towels and dishes and batteries, the manual pump. All the things that would make it home.

For it was going to be. Home. The first he’d ever owned.

This boat: The Marianna.

His little sister had always dreamed of living on one, and her yearning settled in him after she died.

He smiled at the sky. “Welcome aboard, Marianna. Let’s fly.”

 

 

For Crispina’s CCC #53

 

Itsy Eats it!

 

She’d had it with replacing the gate five times in a season.

She’d had it with coming back from any length of trip to find her garden in shambles, her gazebo in ruins, and her abode filled with debris. There were always some of her favorite things broken or missing.

Something had to be done.

This might not look like it’d stop determined burglars, but it should at least cause pause to the majority. If any dared try.

It didn’t matter that it was made of bent reeds, or that she’d been advised to seal the opening with bricks. Too much stone felt heavy. And anyway, she found pleasing beauty in the symmetry, in the way light filtered through. It was like a window to the world.

Also, Itsy came with references and guaranteed the work.

“Itsy build,” the industrious worker promised. “And if something break in. Itsy eats it.”

 

 

 

For the Crimson Creative Challenge #51

 

 

Bamboo House

ChiangMai House AdiRozenZvi

Photo: Adi Rozen-Zvi

 

May there be a home

Inside this house,

Where the strength

And flexibility

Of bamboo

Is proffered,

As basis for the rapid

Steady growth

Love offers.

 

 

 

For Cee’s Black &White Challenge: House

 

 

Homespun

astronomy background constellation cosmic

Photo: Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

“Can’t say I’ve known all along,” he said.

She snuggled deep into his lap, safe under the quilt, warmed by his heartbeat, listening to the song of the stars as they marched across the canopy of the world.

A different sky. This was.

The other half of life, perhaps. Better, even, now that she found home.

She, too, hadn’t known. Rotation, yes, but only as rounds of emptied hope.

Though her soul perhaps did know. It must have seen the edge of the world spin, and held on, to keep her whole.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Spin in 92 words

 

 

Cute Factor

Puppy ToniHadi

Photo: Toni Hadi

 

He was born without home

And no prospect of more

But his adorability-factor

Ensured

He’d capture good hearts

Galore!

 

 

For Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Cute factor

 

 

Worn, Not Weary

amenities1 AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

I am worn,

But not weary.

I’ve weathered many

A winter,

Warmed multiple

Frozen hands,

Filled long lines

Of empty

Stomachs

With stews and soups of

All kinds.

 

I’ve seen good times

And not so,

Heard voices

Soft

And too loud.

I’ve dried the wet

Off of feet,

The tears off

Of cheeks,

Eased the sorrow of

Broken hearts.

 

I am worn,

But not weary.

Grab a spoon,

Find a bowl,

And take a seat

By my side.

 

 

For the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Weathered or worn