The Present

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(Photo: Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash)

 

She was shaking when I entered the room. Hands wringing, lips trembling, her eyes a shade of numb I had rarely seen.

Mary had called me. She had come to check on her and bring a midday repast. Mother being too proud to ask for help, even though her legs no longer held her sturdily or long enough to cook herself a decent meal.

Appearance and stoicism were Mother’s barometers of standing.

Socially and otherwise.

Not that you’d know it from her mascaraed cheeks.

She pointed to the antique book I had gifted her the previous evening. 

I understand, therefore I’ll live,” was scribbled in the cover. “R.B. 1941

Mother pressed a notepad on me. Scribbled on it were the same words. Same letters. An older hand.

“I forgot,” she whispered, caressing her initials. “But reading what I have just written, I now believe.”

 

 

Prompt quote: “Reading what I have just written, I now believe.” (Afterward by Louise Gluck)

For the dVerse prosery challenge

 

Whistling Into Wind

 

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(Photo: Janko Ferlič on Unsplash)

 

She had vowed to not come back. Ever. Not to live. For sure not that.

It did not mean she would not try to visit. Or to glimpse. To set out in a morning’s determination only to curl around via rambling roads and pause at every bridge and barn until it got too late to see a thing or she lost nerve and drove home steeped in a tired mix of relief and disappointment.

“I’ll come with you,” Elmira finally said. She placed a warm hand on the base of Anastasia’s neck, hoping to soften the tension it held whenever memories threatened flood.

Anastasia shook her head. “There is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles.”

“And yet,” Elmira kneaded gently, “the Orphanage’s whistles still tell stories. Perhaps the likes of which your soul insists ought to be heard.”

 

 

Prosery prompt: “there is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles” from “Drawings By Children” by Lisel Mueller

For the dVerse prosery challenge

 

 

Endless Flicker

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Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

 

Candle lighting

The edge

Of the world

And the margins

Of time

To the endless

Flicker

Of loss.

 

[For Kathryn: you became light eight years ago today. We all loved you. We all love you more.]

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Endless in 18 words

 

 

Everything She Needs

shadowed-me CrispinaKemp

 

She took one last look around, another in the mirror.

Waterproofs. Umbrella. Boots. A change of clothes tied around her waist. A utility apron with ration-filled pockets. Some necessaries. Her pen and notebook. Basic first aid. Matches. Tarp. The photo. And her courage, tightly wound into the center of her chest.

She was ready.

There were no roads or maps where she was going. She’d hike up then use her wits and hopefully the scent of memory, awakened, to find the place. She didn’t know how much the faded photo would help, with the quarry and the landslide and the decades passed since the plate was exposed. Still, she took it. Her soul told her that the photo did not wish to be left behind.

She walked into the dawn. She had everything she needed.

If fates smiled, she’d find the ruins of Witch Wilma’s home. Her great-great-grandma’s tomb.

 

 

For Crispina Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Red Moon Riding

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Photo: Niklas Priddat on Unsplash

 

She let the shudder travel from the roots of her hair to the nape of her neck and down her spine to the place where the calving of her body started. The skin on the small of her back awoke. She sighed.

It wasn’t the chill in the air that had her trembling, even though the breeze could explain the raised goosebumps on her skin. It was the vista that had shaken her. And the memories it sought.

Oh, this was a different place. A different time. Yet somehow these still were the same sky where a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills spreading below it. Transporting her. The earth roiled under a tapestry of dark and starlight, of shade and voids and hidden stars. Her breath drowned in wonder and sorrow: for lost beginnings, for hopes come dawn.

 

 

 

Prosery Prompt: “a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills” (Carl Sandburg’s Jazz Fantasia)

For the dVerse Prosery challenge

Revisiting

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Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

She could still hear

The sound of children.

The thunk of balls

Against the chain link fence

Where the big kids

Played.

The smell of dust

From the yard

By the old concrete

Stage.

See the tiny kiosk

Near the gate,

And the ancient seller

Who was always

There.

Feel the coolness of

The main building

As you walked in from

The bottom of the outside

Stairs.

The smell of paint

And cardboard.

The metal-legged

Chairs.

And the hopeful

Cacophony

Of children on recorders

In the music room

Elsewhere.

 

Oh, she knew that

The yard was empty.

No hubbub actually

Filled the evening

Air.

Still the decades tumbled

As memory bloomed,

Transporting

Now to then

With an unexpected

Flare.

So much has

Stayed

The same,

Even as so much has

Changed

In her.

 

 

 

For the dVerse poetry challenge

Note: This photo was taken last year in my elementary school, which I had occasion to visit one early evening after not seeing the place for decades. It was a magical, if complicated, revisiting.

 

 

Travel Home

Travel Home NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Travel home

To where the shadow

Replicates

What your heart knows:

The lives

The parks

The bustling city

That seems so quiet

And yet flows,

Even when appearing

To hold its breath

In forced repose.

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Travel

 

 

For Keeps Sake

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Photo: Osnat Halperin-Barlev

 

Hold your toes

And attention

On the story she tells.

Lean in more

To inspect

Every image as well.

For no matter

The weather

Or the chatter

Outside,

There’s not much like

The keepsake

Of a big sister’s

Pride,

And the magic of

Words

In your sweet heart,

Amplified.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Keepsake in 49 words

 

 

Go Deep

 

down you go AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

Go deep into the space within

Where sorrow holds to joy,

And find the light that shadow

Serenades

In times

Without employ.

Go deep into the burrowed

Land

Where memory resides,

And seek the song that

Dances,

Stubborn,

In your mind.

 

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS writing prompt: Deep

Note: Dedicated to all who are struggling during these uncertain times. May you find all that you need, in health, in life, in light.

 

Call Home

Photo prompt: © Douglas M. MacIlroy

 

“Do you still have it?”

“Let me see,” he nodded at the screen even though he knew she couldn’t see him.

“Okay.”

The tremor in her voice told him everything: How tender she felt, how brave she was, how she couldn’t bear for him to ask directly lest it shatter what brittle control she managed to maintain.

“Got it,” he breathed. Attached. Hit ‘send.’ “Check your email.”

The line was silent. Then her voice, full of tears. “I knew it. I knew it hadn’t been a dream. She said she’d visit. From the after. Exactly this way. … And she came.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers