Endless Flicker

paolo-nicolello-KY6NHtBWJB8-unsplash

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

 

 

Revisiting

Revisiting NaamaYehuda

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.

 

 

Out Of The Blue

Photo prompt: © David Stewart

 

The streets still shone with wet but the dome of sky stretched clear above. The wind had swept away the clouds.

She shivered even though the air was warm. Perhaps it was the damp that had her reaching for her shawl.

She hugged herself and wondered if she’d ever know whether he had left because he wanted to or because he had no other choice or because he did not know any better.

“Where are you?” she whispered.

She jumped when the fountain unexpectedly came to life and bathed the roundabout in blue.

It felt like a hello. From Hugh.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

As One

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

It would be a long day of hiking to get to where she was going, but that only meant she’d have all those hours to herself. Time to cherish. Laura rarely had alone time now that she was taking care of three little ones. Four, if you counted the one who was adult in years but child in coping.

The others were coming by van and bike and car, and at least one that she knew of was likely to arrive by horse. Like spokes on a wheel, they where converging onto the place that had birthed and maintained their connection.

They were barely taller than grasshoppers when they had made their pact. The icy waters of the stream that slid in mirror-like pools sewn by white foam amidst the forests behind their homes, were known to either meld souls together or break them. They were adamant to have theirs fuse.

“Friends for life!” their reedy voices had risen breathless in the cold that needled every part of their unclad bodies. Only their palms, holding on to dear life, gave warmth.

Not one of them was going to admit that the submersion ritual had sounded better in the stories. Not one of them was willing to allow their fear or blue lipped trembling be the weakest cog.

“As one submerged, as one emerged!” they had cried and dipped and clung and sprung up in a sputter, pausing just a moment to stare in delighted disbelief at their hands — still in an unbroken circle, vow completed, magic done — before scrambling out onto the banks and into their awaiting piles of warm clothing.

It was unlikely that none of their parents had noticed the simultaneous wet hair and mossy, muddy patches. The river was off limits to unsupervised young. On any other day they would’ve been subjected to interrogation, yet none of them had been told off and not a one was punished. As children they’d believe themselves successfully secretive, the magic camouflaging the blatant disobedience.

As a mother now herself, Laura leaned toward believing that the real secret was the adults’, who must have seen the rosy cheeks and glowing eyes and realized the true magic of shared friendship. She found herself smiling at the memory as she walked across moors and over hills, through copses and sheep-speckled fields and bubbling streams and into the forest.

As she neared, her breath lifted and tightened in joyous anticipation. It was hard to believe it had been thirty years. They’d kept in touch all those decades. Through many moves and schools and colleges, through marriages and births and loss and celebrations — they wrote and called and saw each other in all manner of combinations. But this was the first time in a quarter century that they would be all of them together in one spot.

To submerge and renew the magic. In the stream.

From the distance came the clop-clop of what had to be Timmy’s draft horse, mixed with Sally’s giggles and Benny’s tenor mingling with Robin’s guitar strings and Bonnie’s soprano. A faint whiff of smoke filled Laura’s nostrils. Good! No frozen buns this time!

She reached to straighten the bathing-suit strap under her clothing. “As one submerged, as one emerged,” she whispered, lengthening her stride.

 

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

Almost

beyond SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“I wonder how many had spent a night in this place through the centuries.”

Dennis looked up from his walking boots. The laces had knotted and he was adamant about untangling them without cutting, even though he had a spare. Mirna’s chin rested on a palm propped on an elbow, the remainder of her body already cocooned in her puffy neon orange sleeping bag.

“You look like a giant orange slug,” he smiled.

“Oh, but thank you!” she giggled, wriggling playfully. “I’ve always wanted to achieve slug proportions.”

“I bet thousands upon thousands,” Dennis added.

“Of what?”

He gestured with his head at the space that sheltered them. The ancient stones still fitting together after multitudes of years.

“Yeah,” Mirna sighed. She turned onto her belly and peered out through the mossy rectangular opening. The moors stretched, bleak, to the horizon. As the day waned, the vista appeared increasingly forbidding. “I wonder who they were.”

“Shepherds. War refugees. Travelers. Hunters. Peddlers. Serfs. Messengers. Families seeking safety from the elements,” Dennis tugged on the knots gently as he spoke, and for some reason the controlled movement reminded him of the concentration involved in getting embers out of fire-sticks. He’d tried that once, out of sheer boredom, and the effort had left him out of breath, sweaty, and highly appreciative of the convenience of flint, not to mention lighters and water-proof matches.

“And now, more travelers,” Mirna noted. She rolled over and sat up in her sleeping bag, feeling very slug-like. “Here, let me.” She reached for one of Dennis’s boots, pulled out a hair pin and used it to loosen a knot, releasing one long loop of shoelace, then another.

Dennis shook his head and handed her the other boot. “So much for my skills,” he grinned sheepishly. “At least I know I’ll manage to light the field stove and make tea. Then we can watch the sunset, snug as bugs in a rug in our matching sleeping bags, and can be almost like all those who’d rested here before us …”

A whiff of wind puffed into the shelter and a straggling ray of light licked the mossy stone above Mirna’s head. A late-day cloud raced across the bog. A bird called.

A shudder traveled down Mirna’s spine.

It felt like a hello.

Almost.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

A Visit From Paul

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Milford, Delaware (Photo: Ray Hennessy on Unsplash)

 

“He comes to visit,” a man’s voice jarred her out of her reverie.

She’s been watching a waterfowl in the sparkling water. It’s been staring back, she felt.

“The bird?” she turned. The speaker was a frail-looking man who still managed a bearing that stated “military.”

“If it is that.”

She glanced at the crane. The oldster sounded neither confused nor joking.

“Tell me,” she rose to make room on the bench.

The man extended a hand to shake. “Smith. US Navy.”

“Marcia,” she returned.

They used to build ships in Milford, he told her. Built the four-masted Albert F. Paul, too. Launched it from the Abbot shipyard in 1917.

“174 footer, she was,” Smith sighed. “I would’ve been onboard, you see, if I hadn’t been injured. Would’ve gone down with my mates when the Germans torpedoed her in 1942.”

“The fallen seamen,” he lifted his chin toward the bird, “they visit me.”

 

 

 

For What Pegman Saw: Delaware

 

Secret Service

Photo prompt © Roger Bultot

 

“We used to go in through that side door,” Mama said.

I stared at the narrow wooden portal. “Because you are a girl?” I knew that Jewish traditions relegated women to a separate area in the synagogue, sometimes a designated entrance.

“No,” Mama’s voice shook and I reached for her hand. Her tears surprised me.

She seemed reluctant to cross the street. I couldn’t blame her. The building looked forbiddingly cold, sealed shut.

“No,” she repeated, a note of defiance in her eyes. “So no one knew services were held. They’d have come for us if we were found out.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

Memory Lane

Aharonson NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

Down memory lane

Where small feet

Came to learn,

And the stories

Of pain and resistance

Remain,

Where the concepts

Of secret and magic

A house may

Contain,

Filled my mind with

Both worry

And wonder

Again

And again.

 

 

Note: The photo (taken in 2008) is of the fence and alleyway hugging the perimeter of an estate in my childhood town where science, historical espionage, ‘betrayal by pigeon’, capture, torture, hidden tunnels, and suicide were all shared in pretty graphic detail with primary school children during school-tours of the location (complete with yellowed photos, blood stains, personal effects, pistol, tunnel in the bathroom and all). The museum hosted children from all around, but us local kids held the place (which was and still is located right near the town’s center), in a combination of fascination, awe, horror, and perhaps a sprinkle of pride for a perceived association with the courage and tragedy of a local heroine. Though I don’t think they tell this to kids quite the same way these days, the stories and memories remain.

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Back Catalog

 

Mendel’s Messengers


PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

 

She waited.

Three teens passed, faces glued to lit screens. One murmured “sorry” when he almost bumped into her. He didn’t look up.

A mother hurried in the direction of the car park, harried by a whining toddler.

Long minutes passed. She’d walked from the bus and her legs weren’t what they used to be. She leaned onto a lamppost and closed her eyes.

“Ma’am?”

A bearded face leaned toward her. Another man behind.

“Will you help me cross the street?”

“At your service!” Both men offered their hands.

She smiled. “Mendel sent you. It’s what he used to say.”

 

 

For the Friday Fictioneers Challenge

 

(Some) Favorites

 

 

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Here’s to (some) all time favorites

To the “Wow! This is it!”

To the ooohs and the ahhhs

That make my smiles repeat.

 

 

For The Photo Challenge