The Toll

Alabaster_canopic_jar_with_portrait_of_Imseti,_Egyptian,_800_Wellcome_L0058406

Photo: Alabaster canopic jar (Wikimedia)

 

She was impervious to their taunting.

To the words

That meant to hurt

But found no inlet

No crack

In what seemed her

Flawless control.

 

She was impervious to others’ love

As well.

The doors of her alabaster soul

Had slammed shut

After her spirit had peeked

Out

Only to find more harm

Than she knew she would be able

To endure if she were to

Somehow

Remain whole.

 

She was impervious to much,

But not to beauty.

She could not give up

That

Without crumbling.

And so she lived

In stoic

Understanding

Of the world,

And its toll.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Impervious in 99 words

 

 

A Fleeting Equilibrium

balancing rock formation

Photo: Tina Nord on Pexels.com

 

She held her breath and waited for the instant

In time

Where Earth’s equator passed through

The center of the sun.

Imperfectly balanced

As it was

By arcs and tilt and latitudes,

She cared not about

The argument that it could never be

In ideal form,

Or that the exact timing

Varied

With convictions

And perceptions of the mind.

She paused nonetheless,

Determined

To witness the fleeting equilibrium

Of light and dark,

And the shift of balance

That it could,

perhaps today, allow.

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Equinox in 83 words

 

To The Seashore

sunset PortBreton2 SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

I will go to the seashore

Where the waves touch the sky.

I will go to the seashore

To kiss the day fond goodbye.

I will go to the seashore

Where the boats come on home,

And the children still play,

And the sun’s last rays roam,

And my soul sings with the surf

Where it has always belonged.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Seashore in 59 words

 

Joy Ride

Berlin ride InbarAsif

Photo: Inbar Asif

 

Low to ground

Safe and sound

Sharing smiles all around

Their devotion

Abounds

As they glide

Side by side

Through the streets

In joyful ride.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Devotion in 25 words

 

Third Yawn

man person cute young

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

“We’ll be okay,” he promised, even though he had never cared for a baby, let alone one quite so young.

It didn’t matter. He’d google it. He’d even call Aunt Edna if he had to.

For now, there was nothing to do but reassure Margo, who looked as if a semitrailer had gone over her once and came back for seconds. He had no idea what bleeding in a new mother meant, but he didn’t think it could be something to ignore, even as he simultaneously tried hard to not imagine the exact nature of it.

Still she argued with him till he said, “what if you give whatever this is to the baby?”

She let him call the paramedics. She agreed to call her mom.

“There’s breast milk in the freezer!” Margo remembered as EMS wheeled her out.

He was curious enough to head straight for the kitchen to check it out. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for till he spotted a few small zippy bags in the freezer’s door. They had a date scrawled on with a sharpie and contained an off-white substance. Didn’t look like milk. Well, maybe like a watered down version of ‘milk’ from the vegan aisle.

He stood there and wondered how the milk got from the freezer to the baby’s tummy. Do you cook it? Does it get ruined if you microwave it? Isn’t it supposed to be in a bottle? He hoped Margo’s mom will arrive before he had to figure that out.

He shut the freezer door but his mind would not shut the topic. How did the breast milk get into the bag in the first place? Did people sell this stuff? Was it hers? How does one milk a breast? Do you even call it “milking”? His mind conjured images too odd to contemplate. He wasn’t sure he liked realizing that women’s breasts had … um … practical uses.

The baby whimpered and he jumped to pick her up from the swinging car-seat-like-thing she was strapped into. Took him a good two minutes to figure out the clasp. Fort Knox, this thing. By then the whimper became full on red-in-the-face howl. He tried not to panic. Did babies normally get this loud or was the baby sick? He thought of Margo’s bleeding. Would he have to check, you know, the diaper area?

He bounced the baby lightly against his chest and she burped and dribbled some off-white liquid that looked like the breast milk in reverse. It wet his shirt but he didn’t care because the baby quieted. He wasn’t sure whether to keep bouncing her or not. What if she burped up more and ended up losing all the food in her tummy? He settled on a sort of light jiggly dance. Seemed to help. When he peeked down he saw the baby’s eyes had closed. The tiny mouth was closed, too.

A huge yawn stretched his.

He’d just come home from a double shift at the construction site and was dreaming of bed when he remembered that he’d promised Margo he’d check on the stairway light. He knocked on his neighbor’s door to let her know it was just a faulty light-switch, and was alarmed at how awful she looked when she opened it.

Margo rented the one-bedroom above the studio apartment he liked to think of as “his bachelor pad” though it was more like college-dorm-meet-thrift-store-shabby. Margo had already been pregnant when she’d moved in, and he’d felt a combination of protectiveness, shyness, and admiration for the young woman. Her mother had given him a critical once-cover and a ‘best not mess with my kid’ look when she’d come for the birth. He cowed under her glare and tried to stay out of their way. He hoped he passed muster when Margo’s mother found him making room for the stroller in the small landing. She didn’t say much, but she was marginally less glacial afterwards.

He’d been relieved when Margo’s mom left. Now he couldn’t wait for her to return.

Another yawn. He wasn’t sure how far away Margo’s mom lived. An hour? Two? More?

Margo had left her mother’s number on a sticky note, but he didn’t want to call. Told himself she had enough to worry about, though in truth he just didn’t want her to think he was as inept as he felt.

I did get the baby to fall back asleep, though, he thought defensively …

The third yawn threatened to swallow half the baby.

He lowered himself gingerly onto the couch. Hoped the baby stays quiet. She did. Good. He’d just close his eyes for a moment.

***

He woke to pots and pans and the smell of eggs and coffee. There was a slight weight on his chest. He stared down to see a downy head peeking from under a brown blanket.

“You were both fast asleep,” Margo’s mom manifested, apron-clad and a sudsy sponge in one hand.

He blinked.

She smiled, and he noted to himself that she didn’t look half as intimidating as he’d remembered.

“How’s Margo?” he chanced.

“She’s stable,” her smile thinned, with worry, not critic. “They gave her blood and are keeping her for observation but I can bring Ella to visit her later this afternoon.”

As if she knew she was the topic of the conversation, the baby stirred and stretched a small fist at his jaw. Her eyes opened and she contorted her face, ready to cry.

“I’ll take her,” Margo’s mom put the sponge down and wiped her hand on her apron before reaching for the baby. “Did she eat?”

He shook his head. Still a bit dazed and surprisingly disappointed at the loss of the small heft over his heart.

“I’ll make her a bottle.” Margo’s mom nuzzled the baby’s neck, and tilted her head toward a phone on the coffee table. The smile was back. “I took a photo, by the way. Of you and Ella. Was too sweet to not share.”

 

 

 

For Linda’s SoCS challenge: Yawn

 

Essentially

bridge over quiet water SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

“Essentially, it should just be a matter of putting one foot in front of the other,” Dan noted, raising a mischievous bushy eyebrow and staring meaningfully at the assembled group of aspiring hikers. “Only that for some of us this might be an impossibility, seeing that … well …”

The participants laughed.

The six youngsters had barely five feet between them, let alone the assumed two per beating heart.

Dan had none.

“So,” the bearded guide waved a muscular arm over the skateboard that supported his legless torso. “We do something better.”

He pointed at each of the youngsters and their varied modes of conveyance. “We glide, we slide, we roll, we hop, we drive. We do whatever is necessary, and …” he chuckled, “because lunch will be served at the end of this path, we best get started or we’ll also end up doing it hungrily.”

 

 

For the SoCS challenge: ends with -ly

 

Into The Horizon

Australia S. Levenberg

Photo: S. Levenberg

 

There was a gap in the horizon and she was going to walk through it even if it meant a pass into another world. Even if it proved a portal to a completely different side of life.

There was a gap in the horizon and it beckoned her to come inside. To walk away from all she’d known and all she could no longer understand, and into what she didn’t know, but may arrive.

 

 

For the Weekend Writing Prompt: Horizon in 74 words

 

 

First Sighting

SPF 10-07-18 CE AYR 4

Photo Credit: C.E. Ayr

 

Frank said he’d show them. They didn’t know what to expect.

There had been noises coming out of Frank’s garage for the last month. Scraping sounds. Creaks and screeching. Odd lights that did not seem electrical. Scents of things they could not place.

“That’s what happens when you indulge a grown man’s folly,” Mirabelle scowled, bestowing wisdom and a sharp tongue on the gathered neighbors. “Tinkering about instead of doing an honest day’s work.”

Rebecca raised an eyebrow in Dave’s direction and he swallowed a laugh. He had no intention of having his wife succeed in making Mirabelle turn her bottomless well of ire onto him.

“He found it,” Tommy whispered. The towheaded boy lived across the street from Frank and was known to make extensive use of binoculars, not always for savory pursuits.

Dave tilted his head in quasi-invitation.

“In the bog. A round thing. Egg-like. Didn’t sound this big before, though,” Tommy fidgeted.

The racket grew and the assembled quieted. Slowly the garage door rose. Something labored out, scraping massive claws on the driveway’s concrete.

Rebecca gasped. Mirabelle fainted. Frank hung back.

Reptilian eyes regarded them, assessing. As food or foe, Dave was not so sure.

 

 

For the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge

 

Woolgathering

snow view KarenForte

Photo: Karen Forte

 

Pause, and

Let your mind wander

In waking reverie

To the places where

Tomorrow’s seeds

Are sleeping

Underneath the snowy

Ground,

Wrapped in the arms

Of memories

Of days

Long passed

And others

Yet to come.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Woolgathering in 36 words