Kyrielle #1

Because I do love poetry,
This challenge was an easy sell.
And so last evening, woe is me,
I tried to write a kyrielle.

Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained,
That's great advice that’s served me well.
I simply could not have abstained;
I tried to write a kyrielle.

I loved the thought of that refrain,
The chorus pealing like a bell.
And so, though it has caused me pain,
I tried to write a kyrielle.

The words would simply not obey.
My combinations would not gel.
I tossed out five drafts yesterday.
I tried to write a kyrielle.

I may have learned a thing or two,
Like: people, treat your poets well.
I understand what they go through.
I tried to write a kyrielle.

I will not lie to you, my friend,
I learned this form is hard as hell,
That grateful, fateful evening when
I tried to write a kyrielle.

If you're reading this, Rowan... your kyrielle instructions were excellent! I tried to write a beautiful, deep, lyrical poem, and bombed big time! Guess I should stick to tritinas. Ha!

I’ve Been Thinking About My Doorbell

So I’ve been thinking about my doorbell.

No, really. We just got it. It’s the Ring doorbell:

My husband purchased this doorbell. It records 30 seconds of video every time it senses motion.

If you’re a Luddite, like me, you may be thinking, “Isn’t that kind of nosy for a doorbell? Isn’t a doorbell’s job description, like, the simplest job description on earth? We, the human race, could be curing cancer, but we spent that money developing this?”

So far, our Ring Doorbell has recorded:
18 visits by our mail carrier36 trips to and from the school bus15 visits by Amazon couriers delivering boxes (don’t judge, it’s the holidays)157 times our next-door neighbor has walked from his side door to his drivewayOur neighbor’s young adult son coming home at 2:30 AMA low-flying finchMe yelling at the dog  Useful? Debatable. But my husband is a gadget guy, so now we have it.

I had my doubts about this doorbell. But I kinda like it. Having lived in big cities most of my adult life, I appreciate any de…

If You Give a Mom a Broom

If you give a mom a broom...

She'll sweep the crumbs, flour, and dog hair off the kitchen floor.

When she goes to empty the dustpan, she'll notice that the garbage is full. 

So she'll take the garbage out.
When she goes outside, she'll recall that tomorrow is garbage day. So she'll drag the garbage can to the curb.
While she's in the yard, she'll remember that we ran out of yard waste bags. 
So she'll go back inside to write them on the shopping list.
As she passes the basement stairs, she'll see the basket of laundry that she left there earlier.
She'll haul the basket downstairs to the washing machine.
When she gets downstairs, she'll realize she can't do any more laundry until she empties the dryer. 
At this point she'll realize she forgot what chore she was trying to get done in the first place. What was it again??
While she is thinking, she will hear her phone ring. She will realize she left the phone on the kitchen counter. 


With a swing of my hip, I bumped my apartment door shut and kicked off my boots. Chunks of snow plopped wetly onto the mat. Tossing my bags on a chair, I felt more relaxed already as I thought about shedding my suit for a pair of yoga pants.
My cell phone chimed. Irritated, I glanced at the screen. Jason. Really? The guy who couldn’t be bothered to call after our first date, a week ago, now wanted to interrupt my sacred after-work chill time? I jammed my finger down on the button. Bye, Jason.
Pausing at the dresser to take my jewelry off, I looked in the mirror and gasped. My reflection showed me wearing a single earring. The other was missing. My mind raced. When had I seen them last? Neha had complimented me on them, so I was pretty sure I had them when I left work.
Dammit. I wanted to walk back out into that cold air as much as I wanted to be stuck on a crowded subway next to a creep with halitosis.
But they were the earrings Grandma had given me.
“Teddy gave me these,” Grandm…

No Go

I was nose deep in my ’72 Chevy Nova’s engine when my phone rang.

Craning my neck, I peered around the open hood to see where I’d left the damn thing. Across the garage, it jangled on the workbench. I thought about yelling for Karen to answer it, but no, she’d just left for a hair appointment. I wiped most of the grease off my hands and stepped over spare parts.

The tiny, glowing rectangle read Johnny. It hadn’t been 12 hours since we left the bar. What did he want? Probably to compare hangovers.

I flipped the phone open. “Yeah.”

“Denny,” he said. “Thank God. I need your help, man. I’m in trouble.”

I rubbed my temples. What did my little brother do this time, I thought. He’d been kind of a mess since his divorce.

“What’s the matter, Johnny.”

“It’s bad.” He sounded agitated. Too keyed up for a guy lying on his couch nursing a headache. With a pang of panic, I said a quick prayer that he wasn’t back on those drugs again.

“When can you get over here? It’s bad, Denny. Really bad.”

“Slow …

On the Plane

The airplane’s engines whined. My seatmate, Jane, was chatty, but I didn’t mind.
Jane looked to be in her mid-fifties. Her round face, framed by curly brown hair, and her intelligent eyes, framed by out-of-style glasses, reminded me of one of my college professors.
She’d been in Toronto for a conference. So had I, I told her.
“And what do you do for a living?” she asked.
“I work in public health,” I said. “Studying the effects of medical marijuana.”
Intrigued, she asked me to elaborate. I smiled. My line of work was a nice litmus test when meeting new people. Either they were curious and interested, or they thought my “job” was an excuse to smoke weed and never grow up.
“What conference were you attending?” I asked her.
“The Parliament of World Religions,” Jane said, smiling. “I’m a Catholic priest.”
I gaped, and she laughed. “I get that reaction a lot.”
“Wow,” I said. “I thought women couldn’t be…”
“Priests?” she asked. “That’s a subject of much debate. We are ordained in apostolic succession,…

A Thousand

Originally written 11/1/2018 for the 2018 Swinburne Microfiction Challenge (writing prompt: SPOKE). Revised for Yeah Write Challenge #395 required plot element: "catalyst." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the seventh century BC, legend says Helen of Troy had a face that launched a thousand ships.

In the twenty-first century AD, Helen of Seattle spoke a single sentence that launched a thousand actions.

When Mr. Harris heard it, he telephoned an attorney.

Gemma Smith wrote a beautiful essay about a woman who’d been her mentor and role model.

Travel agent Jan Bartholomew arranged a 5-star, all-inclusive vacation in the Greek islands for one of her favorite clients.

James Porter sighed and shook his head, momentarily adrift in memory.

Melinda Harris burst into tears.

Several dozen people spread the word on social media, and several hundred read about it and shared their own stories.