Weather or Not (synesthesia poetry challenge)

A few years in, it occurred to me
I had married a mountain.
I mistook rigidity for strength,
immovability for loyalty.
With shocking speed, your winds would shift,
one moment temperate, the next bitter,
your anger an icy gale that slashed.
I could never see it coming;
there was no forecast.
I learned to find what shelter I could
Until it passed.

Your shouts were an avalanche.
I threw up my arms to protect my head,
sometimes lobbing missiles back,
often fleeing to more stable ground.
Alarmed, I’d snatch the baby from her crib,
my torso curving into a shell to shield her,
and run outside. You followed, bellowing
that I was the crazy one.

At the word “abuse”
you were confused, saying
I never laid a hand on her.
You didn’t see the rocks you threw,
nor the cuts they made.
How could I have thought
a stone could see?
It was against your nature.
I left when I recognized
that it would be madness
to try to change the weather.

Poetry writing prompt: Incorporate synesthesia

Waterfowl Play

The setting sun gleamed off the pond and deepened the shadows in the woods.

Landing several yards away, I approached the ducks slowly, to show I wasn’t after their juveniles. I caught a few glares from the elders. Word was, this flock wasn’t fond of outsiders, particularly if that outsider was a raven.

“Detective Corva Kazynski,” I introduced myself. “I’m here to—"

The scene burst into chaos as the ducks leaped into the air, screeching. Feathers whirled as the flock climbed sloppily into the sky.

Nice to meet you, too, I thought, rapidly taking flight myself. From an evergreen branch, I observed what had broken up the party. Two red foxes skidded to a stop on the empty grass, then skulked away. Damn foxes. Now I’d have to wait hours until the flock recovered its collective wits.

I tried not to take it as a sign of how this case was going to go. Investigating a murder was unpleasant enough without predators adding to the body count.

I’d already ruled out foxes as the perps this ti…

What Happens in the Garden, Stays in the Garden

I really wasn’t looking for an epiphany. All I wanted was a snack.

“Hey, Evie! Let’s grab some grub so we won’t be drinking on an empty stomach,” Dana said, wisely. So we walked toward the little shop. Like all the shops along the pedestrian street leading to the beach bars, it sold food, beer, flip-flops, souvenirs, and condoms.

Dana strolled inside, but I stopped at the sidewalk, where a black-haired woman was sorting fresh produce into wicker bins. The fruit glowed in the golden light of the setting sun. Oranges, bananas, starfruit, and, to my surprise, apples.

The apples seemed ridiculously round, sinfully shiny, impossibly red. Why did they look so irresistible? Was I missing Milwaukee, here, in the middle of the Caribbean?

“What kind are these? Gala?” I asked the lady.

“Cosmic Crisp. Washington State,” she replied, with an accent I couldn’t place.

She glanced at my short dress and smiled. “Heading to the clubs? Try one of these. They will give you lots of energy.” The sleeve of…

Hit the Road, Jack (Microprose Challenge)

The giant’s theme music blared. He stepped through the ropes into the ring, waving to the roaring crowd. As he bellowed his catchphrase, “Fee! Fie! Foe! Fum!” he triumphantly reflected on his ascent from beanstalk injury victim to WWE Superstar.

Writing Prompt: Tell a story in exactly 40 words about what happens after a fairy tale ends.

Tritina #2 (ekphrastic poetry challenge)

Up here, behind the orchard, all is green
And lovely as I visit for a spell,
Cursing the sun and all its brilliant lies.

How dare the sun shine bright as my love lies
Interred beneath this silent grassy green?
An earth-bound passion held us in its spell.

I never thought that such a love could spell
Our doom. But Jake did not believe my lies.
Deep scarlet drenched a gown of olive green.

Stone letters, mossy green, spell “here lies Anne.”

Writing prompt: Ekphrastic poetry (describe a work of visual art) 

Good Morning, Chicago Winter

It’s a garden-variety Wednesday. I wave to the departing school bus, rein in the hyperactive mutt on her leash, and begin my daily walk.

The light, gentle breeze is exactly the kind of breeze that’s exceptionally pleasant on a hot summer day, lifting the sweat from your sweltering skin. However, it’s February in Chicagoland, so that breeze turns a doable 25-degree morning into a yank-the-scarf-across-the-face, let's-get-this-over-with morning. I briefly fantasize about reclining in a chaise lounge on a sandy beach, smelling salt water and suntan lotion and complaining about the heat.

My feet make a rubbery crunching sound as they squash down the snow. The freezing rain sounds like crackling Rice Krispies as it peppers every surface. Half a block away, a tall truck barrels down a cross street, shaking loose a flutter of snow from the trees next to the road.

Some people dwell in hot climates where it never snows, like my cousin (the lucky stiff) who lives on the island of O’ahu. So…

In the Santa Rosa Hills (ekphrastic poetry challenge)

Our mountain life is simple, as a country life can be.
Around here, I know everyone, and everyone knows me.
I’m there at their beginnings, and sometimes at the end.
I am a nurse, a counselor, a soldier, and a friend.
I dearly love my work, although it barely pays the bills;
I am the only midwife in the Santa Rosa hills.

There are no steady hours, and the job’s a marathon.
Last night I pulled a midnight shift and went to sleep at dawn.
I guess I’d keep my clothing cleaner if I were a clerk,
But midwives, cooks, and undertakers never want for work.
Although I have no family, besides my teenage son,
The village kids, through middle school, I caught them, every one.

And now young Ana runs to me; I see her down the way.
It’s time, it’s time, she says to me; the baby comes today.
I saw her mother yesterday, amid the market throng,
Her smiling face and swollen belly, seven months along.
I fear it is too early for the babe to have a chance,
The tiny thing condemned by an unlucky circumstance…