Showing posts from March, 2019

Western Story

Louise sat next to me and lit a cigarette.

“Penny for your thoughts, baby doll,” she said.

I sighed, setting my whiskey down. “I just never pictured myself spending Christmas Day in… Reno.”

Lips curving up at one side, Louise looked at me with her heavy-lidded eyes. I smiled. She always understood.

Ida poured whiskey and pushed the glass across the bar to Louise. In three weeks at the Red Rock Boarding House, I had not heard Ida utter a word, except to explain the rent and curfew the day I moved in. Louise, however, never stopped talking.

I remembered my first day at the house, feeling a little terrified despite having made the train journey from Kansas City on my own. I had tiptoed downstairs, toward the sound of the radio. Six women sat at the bar, talking and laughing. “Hello,” I said shyly. Heads swiveled. I froze.

Louise spoke first. “Shove over, you two,” she commanded, and two ample behinds scooted south. “Come here, baby. Join us dames for a drink.” They worshiped Louise, I re…

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

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 (microfiction)

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.