Sunday, October 31, 2010

160 - after you leave


some mornings
after you leave
i lay
in the once warm
now cooling
depression
in the sheets
and wrap myself
in the scents
of the night we shared

amante.

What can you say in 160 characters? (spaces included) Say it and go see Monkey Man.
Also, another scratching from my journal for Sunday Sketches at Blue Chair Diary.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Magpie Tales: Beloved

Grey skies peek between the skeletal fingers of the trees at the lone man in black coat and hat standing stoically at the foot of a headstone. It is one monument among many that pepper the grass at regular intervals. This resting field that has become the home of many. Tufts of golden hair dance beneath the brim of the hat and a crooked smile cracks his face.

"It will not be long now, my beloved," the wind swallows his whispers as it crawls between the hard stone reminders of lives that once were.
_____

Anxious compulsion propels William around the house, straightening the books on the shelves, the knick knacks on the end table. Not that he is moving careless or fast, he just can not stop. Everything must be right for tonight. Taking a globe of glass from beside the couch, he is momentarily mesmerised by the swirl of crimson rising through its center. Life's blood.

He had bought it on a vacation with Lynda when they were eighteen. Things were so much different then. They were young, in love. It was easy to see in the glow of their faces when they were in the same room together. Everyone expected them to get married once school was complete.

This is what compelled their parents to take a joint family vacation, to give the relationships a chance to breathe the same air. William's father found a log cabin, large enough to accommodate both families, tucked away in a hollow between two mountains, just the other side of the small town of Gimble.
_____

The first several days of the vacation, the families settled into a good rhythm together. There were those tense moments as happen when families get together for the first time, such as when William's father forgetting where he was and singing in the shower, waking everyone. Lynda's mom made an eggplant casserole that most swallowed hidden behind counterfeit smiles, William's dad wishing they brought the dog to feed to under the table.

William and Lynda spent every waking moment together, exploring the countryside, venturing into the small town and lounging by the lake. Trips to the woods were by far their favorite, away from the prying eyes of their parents. Lynda would burst through the surface of the water flinging droplet from her golden hair, stirring William from his place on the beach to join her. The third night, after everyone went to bed they snuck out, choking back giggles as they ran to the lake. They made love on the docks, beneath the stars.

"I want this to last forever," Lynda said breathless, snuggled into the crook of Williams arm, their bodies entwined.

"It will," he assured her.
_____

At breakfast no one confronted them or even pretended to know about the couple's tryst the night prior. Nor did they mention the pink that rose on Lynda's cheeks when William said how well he slept. She knew he saw it.

Swallowing a piece of sausage he had been masticating, Lynda's father announced to the group that they would be going to a fair in town for the evening. Driving in they had noticed banners going up announcing the event and thought it might give the families a chance to have some fun.
_____

Lanterns threw pools of light from each street post, setting the mood of the evening. Brightly colored tents lined the roads, merchants hawking wares; jewelry, crafts, clothing, art and food. Rides were set up in a small grass lot between the buildings for kids to play on, a great inflatable slide towered over everything and squeals of glee could be heard of those that dared to ride it.

Looking for some alone time William and Lynda ditched their parents at a side stage while they watched bluegrass music being performed. Slipping between two tents, they lost themselves in the crowd, clinging tight to each others hands. Assuming they might find solace down a corner street, they rounded the corner only to find a multicolored tent and a grinning gypsy lady.

"Young lovers, come here," the lady beckoned, waving her jewel crowded fingers.

"Let's do it," Lynda whispered to William tugging him by the sleeve into the tent.
_____

"So where have you two been?" Lynda's dad exclaimed when the parents found them sitting on a bench by the food tents.

"Oh, around. We got tired of the music so decided to come sit a bit," Lynda lied, surprising William.

"Whats that you've got there?" Williams mother asked, pointing to the glass globe that sat on the table between them.

Unsure how to continue the story Lynda began, William stammered momentarily. They would not understand if he told them the truth. What would they say if he told them about the ceremony the gypsy had performed, binding them, their mixed blood now encased eternally in the glass that sat between them. Promising their love would last forever.

"Something William bought me. I thought it looked pretty and he...," Lynda saved him, ending in a sigh that won over the mothers instantly.

Taking it in one hand and twining the fingers of her other in William's, Lynda led them along with their parents toward the parking area where they had left their vehicle and away from uncomfortable questions.
_____

Blue sky fades beneath the black blanket drawn across the sky, pierced only by the glow of the moon, full and obese. William rises from the couch where he settled while ruminating. The faintest touch of the glass did that, conjuring images of her. Perhaps this was part of the magic, the magic that could not save her two years ago when she suddenly died. It was not supposed to be this way. They were supposed to be together forever.

Placing the glass globe gingerly on the table, his thin fingers pry at the buttons of his shirt, discarding it in a basket by the hearth. Releasing his belt, his pants slink down his legs, then join the shirt. Naked, he admires himself in the mirror on the far wall.

Skin hangs looser than it once did, silver overtaking the coarse hairs on his chest. Creases mark surfaces once smooth. Finding his face, he imagines the twinkle of youthfulness beneath the clouds that now hover them. There is an emptiness, in his arms, no one to hold. With heavy fingers, he retrieves the glass globe.

Hurling it at the floor, it explodes into millions of shining stars across the hard wood. A crimson puddle gathers at the point of impact, the life blood released from its prison. Turning, he walks to the front door, unlocking the latch so that it will remain open. Shards of the globe bite the soles of his feet, painting foot prints that follow him up the stairs to the bedroom.

Carefully, he turns down the comforter and lays, waiting.
_____

His eyes pop open when the front door howls against its hinges. Stairs squeal with each footfall advancing toward his room. His heart tremors, breathing quickening. His body tenses and untenses, wanting to rise, to escape, but he holds himself steady. A shadow slowly comes into view outside the bedroom door, a gasp uncurling across his lips.

Fresh soil, bitter decay, and a tart sweetness sweep before the advancing form scratching at his nose. Fingers dig into the sheets as she stands by the side of the bed. The hollows, where her blue eyes once resided, long given way to worms or insect, traverse him. A chalky skeletal finger traces the tender flesh of his leg, sending shivers of goose flesh to his toes.

Wispy hair dangles against his cheek as she covers his body with hers and he feels not the mottled bones his eyes see but warm flesh. For a moment he sees her as she was on the dock that day, her skin translucent.

"Beloved...," he breathes as she begins to gnaw at his neck hungrily, him thrashing in ecstasy.
_____

The grounds keeper makes his way methodically through the cemetery in the morning sun on a old red lawn mower, trimming the turf one last time before winter. Approaching the crest of the hill, he stops his progress, turning the engine off, when he sees the disturbed plot.

Wiping his head with a handkerchief he mutters about damn teenagers vandalizing the dead. Crossing himself he surveys the damage. The white headstone rests prone on the ground, broken in two large chunks, the soil in front, peeled back as if rolled away from within and in the hollow of the grave...

Plummeting to his knees, steaming vomit erupts from the groundskeeper's lips in copious lumpy strings. Chattering prayers between his teeth, he looks once more to make sure his eyes were not deceiving him, before he goes to call it in.

...the skeletal remains of one body entwine with the fresh corpse of a naked man, cloudy eyes gazing far off, waxy lips curling in a smile.

Happy Halloween Everyone! Be sure to lock the doors. Smiles.

This is a Magpie Tale.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

55 - human, no superhero

stuffed shirt hollow
cornfield scarecrow
lashed to this pole
i hang in effigy
insane with pain
in my chest
right below the S
you paint on me
it's daunting
like kryptonite
choking tight
around my neck
weighin' me down
& i'm cryin' out
"please lois lane
come & save my day."

i am
no superman.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

more than trees

"five plus seven"

"what do i do with the one?"

he sits, eight year old body wrapped in the steel of his chair, scratching at nubs, where legs once lived. he screams the answers at me, rustling fading leaves from where they fell among the discarded 40 oz. brown bottles and food wrappers. being outside calms him, not that he gets to do it often.

a little boy rounds the corner of one building, dogs nipping at his feet, boys yelling, "get that nigga!"

knocking him to the ground, they fist to face, fist to back, stomp, kick, until he cries. seven on one, they beat him down, letting him know his place. tears on his face, tears on the ground. "now ya unastan, how ta stay down."

finished they let the broken boy rise, he punches another, and off they run chasing that one, playing 'gang banger'.

it's all the rave here in section 8.

my boy, he laughs, waving his one good arm after them. homework, ain't happening today.

through the grass we roll, to a quiet corner by the chain link fence, set to keep monsters out. i brought a shovel today, not to tunnel out but to redeem. clearing a space, he pushes and shoves, i help him leverage, turning earth, cracking the surface.

smearing a bit off dirt on his cheek he laughs again, melody.

handing him a small tree, he runs his fingers through the ball of dirt loosening the roots, speckling his legs in soil, letting creation do its work. i slip it into the hollow we created, filling in. then sit and watch it take its first stretch.

"will it grow?" he asks.

"just like you buddy. just like you."


he knows its more hope than promise & we plant more than trees, in the last pink rays of an autumn sun.


written for Imperfect Prose

and One Shot Wednesday is still going on, so write a poem & link up.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

one shot: i, wood butt

tell me what it was that you dreamed
before your butt became wooden. (petrified)
were you going to be a writer, an artist,
a musician, an astronaut, a cook, a baker
a candlestick maker, what was it?

perhaps you are not following me
i, wood butt, don't have the time
i, wood butt, wait for the right circumstances
i, wood butt, i really don't want to
do it, because i am scared or really
don't want to, but it makes me feel
cool to imagine if it really happened

i, wood butt, makes me want to grow
colonies of hungry termites
to turn loose on the unsuspecting city

we are sitting at this outdoor table
a real piece of work, broken glass
mosaic in soldered iron & this guy
i admire, he writes, putting words together
in ways that make you salivate,
rubbing your eyes in their brilliance

is talking & i am picking his brain
sifting chopsticks through the noodles
for those that have rubbed elbows
with the sesame chicken, wrestling
off the glaze & he says it, "wood butt"

i choke on a fly that tours my
gaping mouth & i wonder when the
last time was that he actually wrote
something new, imagining piles of old manuscripts
he dusts off when he needs something fresh

"there has got to be a better way
than putting people in body bags
before they stop breathing, toe tags
hanging out just to give them a name,"
my words crawl across the table
rattling the door, finding it locked

he looks at me kinda funny, so i say
"never mind, tell me about one of
your stories," the same one as last time
and i feign interest, while i write
this for you, on a slightly soiled napkin.

"waiter, check please."

One Shot Wednesday - no theme, just poetry...write one, come join us...
Tuesday nights at 5 pm EST.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Old Mill



Laura's fingers play in the spears of light streaming through the window, as if they have substance, much like the memories they kindle. Light catches on the jagged glass still clinging to the window, twinkling. She smiles. Many that walk the ruins of the old flour mill may think some delinquent, chucking rocks for wishes in the shadows of night, was responsible for the broken windows. She knows different.
_____

It was once the largest flour mill in the world, giving Minneapolis the moniker of the Mill City. Times change though and in 1965, it was shut down along with eight other mills. Over the years, the once prominent landmark became just another forgotten place that every one walked or drove by daily on their way to the future. It was where their future was to begin.

James chose the old mill not just for the seclusion, but because it stirred within him a romanticism beyond his years. The old stone. The hard cut timber. The creation that came in the making of the flour, and the promise it carried. Many a night they had snuck away coming to just this spot, pushing aside old boards, meant to guard the windows, now loose on rusted nails.

He would bring a blanket, which he spread across the wood floor beneath the window and they would lay in each others arms, stars peeking through the window. He laughed, saying they were jealous of her beauty, running his finger along her cheek. His lips would find hers, tenderly writing stories of the life they would live.
_____

She can almost smell the spice of his skin, twenty years later as the museum crowd swims around her. Seeing families walking around the old mill feels like a travesty against the intimacy they once shared. A dove lands on the sill of the broken window, drawing her eyes back to the spot. It struts back and forth before settling its eyes on her.
_____

The glass in the second story window was cloudy as she peered through it, waiting for him to appear. He was always early, preparing a place for them, but tonight she slipped into the crumbling old building to find only shadows. Sitting the backpack against the base of the wall, she checked the watch on her wrist. James was late. Just a half hour, and he had much to do, she reassured herself. Tonight they were leaving.

They planned it for weeks, deciding to wait until the night of her birthday. She had told no one, not wanting someone to try stop them or accidentally let it slip at the sweet sixteen party her parents were throwing her. Her girlfriends were at the house, covering for her. They thought she was just meeting James for a midnight birthday celebration of their own.

Looking once more to her watch, she settled beneath the window, back pack under her head. The stares of the stars seemed colder, as if they knew something. Turning away from their accusations, her eyes soon drifted closed. She dreamed of fields, sunshine, and butterflies. This was where they would live.

It was the heat that woke her, her skin stinging. The room was filled with smoke, and her first breath caught in her throat. She could not see flames, but the floor was hot and she could hear the roar. James was still not with her. Her heart galloped as she ran to the window to see what was happening.

Shadows moved along the street, people running here and there. She yelled, beating her fists against the window. Visions being roasted, burned in the fire danced across her mind, turning her frantic. Pounding furiously, her hands began to hurt. Realising she needed help, she searched for something, anything heavy enough to break the glass.

Thick smoke fought against her, obscuring her vision, sapping her strength as it consumed the oxygen. Panic set in, her breathing shorter and faster. The world began to spin and she was having a hard time walking. Crumpling to the floor, her last thought as the world went dark, was of James, breaking the window, cool air flowing across her and flames.
_____

Fingering the skin on the back of her hand, she watches the dove fly away. A child loudly complains to his parents that he is bored as they walk into the room. She ignores them, as much as they do her, approaching a framed newspaper clipping hanging on the wall. Her eyes scan the headline, "Local boy arrested in fire that nearly destroys abandoned mill." The photographer captured just the edge of James' face in the close up of the patrol cars window, the reflection of the flames on the glass.

"Not the best picture of me, is it?"

"You had just lost everything, the fear in those eyes is...," the remaining words are lost in his lips pressing into her.

"Hard to believe they fixed this old place up into a museum, twenty years after it nearly burned down," breaking away from the kiss, he holds her close as they look around the room. His eyes find hers and they rest in that moment letting it warm them.

"So, tonight..," she puts a finger to his lips, and smiles as they slowly sink into the floor, unseen by anyone, except a little boy who is no longer bored.

Seeing a twinkle of light as they disappear from view, he tugs at his mother's hand, saying, "Look mommy, a star. Mommy!"

This is fiction. A request from Drybottomgirl, who emailed me the picture of the old mill in Minneapolis saying it needed a story...in 1991 it did burn only to become a museum several years later. I left a lot of questions open. How did he die if he was in the police car? Why was he late? How did the fire start? Let your imagination fill in the gaps.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

160 - sitcom(municate)

i am not some show
tivo-ed
played at your convenience
skipping (commercial) interruptions
deleted when finished

look at me

look at me

look a...

(black screen)

What can you say in 16o characters? (spaces included) Go see Monkey Man.


Here is a peek inside my journal as well...if you look close you can see my whittling down to 160. And I tend to doodle as well, so I am sharing it with those that can actually draw over at Sunday Sketches.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Magpie Tales: Mirror, Mirror


Saturday

Picking his way through tables filled with children's clothes and boxes of toys, housewares and Cd's, James Doones made his way toward his car to leave. Yard sales are not his thing, but spending Saturday mornings alone in his trailer, now that his family was gone, were the equivalent of having a tooth pulled in a back alley.

Pausing at a table, he picks up a cloth doll in a red dress, much like his daughter once held. Seeing someones life strewn across the lawn for strangers to pick through brings painful feelings. Cheryl had ripped his world apart when she took the kids and moved out and it felt like everyone they had been close to had perused their closets during the seperation. She painted him a raving maniac, and honestly it was an apt description, after he lost his job with the insurance company. They only had one more month until the year was up and the divorce was final and he still had not found stable employment.

Shaking the miserable thoughts from his head, he gently smiles at the family behind the table, doling out their memories. He places the doll back in the pile and turns to leave when a brilliant light spears his eyes, blinding him momentarily. Rubbing the spots from his eyes, they fall on a magnificent mirror, wrapped in a golf leaf frame, leaning against the leg of a table. Entranced he walks to the table, kneeling in front of the mirror.

"The mirror belonged to my mother. It hung in her bedroom," a husky yet feminine voice says from above him.

Raising his head, James looks into the tired eyes of the middle aged lady, "My mother would love something like this," thinking as well that it might earn him back into his mom's graces. She had staunchly defended him during the the initial months of ther seperation, but succumbed to the avalanche of of evidence and rumor that Cheryl presented. He has not talked to his mom in a month. Her birthday is in a few weeks and this might be the perfect gift.

"How much?" he asks.

"Take it. It was the only thing that survived the fire. She bought it the week before...," tears stream down her cheek and she manages a weak smile as she brushes them from her face, "It is a constant reminder and I would just as well be rid of it."

"Are you sure, I...," he begins.

"No, really I don't...It was so unexpected...It...," .

"Thank you. I am sorry," he blurts, uncomfortable in the intimacy of the moment.

The lady does not acknowledge his gratitude, turning her back, walking down the row of tables and boxes to find someone else to speak with. He watches her go, feeling a slight pang of her loss in his chest.

Looking back at his reflection in the mirror, he measures his face. The last year has been hard, which can be read in his eyes. The sand of his hair has gained some grey highlights. Most of all he look tired. The image seems to ripple before his eyes, and for a moment he sees who he was before, then it snaps back to his reflection.

"I need to get some rest," he mumbles to himself.

Lifting it gently, he carries it to the car. Popping the hatch, he finds a drop cloth, one he used the week prior on a paint job he had taken to pay the utility bill. He wraps it around the mirror to protect it until he gets home.
_______

Thursday

Blue neon glows in the haze created by cigarette smoke crowding the air in bar but James only notices the woman seated in the booth across the floor from him. It is not like him to be taken with someone so instantly, but ever since she walked his eyes are continually drawn back in her direction. Unlike most of the girls that frequent the bar, she is giving nothing away, dressed modest. Her honey colored hair rest on her shoulders and her lips pout as she sips a fruity drink through one of those small straws.

He has not dated anyone since the divorce. Sure he took care of his needs, once a month, with an old girlfriend from before his marriage, but she was married so that was not going to last. Butterflies jumbled his insides as he considered introducing himself. The long hand sweeps a full circle around the clock face as he waits for someone to join her, before screwing up the courage to slide across the room and introduce himself.

"Hey, my name is James," he stammers through the hammering in his chest.

She smiles, "My name is Melanie."
_____

Friday

Melanie rests, comfortably nestled within the sheets, when he extricates his arm and slips from the bed. The red numbers glare at him from the shadows, 2:30 AM. Sitting on the edge of the bed, face in his hands, he contemplates the turns life takes.

They had talked until midnight about anything and everything. It was the first time he had shared his feelings about the dissolution of his marriage with another person, someone outside of those involved. He told her about losing his job and how inferior he felt with rejection after rejection as he sought new employment. The anger.

She listened intently as if they had known each other for years. Her hand found his arm, providing comfort as she asked questions, engaging him in conversation unlike any he ever had. When all of his garbage was spilled on the table, she was still smiling and he could not help himself from doing the same. He had intended to just walk her to her car and ask her if they could do it again sometime, but under the streetlights he found his lips against hers and they ended up back at his trailer.

She said nothing about the laundry draped of the chairs or the trash that was piled in the corner. They had not taken much time moving through the living area to the bedroom. The last couple hours play back quickly in his head and he thinks this just may be the happiest moment he has had in years.

Out of the corner of his eye, he sees the mirror he bought for his mother, at the yard sale last weekend, leaning in the corner. Briefly he considers how he is going to wrap it before her birthday next Saturday. Rising from the bed, he steps through their discarded clothes to stand in front of it. Pulling away the drop cloth, his naked form is a dark shadow across its surface.

Crouching, he runs a finger along the texture of the frame. The surface of the mirror shimmers, ripples reaching the edges, giving him a start. Rocking back on his heels, he falls to butt, rattling the trailer. Sheepishly he cuts eyes to the sleeping form in the bed, but she only rolls over, settling once more into shallow breathing.

Turning once more to the mirror, he sees himself, but he is on a beach. A vibrant blue sky stretches to the ocean, which is clear and sparkling. He feels the warm sand beneath his toes and smells the salty air. It is not hot, but comfortable and peace radiates across him spreading warmth like sunshine. He watches a sea gull float and play on an unseen breeze.

The beach stretches in each direction and he is alone. Running his fingers through the sand, he takes a handful, looking at it, rubbing it, letting it fall. He is not just watching all of this, he can really feel it. He is not in the bedroom, but his own little paradise. He sighs, settling back into the sand, lacing his fingers behind his head, listening to the lap of the waves. He could stay here forever.
_____

"Hey are you okay?" a gentle voice stirs him, a firm pressure on his shoulder.

He blinks, realising he is laying on the floor in his bedroom. Looking to the mirror, he sees himself and Melanie kneeling behind him. He smiles at her in the mirror, and watches as she smiles as well.

"Yeah, I...," he doesn't know what to say. How do you explain being found naked on the floor instead of in bed with such a beautiful woman? Much less explain that he spent the night on the beach, when there is not one within several hundred miles.

"Why don't you get dressed and take me to breakfast?" she lets him off easy, much to his relief.

"I think I would like that," he says, pulling her into a kiss.
______

Arriving home, after breakfast at a diner near his houseand driving her back to the bar to retrieve her car, James retreats to his bedroom. Melanie had scribbled her number on a page from her date book and made him promise to call. He lays it on the dresser, among receipts and loose change, for later in the evening. He knows he should be cleaning up the house so that he can be a bit more impressive, or working so he could afford to treat her the way she made him feel, but he can not stop thinking about the mirror and the night on the beach.

Searching the surface, he finds only his reflection staring back at him. He runs his finger along the frame again, anxious, searching for a trigger to make it work. Nothing. He stares at himself wondering if he has not finally lost his mind. There was a time a few months after the divorce when he thought he might have. Why now, when he was so happy? Was this just another cruel twist of fate?

The cellphone in his pocket hums against his leg, he retrieves it and without even looking at who was calling, he flips it open, "Hello."

For a second there is dead air, then he hears her voice, "I know what you did last night."

"Cheryl, what are you doing even calling me?" he barks at the phone.

"You slept with her. You did not even know her. If you thought you have any hope of seeing the kids again, you are wrong!"

"How did you even..."

"Don't you worry about that! We will deal with this at the custody hearing! You just killed any chance you ever had!"

"You..." he releases a dam of pent up fury into the phone, stringing a line of profane names long enough to send a court reporter home with carpal tunnel syndrome.

When he pauses to breath, she fill the gap "And Melanie says to tell you hello."

The breath catches in his throat, choking him. Dropping the phone, a guttural scream erupts from within him. He spins around the room, hurling anything within arms distance at indeterminate targets. A glass shatters against the nightstand, sending a lamp crashing to the floor. Drawers from the dresser disintegrate against the wall, spilling what few clothes actually found it among the debris. He is feral in his destruction, until he falls exhausted before the mirror.

"Please, help me!" he screams at its face, which ripples to life.

Tongues of flame dance around him, under him, on him. He watches it in the mirror, howling. The heat is unbearable, his knees blistering beneath him. He is in the mirror. There is no mirror. There is only flame on the floor. The walls. The very air. He thrashes against against the consuming inferno, the anger he originally felt for his ex-wife intensifying until he no longer hears himself, a dark crust forming over his eyes.
______

Saturday

"I think we have the fire out now, sir," an smudge faced fireman explains to the police officers, standing in the blue strobe of the lights on their cruiser.

"That was a hot one, dang near spread to the surrounding forest," one of the uniformed officers exclaims.

"We found what looks to be the charred remains of a man. Probably the owner, James Doone. Not much but bones left to identify whoever it is."

"We'll take pictures and bag those. See anything else?"

"Yeah, funniest thing. Everything in the trailer was destroyed but we found a mirror amidst the cinders and ash, completely untouched."

"Really! That is unusual. Where is it?" the detective in the group asks, intrigued.

"Leaning against that tree over there. What are you going to do with it?"

"Well, I guess I will take it with me until we contact his wife. I will see if she wants it," the detective answers, retrieving the mirror.

"Nothing much we can do this morning until the sun comes up and we can see what we are doing. If you all can take care of those remains," he directs to the deputies, "its been a long night. I will just put it in my garage and log it in later today."

The fireman notices the face of the mirror swim as the detective carries it through the group, dismissing it as exhaustion playing tricks on his eyes.

This is a Magpie Tale.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

55 - ignorance knaws my bones

your shoes are gay.

who's gay

he' gay

eric is...



whispers (rumors)
coarse wind across stiff lips
grey skin


boy in the ditch
black & blue, torn
won't see morn


ignorance
feeds on the weak
saving the world
from yet another
sinner


no questions asked
until life's snuffed into
hereafter


what the
hell

end bullying
now


Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a shot or just read more, go see G-man.

This spilled out of a post by a blog friend, whose son was being called gay by some kids at school, so his friends would not play with him. It reminded me of an similar incident where another boys friends actually beat him to death, because of a rumor of homosexuality, that was not true. Lori wrote a great post on it today too.

It makes me angry. I was a victim once too.

It makes me sad. They learned it somewhere.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

an autumn morning

the air is as damp as the fingerprint ridges of the deck boards, beneath my bare feet, are hard. i came here to be alone, but i know i am not. you are always here when i seek solitude.

the sun rises slowly like my body rising from the bed, clinging tight to the womb of warm sheets on the cool fall morning. we have grown older together. though both of us smile as we rise.

good morning, i say and though you are silent a bird calls from the nest it has made in the crooked limbs of the pear tree and i know this is your answer.

five deer, heads bowed, pick through the grass with their tongues for something to eat. one perks his head measuring me, then continues to eat.

leaves fall, a dry autumn rain in ochre and saffron, golden, delicious, words whistling off them like old parchment. their puddles crunch beneath my feet as i walk the boundaries of the land that has been given to me, to call mine.

how do they know when to let go? is it just their time? has their season just ended? and why are they at their most brilliant right before they die? can i?

we talk without words, without sound. i am alone. i am not. the sun is now fully up , the veil is pulled back on an awakening world, still sleeping without dreaming.

i would invite you in for a cup of coffee but i know you will be there to, so i make the turn by the tree house back toward home. we will sit at the long mahogany table, you filtering through the window, enlightening lines, as i flip through your pages and we take our first sips.

Imperfect Prose.

This also happens to be my two year blogoversary (post #753). Thank you for sharing the journey with me, thus far.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

One Shot: 66 Shopping days until Christmas

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev'rywhere you go;
Take a look in the five-and-ten,
glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow..."

Woo hoo, let it snow, let it snow
only 66 shopping days to go

One Christmas,I, maybe ten,
& my grandmother bought us
all sweatsuits, to boast our
favorite college team, well most.

The whole family, aunts, uncles
cousins, brother, sister & parents
sat in a big lopsided circle
on the the living room floor
opening our gifts & while
everyone else got a full suit,
mine was just the shirt,
but I didn't care, really.

I just tucked it into the drawer
of the tall wooden dresser that
used to be my granddaddy's,
not her husband, the other,
that died when I was younger.

He fell down the
basement steps, like a dropped
sack of taters slipping
through daddy's fingers
thump ba dump thump thump
thump
thump
umpph
as I watched, he breathed &
they thought I would never
walk those steps again,
but stairs don't scare me
or perceived inequalities
(at least not against me.)

Mom & dad found out
about the sweatshirt over sight
& gramma made it a'ight,
saying she was sorry, buying me
new sweatpants off the discount table
at the off label outlet store.

Ain't no big deal cause
tonight some little kid
out there on the street
freezing, listening to
church bells ring-a-ling-ing
slipping in the back door
for something warm in his tummy
he would be perfectly happy
with just a sweatshirt

& needs it more than me,
I got everything I can dream
remember the feeling it brings
when it's this song you sing...

"...Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring
is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart."

One Shot Wednesday - Write a poem, come join us. The link up starts at 5 pm EST.

*Lyrics in the first and last stanza are from 'It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas' by James Pierpont. publ.1857

Monday, October 18, 2010

the headbanger, in me

if i had a guitar
i would play it
though not very good
they say its because of my fingers
but she never complained

strum
strum
hear her hum &
we sing until
we lose our voices
in one voice

& the neighbors finally
get some sleep

if i had a guitar
i would break it
into many glittering pieces
scattered across the stage
so we'd keep singing.

it's just the headbanger,
in me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

160 - convicted, over the remains

"i hope the cops catch them..."
my son says

i nod

over the remains
of our pumpkins
in the road

"...so they can
get the help
they need"

i nod again,
convicted.

What can you say in 160 characters? (spaces included) Go see Monkey Man.

So we got hit last night at 2:30 am. The doorbell rang and our pumpkins were gone. I found them in the road this morning, a heaping pile of all the pumpkins in our neighborhood. I was not thinking happy thoughts, but my son set me right, after he shed a few tears. Though someone gave me the idea of putting a snake inside the next one and I entertained the thought briefly. Smiles.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Magpie Tales: Through the door

Turning from the two lane road into the driveway, Michael notices the top half of the side door swinging in the breeze and knows she is gone. Dragging the car to a stop, he throws the door open and sprints toward the house, fearing the worst. Placing his hand on the lower half of the door, it easily swings open, confirming his suspicions

Cautiously, he steps into the house, sending his eyes around the kitchen, in case someone else is in the house. It could be a break in, he tries to convince himself and failing, but slides a butcher knife from the block by the sink, just in case. Forcing himself to move slow, despite the hammering in his chest, he works his way down the hall to the two bedrooms.

The door to the room she usually stays in is open, as well as the one to his room. Entering her room, the sheets from the bed are in a pile on floor but there is no sign of a struggle. She is gone. Moving faster now, he crosses the hall to his room. Someone has been in his closet, probably her, and several of the hangers are empty.

He was only gone an hour and a half, running into town to pick up her medication. If the pharmacist had been more focused on doing his job, filling the order, instead of being social this might not have happened. Only an hour and a half, and he did not see her on the road, she could not have gotten far.

Running back through the house, he latches the doors securely behind him and surveys the yard. The most danger lay to the East, back toward town. As long as he reaches her before she do es something crazy and catches the attention of the authorities, he will be alright.
_____
Noise. Birds chirp. Wind blows leaves that claw at the trunks of trees and fallen branches. Something scurries. The forest is alive and Elizabeth is frantic and confused. Clutching the over sized waist of the pants in a fist, she stumbles forward. Her blue flannel shirt, the man's shirt , taken from his closet, catches on an errant branch. None of her clothes were in the closet, only his. There had been no shoes that would fit her and she had not taken time to search further, driven by the desire to escape.

She hears a car the road on her right, giving her direction in her flight. Sticks and pine cones gnash at her feet, making progress slow. Her mind spins. Where is she? How long has she been here? Where is her baby? She had a baby, a boy. She trusts this memory. She will never find him if the man catches her and makes her go back to her room.

Through the trees, she spies the shape of a building, white with a green roof. There is a sign and gas pumps. People will be there and something inside her tells her she can find help. She hurries, ignoring the pain lancing her feet, as she feels the man's breath already on her neck. He is coming and desperation propels her.
_____
Chris has worked at the Stop N' Go on Route 60 since he was a sophomore in high school. He has little aspiration to leave, making enough to cover the meager rent his parents charged for the apartment above the garage, as well as take care of weekend entertainment. Looking at the clock, he smiles. Only another half hour and Jessie, his girlfriend, picks him up and they will head to her parents lake house. It is going to be a good weekend, he thinks, until the glass door bangs open, a frizzy haired homeless woman spilling to the floor, leaving bloody footprints on the dirty linoleum.

"What the hell!," he yells, shocked at her sudden appearance.

"Helpme! Aman...needagetaway....mybaby...helpme," her words slur together as she gasps for breath.

Chris stands staring at her struggling to get her feet underneath her. Nothing like this ever happens and he is unsure whether to help or call the cops. She could be dangerous. Grabbing the phone, he punches 9-1-1, while the lady stands and begins yelling sentences that make little sense about a man and her baby.

"Campbell County 9-1-1, how can I help you?," a woman answers.

"Yeah, this is Chris, down at the Stop N' Go. I got a homeless woman going crazy in my store. I need help!," he yells over the blatherings of the lady in his face.

"Sir...," the rest of the response is unheard, as the homeless woman knocks the phone from his hand, grabbing him and pointing toward the door.
_____
Michael sees her through the door as he crosses the parking lot. This was the first public place after the house so he had decided to stop and see if someone had seen her. It was his lucky day. He watches Elizabeth slip to the floor and begin crab walking away from the door, as his hand finds the the warm metal of the push bar. She is screaming incoherently and there is a boy behind the waist high counter to his right. He sees no one else in the store. Ignoring her, he enters and turns to the boy.

"Thank God she is here. I am so sorry. My wife is sick. She left the house while I went to get her medicine. If you will give me just a moment, I will get her calmed down. I am so sorry this happened," he says, his words filled with anxiety, palms up to show the boy he is harmless.

"Nodon'tlethimnearme! Heisjustgoing...," she yells, pulling herself behind a row of shelves.

"What the hell is wrong with her?," the boy spits back at him, on the verge of panic.

Michael slips a medical bracelet from his pocket, showing it to him, "Alzheimer's. Affects the brain. Half the time she does not even know who she is. Ever since we lost the baby...,"

Tears spill down Michael's cheeks, his hands beginning to shake, the composure he had mustered upon entering the store shatters. Sucking air, he stills his breathing, dragging a hand across his face.

"Nonononononono," she is howling, peeking around the end cap, hair dangling in her face.

"Sure man. I called the cops, but let me call them back real quick. That sucks!"

Michael turns his back to the boy, walking toward his wife. When he smiles, her screams get louder and louder.
_____
Duane Cooper is in line at the Tastee-Freeze when he hears his call sign come through the police radio. A disturbance at the Stop N' Go just out of town, call in for more details. From the Tastee-Freeze he can be there in five minutes. Another dinner postponed for the sake of some nutcase. Shaking his head, he steps out of line, affirming he is on his way.

Lights flashing, he is erasing the distance at a rapid rate when dispatch comes through with an all clear stand down, which sits odd in his stomach. Decelerating, but continuing toward the Stop N' Go, he flips open his cell, calling Mary at the Sheriff's office.

"What's the scoop?," he doesn't even wait for her to start talking.

Used to his abruptness, she answers, "Seems it was some crazy woman. Her husband showed up and took her home."

"That's it?"

"Yeah, you going back on lunch?"

"Nah. Think I will stop by anyway and see what happened," he decides he can't eat, feeling unresolved.
_____
"...so he was talking to her about going home to see the baby. I guess it was the one that he told me died, but she calmed down. She apologized when he told her to. They left right before you got here," Chris finishes telling the Sheriff's deputy about the incident.

"Nothing was damaged?" the cop asks.

"Nah, just the blood on the floor and she knocked over a couple boxes of cakes. I picked those up and I am going to mop. My relief should be here soon, so if you don't need anything I'll get busy."

Chris turns to fetch the mop as the cop walks toward the door, when he hears, "Does that camera record or is it just for show?"

He figures he might as well call Jessie and tell her just to hang out at home until he calls.
______
Once Elizabeth was in the car, he opened one of the white bags containing the prescriptions. He was glad he had left them in his haste to inspect the house earlier. Palming a white pill, he had instructed her to take it, letting her wash it down with a half empty bottle of water. It was old, but would do the trick. Before they were even home, she had fallen asleep, which made it easy just to carry her into the house and secure her. He took his time, making sure there would be no repeat of today's escapade.

Pulling the door to her room closed, he slides a lock into place, then proceeds down the hall, turning right into the living room. Through the front window he watches a patrol car drive past on Route 60 and for a moment he is afraid they will stop. Watching it disappear beyond the treeline, he settles into the couch, relieved that he had found her before things got out of hand.

Powering up the television, he finds Wheel of Fortune. The spinning of the wheel is calming and he always guesses the words before the stupid schmucks they put on this show. He is smarter than just about anyone he knows. That medical bracelet worked like a charm today, he chuckles to himself.

A long squeal, a board against a nail, propels him out of his chair toward the kitchen. He has barely risen when the front door explodes inward, splinters ripping through the air. Voices, loud barking orders thunder in the small space. Bodies pour into the room, rough hands shove him through the hall, knocking him to the hard wood floor of the kitchen.

He hears footsteps pounding down the hall, the wood door cracking, the jangling of locks as they are torn out of the wall. Everything is a blur it happens so fast, then the ruddy face of a deputy fills his vision.

"Michael Williams, you are under arrest for the kidnapping of Elizabeth Myers and her infant son. Now tell me where the baby is..."
_____
Duane stands in the kitchen, looking out the top half of the door, which has been opened to allow a cool evening breeze into the house. He was glad he had noticed the video camera at the store, because there was no mistaking the face of the young woman. Her picture had been all over CNN the last six months, since she and her son had been taken from the parking lot of a mega store about a hundred miles from here.

They had not found the baby. Michael just laughed when Duane asked him. After he cleared the room for some alone time with Michael, he gave it up and men were already searching the loose dirt of the basement floor to verify his confession. His stomach twists just thinking about it.

"We are coming out. Is he clear?" the female deputy's voice breaks his thoughts. She had been back in the room with Elizabeth and the paramedics while they locked the trash in the patrol car.

"Yeah," Duane murmurs as he watches a hawk swoop through the darkening sky to take a field mouse into its talons, both loving and hating his job.

This is a Magpie Tale and also for the 10DOM muse, confession.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

55 - ignorant enough, for both of us

life is a lie, is
written in black,
on the park bench
at the skate park,
beside the half burned
Marlboro box

& i might
have believed, before,
just for an excuse
to do whatever
but then i
met you

& if it
all is a lie,
please let me
stay ignorant enough
to believe it.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try, or just read more. Go see g-man.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

every day. unseen. miracles.

i ate a plum today.

i say...

i ate a plum

& while this may seem
holy unremarkable to some,
pushing my mouth through
the brief tension of it's skin,
juices coursing down my chin
i sucked the sweet from my teeth
so as not to waste any, and i am
unashamed to say the rag as well,
i used to clean my face.

i ate a plum today

& if you don't see the miracle in that,
then you have never subsisted
for weeks on rotting apples, stolen
from beneath the farmer's tree,
at night, to avoid the kiss of
rock salt on your backside
from his gun, mama mushing
them with her wooden spoon
into apple sauce to hide the spots

so let me say again...

i ate plum today

& i saved the seed,
cause this boy
can still dream

this little bit of povertry was written for Imperfect Prose.

And One Shot Wednesday is still going on, so write a poem and join up.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

One Shot: beth, she made my teeth hurt

in the fourth grade,
with feet the size
of the woman she would
grow into, she chased
us boys around
the empty desks,
drawing close, she'd
kick us in the tail bone
so hard our teeth hurt.

& one day at 'show and tell'
she brought her
mama's diaphragm &
we sailed it around the room
like a frisbee, getting it
slimy gritty, collecting
dust bunnies, hidden in
some one's pocket when
the teacher came in,
to be found by their
parent prepping clothes
for the wash...

(it always comes out
in the wash)

she grew up,
got married, had kids,
got abused, black & blue,
became a single mom,
life kicked her ass
a time or two
& still she carried on.

i like to think she found
that fourth grade girls &
life will sometimes do that,
but there is an after
for those that are willing
to keep on walking
& I hope hers
is a happily ever.

though some days my teeth
still hurt.

One Shot Wednesday - write a poem, come join us. it doesn't even have to rhyme. Hosted this week by Adam Dustus. We get started at 5pm EST.

Monday, October 11, 2010

who is for dinner tonight?

For dinner tonight
we ate:

slaughtered pig,
sliced thin,
shrink wrapped & shipped,
then fried
on an iron skillet altar
with chicken embryos

dreadfully carnivorous,
i know,
but no one lamented
the last summer tomato.

it had feelings too,
giving them to me,
every time i drew it near
and smelled its breath,
yet still i
consume...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

160 - more than stick figures



Well meaning,
they taught you a tree
was a circle on a stick &
your body, just as thin,
but look out that window,
look at your neighbor;
real life has texture.

Say it in 160 characters (spaces included) then go tell Monkey Man.

I drew this earlier in the week, while teaching the 2nd graders how to draw a tree. It is Sharpie markers on the back of a worksheet. (Nothing but top quality art supplies here, lol.)
So I will toss it into
Sunday Sketches as well with my good friend Sophia.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Magpie Tales: Autumn, before the fall

A boy and his dog play in the yard. He must be twelve, maybe thirteen. He is wearing jeans, still clean. The dirt has not found them yet. A white Izod shirt, blue and green stripes. It still smells like the detergent. His smile is all teeth as he runs in the sun.

Brilliant, the colors of the trees. Orange. Red. Yellow. Brown.

The dog is playing, dancing around his legs. Golden fur reflects a healthy shine. The boy dangles a stick in front of him, running. Barking, like laughter as they spin and collapse in a pile, on the grass. Laughing. Barking.

Wind. wind. Trees sway. Leaves fly, nature's confetti.

A thick voice, male. Boy and dog, both raise their heads, looking. A man, khaki pants, blue dress shirt, tucked a the waist. Handsome. His lips move, strong hands help the boy to his feet. Brushing loose grass off the boy. Pulling him into a hug.

Waving, they notice me. Calling me.

World spins, laying on its side. Settling. Focus. Refocus. Leaves falling across a white sky. Black screen. Static.

The glow of the screen pierces the darkness of the room. She clears her throat, running soft fingers across her cheek, capturing the wet line of tears. Her finger stabs the rewind button on the remote, watching the images flow in reverse, back to the beginning. She pushes the play button to watch it, to watch them, again. And again. And again. These images of autumn, so full of life, before the fall.

This is a Magpie Tale.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

55 - what you say when you breathe

when our love was young,
we would talk on the telephone
until we ran out of words &
then just sit and listen
to each other breathe,
as if it was some archaic
language between our hearts...

...beside you tonight i hum
along, as you speak those
same tongues, in your sleep,
savoring every syllable.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

dangerous things, like books

books are dangerous things, not to be left out where children can reach them and harm themselves, or perhaps others standing in the vicinity when it goes off. they sit ticking on forgotten shelves or on bed stands, left to impress other that happen to see, into believing you actually read them. tick. tick. tick. they wait.

at eight, i had my first near death experience with a book. one afternoon, parents out working the garden, i tilled the soil of my imagination on the latest Tom Swift adventure, or Tolkien. i read so long, words began to swirl before my eyes. i screamed. i could no longer see. blind, i staggered across the room, from the couch, turning over tables, spilling lamps until i ran into the wall. it did not fall, i did.

face creased by an inverted door jam, i followed my fingers along walls. door. hall. bookshelf, ah, i pulled back afraid of what else they might do to me, but i found the back door and yelled, "I am blind! I am blind! help me." the books were laughing i am sure, but they gave me my sight back shortly. i think they were just trying to warn me.

in college, i went to see a friend, at mary washington, and we went to see a movie, they were showing on campus, to expand the mind. the cook, the thief, his wife and her lover. a mob bosses wife is having an affair with a reader. you can see the trouble already , books. when they are caught the goons kill him by making him eat pages from his books, then when she finds his body, she serves it for dinner to her husband. what a screwed up movie.

books are dangerous things, because if you find the right book, it will ruin your life. its ideas will crawl across the page and curl like a twisted knot of snakes in your mind, until like Alexander you slice it open. unwinding, it only spreads, reinforcing backbones, fidgeting fingers, as it infects your heart. revolution. revolution. REVOLUTION. it chants like an angry mob, set for crucifixion, for your soul.

jekyll to hyde, as you clean the cup from the inside. page after page the words bleed red and before you know it you are ready to die, for another. unless, of course, you read with a twist, thinking it's all about how you get ahead, or suck the life out of your homosexual neighbor. no, you realise, it is not about you, but it is.

it's only a book. but this book. this book. this book. is dangerous. if only, you read it.

be careful young reader, the Book...it is waiting.

Imperfect Prose.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One Shot: 13/30

she is 13/30
thick eye shadow
all leg under a
short skirt
looking at you
like she wants a drink
of what you got
plying her wares
at the bus stop

3 in 10
maybe conservative
3 in 10
already sexually active

she is 13/30
parents pride
so mature
apple of
daddy's eye
and the cherry
of every other guy's
your parents are so cool to
let you...
yeah i guess so...

what are you thinking
kool-aid drinking
time to wake up
and smell the bacon
before your little girls
burned on both sides
she doesn't need
another surface relationship,
someone indifferent,
not just a friend
but a parent
to let her know
she is beautiful
& doesn't need to lay down
to realise it...

mom, i need to talk to you...
gimme just a second...
dad...
can it wait for a commercial...
no. i'm pregnant.

(does the long pause
make you uncomfortable?
more than the one that
preceded this moment?)

she is 13/30
& facing a life sentence
before ever
getting even a chance
to begin it...

One Shot Wednesday - Write a Poem, come join us...opens at 5 pm EST....tonight.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Death's hand

We were eight, mouth agape, the day they covered the graves in concrete, sealing them in, ensuring they would never return. Unattended ice cream melted, running in sticky rivers down our fingers, as we froze in the shadow of finality.

"It's just their bodies," they said, their best efforts at comfort clattering hollow in our ears.
____

Hobo was my first brother, that lived. I had an older brother that did not make it through child birth. In my earliest memories, Hobo is there exploring the hill with me. Carrying me at times on his back.

The hill on which we lived was surrounded by thick forest, the top occupied by four houses. Ours was in the center of the gravel loop, surrounded by those of our aunts, uncles and cousins. If you followed the loop to the exit, you would find the cemetery.

I walked among the dead most of my life, their names familiar, even though I never met them. Many a day I lay stretched across the face of their sarcophagus, or resting my head on their stone, staring at the sky. For as long as I can remember, there has been an open grave, waiting for the next to fall asleep.

At the end of the cemetery, a stone wall forms a large square. This is where we laid Hobo to rest when his time came. It was fall. The pick axe bounced on the hard ground, until it cracked to accept him.

Hobo was a floppy eared, belly dragging hound dog, but to me he was my first friend. I would rub his soft haired ears and the world would be okay. When he died, they gave me a stuffed animal, in his likeness. I slept with it every night, but it never replaced the warmth of him next to me.
____

A cloud of dust reached for the sky, behind a truck making its way up our gravel drive way. No one ever came to our hill, so it became an event. Cousins dashed in lazy circles, excitement spilling out on everyone. We got ice cream cones as treat to watch as dirty men climbed down from the white clackity truck, they had backed between the tomb stones.

A great white tongue swung out over the stone wall of the pet cemetery and lumpy grey concrete began to pour, spreading slow across the dirt. My friend. It had been two years, but I still knew the feel of his ears. And my little heart stopped as I knew he was now locked in. Forever. Away from me.

"It's only a dog," they said, as if it did not matter. As if he did not.

Melting ice cream waterfalled from my knuckles, painting the grass in milky rain. Hiding the tears. Death wrapped its clammy skeletal fingers around my other hand. I had felt them before, only now I felt them squeeze.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

160 - Good Grief, Charlie Brown


pumpkins here
pumpkins there
pumpkins flying
through the air
is it
the Great Pumpkin
come to bring fun
or little boys
in big bodies
& a giant toy gun?



What can you say in 160 characters? Go see Monkey Man.

Spent the day at the pumpkin patch with the family. If you enlarge the first photo, that is no the moon in the sky, but my pumpkin traveling 225 feet though the air. I figure, I helped it accomplish a latent dream of flying, but we really have to work on the landing.

And just for fun, Mami shows us whats happening today.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Magpie Tales: The Hurricane Lamp

Tongues of flame race down the curtain, into roiling crimson orange clouds retreating across the hard wood floors, returning their luster. The clouds condense into liquid fire, distill until they separate once more, embraced by shards of glass that crawl across the floor regaining the shape of hurricane lamp.

Leaping into the air, the now whole lamp whizzes within a hairs breadth of a man, raising to standing position, staring at the woman who catches the lamp in her hand, curling her fingers around the neck, just below the globe. At the top of her lungs she inhales a scream, "!dratsab uoY" She places the lamp on the small side table, turning from him, tears retreating up her cheeks into her eyes.

The lamp had been in their family for generations, forged before electricity found their first home. It has served as the beacon of hope on many stormy nights. None quite like that night.

Susan stood before the man she once loved. Still loved. The nail of her finger tracing the lines in the stone that called his name. She found it hard to believe it had been a year since his passing. Every time she came here, to his side, she thought of the night they fought. She ran it forward and backward, but knew she could never take it back. Would never take it back.

Leaves of various browns and yellows pinwheeled across the grass, grasping briefly at the edges of the stone, before letting go and allowing the wind to carry them on. A year had passed. She could not let go, though she felt the chill wind pressing into her. Their love had been one to cling to though.

Jeff was the last man she thought she would end up with. He was born with nothing, while she had everything. They were of different classes, but that meant little the afternoon she and her girl friends spilled giggling onto the secluded beach for a late refreshing swim. The beach was empty, but they all fell silent as he waded out of the water, body chiseled by hard labor in his father's employ.

That was the moment she knew that she must have him. He was not just another acquisition to be had though. With a humble smile he excused himself and walked away without looking back. Try as she might to acquire his attention, all her efforts were turned away. He wanted nothing to do with her.

She was used to people doing what she said. The servants at her family house. People that wanted favors from her father. They would line up to do her bidding, but not Jeff. It made her angry. Something he would continue to do even after they fell in love.

It happened one day when he was called to her family home to work on a stone wall, ringing the central flower garden. She stood in the window, watching him work, savoring the movements as he shaped the stone and the way the sun kissed his body. Her teeth worked grooves into her finger, until she could resist no further.

So intent on his work, he was surprised to hear her voice, but quick to retort. He had dismissed her as she would a butler.

"What makes you better than me?"

"For one, I am willing to work for what I want," he had chided her.

When her daddy found her later, covered in grime working by the side of a common laborer, he had no words for her. And none for the next couple days as he made arrangements to send her away for schooling, where she could learn to be a lady. She despised her father for what he was doing, just as Jeff was beginning to warm to her.

So many memories haunted her thoughts at what might have been, had Jeff lived. Turning from the headstone she left them there, among the leaves, once living now fallen and decaying, she made her way to the car parked on the driveway through the cemetery. She was going to be late, if she did not hurry.

"Mom!" they met her at the door, ushering her into their home. Her daughter. Her son-in-law. Their two boys. They led her to a comfortable chair in the living room, so aptly named. She smiled at each of their faces, each a part of her. All the regrets she felt earlier by the graveside, melted away.

Tim, the youngest of the boys came around the corner with a large wrapped box, his mother intercepting him with gentle hands, "Be careful with that. That is Gramma's special gift."

"Hap Birfday Gama!" he said excitedly, helping place the gift before her.

Separating the tape and removing the wrapping paper, a brown box sat before her and as she parted the flaps, her breath caught in her throat. There sat the hurricane lamp she had thrown at Jeff the night before she was to leave for school, when he asked her to run away with him, forsaking her family and all that was hers.

Tracing the cracks, now bonded closed, she smiled, and though of the feel of his hand as they had run across the yard to his waiting truck. How they got all the pieces, she need not even ask. How tends to work itself out when it needs to. No, she had no regrets.

This is a Magpie Tale.