Pavement

You see
the sharp delineation
of the narrow path
we are expected to take.

I see
the barrier
that crumbles

from the force of will
of a dandelion
demanding its place in the sun.


Photo by Nikola Johnny Mirkovic on Unsplash

Song Choice: Crumbling Down by John Mellencamp

This poem was created for the prompt given at Poetry and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings: Pavement.

Even When You Know

For an acolyte of Cassandra
very little is unexpected.

I am used to shouting into fields,
where the only acknowledgement
comes from the nodding of distracted flowers
moved by the whims of the wind.

What is unexpected
is that even when you know
what the weight of tired is
down to the ounce,

and are intimately acquainted
with how it grows
and compounds over time,

the physical dividends
still manage to bring unwilling gasps of pain
even when you know it’s coming.

Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash



Song Choice: Unwell covered by Jimmie Allen

This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United: Well, That Was Unexpected. 

When All Else Fails

I’ve been cut by light
as brittle as shards of sugar glass

(twice as cloying,
masking none of the bitter)

that left me
with inflamed doubts
trying to spread to every cell,
until I am more doubt than woman.

I cannot survive under the glare
of this illusion of light
and its false promises,

so I take my doubts
into the loving darkness
where true starlight's touch
waits for me

to breathe,

to release,

to heal,

every last taint

of doubt.



Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Song Choice: In Your Eyes (New Blood Version) by Peter Gabriel

This poem was created for Poets and Storyteller United's Weekly Scribblings prompt, When All Else Fails.

I'll Be Waiting (Dusk til Dawn)

When Ada collapsed into Nestor’s arms his first thought was that she didn’t look as bad off as the last time. Then he saw she was pressing her hands on a spot in her side, dark and wet with blood.

He scooped her up, being careful with her bruised and scratched wings, and laid her out on the sofa. As he rummaged around in his box of medicine, he shot a look at the clock. It was only 1:00 A.M. Plenty of time left in the night. Plenty of time for her to heal before she had to return.

“Hello, magus,” she whispered

“Hello yourself,” he said bringing the supplies he needed over to her. “It’s been awhile.”

“Has it?” Her smile only showed flashes of a grimace now and then as he worked. “Your magic is strong as always.”

Nestor grunted. He didn’t know why basic first aid worked on her like magic any more than he knew why some nights she fell into his world only to disappear at dawn.

“So serious tonight,” she responded. “It’s not as bad as it looks. Especially with you here to help me.”

“Why do I only see you now when you are in pain? Why won’t you talk to me?” he said slamming the lid of the first aid box.

Her smile fled. “I am at war, magus. There are those who will keep hunting me for these,” she motioned to her draconic wings. “I thought you said you understood.”

Nestor remembered the first time he saw her. She was beautiful, like something out of a legend. He had a hard time thinking of her as cursed or flawed no matter how many times she explained the troubles in her world. Even though on one level he understood all too well.

“I’m sorry. I just miss how we used to talk—before things got worse for you. I know it’s selfish,” he said.

“Maybe I feel selfish, expecting you to always heal me. Maybe I feel selfish asking for more.”

Nestor looked out his window. “Dawn is hours away. Neither of us is going anywhere right now. If you want to talk, I’ll listen.”

Ada breathed deep, then spoke.


Photo by Gustavo Ardon on Unsplash



Song Choice: Dusk Til Dawn by Zayn featuring Sia

This flash fiction was created for the prompt given at today's Weekly Scribblings at Poets and Storytellers United, By Means of Music.

I Have Disciplined My Heart

I have disciplined my heart
not to fall apart completely
when the acid of swallowed words
threatens to devour me whole.

This heart has no obligation
to prove the truth
of the blood rushing through it
to those who would see the bleeding
as just another mess to ignore.

I have disciplined my heart
to only beat at full strength
in the presence of trust, but
far too often that means
I listen to its throb alone.


Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash
Song Choice: The Quiet One by The Who

This poem was created for the prompt at Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings #22: It Takes A Bit of Discipline

The Best That Can Be Hoped For


The commander’s body was displayed with all the pomp the citizens of the town could afford, and then some. On the first two days, wailers arrived promptly at dawn, not leaving their post outside the chapel until the sun set. They were there too on the third, although that day was set aside for select people to pay their last respects before burial the next morning.

Even the wailers paused to bow when Lady Allegra came to the chapel to say her farewells. The solemn commander’s ward was a familiar figure to them all. They shuffled aside, with their eyes on the ground to let her pass.

“Please,” she said in a quivering whisper that carried to the furthest honor guard in the room. “I’d like to be alone with him, one last time.”

The head guard nodded, and they all filed out.

Allegra leaned over the casket, the shaky note in her whisper all gone now. “I have never wished harder for the existence of an afterlife, just so that I’d have the satisfaction of knowing you are suffering in it.”

She took in the sight of the cruel face, knowing its mouth would never scream at her again, and the hands, which would never strike her for forgetting a lesson. Then she gave a satisfied sigh. “I wish I was the one responsible for your condition, but I’ll thank time and the diseases you fostered with your vices for doing their job. However, I will be responsible for the remaking of this city, you can count on that. My alliances have been in place well before your first wheeze. Everything you’ve created will come undone. This city will heal.

You always preached about forgiveness being healing, along with other things you obviously didn’t really believe. But I think I will work on forgiving someone. Myself. For not forgiving you. I don’t know if I ever will, but I don’t think I have to in order to do what needs doing. I’m looking forward to the first day I don’t have to think about you. That will be enough.”

And with that she left, the body in the chapel behind her and a new day in front.



Photo by Maxime Gauthier on Unsplash

Liner Notes for This Groove: This short fiction was created for Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scriblings #19. I'll be taking one (maybe two) weeks off for a break after this. LOL, I was going to take off anyway as my husband and I had plans to go off and do something fun for our 25th anniversary. But even though we'll be celebrating at home, I'll still be taking my break.

Tribute

The world needs heroes
so we’ve been told.
They inspire us to be
better versions of ourselves.

But I’m not seeing
a better version of humanity
when adult-sized toddlers
bray about their freedom

to make others ill
so they can play golf,
and get their hair done.

They,
and all those who care more
about feeding their delusions
of stability and comfort,
are the ones
who created the desperate need
for heroic measures.

Even though people are so willing
to play out the role of villain,
perhaps hero isn’t the right word
for those who find themselves on the front lines.

But it may be the best word
we can use,

because sacrificial tribute
on the altar of ego
is just too honest.


More Covid 19 related street at images
can be found at Atlas Obscura.

Song Choice: Abraham's Daughter by Arcade Fire, from The Hunger Games movie

Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for the prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United, Weekly Scribblings #18

El Búho

There are times
words come to my mind
faster in Spanish
than in English. Why

just this evening
búho flew faster
into my mind
than owl did. Something

suggested in the wing beats,
felt more like búho
than owl
to me. The remembrance

of a word I hadn’t used
too terribly often,
even in childhood,
made we wonder

what else
is flitting about my subconscious,
waiting for me to discover it.



Owl Queen by Don Martin.
You can find more of his whimsical work on Etsy and Red Bubble.
Don is a poet as well as an artist
and you can find his latest poetry collection on Amazon.




This poem was created for Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings #17.




Rediscovered Wings

Imagine what it would take
for a dragon to rediscover her wings?

You would have to ask
what made her forget
she had wings in the first place.

How could she have left behind
the feel of her muscles working
in defiance of logic and physics?

To remember her wings
is to feel all the things
associated with flight—
the whistle of the air as she glided past
the feeling of rising
above the clouds
to let sunlight dance over scales.

If she could forget all that
how hard would it be to remember?
Would the fear of confronting the shame
of forgetting keep her from acknowledging them?

Or would the joy
of being whole again
leave shame and regret on the ground
while the dragon soared higher
on her rediscovered wings?


Photo by Ryan Moulton on Unsplash
Song Choice: I Won't by Little Mix

This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers Unites, Re-verse.

Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?


I told my husband to never doubt a Latina’s love when she is willing to go 8 days in her own home without rice. My husband is Jewish, and one of his big holidays is Passover. Someone once described Passover to me as “Jewish Thanksgiving” (a popular meme describes it as “They tried to kill us. They failed. Let’s eat.”) But it’s hard for me to work up thankfulness (or enthusiasm) for 8 days of no bread, rice, or beans. Not to mention the work that goes into prepping the house.

To say this year was different is an understatement. To start, the boisterous gathering that is the Passover seder was off. Going on a treasure hunt for toilet paper and other basics also took priority over hunting through multiple stores for Passover specific foodstuff.

Have I fantasized about skipping Passover before this? OK, yeah. But not like this.

We didn’t do any major preparation. We didn’t bother to use up the explicitly non-kosher for Passover food beforehand. But we did joke that despite not having the things that made it a traditional Passover, in some ways this was the most Passover-y Passover ever. We had to make do with whatever kind of food we could find—a tiny roast, one box of matzoh, apple sauce instead of haroset for example. There was a literal plague we were hoping would pass over our house. And do not get me started on the stand-in for the Pharaoh.

A seder did end up happening over Zoom. As expected, we got extreme close-ups of the ears and noses of the folks who weren’t as used to technology as others. We went with a very simplified version of the seder to make things easier. But the interaction between family was still warm and lively. And the singing…well, the singing was as it always was, with all the gusto and heart of the Von Trapp family. None of pitch or tone mind you, but all the heart, and volume fueled by four cups of wine.

You know, this year I didn’t mind it so much. But I’ll still be sneaking rice when no one is looking. Can’t let it go to waste.


We did manage to score delicious macaroons
in a Marvelous Mrs. Maisel tin. With all the time I saved
not doing Passover prep, I made masks.

Song Choice: OK this is a lot longer than one song, but I couldn't not mention the Saturday Night Passover Seder which is raising money for the CDC. There's a lot of fun music, funny bits, and my husband was really moved by it.

April 2020

On my birthday,
I will take my tea
under the branches
of a dying cherry tree.
It has its scars, like I do,
raw and still exposed.

Ants have worried their way into the crevasses
and I know those wounds will not close.

But I see the buds
of the promised pink
that swirls around me
at the end of every April,
even though many of the branches
will never bear a bloom again.

It is enough that some of its branches will still flower.
It is enough that I still take up my pen.


Close up of a cluster of cherry blossom buds
thinking about blooming. They're stubborn.

Song Choice: Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance (I couldn't resist using an AMV version with clips from My Hero Academia)

Liner Notes for This Groove: I pulled a double off today, utilizing both the prompt at Poet's and Storytellers United (Weekly Scribblings #14 Let's Use Pathetic Fallacy, Shall We?) and Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, Play it Again prompt, A L'Arora.

Not So Small Hero


Koji looked at the assorted items he’d gathered and hoped it was enough. He’d never attempted magic before. Pushing down the feeling of panic that was threatening to burble out of his stomach and into his throat, he shouted the words to finish the rite.

Koji blinked and looked around him. Where was the powerful kami the ritual should have summoned? He hung his head, about to limp away, until he heard a tiny cough followed by a slurping noise. He looked down. Sitting in front of him was a tiny yokai with a bird’s beak and three fish tails drinking a bowl of tea. It gazed up at him with its large eyes. He could not decide if it was more adorable or grotesque. Either way, he knew he should still be polite.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hello,” she trilled. “Would you care for some tea?”

“No, thank you. I’m sorry to have bothered you. I was hoping to summon someone, er, bigger.”

She blinked at him again. “Why?”

 Koji flushed and looked away. “I had hoped they could train me. To be a strong warrior, like my brother was.”

“I wouldn’t be much help there. Are you sure that’s what you wanted?”

“Yes! He saved so many, like a hero in a story. I want to be one too, even though—”

“Oh, I see now. I can help you.”

“You can teach me to fight?” Koji’s eyes widened.

“No,” she said. “I’ll help you save lives.”

“How?”

“I’ll give you knowledge.”

“How will that help?”

“Have you heard people wishing they could go back to such and such time to do something that would have made a situation better? The moment to act is now. I’ll tell you what actions to take. But they will be simple, not the stuff of stories. You’ll get no praise or reward from anyplace other than your heart. Will that do?”

Koji thought of his brother and nodded. She told him of a coming plague and how to stay safe. When she finished, she gave him her tea bowl, which grew to fit his hands.

“Share the knowledge as you would share tea,” she said before disappearing.

"Thank you," he replied.


Liner Notes for This Groove: This short story was created for Poetry and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings #13: All the Small Things. It was inspired by an Atlas Obscura article about a healing spirit known as Amabie. You can also find out more about Amabie at Yokai.com After reading about her, I couldn't help by try my hand at drawing her too.




Nevertheless

Dear descendant,

Right now your ancestress
is reminded of the time
she was warned
about a super storm bearing down.

Everyone else made jokes
right up until they saw
the eerie green sky,
that turned skeptics into believers
in a baptism by hurricane.

Is the sun shining while you are reading this?
Are you sharing hugs
with all the folks you love
free from the feeling
that your touch has doomed them.
I hope so.

Sometimes it seems
that the time you live in
is more real to me than mine
because I can imagine
some sort of normal existing there
that isn’t possible here.

In this time, my time,
there’s ugly trying to choke
the bright out of anything
that wants to shine.

Your ancestress,
she was given an explanation
for this vacuum of leadership.

Some had their reasons you see
to keep dancing with all the devils
that brought them to the party.

But there is more than arrogance and disdain
flowering in this time too, dear descendant.

There were folks all lined up
at a local grocery store
waiting their turns to shop
their friendliness still able to reach
their fellow shoppers and the store employees
from six feet away.

There’s folks checking in their neighbors.
People who bring in other people’s kids from the cold.
There are people sharing their talents
over electronic campfires,
patching over the frayed bits of life
with colorful fabric of their own weaving.

There’s people sharing what they have
to make things last
just a little longer, until this is over.

Which makes me hope

there will be a tomorrow
when this ancestress can hand off her letter
to a future generation
who will understand what she means
when she says love is what saved us in the end,

despite devils and skeptics.
Nevertheless, she persisted.


Pandora by John William Waterhouse
Song Choice: Dear Winter by AJR

This piece was created for Weekly Scribblings #12 at Poets and Storytellers United, Nevertheless, She Persisted. You can hear me read this poem out loud on my Instagram and Facebook pages.

Who Makes Friends During a Quarantine?


When my kids were small, our family had a joke that if we had plans to go anywhere, Darling Eldest needed two weeks advance notice and Darling Youngest should only be told once they were buckled in the car seat. Darling Youngest has always been super social, wanting to be in the thick of every gathering and wanting to be there NOW. We used to call them “The Mayor” based on how easily they made friends and end up knowing pretty much everyone wherever we went.

Darling Youngest at the prom, just a couple of weeks ago.

As you may have guessed, the last couple of weeks have been tough on them. It wasn’t too bad when school got cancelled one day, but when it turned into a week (and now at least two weeks) they weren’t amused. Then the plans for a big birthday sleepover had to be scrapped. The local malls closed. The clubs that meant so much to them canceled events. No more all-day Dungeons & Dragons sessions at friends’ homes. No more wandering around town.

There were tears. And a bit of screaming.

Although my introverted self could not relate, I still felt bad for them. I spent a little time trying to find fun things to do. I tracked down some neat concerts, virtual museum visits, and performances from theater kids after they retreated to their bedroom in a huff. But when they came out again, they were quite excited.

One of their favorite influencers on Instagram, Jessi Paege, started encouraging her followers to start group chats to support each other. Darling Youngest made several new friends right away and has been happily texting them back and forth since then.

At first I thought, “Leave it to the Mayor to come out of this with a bunch of new friends.” And while that’s true, I thought of all the cool things I found researching and how wonderfully adaptive people are in finding creative ways to connect. I don’t know how long this will last, or how bad it will end up being. But I know that ways exist to keep connecting, keep living, in spite of it all, and that is a comfort.

Who makes friends during a quarantine? Anyone who'd like to.




This post was created for Poets and Storytellers United’s Weekly Scribblings: Hypophora and All That. Come and connect with us there. Also, you may want to keep an eye on my Facebook page and Instagram. I might try my hand at video readings to do my part at making this period of time feel a little bit less isolating. How are you keeping yourself occupied? Tell me all about it in the comments.


Early Bird


The darkness doesn’t mind
which side you choose to greet it on.

I prefer to say hello
accompanied by only
the scent of my first cup of tea.

I love discussing the world
with my darling youngest.
I love laughing at its foibles
with my darling eldest.
I love sharing new experiences
with my husband.

But this dark, shifting
around on the far end of night
when all but a few patient stars
have withdrawn for the day,

is just for me,
and my wild ideas
that need steeping 
in deep darkness
alongside my morning cup of tea.


Bird on a Branch by Seiko

This poem was created for Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings prompt, Early Bird or Night Owl.



Alice and the Not-Rose

“Contagion,” screeched the Red Queen as she pointed to the odd flower. “Who betrayed me?”

Her retinue of cards threw themselves at her feet, jabbering apologies. “Shall I pull it out, my Queen?” one asked.

“Pull? One of my precious roses? Off with his head!”

As the rest of the cards dragged the questioner away, Alice looked at the flower again. Remembering it was important to curtsy first, she asked, “Majesty, I don’t understand. You said this flower was a contagion, but you don’t want it pulled.”

The Queen rolled her eyes. “No rose of mine could be a contagion, you simple child. It’s been contaminated! Who did it? That gardener? I never trusted her.”

“Majesty, are you sure this is a rose?”

“I am surrounded by fools,” she said, rubbing her temples. “Child, where are we standing now?”

“Your rose garden.”

“And what grows in rose gardens?”

“Roses?”

“Precisely. Therefore, this is a rose that must have been infected into forgetting itself.”

“Is it possible that a different sort of flower had been planted?”

The Queen turned an angry red. “Are you saying I am mistaken about what grows in my garden? Only roses are planted and only roses grow here! Something infected it.” The Queen started examining the earth around the flower, then noticed the book Alice held. “What were you doing here?”

“Reading a book about flowers from around the world. See, there are sunflowers, orchids, lilies…”

The Queen reared back. “You did this! You gave my poor rose ideas of being something else.”

Alice was fairly sure that wasn’t how things worked. She watched dumbfounded as the Queen put a large pot over the flower. “Now it’s protected. Get out or I’ll have your head!”

Alice left, but returned later that evening. She lifted the pot, then dug up the flower. Using the pot to carry it out, she took it to the Cheshire Cat’s woods where she replanted it.

“There. I’m really not certain what sort of flower you are,” Alice said. “But you were hardy enough to survive this afternoon. You’ll be happier here.”

The flower said nothing but released a sweet fragrance. Taking that as a good sign, Alice left.

The Red Queen by Mark Tonelli


Song Choice: Painting the Roses Red from Alice in Wonderland

This piece of flash fiction was created for Poets and Storytellers United Weekly Scribblings #9: Contagion.

Saturday Morning Strawberries

Although logic told her it was only a few feet away, Stacia’s bedroom door may as well have been on Mars as far as she was concerned. She had been staring at it for over an hour now. She thought about getting up to shower at least twice, but the most she had managed to do was scratch the side of her neck.

Her stomach growled. She barked out a laugh, more startled than amused. Such an ordinary noise felt so strange in the silence.

That means I’m hungry, she said to herself. Though she didn’t feel enthused about the idea of eating.

Eat, she told herself more forcefully this time. It can be anything. It can be something small. Just eat.

After her stomach insisted again, Stacia got up, lumbered towards the door and left her bedroom. The sight of her cluttered living room almost made her turn around. But it was easier just to keep going in the same direction.

Stacia opened the door of the fridge. The small bud of victory she felt from making it this far was swallowed up as she took in everything inside. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be anything that’s a lot of work, she reminded herself. Her eyes fell on a container of strawberries.

She pulled the plastic container out, closed the door, and sat of the kitchen floor. Not bothering to wash them she grabbed the nearest strawberry and took a bite. Stacia thought back to how when she was a kid her mom would set out a bowl of condensed milk for her to dip strawberries into on Saturday mornings. She made herself eat the second strawberry more slowly. There might be condensed milk in the pantry.

I can do this. Stacia got up, still holding the berries, and grabbed a can opener along with the can of condensed milk. She went to the couch and looked at how far she had come. The bedroom door still looked miles away. But now she had strawberries and condensed milk, and she knew she’d be able to find a favorite cartoon or two on a streaming service. That was enough.


Photo by Esther Wilhelmsson on Unsplash

Song Choice: Breathe Me by Sia

This flash fiction piece was created for Weekly Scribblings #8 on Poets and Storytellers United, Red Fruit Rendition.

Cosplay on!

I’ve always admired the geektasticness of cosplay. For those of you not as steeped in nerdiness as I am, cosplay is when folks dress in costumes meant to resemble their favorite characters in film, television, comics, books, etc. (here’s a quick little video to give you some visuals). Cosplay can be seen as a tribute of sorts to those works of art that inspire the cosplayer in some way.

The first time I cosplayed was my senior year in college with my then boyfriend (now husband).

We went as Green Arrow and Black Canary
as we both were really into that series back then.

I really haven’t done much cosplaying since then, because it can be a time consuming (as well as money consuming) hobby. But quite recently, my whole family is in planning mode. An honorary niece has a Bat Mitzvah coming up, and she has asked that her guests come in cosplay.

We’ve been joking around a bit about who we should dress up as. I’ve trying to convince my husband that Miss Crumble (Daybreak) and Koro-sensei (Assassination Classroom) could be a very workable couples' costume as they are both dedicated educators (who also happen to be batty). Darling Youngest is lobbying for something Steven Universe based (they want to be Steven and thought the hubby and I could be Greg Universe and Amethyst…they really don’t care what their older sibling does). The hubby would like to consider more options. Darling Eldest is in the middle of college classes but will probably figure out something during spring break.

I do know for sure what one of the cosplays will be. The Bat Mitzvah girl is a big reader and she wanted to base her cosplay around a short story she really liked…one of mine! The kiddo is going as Cordelia from “Make Mischief Not War”, from my short story collection, The Trouble with Wanting and Other Not-Quite Faerie Tales.

Yeah, I got misty-eyed. This is kind of bucket-list territory for me, having someone like one of my characters that much. I’m going to be so stoked to see “Cordelia” swing dancing in a ballroom.

Song Choice: Talk Nerdy to Me

So are there any cosplayers out there? Any suggestions for costume ideas? Feel free to make them in the comments section.

This blog post was created for Weekly Scribblings #7: This is a Tribute

The Apple


The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,
except of course when it does.

And who’s to say what will happen
once it’s done falling.

Especially if it has a good view
of the valleys all around it

with hills just perfect for rolling in.

The Son of Man by René Magritte


Song Choice: How Far I'll Go From Moana

This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings over at Poets and Storytellers United. 

Black Hollyhock


I remember when I first saw her.
I composed the hymn in my heart right away.

I can’t remember the other things
on display at the museum that day.

I only had eyes for that large dark flower
taking up most of the space in the composition.

I don’t recall the exact words I wrote later
but it was my first prayer of praise

for a goddess who taught me
how very beautiful 
and worthy of admiration
darkness can be.




Liner Notes for This Groove: In high school we had a trip to the Met in NYC, which is where I first saw Black Hollyhock and Blue Larkspur by Georgia O'Keeffe. I bought a print and wrote my first 'for fun' (as opposed to 'for homework') poem when I got home. I remember that I wrote it in the form of a prayer (I think I was inspired St. Francis's Canticle of the Sun) and that I liked it well enough to submit to my high school's literary magazine. And they accepted it! I think it was the first time it crossed my mind that I might enjoy this writing business.

Song Choice: Who Says by Selena Gomez & The Scene

Corgi and the Ramp


We aren’t 100% sure of how old our Kit is. The rescue organization estimated he was about 3, and we’ve had him for 6 years. That puts him at 9. Like our first dog, Faye, he’s a corgi. But unlike Faye, he’s lazy. He was a whopping 45 pounds when we adopted him, compared to Faye’s top weight at 19 pounds. And also unlike Faye, who was notoriously picky, Kit eats like he’s unsure of his next meal.

Corgis can develop back problems when they are too heavy. Despite our best efforts to whittle down his weight, things came to a head this last holiday season. We don’t know what his life was like before he came to us, but we do know he’s terrified of loud noises—whether it’s loud laughter, expressions of disgust during video games, or teen bickering. When things get noisy, Kit likes to retreat into our bedroom. The trouble is, that’s on the second floor. After a week of going up and down stairs several times a day, he was done.

The vet said it was vertebral disc injury, but it was too soon to tell how bad it was. His stomach wasn’t doing so great either, so mild meds, acupuncture, and rest (no stairs) were recommended. We got him a ramp to deal with the last issue.

He wasn’t keen on it at first. We tried to tempt him into using it by setting it up to go to the window seat. If he couldn’t chase squirrels, at least he’d be able to bark at them. He sniffed but refused to trust the odd new addition. We want to keep him less pudgy, but he was getting better enough to be sassy and try jumping up and down off things. Low-cal rewards were clearly the lesser evil. And it worked. 

I need to be fast folding it out, because he can be impatient and try a leap he has no business attempting. Still I’m thrilled that the acupuncture is working so well, and even more miraculously he doesn’t seem to mind it. We’ll still need to keep an eye on his back, but hopefully he has plenty of squirrel chasing years ahead of him.

Kit near his downstairs dog bed, wondering what I am doing.



Song Choice: Jump by Van Halen

This essay is linked to Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings #4

Sea in a Bottle


Zizi regarded the space yet to be filled in her basket then looked at the sea. What could she use to hold it in? She pulled out the half full bottle of water from her coat pocket. It was getting late in the afternoon and she had things to do at home. She wouldn’t finish the water.

She walked to a nearby shrub and shared her water with it before continuing down the steps, towards the spot where the freshwater stream met the sea. Once Zizi was satisfied she had enough water, she walked back.


She spread out all the things she gathered on her work bench at home. With a cup of tea in hand, Zizi started dividing up them into piles she thought would work together. She’d hold something up to her ear every now and then or stroke it with her hand before deciding where to place it. At the end she had sorted everything except the water.

She laughed. It was a bit of a silly impulse to have gathered it. She’d never used water in one of her jars before. Maybe she’d keep it for her personal collection. She went to find another jar to transfer it to, when she saw the box of random treasures a friend had given her. A bit of sea glass, a tiny sand dollar, a small jar…yes, she could make this work.


Zizi just finished arranging her display on the vending table when a woman from another table came over.

“These are so beautiful,” she said. “I’m Jenna, by the way.”

“I’m Zizi. Thanks.”

Jenna picked up the jar with the seawater, sand dollar, and sea glass. She immediately got an image of herself as a teen, visiting the shore with her mother. They had both played hooky from school and work that day. It was a blast. Jenna still missed her so much.

Zizi saw the look on Jenna’s face. “I never know why I make the things I do, but I know when they’ve found a home. Care to work out a trade,” she asked, nodding towards Jenna’s table.

“Oh yes,” Jenna said, with the sea’s scent and her mother’s smile still lingering in her mind.

Photo by Mohamed Ahsan on Unsplash



Song Choice: Time in A Bottle by Jim Croce

This piece of flash fiction was created for Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings #3: Salt-Water Poetry.