No Shame

Valeria was alone. No one was here to see if she turned back. She flipped the switch on her sky skiff. The sail extended with a whoosh as the base lit up.  The familiar hum told her everything was working fine. She had done a good job rebuilding it.

She could power it off now. She could loan it to another rider so they could make the flight down the mountain and scavenge food or old tech from the cloud covered valleys below. Plenty of potential riders recently passed the qualifying tests, just as Valeria once did.

“There’s no shame in being a shaper,” Marco had said in a tone designed to needle her. But he had a point. Without shapers, there’d be no sky craft, and no way of getting the things they desperately needed. The other shapers also had been nothing but kind to her. It helped that Valeria had become quite skilled at building and fixing skiffs.

“There’s no shame in falling,” the head shaper had said. And that was true too. Better and more experienced riders had fallen during the sudden storms that popped out over the valley. A better one had the last time Valeria had gone wind-riding.

At that thought, the tears came again, just as Valeria knew they would. There’s no shame in tears, Marisol would have said.  

Valeria looked out at the sky around her, clothed in the purples and pinks of dawn. There was no pride in keeping from doing something you loved either. Marisol never let anything or anyone keep her away from the thrill of the sky.  

She could continue with the shapers. Valeria had made a place among them. But there was nothing to say a shaper couldn’t be a rider too.

Valeria wiped her eyes to get a clear look at the sky she adored. She felt the anticipation of being in the air eat the last bit of her fear and most of her sadness. In one quick move, Valeria got on the skiff and pushed off from the mountain. And then she flew.

Photo by Cody Board on Unsplash

Song Choice: Back from the Dead by Halestorm

Liner Notes for This Groove: This piece of flash fiction was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, The Last Time.

King Koi (Obon)

The koi rises
like a splash of sunshine
from behind clouds of murky water.

The golden-orange flash
dances though the pond

in and out of branches
trailing at the pond’s edge
playing in the reflection of the moon.

Until, conceding defeat,

he sinks back,
all the brightness swallowed
again in the gloom of the water.

No treats have been set out for him
tonight. There is only the flicker
of floating candles lighting the way back

for those who swim
in far darker places
than the gilded king of the pond.

Photo I took of an obon observance I went to
at Shofuso (The Japanese house and garden in Philadelphia) over the weekend.

Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, Pay Attention


I’d like to declare a cease-fire
against myself. I am done
being tired all the time
from fighting a war
I don’t remember starting.

I’d like to recall
all the spies that burrowed
into my darkest recesses
to use everything they found
against me.

Is any armistice enough
to let the imprisoned parts
dare the sunlight


will they stay in their cells
even while knowing
that no doors could never exist
that they didn't have the key to?

Liner Notes For This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, War is Over, If You Want It.

Saltwater Display (What Has Changed)

Everything the same, just as I left it,
I didn’t plan on the saltwater
puddle sitting on the desktop.

My collection of figurines
still stood, surprisingly dust free.

I didn’t have the time or energy
to deal with the ones
that are more disappointing than charming now.

I had to pull myself together
and clean up that puddle,

likely originating from a well-meaning attempt
to keep order in an office equivalent of a ghost town.

As much as I’d like to ignore
the puddle of saltwater
eroding the foundation

of the salt tea light holder
that someone was kind enough to gift me
as a token of protection,

it invaded the space
where my laptop plugs into.
I have no time

for saltwater displays
in an office, trying to go on
as if nothing has changed

and pretend that ghosts aren’t here too.

An old picture of my office cubical. A co-worker said he easily figured out
who it belonged to without looking for the name tag.

Song Choice: Back In Black

Liner Notes For This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt, Change and Renewal, at Poets and Storytellers United.