This Was (2021)

This was the tower,
all lightning struck and crumbling,
only knowing I had fallen
when the rubble broke bone.

This was the color of sky fragmented
by the prism of a bloody setting sun
that I had mistaken for a new day.

This was the sound of air
rattling in my chest
around the stalagmites
of unfinished conversations.

This was not the end
of the music in words
demanding to be recognized.
This was not the end of the story.

This was when I knew
some words deserved to be freed
to see what they will bloom into next.

This was me
making paper boats out of all my stories,
hoping one was sturdy enough
to carry me to the next shore.

Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem is linked to the Friday Writings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United.


 “Can I learn to sword fight?” Anna asked.



“Why?” Yuuki asked.

He looked at Ajani. Last week, Yuuki would have thought the African fae’s agreement was an attempt to access Anna’s human energy. Now, he knew Ajani was enthralled by anything to do with sword play.

“I’m a sword blerd—OK, a blerd in general,” Ajani admitted to Yuuki while trying to convince him to watch another human movie.

Yuuki looked at Rina. Anna’s aunt still didn’t trust him. He could feel it the moment she threw an energetic shield around her niece. It was a powerful one, easily able to stop a lesser fae and slow down a powerful one, if it meant her harm.

Ajani reached out to touch Anna on her nose. “Boop,” he said.

Anna giggled.

Yuuki ruffled the child’s hair. “Your wards are as strong as ever Rina-san, but as you can see there is no intent to harm Anna. Anna-chan, I still want to know why. The truth now. It’s only fair since I’m sworn to tell you the truth. You promised to never ask me to do something I’m not comfortable with, and I’m not comfortable without the truth.”

“The sword fight you had in Philly sounded cool,” Anna said.

“It was,” Ajani agreed.

“And learning magic with Titi Rina was cool,” Anna added. “I guess, it’s just, you’re both cool.”

Something in the way she held her head sparked Yuuki’s memory. I want to be just like you, big brother, Giichi had said. The pain blindsided him for a moment. He looked at Rina’s anxious expression.

“Fine, on two conditions. Firstly, promise me you won’t go out seeking fights. Second, your aunt must approve.”

“Please, Titi Rina. Pleeeease.”

“We can discuss things privately if you’d like,” Yuuki said to Rina.

“I’d expect the same level of honesty you have with Anna. At minimum.”

Clever, he thought. But not unexpected. A proper witch had to be.

Yuuki bowed, his three fox tails swishing. “Of course.”

“I get to help too,” Ajani said.

“If we come to an agreement,” Yuuki and Rina said at the same time.

 Rina smiled.

Alliances have been built on less, Yuuki thought. This was a start.

Liner Notes for this Groove: This bit of flash fiction is linked to the Friday Writings at Poets and Storytellers United.