Everything begins and ends in fire. That’s what Mrs. Green told me when I was eleven in her youth Bible study at the Aegolius Creek Community Church. God created the heavens and the earth from a great ball of flame. Which doesn’t seem much different than the Big Bang Theory, though Mrs. Green said it was blasphemous to suggest something other than God was responsible for creation.Read more.
Maybe everyone is just being nice because it’s my birthday, but I didn’t think it’d be possible for us to get to this point again.
“Goodnight. Don’t forget to unplug the lights,” my dad says, closing the gate of the fence.
“Okay, I just want to lie here for a minute,” I say, flopping back on the couch.
counting smoke plumes
on the mesa horizon
while yucca spire buds
Between rocks guarding
the front door, a sunflower
stalk bends. I welt too.
Yellow flames wake the air.
Fly from that house
clad in cotton dress & aviator cap
with its cracked leather—you knew you’d need it
Ride mistral through
a sky casting its greys over a landscape
brown with mud & blonde with barley spikes
a torture fund
for the poorer:
a rampant righteous dance
themed: taxidermy of piety
so hot do my cheeks burn
lost to our lessers
Bright pink border surrounding a jagged white line right in the middle of her left knee. I cannot help but stare. I never noticed this scar before. Is it new? Looks a bit faded so must be old but no memory of how it got there. Maybe some accident as a kid, something that happened without me. Maybe a fall on some rocks like the ones right here, lichen covered boulders on Mount Timpanogos summit.Read more.
Paquita felt the sharp twisting pain in her abdomen and leaned forward on the steering to move into a more comfortable position. She glanced in the rearview mirror catching her baby sister, Sylvia, gazing back. Sylvia’s brow rose, silently inquiring an update.
“I’m fine,” Paquita mumbled, rubbing her side. Her curly, light-brown hair stuck to the sides of her cheeks, pasted with humidity.
Lieutenant Colonel Rodrigo Huamán’s first encounter with the Shining Path guerrillas was a lot more complicated than he had ever anticipated when he was being trained to become a soldier for Perú. A policeman had made a desperate call to the military headquarters at Huanta. More than seventy rebels had attacked the police station in the town of Guindas, crying out, “Viva Mao! Viva Presidente Gonzalo! Viva Comrade Carlos!”Read more.
Milton pulled his worn, blue bathrobe tight over his chest. He didn’t want one of those young nurse’s aides to see the way his flesh hung over his old bones. Even he thought it was disgusting, and it was his body.
Wheeling his chair up to the TV, Milton grabbed the remote off the Velcro strip that was stuck to the cabinet in hopes that everyone using it would be kind enough to stick it back.
On the coldest day in decades, the cloudless sky ocean blue, I was alone, and heartbroken, outside the station on the New York bound platform, in a barrage of minus three degree wind gusts, instead of inside basking in the warmth of the waiting area. Moments ago, a carving wind, slicing through my layers, cut me to the bone.Read more.
When did I begin to feel so miserably old? Ah, yes. It was exactly one year, three months, and fifteen days ago. It started when I turned eighty years of age, and every muscle and body joint ignited in excruciating pain. It was the moment rheumatoid arthritis began our one-sided courtship. “What won’t hurt today, Satan?” I shout at the top of my lungs each and every morning, defiantly shaking my fist at the devil’s netherworld.Read more.
Spring Street was strangely archaic – white concrete, not asphalt, with meandering black lines of tar. It met my legs abruptly, returning their bounce with an equal shock back, deadening and harsh, until they would get loose on the dirt road. I turned along the edges of the campus-like collection of foster homes…Read more.
I’m hiking with a friend on a trail next to a reservoir. On one side of us blue water, on the other, several white birch, striking amidst the dense foliage. I stop to take photos, the white streaks like long strokes of paint in a landscape of darker hues. I walk up to one, the scabbed bark so much more apparent on a closer view.Read more.
A lump hammer propels me close
to buried root, each head-heavy swing
a blow at resistance. I want to lash
the stubborn vines to scaffolding
so they’ll grow upright, as we want
for our children—as I raised you, my child,
My father built the cabin by the river
himself, and built me a treehouse
on the riverbank and two kinds of swings:
one with a tire you sit on and one to hang
on upright. We found a wounded duckling
near the pond, and nursed it back to health.
To raise a child who loves herself,
remove the word “beautiful” from your vocabulary.
Replace it with brave.
Instead of her hair, her eyes, her skin:
Notice her soul.
With his arms outstretched toward the open window, Dad chuckles like a little boy. I released another one! I clap my hands in support just as a thin ray of golden light shines into my eyes. As I walk over to the shimmering window and peer out through the bronzed dreamy sunlight, I see the front yard of my childhood home.Read more.
—Top of happiness, my dear friend. Your delightful story has been like honey on my heart. It has given me much pleasure to hear it. Please, please. It’s true. Allah-u akbar, God is Great.
It wasn’t often I had the honour of the company of one with a rare provenance such as yours. In fact, you were the most beautiful red chair I had ever seen.
Mountains of cumulonimbus assembled in the high altitudes west of the city and scudded overhead as patiently as continental drift throughout the morning. The towering white masses augured heavy convection storms for Denver but ultimately held off losing their power till reaching the eastern plains. Once there, sixty miles off in the afternoon distance, the clouds were illuminated from within by constant electrical activity.Read more.
How can I still be sad about ancient pains?
These tidbits of lost connection strewn like bread crumbs
to delineate a path back to the witch or warlock
who cast this spell of forgetfulness
“the better to manipulate you, my dear”
I walk north where garlic mustard grows
with heart-shaped leaves,
clusters of tiny white stars.
Their slender stalks border a trail
into the woods
past a brook where the deer drink.
I wait for the next appointment knowing
it will arrive as another scheduled day
where I’ll put my body in a stranger’s hands.
That person in white will study my numbers,
listen to my heart, press fingers into my flesh
I never imagined being a mermaid
Other girls talked of curly hair,
seashell bras; all I saw were scales —
Water felt like a second skin to me.
I could glide and swoop, avoid
imagined obstacles at speed.
When I hate myself I reach into photo albums
and pull the child version of me into the present.
I make myself look at that boy
and say the awful things I have said
to the mirror in my mind.
The condemnations rush away
like the refugee raindrops that scatter