bombed cities

People’s lives

Laid bare and ruined,

The bones of their existence

Under a cold, unforgiving sky

Where once was rustling, deafening sound

There is only 

Silence

A whisper,

And footprints

Are all that’s left behind

The stories taken by

The ones who fled

The meat stripped off

By the survivors

All that’s left

Are the bones

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Aches

I have aches

They linger persistent, muscle-deep

Vestiges of movement ingrained into me

Shadows of where I stretched and pulled for jab, cross, hook

I can live with these aches

For they will fade

Unlike the other aches,

That go deeper than skin and muscle and tissue,

That lodge deep in my bones

Vestiges of laughter and memories ingrained into me

Shadows of how I hugged or high-fived

Or playfully punched or squeezed the hands of

Friends I miss

I can live with the other aches

But these,

Will take me time

Spring

Spring creeps in

In increments,

Rising temperatures and

Sheets of sunlight

Opening flowers,

And I notice

My pace quickening
I am she,
Winter-bleached Persephone, 

Blooming in the blinding daylight

A goddess come home,

A queen come into her own

I cast away coats and layers

With every passing day

Until I stand with arms and legs bare

Under sunlight, and feel

More like myself again

Shall I Chase Down Inspiration

Shall I chase down inspiration?

Hound her breathless through the trees?

Grab her roughly by the hair and then

Spin her round me as I please? 

Shall I lure her forth with presents,

Or a trail of sugared sweets?

Until cautiously she comes creeping out

And my traps snap at her feet?

Maybe one day I’ll go fishing,

Cast my line into the lake,

And then wait there, oh so quietly,

For her to take my bait.

Perhaps she’ll be slow and sluggish,

All the better for me to snare,

Or perhaps catching her is easier

Than keeping her in my care

Or perhaps, when I am sleeping,

In the dead of night she’ll come,

She will hover in my dreamings

Then fade away with the morning sun

hungry

I’ve been hungry before. I know the dull emptiness in my stomach and the dizziness in my head that comes from it. I’ve been hungry for most of my teenage years.

But I’ve never starved.

When I eat, I eat till I’m full. I finish as much as I take. There’s always enough, or a little more than enough, for second or third helpings, to share, or to leave for tomorrow. Most times I have a meal, I leave the table satisfied. I’ve never starved, yet for some people starvation is all they know. For some people, even in the rare moments when you have enough for everyone, you live in the fear that it won’t last. And that starvation will come again.

I don’t know what that’s like. I’m glad I don’t.

I have known disappointment, disgust, regret, rage and grief. And awful as those things may seem, it could be a whole lot worse.

I’m just thankful that I’ve never starved. 

Fiction: Driving Through the Rain

She wakes up. It’s cold. Dark outside. Rain spatters against the car windows.

Beyond the soft rumble of the engine beneath her she can see empty fields and trees, other headlights cutting swaths through the light fog, a long row of street lamps extending into eternity down the road that never ends, the road soaked now by softly falling rain.

“Dad, are we there yet?”

He doesn’t take his eyes off the road, but his voice is reassuring. “Not yet, go back to sleep.”

She doesn’t.

She curls up in the corner between seat and door and rests her head on the cold window, wrapping a blanket around herself. And watches the rain.

Watches, as they roll down the street, past a brightly-lit diner that offers a glimpse into the other lives of people at 11 pm. She sees a woman leaning on a man’s shoulder in a booth seat near the window. Warm and full on greasy hamburgers and cold ketchup. 

That’s their version of happy, but this is hers– and her father’s (hands on the wheel and eyes on the road), and her mother’s (sleeping in the front passenger seat with her head tilted and a road map splayed open on her lap). In the cold and the rain and the leather smell of the inside of their car. It is oddly comforting. The concept of staying nowhere and thus belonging everywhere. They are headlights on the road, they are stars in the sky. 

They drive on through the rain but they cannot escape the moon, which always seems to follow them, like a lamp seeing them through the darkness. Or one half of a warm chicken pot pie. Or a lemon chaser someone has left on a table in an empty bar because they ran outside, hiccuping with laughter, after their friends, scarves trailing reckless and ragged like jet trails in the cold night. 

She is drowsy but she cannot sleep. If she closes her eyes now, she feels there will be no tomorrow. No, she has to see the night through its transformation into day, and only then can she be sure of the future.

Lights flicker by, passing her present and fading into the past. Only the moon follows. 

An experiment in creating atmosphere. This scene is set to/inspired by the mood of ‘Missisippi’ by Train. Try playing it while reading the piece: http://open.spotify.com/track/1x72hk5EAzkkC0CDZnHJ9M