A little chapbook to end a year that has been challenging in so many ways. This collection of poems came from the long months of lockdown and silence…The night is my mirror
A beautiful poem by my talented friend, Sarah Russell
by Sarah Russell
Leavings are untidy. Remembering
what you want to say as the car pulls away,
or the cell phone drops into your purse,
restraint in an embrace, the casual
see ya, when you ache for more.
There was that time my mother died—
a stiff, proud woman who did not touch.
She lay in bed, while her brothers and I
hovered. We asked if she needed a blanket,
if she wanted music, if she were hungry,
thirsty. At each offering, she jerked her head
from side to side, tight-lipped, angry.
Then the young, Hispanic hospice aide reached
out and took her hand. She knew what leavings
needed, what my mother couldn’t bring herself
to ask for, what we didn’t understand to give.
My mother sighed and held that gentle,
reassuring hand. The aide leaned in, caressed
a wisp of hair on her forehead. My mother smiled,
View original post 113 more words
My shot missed. Dust rose in a miniature mushroom cloud.
Donny drew back his slingshot and held a rock steady. The chicken stood still. Donny released. His rock struck the chook’s head and sent it scrabbling into the red dirt of my yard.
I watched as it rose and tried to escape, hoping it would make it. But the piece of rusted fencing wire Donny had wound round its leg and secured to a star picket stopped it from getting far. Sweltering in the afternoon heat, I wiped my hand across my forehead. Sweat and dust to ran into my eyes. I blinked it away and loaded my slingshot. I missed again.
“You’re fuckin’ useless,” Donny said.
A metal bar lay on the ground nearby, left over from the shed Dad had started to build. Another project that got too hard for him and remained unfinished. The shed leaned to one side and barely stayed upright when the winds howled.
I picked up the bar and advanced on the chook. “I’m not useless,” I said, and swung hard. The chook somersaulted through the air, then sprawled on the ground. Still twisted in wire, its leg pointed like a finger of accusation. I wiped my eyes, then raised the bar for another blow.
“Stop,” my mother said, emerging from behind the half-finished shed. She didn’t yell—she rarely did—but her presence was enough to make me lower the bar, and my eyes.
“Go home, Donny.”
Mother walked to the chicken, still flopping around on the end of the wire. With a quick motion of her hands—a pull and jerk—she ended its suffering. She turned and looked me in the eyes. “Untie it. Bring it into the shed.” Without another word, she walked away.
I entered the shed with the limp, bloody bird, and lay it on the bench my mother indicated.
I didn’t look at her.
“I said sit.”
She tilted her head to the side. “Turn around.”
I did as she asked.
“Now drop your strides.”
Face burning, I complied, knowing my bare arse was crisscrossed with red welts the same width as Dad’s belt. She placed her hands on my shoulders and turned me back around to face her.
“Please don’t tell Dad about the chook.”
“The true measure of a man isn’t his capacity for violence, but his ability to contain it. Do you understand?”
She handed me a hatchet.
“Cut off its head and pluck it. Then bring it in for dinner.”
Runner up Grindstone Literary Flash Fiction 1000, June 2018
Published at Flash Boulevard, September 2019
A breathtaking poem from the ever-graceful pen of my friend, Rajani. Please direct your likes and comments to her at THOTPURGE.
How good is this?!
More magic from my good friend Sarah.
This poem is a departure for me. I found myself channeling Hemingway after reading for the third or fourth time A Moveable Feast — perhaps the best and least known guidebook for Paris. My thanks to Scot at Rusty Truck for publishing it this week.
At 3 a.m.
after one more day
without words, Paris
takes you in like a whore,
not surprised you’re back
for another fuck in the dark.
November. Brittle rain
scrapes the bone.
You walk the sheen of cobbles
to the Seine, where bodies,
freshly guillotined, once floated,
heads left behind in baskets,
past the great cathedral, gargoyled,
buttressed, to the boîte
on St. Louis where absinthe
and jazz make love, and a girl
comes to rub against you
like she knows your name.
This wonderful poem from my talented friend, Sarah Russell, stopped me in my tracks just now. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. Please direct any likes or comments to Sarah on her site.
“Poetry is . . . emotion recollected in tranquility.”
― William Wordsworth
I found his obit on Google,
hadn’t seen him, barely thought
of him in forty years
since the day he loaded his car
with half of everything – blankets, pillows,
dishes, albums (we fought over
who’d get “The Graduate” poster of Hoffman
and Anne Bancroft’s leg) – and drove off
Once, 20 years later I learned where he was
from his buddy John and called.
He still taught drama and directed
summer stock in a small midwestern town.
We laughed together, comfortable,
finally, in our separate skins.
Now an obit with pictures and two columns
in the paper. A well-loved, prominent citizen,
it read, wife, three kids, grandkids. He wrote
a children’s book and “left the town
with memories of comedy and drama
that enriched our lives.”
Our marriage wasn’t mentioned. No need,
I suppose –…
View original post 27 more words
A beautiful new poem from my talented friend, Sarah Russell.
dust the ferns with my ashes —
there, among the aspen
trembling gold against the sky.
Let them settle, sighing,
on the still warm earth of autumn
where the next peak calls your name.
Snow will come. The wind will show me
paths the doe and vixen know. The moon
will call me with her crescent mouth
and share stories of the embered stars.
Another wonderful poem from my talented friend, Sarah Russell. Please leave any likes and comments on Sarah’s blog, rather than here – I know how much they’ll be appreciated.
Keening in a bruised sky,
follow the coastline south –
imperfect V’s, left wanting
on one side or the other –
testament, perhaps, to those taken
by foxes, hunger, double barrels,
their skeins unraveling autumn.
– Sarah Russell
Posted for dVerse Open Link
Wow! This beautiful poem from ANGIEINSPIRED just blew me away – so much contained in 3 seemingly-simple lines. Amazing!