He wonders if he likes the poems, or the voice, he imagines the poet has. Crisp, clipped, and brisk consonants. Long elongated vowels. Are they good because they suffered? Are dead? Died? What did their lips look like when they read their work aloud? Were their small, dark rooms suffocating or a comfort? A nest, nestled in? Allowed to grow, to develop. Protected. Eggshells. Yolk. Whites. Butter and grease. Fresh bread gone stale. Would he like them more if he’d seen more, lived larger? Or think less of them? Little thoughts from big minds, maybe, or maybe just the opposite?
“I see people I know. Out, on the street. All the time.”
“Just the regular ones.”
“Do you ever say anything?”
“Of course I don’t. You want me to stop where I’m going and say, Hi, I’ve seen you somewhere before, but I don’t know where, and since that happened, let me interrupt whatever you’re doing.”
“Sure, why not?”
“No one wants to talk to anyone else. Not when they’re going somewhere.”
“Sounds like it’s just you.”
“I’m just as much anyone as anyone else.”
“So because you don’t want to, you think no one else does?”
When Goat’s mother got sick, he wondered if his sister would drop everything and drive up there to take care of her. His aunt might, except those two hadn’t spoke in ten years or so. But maybe this was what they needed to reconcile. He’d go, he thought, but he didn’t have a car, and he didn’t think he could get off work. And he had the old one-eyed bastard cat to take care of.
He didn’t answer his sister’s calls or emails, and hid in the bathroom when he thought she might be the one knocking at his door.
From the grass hit, the unnamed boy watch the sky skeletons dance. They rose, they dove, they spun and swirled. His mother grabbed his shoulder and pulled him inside, warning him of the dangers of being a spectator. He obeyed, but only briefly, and when she turned back to the chunk of flesh broiling over the fire, he darted out, running across the fields.
The sky skeletons saw him and stopped, they swooped down and stared into his eyes. But they found no fear, no quiver in the iris.
They invited him to join their troupe, which he gladly did.
Prompt courtesy of Sue Vincent‘s #Writephoto
It took three strides to cross from the front door to the sagging single bed. And four from its headboard, covered in carved initials to the small counter with a sink and a hot plate. Moose looked out the window over the sink, and saw a brick wall. He tried to pry it open, but it was nailed and painted shut.
He told himself he’d find something better tomorrow, after he’d gone down to the bank and sorted everything out. A nice hotel, maybe. His wife could keep the house, but she damn sure wasn’t going to get his money..
Ancient anxieties arise, superimposed like underdeveloped film. Cling. Cover your mouth. Lungs burn. Chest heaving. Look into your centre to find the small pinprick of light. Lone star in the night. Extinguished when you looked away. Blink. Throttling. Cough to loosen the blockage. Bend over and touch your toes. Stretch your arms up and take deep slow breaths. Wipe the tears and blow your nose. Sheepishly look around the room.
Worried mouths. Indifferent eyes.
Paint another coat over the existing doubt and dread. Let it dry. Peel the tape away roll it in a sticky ball and throw it out.
Prompt courtesy of the Daily Post.
A purse or hip pocketful of lottery tickets spread across the paved path. Bike tires tear the thin paper, soaked through. Ink bleeding across the yellow line. Handfuls of losers tossed away in frustration. Raining harder now. Tourists group together in the narrow tunnels, hug the walls, chattering as cyclists hurry to slow down, coming around the bend and seeing the gathered faces, dripping.
Market bells chime for closing, shops shutter, fruits and vegetables trucked from tables to freezers and containers. Or left out, under thin sheets.
Dark now. Faces shown, only partly, by lit cigarettes and weak street lights.