The Bench

Eight years ago today, I lost one of the most important people in my life. So, this post is to honor her memory. I wrote the following poem a year later. The same year that my mother passed away, my aunt passed away the month before. This poem is for both of them, but today it honors the eighth year of my mother’s passing. I know she is with me in spirit.

mom


 

The Bench

Come sit and rest with me awhile,
forget about your tomorrows
that have yet to come.

Come sit and rest with me,
we’ll talk together;
beneath the willowy branches
that stretch from bench to bench.
Remembering the laughter that
we shared, once upon a song.

Come sit and rest with me,
amongst the grove
of pink spotted cherry trees,
and, for awhile you’ll forget
that I was ever really gone.

Come sit and rest with me,

Until our hearts melt together.

Our tears will join hand in hand

Running gleefully into the river.

We’ll whisper secrets until the day grows long.

Come sit and rest with me,
as the day goes out,
like the fiery  colors
of the blazing sun.

Come sit and rest with me,
as the colors fade, the memories leave you,
once again I become dust on the wind
and a light in your heart.
So please, just come sit and rest with me awhile.

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The Old Connolly Place

Just entered this one into a contest. We’ll see I guess. You had to start with the line “I knew it was a mistake the moment it was over.” 750 words or less. Won’t know for two months.


 

The moment it was over, I knew it was a mistake, Ellis thought. The events of the day skittered through her head. She closed her eyes; the cool night air brushed its fingertips along her face bringing her back to the early morning breeze.

“Ellis did you finish last night’s calc for Haddock’s class?” Zac looked at her expectantly. Ellis glowered at him, but a smiled played on her lips. She took a crisp paper from her notebook, pushing it into his chest.

“I better have this back by lunch with payment.”

Zac leaned in, pecked her on the mouth, and ran toward homeroom yelling back to her, “Oh I’ll pay you alright.”

Dani walked up, “Why was Zac yelling?”

“You know, calc. Never does his homework.” Laughing the girls headed to class.

The fall air was soft as Ellis sat outside an apple in hand. Zac, Dani, Rex, and Lucy all crowded at the table for lunch. Zac handed the homework to Ellis, “Thanks hun,” then he whispered in her ear, “I’ll pay you later,” and winked. She snickered.

Dani looked over at them and raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. A few leaves from the oak tree standing over their table fluttered down cascading over the group. “Don’t look now, but he’s staring at you girls again,” Rex pointed. The girls glanced over to where Rex was gesturing. The new kid was watching Lucy and Ellis; his eyes were dark and intense.

“I’ll take care of this.”

“Zac!” But, Zac just waved Ellis away. They watched as he went over and spoke to the guy. The new kid nodded. There was a lot of gesturing, pointing back at their table. Then Zac returned.

“He’s going to meet us tonight at the Old Connolly Place,” he said.

“Did you tell him it was haunted?” Lucy asked.

“Yup.”

The bell rang deciding for them and they shrugged, grabbing their notebooks. The crew headed off to class.

A bright, enchanted moon hung low, covered by cottony clouds masquerading across the blackened sky. An eerie feeling crawled across Ellis’ neck. The group stood outside the Old Connolly Place. The dilapidated house had bricks and wood falling off the outside, there were gaps in the roof where tiles had fallen through or tumbled down the front. The new kid showed up on time, his name was Jon, Ellis heard him say.

“Jon, you go inside, upstairs, hangout for ten minutes. If we see you through the window, you’ll be in our crew,” explained Zac, “Hell, Lucy might even go on a date with you,” he laughed.

“I’ll what!?” Lucy stamped her foot looking at Zac. He just winked at her and she furrowed her brow even more and moved closer to Dani and Ellis.

“You got it?” Zac asked.

Jon nodded.

Ellis watched as Jon walked up the broken steps. Her sinking feeling was increasing by the minute. She didn’t think the house was haunted, but this seemed cruel. The door shut behind him. Creaking of the ancient stairs could be heard inside. There was a loud crash and a scream. Rex and Zac ran up, throwing open the rotting door which flew off the hinge.

Ellis stood back, peeking in from the doorway. A gaping hole was visible in the ceiling. On the floor, Jon lay unmoving. “What were we thinking?” she mumbled aloud.

 

A New Ending

Ella watched as the shoe slid comfortably onto Dru’s foot. Her eyes widened in shock.

“IT FITS!” Dru screamed at the top of her lungs. The coachman toppled over. Ella folded her hand over the other glass slipper, what did it matter now?  She glanced sideways at the coat closet where she and her step-sisters kept their shoes and other effects. Ella and Dru had always shared, of course Ella would get Dru’s old, worn shoes, they had the same size feet; it made sense now.

The fact that the Prince would decide who he had met at the ball last night, with a shoe, was such a daft idea. Hundreds of women in the kingdom must have the same size foot, thought Ella. She shook her head. Her stepmother looked at Ella an evil smirk playing at her lips.

The coachman, who had regained his footing, went outside and returned with the Prince. He didn’t look like Ella had remembered in her mind. His nose was pointier, and his eyes were scrunched together, too small for his wide face. Obviously, he wasn’t very intelligent either. The Prince looked at Dru, the shoe sparkling on her unmanicured toes.

“You are not the woman I met last night. I know I would recognize you right away,” He said to Dru. Ella snorted into her lap. The Prince turned and stared momentarily, but then turned back to the woman who was wearing the shoe.

She threw the shoe from her foot it conked Odile right on the head. “OUCH!” yelled her sister who had been watching with frustration. Ella stifled a giggle. The Prince turned and left the women sitting speechless.

But, Dru was not going to give up that easily. She grabbed the shoe which sat between Odile and Ella, running after the prince her curls frazzled and every which way, yelling, “IT FIT! IT FIT! IT FIT!”

Ella looked at her stepmomw who watched in horror. “COME BACK HERE RIGHT NOW YOUNG LADY!” she screamed from her perch on her sitting room chair.

Ella stood up, still clutching the other shoe. “I’m leaving this abominable house. You have never treated me kindly. I don’t need you or a prince,” she looked out the door with slight distaste, “to see me for the good person I am.” She walked past her stepmother and dropped the matching shoe in her lap. Her stepmother gasped, though it was hard to know if it was because of the shoe, or because Dru was now running barefoot after the Prince’s carriage which was rumbling away.

Ella took the few dresses she owned in a bag and left the house that day. Never did she let anyone call her Cinderella again.

The First Bike Ride

I like empty parking lots

after fall storms.

Humid air clings to clammy skin

hard breaths puff from lungs.

Like mirages,

miniature puddles gleam in the

peaking sun.

Rays poke through-

left over clouds hanging

low,

for that last chance

shower.

Training wheels and two-wheelers

cycle ’round my memories-

shadows,

in empty parking lots

dancing after fall storms.

 

Into Writing

I desperately wanted to be one of those writers that could impress with their humorous anecdotes. I wanted to have intricate, witty banter woven into my prose and poetry. But then,

my pencil broke,

my paper ripped,

I turned fourteen and my grandfather died.

The darkness began to creep in at first; just a shadow in my heart. A few years later my aunt had a routine surgery and forgot how to draw her own breath. She left too. The blackening shadows began wrapping their tendrils through my ventricles and choking my words.

A month later, my mother had a migraine, closed her eyes in the hospital and didn’t remember to open them. Little by little as death clenched its arms around me, the shadow in my heart extended into my extremities.

Now my words breathe life into paper through a haunted soul, escaping death’s reaches.

Still, humor evades me.

The Treasure Map

It was lost, she thought

there was no absolution.

Rippling waves-

delving deep through

glinting sand.

                                from the shadows, He spoke:

   “follow me”

   “follow me”

              corners upturned

Across August into

November

chasing casualties and

empty chests.

Locked in a labyrinth

formed from

dashes and Xes.

and

                                        from the shadows, He spoke:

          “follow me”

          “follow me”

                  pages unbound

Amongst a cascade

of willowy branches

beyond the year

and past forever.

A mahogany chest

sat patiently.

there, she thought

    in the silence

                             from the shadows, He spoke:

“follow me”

“follow me”

life unseen

Latch released, and

emptiness consumed her.

The journey forgotten,

in the end

there was

nothing.

There will be no absolution.

The Orphanage: Introduction

It was a bedtime tale told only at the bequest of a brave child. Some parents even used it as a threat to keep their children at bay, but even then it was a rarity. When a parent said to their child, “If you don’t clean your room Viola will come to take you away,” a prayer was uttered afterward, those of a certain faith would cross their chests in hopes that certain ears did not catch the threat on the wind.

Over the years the disappearances near the old orphanage had not gone unnoticed. It was a threat, but the legend of Viola the child snatching demon had become more than just a superstition, for Red Rock, it seemed real.

When Jamie asked his mom to tell him Viola’s story before bed on this particular night, it was understandable why she was hesitant. To her it was more than just a story, but in the end she yielded. Bending over her seven year old son in his small wooden bed she tucked his comforter tight around his body. She kissed him on the forehead and sat at the edge of his bed with a palm resting on his stomach. He looked up at her, brown eyes wide and expectant. The light from his bed side lamp flickered in the dark.

His mom began the story she knew from her own childhood, “Once long ago behind the old orphanage a girl was wandering alone. Seeing a path that led into the forest, she decided to go that way, though she had been told many times not to venture into the forest,” his mother stopped for a moment. Emphasizing how the girl had been told not to do something, and eyed her son who was listening. He looked at her and nodded. Then she continued with the story, “The girl, Viola, didn’t like to listen to anyone, so she went anyway. She had heard there were many dangerous things that lived in the forest. Viola wanted to see them for herself. When she had gone far into the forest strange sounds began surrounding her on all sides. They were not any noises of animals that she had ever known before. Viola wasn’t frightened. She instead, did the one other thing she was told again not to do, she went off the path.”

Jaime’s mother patted him and her eyes narrowed; she was getting nervous, but he urged her to continue. He knew the good parts were coming. “Viola continued walking toward the sound closest to her. That was when a demon, some think a witch, popped out of the underbrush and grabbed her pulling her deep into the forest where she was never heard from or seen again. But, you can still see her some times when there is a full moon or the night is clear, wandering near the forest. They say that she haunts the orphanage and the forest around it, looking for children to snatch. Children who don’t listen to their parents, or wander too close to the forest.” Jaime’s mother looked out the window near his bed nervously. Then she silently said a prayer. Jaime’s eyes had closed already. She was glad for this.

Maggie the little girl from three houses down went missing a month ago. Jaimie might think it was just a fun bedtime story, but for the parents and towns’ people of Red Rock it was more than just legend.