Marking time

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It is, as always, not quite midnight when I unweave myself from the tangle of Anna’s unbound hair over our shared pillow and take the spare blanket. If our days apart are marked by the predictions of a clockwork orrery, so our nights together have the congruity of a metronome and my ramblings are no more than the program of an automaton after all. Continue reading

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Sacrament

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I walked among the myrtle trees
when all the barren sky was flame.
When on the sand there stirred no breeze
beneath my tongue I held your name.

I swallowed air and bitter dust
and wondered once more why I came
to where the stones had turned to rust.
Beneath my tongue I held your name.

The taste of salt and honeyed wine
still filled my mouth, and just the same
as in the days when you were mine:
beneath my tongue I held your name.

Mashing up a couple prompts at YeahWrite this week – the microprose’s retelling of another story and the poetry slam, the kyrielle.

Simulcast

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The child began to hum
like electricity through a wire
to vibrate and transmit information, alive

and not-alive
the way a bee will hum
against a window or a rabbit, in a wire

will still hop. The wire
tightens; the rabbit, thinking itself alive
will move against the bees’ drowsy summer-hum

If you hum a tune, the child or the rabbit will dance like a puppet on a wire, mimicking something alive.

Promises kept: a fable

“I eat Zebras,” Lion told the nervous herd on Monday, “but not today; I have had a wildebeest and am sated.”

“I like to eat Zebras,” Lion said Tuesday, “but not today; this rock is warm and I’m tired.” The zebras shrugged and kept grazing.

Wednesday there was one less zebra.

 

Moral: when someone tells you who they are, believe them.

Divergence

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I used to have a book that identified animal tracks in the snow:
the rabbit’s back-facing vault, the hawk’s sprawl, the dragging tail of a mouse,
all crisp as shadows under the full moon.

Books don’t prepare you for the way the moon
goes behind a cloud, mud settles, snow
drifts over the battle of hawk and mouse.

It’s not enough to know what the track of a mouse
should look like, or that even the new moon
makes a round imprint among the stars, a stony boot in fresh snow.

I looked for patterns in the snow; you traced the shape of the mouse in the moon.

We’re throwing down tritinas this week at YeahWrite – Stacie challenged me with snow, mouse, moon. Leave a comment or hit us up in the coffeehouse if you want three words to play along!

Weeds

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Where ivy winds among the stones
with belladonna woven in
the songbirds trill in liquid tones
where ivy winds. Among the stones
they’re digging up the frozen bones
that lie beneath the garden-skin
where ivy winds among the stones
with belladonna woven in.

I had a couplet in my head this week, and thought I’d see what happened if I made it into a little bit of a triolet.

Gaslighting

“Whut is that smell? Bernard, go to the bathroom!”

“It’s not me. Pilot light is out.”

“I’d like just one day where nothin’ breaks in this house.”

“Stop complainin’. It’s not broke. Hold your nose and light a fancy-smellin candle.”

Continuing what’s apparently our December 2017 theme, the delightful Robin Quackenbush has allowed me to host her entry into this week’s YeahWrite microprose challenge. Show her some love in the comments.

Lifeline

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The sound of a human voice – or even a voice speaking Human – is enough to make him cry. Almost. Jack doesn’t cry. Old habits, and practical ones: he can’t afford to fog up his helmet. Can’t afford to reach out a hand to an enemy either, and it makes him cautious.

Loud and clear, he tells his comm, watching the stars rotate past his field of view, watching the hulk of what used to be the Waxwing slowly beating itself to death against the shattered derelict they’d come to salvage.

The stranger’s tether snaps taut, leaving him – them – it – an arm’s short reach from Jack. An extended arm.

Need a ride?

He has options, Jack tells himself. He can ignore the hand. Wait until his O runs out. Pop his top and try to breathe vacuum. Hit his beacon and hope that whatever comes along next, if anything does, is friendly.

His hand closes around the stranger’s, an imagined warmth inside the hexed fabric of the suit’s glove.

Where are we going?

Wherever we want. Welcome to the Daedalus. Watch out for the cat.