Abridged

I pruned the rosebush today
against oncoming winter
“You can’t hurt it like that, go ahead and cut it to the ground” you told me
and like every year I did

But as I put the shears against the first branch I thought of summer
and how the vines crept up the fence,
each branch thrust forth from the stub of last year’s roses and reaching for the sun
in those months with no November
No inevitable rot of leaf and thorn
just the urge to blossom
thoughtlessly and profligately

The shears in my hand were sharp
like first frost
like words
that cut your tongue and make you bleed

“Cutting makes it stronger” you said
and I looked at the rose
and like every fall I apologized
and I cut

Solstice

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,

The new grass hid beneath our feet
and flowers still slept in their buds
when you and I arranged to meet.
The gutters overflowed with mud
and every street contained a flood:
the rain had settled in to stay.
But hearts and lips were warm with blood;
the season ended, day by day

And in the sullen summer heat
of county fairs and marching bands
your snowcone kisses, cool and sweet-
you said – I said – I understand:
the twilights in the old bandstand,
the shadeless blue of each mid-day.
But time’s a cotton candy strand:
the season ended, day by day

The sun was shining on the wheat;
the tamarack stood tall and gold
when afternoons were bittersweet
and heralded the coming cold:
I saw the leaves begin to fold
and fade and curl and fall away.
I asked, I pleaded, I cajoled;
The season ended, day by day.

The fields are drifted, soft and white;
the birds have fled to Monterey.
The shortest day; the longest night.
The season ended, day by day

Probably shouldn’t tell people to write a ballade if I don’t take a shot at it myself, right? There’s no real RULE about the rhyme scheme so I changed up my b rhyme in every verse and let’s just go ahead and pretend that’s not because I fell in love with one line in the first verse but had picked a crap b rhyme which would have required me to reuse words.

Not the Boss of Me

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Well, aren’t you a special snowflake,
expecting me to edit this document
when you haven’t even saved it to the network?

Look, mister, we have a network
for a reason. That reason is that, unlike a snowflake,
a contract needs version control. Not to pretend like versions 1 and 2 are each a different document.

So you can take your document…
And you can save it to the network…
No, really, just click on the little icon over there that looks like a snowflake.

(I’m going to cut a paper snowflake out of each page of this goddamn document and tape it to the wall and then head to the bar to “network.”)

December always makes me want to write a tritina. A lot of tritinas, actually. Dunno what it is about the season. This week’s version was brought to you by 3 words from Melony.

Catalyst

Now is the time to stand your ground.
The time to bite down on rage,
feel it squirm between your teeth and smolder

the way a fire might smolder:
caught beneath a blanket of leaves and ground
waiting for its turn to rage.

When I heard, I looked for my rage.
Found it banked among the coals of my dignity. It could barely smolder,
had forgotten how to blaze. The birds of my wrath had gone to ground.

I have no ground for complaint; only the ashes of my rage, left too long cold to even smolder.

Listless

Sometimes I lose myself in the grocery store, between end-cap and aisle, where patterned socks hang in racks or chocolate bars form ranks. A tiny copper shotglass mimicks a Moscow Mule mug, reflecting myself at myself: did I come here for milk?

 

Sometimes I get nostalgic for our old microstories challenge, so here are 42 words for this week.

Orbit

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We children of stone and sky
I sought one; you chose the other
Her name a shape in the night between
Enormous and heavy as sundown

Downpours mark the stony sea; the sun comes soft and
Often by the shore. I’ll sail no sea
Serer spaces call me
Meet my wildness, sky and stone

Only the echo of your name is here, its
Iridescent ribbon caught between my teeth
Etherial tether; I need no other:
Her name, your name, the stone in my sky

Kine

When we played the game, you were my prey:
I sought you with silk, with steel,
with the petals of a rose

but when you left my bed, when you rose
to walk among the herds of prey
I was left with only a handful of steel.

And now I steel
myself against the scent of a rose;
against soft words, the gentle hands of prey.

My prey is lost in teeth of steel; I am only, after all, a rose.

Long-lost

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The War was over. The stars sat silent and placid outside the Harmony’s portholes. A fat colony ship lumbered past our bow, bound for Colonial space.

Somewhere, governors and generals were inscribing the fine terms of the Treaty.

I, too, sat down to write: Dear Anna.