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.



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!



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.


“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.



, ,

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.

Don’t Count Out the Pixie


[Oh hey there.  I don’t usually do guest posts but the fabulous Robin Quackenbush had nowhere to stash this, and rose to this week’s challenge so what could I do? With no further A-do…]

I was eating my pixie stick when it happened. All ready to take flight, I just needed to finish the last granules in the pink and white swirled paper straw. My wings glittered like stardust. I even wore a long floaty dress so I’d look pretty when I finally decided to glide gently to the ground, far, far from here. I tipped my head way back and tapped on the side of the tube.

“Think FAST!”

My brother yelled it from the kitchen, and I looked just in time to see a mostly full gallon of milk sailing through the air at my head. I dropped the straw. The sparkly sugar-sand, my last chance at escape, scattered across the floor. The jug crashed into me, the side split wide, and I got doused with milk.

“OGRE!” I screamed.

My mother ran around the corner, just as my brother disappeared down the steps to the dungeon. “What did you DO?” Her eyes were red as I’ve ever seen them. I must have been adopted. Her scaly, warty skin looked nothing like mine. That thought I had real parents somewhere, that missed me and loved me and looked like me, was the only thing that kept me going at times. “Go down to the basement and get the mop. And rinse yourself off.”

She was still grumbling, complaining about tight budgets and how expensive dragon milk had become as I went down the steps. My brother was waiting for me. “That was for last week,” he said. “The remote control.” How could he even remember that? But then I thought back to it. He said he wanted it, and I said no, and his eyes started glowing. He towered over me, smelling like raisins and cabbage, blocking my view of the magic picture box, and he said, “I will remember this,” before pushing me off the couch–I mean, the servant’s cushion.

Remembering that, I felt something inside me crackling, right at the base of my neck. Maybe it was the pixie stick starting to work its magic in me, but I got so angry that it…changed me. I could feel my eyes glowing. My face. My cheeks. Burning. I charged at my brother, and his toothy grin changed to open-mouthed shock. He ran up the stairs. He was running from me. I could feel the sugar-magic flowing through my arms and legs, and pure rage glowing inside, searing my belly like hot metal. I pursued him. And in that moment, I flew.


The carpet is white; it shows every footprint.
This is why kids are not allowed in here.
This is why we do not use this room.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Behold: the knife, the fist.
The carpet is white; it shows every footprint.

The fragile line of knickknacks on the mantel is our last defense:
Soldiers arrayed against enemies unnamed.
This is why kids are not allowed in here.

Chairs stand untenanted
and dust is the only meal served on these plates.
This is why we do not use this room.

one last stab at a cascade poem for november. thanks to christine for the inspiration.