She loved her husband, in her own way. He was young and handsome and faithful – all she required. The only cruel thing he had ever done was to tell her that he hated her favourite dress, but upon seeing her expression, he’d immediately rued his harsh words and bought her a new one. It was green silk brocade with leaves of silver thread stitched over the bodice; a flouncy thing, trimmed with ribbons and fine French lace. She never wore it. Her favourite dress was of simple black linen. Too plain, everyone said, for a woman as comely as Corinna.
Life was peaceful in their household, quiet with no children; and though the servants were discrete, she was aware that the village gossips had their own opinions on the subject. Her husband never mentioned it, not because he didn’t want a child, she knew, but that he didn’t want her to feel responsible.
She was of course. (more…)
are not meant to be held
you were one of those,
but i dream of you still;
even if we are but a distant
reverie of lyric
that slips further into oceans
more and more distant with each
you always struck me as otherworldly,
and i longed to be yours;
sweet faerie of the
for you saw my scars and taught me
they were beautiful
not something to be shamed of as i had always
you woke the dreaming in me
that i once thought to be
and turned even days of cold painful rain
into melodies of joy;
and i fell in love with you
the love still remains even if now we are only
just fragments of a distant, disjointed
After the wedding of her sister Lily White to Rufty Tufty, a fête champêtre or country feast that took place in the woods between the two kingdoms, Brown Betty contracted a mysterious illness. She no longer wanted to eat and drink, not even a sliver of honey cake. She no longer had the strength to walk, not even to see and smell the flowers abundant at that time of year.
Most alarming, the wit Brown Betty had from birth, the store of intelligence and sparkle which won universal admiration, this sense of humor left her in the lurch. She no longer read the latest books and offered her own amusing opinion. She heard important news from abroad and yawned with indifference. Even to the latest gossip at court she seemed at a loss for what to say. All she could do was lie in bed and listen to the birds repeat their songs again and again, with slight variations.
The royal physician examined Brown Betty and reported to the queen. (more…)
What Rose wanted
was for me to land
with my crew, racing
to her in the stealth
of night to bring
her fast to our boats. (more…)
It is a hectic Friday afternoon, coming on the heels of a very dramatic week. I have secured our dinner of rotisserie roasted, whole chicken, and the double-egg potato salad. Leaving the deli, I’m a homeward bound hunter leaving the shopping cart jungle and the parking lot wilds with the fruit of my labor.
Wow! There’s an enormous, tall black man near the rear of my new Benz. Shit! I casually check around me. Whew, the parking lot’s jammed. People everywhere. Witnesses on foot and in cars. He wouldn’t dare try anything. Where’s the parking lot security?
Oh, shit! He’s looking, looking at me. Is he? He is. Oh, boy, I just need to be calm. Maybe he dented my car and, and…I’m here at the car, so fast, too quick. (more…)
The Fiery Bird
The spaceship, the fuel, The Fiery Bird,
the vessel builder,
rubberized boots for my feet.
The woman in the leaden space gear
draining danger from the cusp of my tongue.
A great diffusion of emptiness
in a sudden outpouring of space.
The outer rim cemetery, bathed in star shadows,
a docking of red corpuscles and broken wine glasses
floating eyes of the traveler
closed to worlds of seeing. (more…)
In the northern woods, where the hills grow tall and deep with green, a little hut stood by a thicket of colorful trees. The hut was gray and crumbled with age, and inside lived a fat, choleric little man with legs as pointed as spindle needles. He sat all day and spoke to no one; though much longer ago than our story begins, he had held council with kings and was called by many illustrious names. For he knew the true matter of every skilled craft and also the words of Changing, used to coax frogs into men and children into trees, and even (and this was his pride) straw into gold.
But Time had forgotten him, and he soon found himself alone. Only the grove of trees brought him pleasure. They were of red leaves and gold, purple and ivory, carmine and the deepest cobalt. He sometimes stared at them for hours, letting the evening’s fire go cold until it was time for bed.
I am Sadie’s original shadow. She keeps me stitched to her being, calls me Girl and whispers, I’m scared, when her brother staggers down the hall on the prowl, sour smelling and angry. I won’t leave you, I say, wishing she’d turn on a light to let me loose but knowing she won’t reveal herself. Not until he’s gone. Instead, I lie flat against the soles of her feet while she hides underneath her bed and says her prayers, all those words she doesn’t believe in but says just in case they curry some favour. I’m not afraid of the dark or of death like she is. I will do whatever I can to keep her safe.
Sadie waits until her brother is asleep and snoring on her ragged comforter. She turns on her bedside lamp and I come to life, spreading my mass against the wall she’s plastered with pictures and stories of great warriors—Joan of Arc, Trieu Thi Trinh, Queen Boudica. I’m so glad you’re here, she says, casting a look my way, and I can tell she’s comforted by my appearance.
I zip back and forth as she darts around her room, as she stuffs her lucky penny into her pocket, the penny her mother kept in her pocket before the hunter shot her dead by the falls. The penny Sadie keeps close when her brother’s around, the one she makes the same wish on every time.
Please come back, mama.
She pauses for a second before pushing her window open and pulling me through. Silent as a snake we slip into the night and I melt into the darkness, attached to Sadie’s heels. (more…)
MY SELKIE LOVE
I knelt down hi the sea grass
to watch you waltz on sand.
I crept closer and closer,
reached out and stole your seal skin.
As dusk rolled in,
I could hear your distant wail.
Without your sleek gray hide,
your waters were now forbidden you. (more…)
When Nenek disappeared, everyone panicked. She simply left for her usual walk and didn’t come back. Mum was beside herself with worry. My aunts basically started calling everybody, demanding, beseeching, begging for her whereabouts.
Nenek’s memory had been slipping ever since. It started with small things first: forgetting to put certain ingredients in her cooking, misplacing items, mistaking names. She brushed our concern off, saying it was just old age. She hadn’t joined us on our nightly hunts for months. Her joints ached, her fingers stiff. She hated flying for too long.
She had been such an inspiration for the younger women, my sisters and cousins. We were a big family, yet we often got together for meals. Our blood was thick, our love was thicker. Nenek would cook our favorite food. Rendang. Curries. Even her special rojak which we must have every Saturday. Mum told us that Nenek taught her and her sisters how to sing and hunt. Sniffing out pregnant ladies in the vicinity. Looking for willing men. Mum was distraught that this era – Nenek’s time – was ending. (more…)