Thursday 2

Water for All

{By Eleanor Leonne Bennett}

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plant it, type it, tell it, go

{by Abby of Dear Abby Leigh}

i dream that i can write them grown,
to color and brazen bloom.
words like rain offer sudden life
to deep and buried truth.

drought has no place here in dream-dirt,
all is fecund soil.
the heat of plowing fingers, warms,
rewards the constant toil.

the sweat is sweet.
it sings of spring.
surprises emerge from weeds.



From Forever to the Sea

{by Whit Honea of The Honea Express}

Inland was warmth and sunshine and days of summer stretching wearily. The coast, however, was 20 degrees cooler and worked in so many shades of gray. The sky fell into the sea and the waves rolled across my cold feet before running up the stairs to take their place at the end of the line. Clouds waited patiently.

The rocks in the ocean were the size of ships, and ships were the size of small birds flying off in the distance. There was a cave on the beach and in it sat a family around a campfire. Their dog ran free and happy, a green ball held tightly in its mouth.

She stopped in mid-sentence, her words lost beneath the beat of a tide rolling in. I hadn’t been listening. I was writing poems in my head as I am prone to do, and then promptly forgetting them as that requires much less effort than actually writing them down. Most of them were rubbish, but one may have been damn near perfect. I watched her watch the ground. She was brilliant against the sepia shore.

She bent down and picked a drop of red out of the surf-trodden sand. It was a ladybug, caked in grains and left for dead. Suddenly, the beach was alive with polka-dots in reds and yellows and the polka-dots were, in turn, covered in dots of their own. We sat on our knees in the sand and dug ladybug after ladybug from their collective coastline grave. Our shoes, which had long ago left our feet and become something meaningless to hold on to, became the soles of rebirth. It was on the bottom of my left flip-flop that one ladybug found breath and another was once again able to crawl. It was somewhere opposite where my big toe would be that a ladybug shook the sand from its wings and flew away home.

It seems that they live in the trees that tremble from the side of steep ocean cliffs, and when certain winds blow the way that certain winds do, the ladybugs are pulled from whatever life they have known and dropped without warning over deep waters and hungry fish. Assuming they don’t drown, are not eaten or lost at sea, they are marooned on beaches not 50 feet from the trees on which they started. But they are pounded with ebbs and flows, and they are forgotten amongst shells and bits of seaweed. All in all, it’s no way to treat a lady.



In Reflection

{by Stephen Parolini at Counting On Rain}

In the mirror across the bar she is twelve. She is standing in the wings of the Big Top, breathing the scent of hay and earth and animal with deep, happy inhales. She hears the crowd’s cheer rise and fall in waves, pictures a man and a woman flying through the air in matching blue and white costumes. She looks at her own costume. It is pink. Color, Maya, color! The circus is all about color! It is the voice of her father, a voice she has never known but somehow recognizes. I want to match you and mom, she says.But you match Kimba!

“Another?” She is back in the bar, her elbows leaning on the mahogany counter, her fingers wrapped around a sweating glass. The man she has been dating for three months touches her hand. He is a handsome man and she wonders if that’s why it was so easy to say “yes” to his dinner invitation all those weeks ago.

Maya looks down at her empty glass. She doesn’t remember the last sip.

“Okay,” she says. He lifts his hand from hers, and her whole body aches in the absence of his touch.

In the mirror across the bar, Kimba lifts her gray trunk, tickling at the edge of the curtain, playing with a fraying cotton rope that hangs from the exposed metal frame above. Kimba is wearing a pink ruffle around her neck. Kimba doesn’t like the ruffle. She endures it. Maya thinks this is how she feels about her pink outfit, too.

The applause becomes a symphony. Spotlights flash by the entryway. Her father sprints past, blowing a kiss to Maya. Her mother slows, reaches up and wraps her fingers around her daughter’s pink-slippered foot. Stand tall, her mother says, then follows her father back into the darker rooms where circus acts are stitched together with sawdust and magic.

“You seem quiet tonight,” he says as her drink is refilled. He notices things. She wonders if this is why it was so easy to say “yes” to spending the night after that first dinner. She had never done that before. Not so soon.

“I’m fine,” she says. He knows this means she needs the quiet; that she’s daydreaming or remembering or sorting. He will touch her again to acknowledge this. And he does, his hand on her shoulder.

In the mirror across the bar, Maya is atop Kimba, carefully adjusting her stance to stand tall as the elephant marches behind a parade of clowns into the biggest ring of the three-ring circus. Fireflies spark from the crowd when the youngest star makes her entrance. The flashes don’t really help, she hears her father say later, on the drive home in a rusty brown station wagon. The cameras are too far away for the flashes to matter. Maya leans against the car door, watching the blurring trees. They matter to me, she whispers to the clouds.



A Moment Like Any Other

{by Mitchell Brown}

(photo source)

It was a familiar spot and a moment like any other. It may have been yesterday. It may have been last year.

My reflection in the window looked old. The light bulb above me and the absence of light outside worked together to show my face drawn and dramatic in the shadows. I hadn’t bothered to pull the curtains yet and I stared at myself for a moment. I laughed without a sound thinking of how much I have aged over the last four years. I barely resemble who I was then. My hair is long now and noticeably grey. The skin around my eyes speaks of late nights and early mornings. Wrinkles born of worries and joys I never before knew trace my mouth. I look old, but I look happy. And I look tired.

I pulled the curtains shut and turned on the water.

An old friend once taught me about reconnecting with myself as I travel through my day. He would stop as he walked through a doorway to be aware of his body. Feel your toes, he would say. Remember they are there. Wiggle them. Think for a moment what your pinky toe feels like. Then move up though your legs, through your hips, through your belly, your chest, your shoulders, your ears. Reconnect. Center. Then move on. I stood at the sink and thought of him, as I often do, and thought of my toes. My poor, neglected toes. Shoved into shoes because barefoot on my feet all day makes my old knees ache. I allowed my awareness to move past my entombed toes and climb through me, feeling every inch of my body. Every weary muscle and sore joint recalled a moment. My hips were open and loose from squatting down to speak with my girls on their terms. My belly felt empty because it was not the one I was focused on filling at the dinner table. My throat was dry from all of the stories and answers and explanations and singing.

I felt my body. It felt tired.

The steam from the water, now hot, felt like a warm cloth as it reached my eyes. I held my head still to let my face absorb the heat. This is my spa, I thought. Each moment is what you make it. The weight of the water gathering on the sink full of dishes caused them to shift and I grabbed the sponge, returning from my little vacation.



There And Back Again.

(by Stacey of Is There Any Mommy Out There?)

photo credit

I expect it to be like a cloud. That moment of walking in the door.
A gold-tinged cloud scented orange with an undertone of cinnamon. It’s more like hitting a wall of thin arms and loud reedy voices, their smiles bright, their garbled tales spilled at my feet like slippery fish from a basket. I am surrounded by noise where I anticipated hugs set to the flicker of a silent movie.

The baby is up. Quiet time is over. It’s time for snack. They played in a tent. Do I want a cookie? That one is hopeful. They made cookies with Daddy. Might they perhaps, if I wanted one, have a cookie too?

My brain is frozen, shocked and sluggish, like the marble-eyed deer we nearly hit three nights ago on our wild escape through Palouse hill country into the night. Why oh why does it smell like fish?

It is one of those things they don’t tell you about motherhood. This matter of going away and coming back again. Or maybe, to be fair, it is one of those things that can not be taught. Like child birth and that instinct that tells you this fever is serious and not like all the others, this can not be explained before it is experienced.

It’s not that you miss them. Or maybe that’s just me – I might be odd in that respect, though I doubt that I am alone. Three years into sharing my thoughts on mothering this way, I believe firmly that I am never alone. There is always someone out there searching for this nugget, this truth, this strange fossil of a thing that they find buried in themselves and that they are glad to see someone else hold up to the light and turn around, curious. Will you look at this? Isn’t that odd? Look at how the shell turns back on itself. A new creature entirely.



There’s nothing shiny here

{by She Was}


Cylence Gray was 12 years old when she stopped believing in god and started believing in love. Standing alone, and to the side, slender pale arms wrapped around her black waist, Cylence watched the magpie, head cocked, watching her. Cylence liked that her face was turned to the sky. It meant that she didn’t have to look at the spring wet hole they were slowly lowering him into.

Cylence had been cracked open by grief and from that opening faith flew. Many years later she remembered. The tugging was the worst part. Being forced to look, to acknowledge, to know. As if somehow she could unknow. The tubes and the rattle rattle death breath, the corridors, closing in on her, as she waited, as they all waited. The mashed potato and gravy portrait her mother painted on the white wall. Her mother’s anger, at her, at her, for being there, for having held his hand and for having heard his heart beat when it stopped. She would never not know. Never unknow.



Threads

{by keli from kidnapped by suburbia}


I don’t think I make much of a distinction between the ‘real’ and the ‘fantastic.’ They both seem to be threads in the same cloth as far as I’m concerned. ~Alice Hoffman

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You can

{by Jennifer Olson of Jennifer Liv Photography}

i can make it through the work day.
i can make it through a night awake with the kids.
i can do something that i’ve dreamed of for so so long.
i can do … this.

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Keep it close

{by Adam Watts}

“I have an underwater camera just in case I crash my car into a river, and at the last minute I see a photo opportunity of a fish that I have never seen.” ~ Mitch Hedberg

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See more of Adam Watts and his bold, beautifully shot portraits, landscapes, and everything in between.

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