In case you didn't know, today is World Poetry Day! Poetry is such an amazing, undervalued part of our society. If you're new to the poetic world and feeling lost, here's a great place to start.
Today you get—you guessed it—another sappy poem about my wonderful husband. Happy reading, friends.
Since we met, I've taken so many forms.
I've grown to fill the vessels around me,
and I've shrunk to fit.
I've touched the peaks of mountains we built together,
and sunk to the bottom of oceans
we didn't intend to create.
(The silt there is fine and feels like silver.)
How can you write a love poem to a person
who is a part of you?
Every breath you take moves my lungs too
and when you are hurt, I can feel my own heart breaking.
Our sun is a star, but it is also a source of
light that connects us even when we are apart.
My limbs are yours and I can use them
to climb to the top of the world and scream out
how much I love you--
our universal inhalation
moving as one.
I mean to say that,
without you, my dear,
I'm a bird walking on stilts,
unaware of how to fly,
unable to move in a straight line,
and I'm constantly in love
with the feeling of your breath under my wings
keeping me afloat.
I've been every shape since we met,
and so have you,
but my favorite is the one where I'm curled into your side,
nestled into you
like two moons in different phases--
perfectly concave at the right points.
Today on the blog, I'm introducing a new type of reading material for you—flash fiction! Flash fiction is an extremely brief story form, usually between 300–700 words. It's an incredibly succinct way to tell a story, and an even better story creation exercise for writers. I'll be featuring my original flash fiction works on this blog every once in a while; I hope you enjoy today's selection.
You’d think that, after being dead so long, Gerard would have just left him alone.
Francis sat in the basement, hiding behind boxes of musty books. He thought that, if he sat down there long enough, perhaps Gerard would lose interest and go away.
“He always was a stubborn thing,” he thought coldly.
Upstairs, items shifted as the dead man bumbled upstairs. Francis heard the shatter of his decorative plates falling to the floor—crashing, one after the other.
How Gerard resumed animation baffled him. Once the dead were dead, they ought to stay that way.
Gerard’s rotting feet shuffled across the boards of the kitchen floor, inching closer to the cellar entrance. Francis thought he heard Gerard call out, but the voice was too muddled by his molding throat.
“The least he could do is speak clearly,” Francis said to no one in particular. The books looked at him silently.
Their relationship had not always been so contentious, back when they were both living. In fact, they’d been best friends growing up—playing together after the school bells chimed, spending weekends chasing stray dogs around Gerard’s family farm. They seemed inseparable.
Francis smiled warmly for a moment, and then frowned when Gerard’s green fingers appeared beneath the cellar door.
“Honestly, Gerard, can’t we discuss this like adults? Once you’ve calmed down, I think you’ll realize how silly you’re being,” Francis called out.
But Gerard didn’t consider this. For Gerard was dead and without a functional brain. The worms had gone after that first.
Francis rolled his eyes toward the ceiling and crawled to the farthest corner of the room. He supposed that, even without a soul, Gerard had every right to be upset.
Not even a week after his dear friend’s death, Francis awoke in the bed of the dearly departed’s wife.
“Gerard, I didn’t want poor Elise to be left alone once you had…well, once you had gone,” the shaken man explained, “It wasn’t right, leaving her in that drafty house. Someone had to look after her. So, you see, I think we can agree that this is quite a misunderstanding.” Stuttering, Francis looked toward the cellar door, where moments before, the Corpse tried to pry it open with disintegrating fingers.
The air shifted, moving dust particles along with it.
Francis heard nothing. The hearts of dead men no longer beat.
“Gerard. Come out and talk like a man—enough of this foolishness!”
The dead man looked around the room with one good eye, and upon seeing his traitorous friend skulking in the corner, descended upon him.
Francis closed his eyes, prayed to God, pleading to be saved, but when he opened his eyes again, all he saw was Gerard—poor, dead Gerard—sitting on the floor with him. He sighed, looked at his former friend, and rummaged around until he found a bottle of whiskey.
“Well, if we must be in this pickle together, the least we can do is have a drink—right, old sport?”
And the two ghosts drank in silence, letting their hatred fester unspoken between them.
Hell is full of words left unsaid.
The snow is falling outside; quietly, slowly. Dancing toward the ground as if taking part in a silent ballet. It has come down all day, and I’ve spent the afternoon in my favorite place—in my warm home with my boys.
I’m nestled on the couch between them, my head on my husband’s lap, my dog’s head on mine; our breath moves together, in and out at the same speed. It’s as though we’re all connected by a thread that none of us can see, but we all sense exists.
With busy weeks behind us, we relish in the stillness, knowing that our weekends to come will surely be swallowed up with dinners with friends, visits with family, social engagements that we’ll dread ahead of time but love once we’re in the moment.
Our house hums with few distinct but familiar noises—the dishwasher whirrs quietly in the kitchen; tires break through the fresh snow on the busy road just outside our yard; the delightfully cheesy theme song from Star Trek: Enterprise breaks through the living room every hour or so.
It’s a Sunday built specifically for relishing in the laziness; a day where sweatpants and dirty hair are mandatory, and popcorn seems a perfect lunch. My legs begin to fall asleep from lack of movement, and I wonder if they’ll eventually stop working if I never move again; it wouldn’t be the worst thing to imagine, dissolving into the couch and being a spectator to every future conversation in this house.
It’s a Sunday built for ambitious planning for the week ahead, at least mentally; I imagine the books I’ll read, the poems I’ll write, the goals I’ll tackle head-on—a matador facing down a bull in a scarlet outfit. I accept these plans will likely never be realized and will fade into memory as they do every Monday evening, after the determination has materialized into exhaustion.
It’s a Sunday built for daydreaming, building imaginary houses and decorating them with the beautiful plans I have for our lives together; the nursery will be space themed, adorned with sweet images of stars that I hope our offspring will reach someday. Cosmo will begin walking through the house more slowly, gray fur taking over his muzzle. His tail will wag with joy when he sees our children toddle into the living room, welcoming their entrance with a wet kiss. In my head, I see Evan pick up the smaller members of our someday family, his face growing larger with an overflowing smile. I can see it so clearly.
It’s a Sunday built for gratitude.
I sit in the comfort of this day, of this life, and I drink it all in like a warm cup of tea. There are moments when everything else falls away and you realize how blessed you are—the moments when the Universe asks you to pause for a moment.
And when you do, it whispers in your now-open ears: Trust me. I have your back.
All is well.
Writer, editor, and storyteller living in the Twin Cities.