I braided a basket of my fingers, in case I was required to catch you if you fell from any sort of height or perhaps needed a boost to reach a shelf or a step on a ladder I could hold once I’d unwoven these hands to grip the rungs better if you eventually decide to climb.
The outcrop was low and Emile had to crouch for it to work as a windbreaker. Crouching made her thighs burn, but so did walking, and crouching in a low crag meant she could almost feel her face again. She unhooked the water-skin from her belt and weighted it in her hand. Tried to judge how much she would need to get her down the the mountain. More than she had. She put it back and swallowed her thirst. Ignored the wind stripped skeletons propped against the same crag, one holding onto the withered trunk of a sapling to stunted to reach beyond two foot. She closed her eyes to the wedding bands. These memories were left here with the trees, broken, dead, or dying. Emile stamped her feet and braced herself. She was not going to join them. She’d promised herself more. I’ve been trying to turn my attention back to my novel Darkened Daughter, and in doing so I’ve been working on some new characters to incorporate to the redraft. Yesterday I played …
Someone comments that she’d never really worked. Not a proper job. Not a nine-to-five, sit down at a desk, shuffle the papers, count the numbers, find the words sort of job. She just ‘helped’ her parents in their shop, then ‘helped’ her husband. At Christmas my mother, her daughter, takes the carving knife. Skills become ingrained when you park a pram in the backroom of a butcher’s. They get passed down on generation to the next. Not always perfect, but present like the bark and callous of their hands when they take mine. Evidence of everything they’ve given. She says she never really worked a proper job, not a nine-to-five, like I have. Passes me the cutter for scones that won’t be as good as her mother’s, because she hasn’t got the knack like she had. She was only ever ‘helping’ not working, not like her daughter does, not like I do. She was only ever there in the background. Autumn is not Spring, but beauty still grows in her and there is worth there.
Belly stretched bare to sun, these hands could be paws when fingers curl in to palms, padding softly, or soft patter of rain on skin, water caught in fur till I shrug free this coat and the weight of me trapped inside of it.
One paragraph for all the lost bodies, somewhere still beneath dirt and grass and the slow trundle of grazing cattle meandering, one fence line to another. Musket balls get plucked up on odd days, rolled across a palm like a marble, dropped into a Tupperware tub, they outlasted the bones and flesh. A field with five hundred years to forget yet the calf gets sick with lead loses its eyesight to a pellet from a gun fired half a century before. History reaches past its paragraph of three thousand nameless men. Another misery of litter leftover once the war was done. Following tonight’s theme of smoke and mirrors, and feeling like the older you get, the less you actually know, I started thinking about how we learn about the history of warfare in schools. There’s a disconnect between the modern day and its wars, and battles such as the one at Bloor Heath* in Staffordshire where around three thousand men are thought to have died in the fighting. It’s easy to look …
Anya stared until the black whorls on her arms blurred together. Then she blinked and they were just as clear as ever. ‘Removing them won’t help,’ said Rowen. He dropped his weight beside her and slung his arms across the back of the park bench. She felt him run his thumb across her shoulder. ‘You can’t change the past Anya.’ She swallowed around the anger rising in her throat. Some days it filled her so full it was as if she would explode and take the whole world with her. Some days that seemed like a good idea. ‘Then what am I meant to do?’ Rowen shrugged. ‘You will learn to love again the stranger who was yourself,’ he said. Anya’s knuckles whitened. ‘And what does that mean?’ He shrugged again. ‘It means we all change kiddo, accept it and learn to love it.’ Written for DVersePoets Prosery prompt. 144 word flash fiction story, incorporating the line ‘You will learn to love again the stranger who was yourself’ by poet Derek Walcott.
These wings don’t go far, or high much. They rustle the leaves in the hedge when summer sits about, the branches when summer has flit south. There is something to be said for roots over wings. For a spot to return to each time, when it’s warm or cold and I don’t want to go far or high very much.
If I spoke with hysterical authority, held firm with fragile voice, shattered the glass of your skull screeching banshee screams despite nothing really being dead, would you change. Could my voice be enough to show you the fragmented reflection your kind has made me.
When the trainer asks ‘did you forget to breath’ it sounds stupid, and unfortunately true. A little like thinking too much about the doing so the thoughts twist knots into your limbs. The panic welling in much the same way as your lungs swelling up against your rib-cage. You were sure you were, then you’re not sure, suddenly so unsure you can’t even breath without counting each gasp. In… out… in… in… out.. out.. In… In… In… Out… Out… Out.. …
Half this family tree has been watered until the branches hang heavy with fruit. We know all the name, if not the faces, see the resemblance in the variety. On the other side we know much less, can’t quite feast on what is left. There are wanderers in this blood, apples that fell far and wide and distant. Strangers in stranger places bobbed, grew their own trees from loose cores. People put down roots, grew branches, spread the distance between lines.