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Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Tina pinched my cheeks red, Jody called me stupid, and Carol threw my headband up onto the porch. All I had to do once they left was climb up and reach for it between the wooden posts. That was the easy part.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

101 Fiction: Redundancy

Thrilled to be part of 101Fiction's December issue.
All about black and white
101 Fiction

I know I always say this: translation soon...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

River Rules

At the end of it all, James and I position ourselves on the bridge. We gauge the rapids. Cabal is barking from his perch on Devil’s Rock. Whoever reaches it first has claim to him. On the count of three, we jump.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Up Side of Lonely

This poem of mine is set in the middle of a beautiful issue of Synaesthesia Magazine.
#6 THUNDER, LIGHTNING went live today. Go visit it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Motherhood, Part III

Of course it’s clear now. Bull-headed, know-it-all me never wavered. Still. Couldn’t they put out a manual, or some sort of notice? I was ready for backtalk, missed curfews, but bellybutton piercing? A tramp stamp? I might’ve thought twice about that cesarean.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


My dress, wrapped like a collar, smells of grass.
After I kicked his face, he pulled off my boots - hips jerking, rocks scraping against my back – and heaved them into the creek.
The grass smells like warmth against my cold body.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


The deluge began in the foothills and quickly flooded the delta. Dolores left puddle prints as she slogged her way to the plains. She whistled her lips bone dry, sucked up the clouds of mystery. Stood barren before the one good man.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Motherhood, Part II (*Editor's Pick GB#187)

A slice of cake once a year may not seem like much. A lock of hair in a drawer, a little tooth. What they don’t tell you is how the power of a kiss unleashes your inner goddess. How you become invincible.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

End of an Era

Me, a stone’s throw away from dotted i’s, t’s crossed in the sand, tossed in the waves. You, a thrown stone. Each crash of wave, tumble of sand smoothes your jagged edges, while May’s full moon erases our trail across the bay.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Despite all her trepidation, the jump was exhilarating; a shock of water that tugged at her, pulling her down. She let herself sink. When she did kick out, her ankle met an unmoored figurehead, perhaps, adrift in the undercurrent of the creek.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Elephant Opera Company

Always loud - coming or going -

we could not get rid of them fast enough.

Neither fashionable nor punctual

- unwieldy, spectacular, lumbering -

they ate up all the adornments

that kept us safely disguised

and then would not leave until

the fat lady sang.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Adult Education *

North light fills a row of windows high above the wooden platform where I’m told to stand. Easels scrape into place like a flower blooming around me. I hear easy chatter, lean into the paint-smeared stool, struggle to unwrap this borrowed robe.

*This piece placed third with the crowd, and was also Editor's Pick (Thank you Christine!)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Jaqueline T. Miller, Policyholder

“Northeastern Mutual, Jerry Dunne.”
“Jackie Miller here. I’m calling about Thursday.”
“Ms. Miller. How can I help you?”
“Sunday’s all squared away. Bathroom. Burst pipe. Tuesday’s the eight-hundred deductable. Julie’s fender-bender.”
“I see. What about Thursday?”
“Flooded basement. I’m guessing five thou?”

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


A grey sky breaks

silver, scratches pink wounds

to bleed over the ocean side

of the rock that holds you

to her. Crash and break of words,

chattering bubbles that trickle

back into the crevice

of her deep devotion, her

platonic love.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Way of A Man

From the edge of their bed, she watches him sob.
He shakes off her cradling palm, curls into a tight, convulsive ball.
Not just a bad hangover, she realizes.
Appalled, she hiccups her words.
You can’t.
I won’t.
She doesn’t love you.

Monday, September 8, 2014


Six p.m. Eighty-five degrees when I hit the beach. I bob like a lobster bouy. Watch clouds redden. Plan dinner. The cormorants, perched in tiers on the rocks, keep sending out scouts. Damned seagulls circle above me. I know what they’re thinking.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Laws of Motion

Bursting from the forest, deer strewn in his wake, he crashes through the mosquito screen and dives under her bed. Moonlight glints off the salt-and-pepper fur of his quaking hind leg. Shaken, Megan wakes to the distant pop and flash of fireworks.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Cat Race

We’ve cozied up to another manic popularity contest. Woman of the Year. Best Mother Ever. Who would’ve thought we’d be looking over our shoulders, incredulous marathoners eyeing the open road, perfectly incapable of believing the finish line will be ours to break.

My 42-word answer to  

Friday, July 18, 2014

English Summer Haiku

My entry to Centre for New Writing twitter poetry "micropoem14" competition.
Read the winning poems here: http://www.staffnet.manchester.ac.uk/news/display/?id=12528

Monday, July 7, 2014

Calcification Calculation

Begin with one heel spur, left foot. Move on to bunions, one each, left and right. Adding insult to injury, a divergent, bulging knuckle points the right pinkie finger northeasterly. Finally, bursitis of the shoulder. Times two. That makes fifty-five, and counting.

Answer #10 to gargle169 question: 'What does it all add up to?"

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Siren Call

When I went overboard, the shock of the cold was greater than the shock of your hand at my back. I swallowed the dark Atlantic, warmed to its voices. Keening whales sang me to her. She was tangled in your fraying halyard.


Monday, June 16, 2014

One Heart Breaking

Splinters rasp. Pancreas.
The word cracks
it open.
The surgeon’s voice echoes
in a thunderclap
straight down the middle.
Your last sigh, exhaled,
broke it forever.
Yet, listen. Days like today
I can hear it
sounds like pebbles
at the seashore.

 Pep  13/8/66 - 16/6/03
Always for you, Pep.  143
gargle166          Answer #14 was also           

Monday, June 9, 2014

Idle Threats

Of all the people to criticize my adipocytic indiscretion, you’d think Grace would have the decency to give a girl the benefit of a lapse. The gym. On Monday. We’ll see how many laps she’s made of.

Did Grace say that, too? is the question for   My answer: 29

Monday, June 2, 2014


Behind closed eyes, anything is possible. Your smile, your body long against mine.  When I open them, you’re never the yellow butterfly that poses on my glass of wine the first fine spring day. Even so, I just can’t help but peek.

 Why does the caged bird sing? asks   My answer # 4 :) 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Workout Routine

   A handful of classes away from zipping up those jeans, I sashay through the aerobics routine. The blasting disco beat keeps my mind clear as fog. I can’t hack the end, though. This five-minute silence on the mat just keeps killing you.

Where does it hurt?    Answer #16

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Eight Hundred and Fifty-Four Steps

   “A pocket full of posies,” Sally thinks as she opens her eyes. Sun bright behind the curtains quickens her pulse, and she claws through the sheets to check the time. Only nine. “Hopscotch, hopscotch.” Why is this rhyme in her head? Out, out. She checks her list against the day ahead, though it will be impossible to balance them. One inevitably outweighs the other.
   She dresses for the gym, remembers she must grab the bags for the market. When she stops to drink from a fountain, she sees she has crossed the city. Instead of shopping bags, she has slung a backpack over her shoulder. She’s wearing a cotton shirt, jeans and hiking boots. Across the street from the fountain is the theater, shuttered and brown, where they saw an adaptation of Bodas de sangre destroyed by that horrendous troupe from Seville. Afterwards, they crossed the city together, far into the night, projecting the future.
   Sally continues, taking long, determined strides as if the impulse of her forward motion will conjure the plaza, the bridge where they stood at midnight. She is certain the village is far away. He drove while she drifted into the countryside, felt the splashing runoff wet the poppies, smelled the sheep and the shadowy pine forests. At the end of a curve was a stone bridge, washed gold in a bluesky sunset.
   Amy would be home from school soon. Sally stops and breathes in. A car whooshes by. She stands at the lookout over the city, squints into the sun. The sky meets the sea in a clear sharp line out past the hospital the cathedral the hotel the cruise ship. Amy is somewhere else now. Toulouse? New York? Far away. Happy enough.
   “Hopscotch, hopscotch, we all fall down.” Sally picks a sprig of fennel from the roadside. He taught her what it looks like, how it tastes sharp, fresh. Makes her mouth water. She shifts the backpack onto both shoulders and shakes her arms. Steps on sunshine.
 I stood on the bridge at midnight as the clocks were striking the hour -Longfellow
Quote given for the week gave up 333 words for Light and Shade Challenge

Monday, May 19, 2014

Which Way to Go?

   Crossroads are tricky to maneuver without an all-terrain vehicle. Beware the signposts; they can be misleading. I once found a broken pen that was pointing west, but I ended up having to retrace all eight hundred and fifty-four thousand steps. Big mistake.
   Answer #14

Friday, May 16, 2014

Since You’ve Been Gone

 I am looking very carefully through the tall grass. The path goes from the garage to the well, and the key is gold. If I don’t find the key, I will have to ask the neighbor to saw the bolt. The bolt is expensive, and the neighbor has an unappealing gleam in his eye. I have not replaced the stolen chainsaw, which is not the proper saw for cutting bolts in any case. I may as well look for the washer that fell off the hose, a small, black rubber ring. Meanwhile, I just missed stepping in wild boar dung.

“If you don't find it in the index, look very carefully through the entire catalogue.”
-Sears, Roebuck, and Co., Consumer's Guide, 1897
 Quote given for the weekend 100-word at Light and Shade Challenge

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Is Something Crawling on Me?

Will it ever stop? After I kicked in their nest, they kept coming. After I trampled their marching hoards, still they kept on, hefting bits of leaf and crumb. They slalom through the hairs on my arm, searching for a way in.


A 42-word answer to the question posed by gargleblaster-161 Is something crawling on me? Answer #24

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Passing On Tradition

This story was included in the #NFFD2014 Flash Flood:


       “Katie’s nine now,” Blanche said into the phone. She picked up the envelope, straightened it. “Shall I get tickets to the Nutcracker while you’re in town?”
      “The Nutcracker,” Jenny said. “Who’d be going?”
      Blanche tucked the envelope behind the fruit bowl. “Just us girls,” she said. “Won’t that be fun?” She closed her eyes to the silence, remembered Jenny and Sarah in matching winter coats. Her mother-in-law herding them into the theater, cigarette hand waving Blanche off.
      “Just you, Katie and me?” Jenny finally said. “That would be fun. A real treat.”
      “It’s settled, then.” Blanche pulled the envelope towards her and shook out the four tickets.


      Blanche hummed as she prepared the tree-trimming dips to go with the spiked eggnog. She paused over the photograph she kept on the fridge of Jenny and Sarah draped in tinsel, arms across shoulders like college roommates. She listened for the sound of banter, laughter. When she joined them, the eggnog was mostly rum and their voices were not full of cheer or even camaraderie, but were clipped and strained.
      “Let me hang your ornament, Mommy.” Katie was excited, demanding.
      “Remember which one is Mommy’s?”
      Katie dug her hand in the box, then held it behind her back. Not the silver sled, thought Blanche. Sarah turned from the tree, sloshing her drink.
      “Hey! My silver sled!” She lunged towards Katie. “Give it here, Katie-Poo.”
      “I think it’s time for bed, Katie,” said Blanche. She took the child by the shoulders. “Let me see?” She dug the sled out of the girl’s hand. “This was Great-Grandma Ida’s when she was a girl.” Katie shrugged out of her grasp. “Here, Sarah, hang it by the glass ballerina.”
      Jenny led Katie out of the room. “Have another drink,” she called back. “Eggnog with a dash of silver sled.”


      Blanche found them brushing Katie’s hair. “Look what Aunt Sarah got for you.” She held up ruby red ballet slippers.
      “It’s below zero,” Jenny said. “You really don’t expect”
      “Mom, look!” Katie stood and plied.                               
      Jenny clipped Katie’s hair back. “You’re gonna freeze. Go get your coat.”

      “Why are there four tickets?” Jenny asked the mirror.
      “I think,” said Blanche from the doorway, “that’s Sarah I hear.
      “Mom.” Jenny followed her mother to the kitchen, where Katie modeled the shoes. Sarah stood in their grandmother’s fur coat.
      “Where are you going?” asked Jenny.
      “We’re going to the ballet,” said Katie.
      “But Aunt Sarah isn’t.” Jenny looked at Blanche, then back at the fur coat. “It’s just us three, right, Mom?”
      Blanche jiggled the car keys as she pushed her arms through her coat. “Come, come, girls, we’ll be late.”
      Katie petted the fur coat. “Are you going to see the game with Daddy and Gramps?” she asked. “Cause they left already.”

      Blanche sat Katie between her and Jenny. Little girls in tutus and tiaras skipped down the aisles. She watched them, studiously ignoring the sold-out theater's one empty seat on the other side of Jenny.

A dream has power to poison sleep
- Mutability, Percy Bysshe Shelley
logoThe above quote was the inspiration for this entry to the inaugural Light and Shade Challenge.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Vase                      full
of once-red roses
years browned, perfectly
dried. Plucked, all twelve of
them, from the very
expensive flower
left  in  the
of the


Florero                       lleno
de rosas, en su día rojas,
volviéndose, hace años, cada
 vez más marrones, perfectamente
secas. Arrancadas, cada
una de las doce, de los
carísimos arreglos
florales dejados
en el sótano

Friday, April 4, 2014


Strings of a violin snap.
Notes squeal the air
a thunderous shade of purple.

Teeth-snapping jaws
spew venom into the iron
scent of evisceration.

A frenzy of claws screech
across the eye of the hurricane,
through rollercoaster ruins.

Broken words take a victory lap,
having ruptured every eardrum.

It's National Poetry Month at home. From a poetry prompt called 'assay'.
Constructive comments, especially from poets, are most welcome.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Now I Shall Be Spectacular

A seed blew into my garden. It took root, sprouted and grew unnoticed until wisps of honeysuckled air come-hithered me. So spectacular was the flower that I gobbled it up, fruit and all.

33 words for the last . No topic, no word, just a free write.
Lisa. Joules. You rock. Trifectans. < 3

Friday, March 21, 2014

Rapture at 101Fiction, #Issue3

The first full day of Spring seems like a good one to put up the link to my story at 101Fiction's #Spring #Issue3


I'll get up a translation soon. There are thirteen stories, all about Spring. And other things : )

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Gusts like wrecking balls howl the picnic table through our bay window. The majestic red maple, shorn of its roots, clasps the jeep in a fierce, shimmering embrace. Nothing will satisfy this keening banshee.

33 words for , including SATISFY  (transitive verb) 3a : to make happy : please   b : to gratify to the full : appease

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Amor Roma

Pleased to be one of 5 winners for this second-to-last Trifextra. Gold is good.

  Fingers fluttering,
arms floating high above
staccato crack, heels pounding wood.
Over swishing train, flamenco dances;
Sara Baras dances, flamenco train swishing over
wood. Pounding heels crack staccato.
Above high-floating arms,
fluttering fingers.

33 words for , one of which must be a palindrome.
This poem is not a palindrome, but if each word were a letter, it would be : )
 * The title means Roma, or Gypsy, Love. And here is Sara Baras: 


Monday, March 3, 2014

Journal Entry

Forget trying to worm that adolescent code out of me. You do not want to release the hurricane sequestered in these pages. Braver souls have succumbed; stronger egos have wilted. Just walk away.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tyrants Are Not To Be Dissuaded

  So, Pussy Riot, gorgeous girls. Whenever I saw them, poor things, I would yell: “Fuck Putin!” Always, this Russian thug would appear, try to hop into my bed. Wouldn’t listen when I said that wasn’t what I meant.

33 words for , to precede the phrase "That wasn't what I meant".

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Name of the Game Is Resilience

This story was awarded bronze for Trifecta 112, so I decided to tart up the post a bit with the editors' glowing review here : ) Thanks again, Tri!
"Rounding out our top three is the ever fabulous Kymm in Barcelona who gave us The Name of the Game is Resilience.  In the comments, someone likened the piece to a Tarantino film, and that seems a pretty appropriate fit.  When a writer has such command of the language that she can take risks such as these, you tend to get a really good read."

Jeanine and her makeover walked into a bar. The door shushed behind her, propelled her across the entryway. Via the doorjamb, standing speaker, barstool and pillar, she felt her way to the first empty table, grabbed the back of a chair with both hands and held on. ‘Get your bearings, Jeanine,’ she heard Chrissie’s voice admonish, and Chrissie was right, of course. The chair Jeanine clutched was facing the wall. The wall would never delight in her low-cut blouse and expensive haircut. Jeanine sidled over to the next chair, using the backs as a safety rope. When she heard a chorus of laughter break out at the far end of the bar, she made sure to place her rump squarely in the seat before satisfying her curiosity. College kids. Oh! Callooh! Callay! In her direct line of vision, she now noticed the couple - clipped from a spread in a fashion magazine - who were utterly absorbed in chewing each others’ tongues off. Jeanine tried to look away, but there was that wall again.
‘Get up and go sit at the bar,’ Chrissie’s voice hollered.
‘I will not get up now that I’ve sat down,’ Jeanine thought petulantly. ‘Barkeep!’ she thought emphatically. She tried raising her finger, but the barista was directly behind the tongueboarding couple Jeanine found impossible to avoid. She knew, she just knew, at some point they would turn to stare at her with slack-jawed expressions and one of them would drawl: ‘You’re pathetic, Jeanine.’
Jeanine shook her head. She cut Chrissie off: ‘I know, I know, I’m projecting. If I’m ever to vanquish this funk, that attitude has got to go.’
The door opened and in walked a cowboy, a doctor and a millionaire. Jeanine straightened her necklace. He was surely none of those, yet his shaggy brown hair and bomber jacket were aiming directly for Jeanine’s table. Jeanine’s makeover smiled. Jeanine held her breath as he stopped, grasped one of the chairs and asked: ‘Is this seat taken?’

333 words for , including FUNK (noun) 3 :  SLUMP  an economic funk;  the team went into a funk

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Third Date

She languished in his arms, her eyes sparkling. With tender lips, whispered yearnings, he spoke her name. Her sighs choked to a gasp as he rose to leave. “My wife will be waiting.”

33 words for  about love gone wrong.  But none of them are: love, sad, tears, wept, heart or pain.

This weekend's challenge is community judged. For the 48 hours following the close of the challenge, voting will be enabled on links.  In order to vote, return to this post where stars will appear next to each link. To vote, simply click the star that corresponds with your favorite post. You can vote for your top three favorite posts. Voting is open to everyone.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Workout

Under daylight so weak it was absorbed by the dull street lights, Sonia watched Tommy’s school bus pull away. Making a point of not slinking off the bench and back to bed, she stood tall. Her nose burned from the cold, astringent air as she strode off to the park, to the five laps she would conquer today. She preferred to think of the laps as miles, notwithstanding the difficulty of suspending that particular disbelief. Rather than calculate the distance, she concentrated instead on the number of laps. Time being her only constraint, she had twenty minutes to break her record. If only the Parks Services guys would leave her alone.
Arnold Gregory puffed his cigar, pacing the dog so they could reach the gate just as Sonia passed through. The curve of the pond would offer him a perfect view of her butt when the show started. He knew the parks guys timed it, though he was unsure how they were able to manipulate the settings to make the sprinkler go off just as she was waddle-jogging past.
Like clockwork, the sweat-suited lady clomped by Denny and Kurt on her first turn around the pond, her face a scowl aimed at them. As she overtook the old man and his ugly dog, she coughed loudly. “Leave the old fuck his cigar already,” said Kurt under his breath. Denny rolled his eyes. They swept their way under the stand of pine trees in order to see the lady trundle by on her second lap. Kurt marvelled at her inability to remember it was the G5 sprinkler that misfired when it went on. Both men were watching as it sputtered to life the instant the sweat-suited lady reached it. They both saw how the plastic catch flew off and hit her in the eye, releasing behind it the spray that toppled her into the pond. Kurt gasped and sprang into action. Denny threw down the rake. “I’m gonna lose my fucking job,” he said.

333 words for , including MANIPULATE (transitive verb) 3: to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose : to doctor

This weekend's challenge is community judged. For the 48 hours following the close of the challenge, voting will be enabled on links.  In order to vote, return to this post where stars will appear next to each link. To vote, simply click the star that corresponds with your favorite post. You can vote for your top three favorite posts. Voting is open to everyone. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Coffee Shop Blues

There goes Eileen again. Don’t look. Don’t look up. Don’t you dare look up. Off to tennis doubles with your new best friend, Eileen? Don’t care. Couldn’t care less. Break a leg, Eileen.

33 words for , inspired by this photo:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nests Were Depredated

The rain dropped like pebbles tossed into a swimming hole. It offered up a quaint sound that Janie tucked around herself like a comforter. The porch where she stood watching the horizon was laid with dark, sodden planks. Buffeting gusts drove in the scent of scrubbed hay, and this enticed her into a grudging sense of appeasement. She glanced back through the window. It was unlit. No blurred outline of her father showed behind the thin summer curtains, no wisps of smoke. There were no pots banging about in the ancient kitchen, no faucet running. Understanding that the place was shuttered and locked, that Bill had not come out here after all, Janie debated whether to break open a window, try to jimmy the lock or just turn right around and drive home again. She thought she might wait for the rain to let up.
Why had she imagined Bill would come out here? Did she think he would have walked through two states? They had never been back, not since the day they left in his old Chevy, her shoulder dislocated from Daddy pulling on it, demanding she stay. The lace edging of her sleeve ripped and fraying over the long drive north. She now wore jeans and a cotton shirt, Keds. Expected to meet him here again, settle old scores, forgive and forget. She had not stopped to consider the heavy, unyieldingness of absence.
A noise like the wind and the rain but not of them made her whip around and what she had seen move stopped. Bright gray, its fur not the least matted by the wet, a coyote stood with his tail stiff, one paw shaking the rain off, his nose poking the air between them. Janie gasped, found she was unable to breathe in. Nor could she scream. The force of a too-long habit had removed her voice. There was no one to appeal to, no cover to run for. Anyway, Janie was the one holding the gun.

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