Dial Tone

Nothing is more horrifying than hearing the breaking voice of your self-destructive parent on the other end of the line, a parent who has repeatedly lied and cheated and run and stolen so much from you and those you care about. That same shaky voice, minutes from possibly being so destroyed that it will no longer return asking, “And why do you need me?”

There is a second, colder horror when you hear a voice in your head whispering, “I don’t need you; I haven’t needed you for a long time. When you were needed, you weren’t there, and I had to scrabble up the cliff without you. Yet here you are, at the end of your rope and speaking as though I’m your final rock to cling to. But let me be clear: No matter what happens, I will survive and become stronger than ever before.”

So you experience a third horror, perhaps the kindest one of all, as you lie to your parent and say, “I need you for so much.”

Because it’s too hard to be honest and say, “I love you. Please don’t go.”


WIP Drabble #1

“I’ll go if you want me to, but I don’t want to leave you here alone,” Opal said. She clenched her hands around the folds of her skirt. Asa still refused to look at her, his bandaged head curled out of sight into his pillow.

Opal couldn’t bear it.

Rage flooded her veins, hot and threatening to burst. She hated this; she hated that Asa wouldn’t speak, that the bullet had taken his eye, that he had been hit in the first place by a shot that should have been hers. War Tramp. Battle Harlot. Death Witch. It was her magic and her gunpowder that had blown up Pine Village. By all rights, that untoward bullet should have been hers.

They had attacked Asa, the favored healer, and it was all Opal’s fault.

Shame and guilt rumbled within her. Opal didn’t know how to heal or mix medicines; she couldn’t give him back his eye or remove the scar that would mark his features. Her hands were weapons, stained in the eyes of the gods by years of blood and gunpowder. Instead, she did what he had done for her so many months ago. Gently, she took his hands between hers and offered a quiet prayer to his healing god, asking for peace and a swift recovery.

Asa said nothing in response, but didn’t pull his hands away.

Photo by George Hodan

Note to Self

You bottle up your emotions
Like liquor on a shelf
To drown yourself in
When the world is too much

Photo Credit to Pexels

Note: I recommend the Moodnotes and Pacifica apps, but there are many helpful ones out there. It might take a while to find one that you like and can use regularly, but it’s so worth it.



Let’s build a little
matchstick house
and burn it down together,
let the flames warm the world
as we walk on ashes
and charcoal words.

Silence doesn’t burn,
my dear.

Let’s dance in the fire storm,
crackling and sizzling
as everyone watches
and they will see
we are embers.

Photo credit to Pexels.

Note: I hope you all have a great New Years Eve if you’re celebrating now or later tonight. Happy New Year to those who live further from me.


The cup is half-full, half-finished, half-empty:
I still have a long way to go.
Unpleasant demons unsettle the dreams,
Coating the sweet glasses with bitter rime.
I do not feel fear or anticipation,
But I know when I see the end,
I will see a beginning of me.

Painting: “Crossing the Dnieper Gogol” by Anton Ivanovich Ivanov

She Says She Is a Scientist (Snippet 2)

One Word Memories
(“Infatuated. Infuriated. Befuddled.”)

She sips the tea, taking in the warmth and scent of jasmine and vanilla. They sit in companionable silence by the fire, drinking tea and planning experiments that could shift the balance of their world.

Is it possible to be entranced by the way someone can hold a tray of samples so carefully and steadily, even at the wee hours of the morning? Ingrid wonders this as she watches Temerio over the top of her notebook, looking away when he catches her eyes.

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