Fiction, Poetry

“All I Need” – Lines Off My Mind’s Shelf

One hand clenching a fistful of bed-hair at the back of her head. Her right hand aloft in front of her like a limp wing for balance. Her steps follow a rhythm. It is steady. But it also changes from 3/4 time to 6/8 time. Her right hip places an accent on a different quiver. 

A horn blows from the traffic flowing past.

She picks up her skirt so that her ankles can ascend the staircase. One two three, and two three. The groove changes. 

Her heel slips from her flat brown shoe and there is a rest. She quickly shifts her foot back in, slides into it and catches back up to speed.

A raven soars ahead, unmoving. Suspended. The wind picks up her hair. Limp and winged. The breath never leaves—like the beat can never leave.

Fiction, Poetry

Lines Off My Mind’s Shelf: Una poesia di mio

“I was intricately woven in the depths of the earth” – Psalm 139:15

Of the earth

The snow is an illusion 

masking         my youth

below it.

I wish I could hold it

and behold— 

               I’m old from it.

The labyrinth, latent behind—

my forehead— 

my eyes         donning 

sheets of an unmade bed.

My sister says you are the white and black

I face myself

an injured pigeon

woven in the depths

This is how you were made:


Fiction, Poetry

Lines Off My Mind’s Shelf

The other day, despite my desires, I was thinking perpetually of her hair. At the same time, it was long and short. Her fingernails could run through it,  just thick enough to carve ridges that would stay for a moment too long. 

She invited me to her apartment, and, naturally, I arrived there. I was thinking still about her hair, about her name, her motives. Despite my desire to let loose and enjoy myself, my mind rattled like an engine struggling to start.

Thinking as I was, the door opened to show her face. On the couch she sat smiling. Now, I would have gone if it weren’t for a pair of persuasive hands. 

“Are you relaxed?” she said. 

“Would you like a back rub?” she said. 

Thoughts percolated through my eyes; they could not see peacefulness. To where is this leading? Who is she, really?

She answered few of my thoughts—by no fault of her own—for she was not telepathic. However, I melted to her touch and I breathed to her thrust.

It came time to leave, “Good night,” she said. “Will I see you tomorrow?”

“Mmmhmm,” I said. Tense. 

Home was empty, no roommates around. I walked through the dark bedroom to switch on the lone bedside lamp. It was cold until I slipped into my pajamas and huddled underneath the duvet. I saw a blinking red light, a text from her, on my phone. The blink echoed into the vacant room, exposing the emptiness with each pulse. I let it beat in the space until I decided I wanted to be in my own company. I turned over the phone to smother the flashing red light and turned my mind to the pictures on the wall. Paintings and photographs smiled overhead, and I sunk low into the bed, in good company.

Fiction, Poetry

Lines Off My Mind’s Shelf

Before the thought formed in her head, the words split her lips, “I am not  broken.” There were two dalmation dogs tackling each other in the distance. The older lady dragging a leash on the ground a distance behind them. The dogs were jumping and clawing. The dogs were angry, or was it the girl?

The girl sat on the curb. “I am not broken.” If she brought these words into the air maybe it would become real. “I am not broken.” The words fell on her ears and she listened. Then she said it again. She had to believe this was true. “I am not broken.”

The mantra helped her stand up. She firmly balanced the middle arches of her feet on the curb. “I am not broken,” she spoke. This is my earth, she thought. I am strong enough to live here. I need not do anything other than breathe. If only her breath weren’t so broken.