KNOWING THE BUTTERFLY

Was it better to know the butterfly

as he flew about the vegetable garden,

or to have simply seen him as a passerby

enjoying his stay in the sunshine?

 

Perhaps if I’d known him, he’d have stopped

and helped me along with my planting,

or told me a story about sunflowers

and how they made a magnificent landing;

 

but having never met, he stopped all the same

and waited hesitantly at the head of the gate,

fluttering his wings, faintly ready to fly away,

and that distant beauty wasn’t lost in friendly banter.

——

 

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PICKING PLUMS

Five women were picking plums from the ground. Four were doing the actual work. They were carrying swollen bags of fruit, bent over to pile more on top. One, presumably the hardest worker, had already abandoned her bag and was continuing to catch the remaining morsels in her apron. Two others had wandered off in the distance as the plums became harder and harder to find. The fourth was grabbing the last few in the foreground, when she happened upon a sullen, black rock.

The fifth woman was standing with a platter in the center of it all. She was dressed differently than the rest. Her apron was white, and where the others wore a red over-coat, she bore no such garment. Her eyes darted between the women, but returned to the girl standing in the foreground. Her face was a mix of contempt and anguish, as if the girl had done something to wrong her that she couldn’t speak of in front of the rest of the women.

The platter she carried was a small, black platter, perhaps of well-polished, painted wood, or porcelain. It contained plums that looked similar to what the other women were picking, yet they appeared to be the deep color of overripe fruit and, perhaps, were for reference only.

I liked to think, as I passed by, that she was the headmaster’s wife. She was angry at this girl for having slept with the master, and had taken her anger out on her group of maids as a whole. In the heat of day, she had forced them to pick bags and bags of fruit—so many that they had run out of the massive bags, and yet still she made them relentlessly continue. It looked as though they had picked the orchard nearly clean, too. I think they would have kept picking too, had things not changed as I walked out of view.

A sharp cry echoed from behind me, followed by the soft thumps of a dozen or so fruit. I heard footsteps rushing through the woods, then a heavy thud of a rock against something. The footsteps stopped. Two, three, four more times the rock came down, and with each thud emerged a sickening crunch.

When I finally decided to turn back, the grove had been emptied. No bags were anywhere to be seen, nor any women, though there were two patches of plums. The first was far in the distance, where the two women had gone off in search of more. It appeared they had dropped a small handful from their bags as they left, which had rolled harmlessly for a few feet before stopping. The second patch was less fortunate. A dozen plums, much deeper purple, had smashed onto the ground; splattering across the floor. The pulp and juice seeped from beneath the little heads, creating a pool of matter that mixed in with the dirt as they rotted.

——

 

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TRACING (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Pairs

I see in their eyes

the starlight after midnight

twinkling shyly.

 

Star Gazing

I lie in the dark

on a still blanket of grass

gazing at Venus.

 

Midnight Noises

The rustling night

entices my frightened dog

with howls far away.

 

Tracing

Slowly, I trace you

against the canvas of sheets

under the shadows.

 

Mirrored Sunrise

I witnessed the dawn

as a sunset upside-down

when you were with me.

——

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MIRRORS (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Red Dawn

Another day gone

waiting for the sun to shine

through sanguine curtains.

 

Leaves

My sandals are lost

in the labyrinth of leaves

lying on the ground.

 

Benches in the Rain

The park bench awaits

the return of little legs

kicking empty air.

 

Unexpected Friends

Under the arbors,

the rain spotted me sitting,

and comforted me.

 

Mirrors

She hides in her eyes

so only her reflection

will really see her.

——

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LOVE POEM #73 – HEADSTONE CHATTER

Did you hear they cut down our tree?

They dragged the kids out from the branches

then dismembered it limb by limb

until it stood empty like a hollow woman

then in a final swoop of mechanical justice

toppled her like a pair of heels on a night out.

I took a hike up the wilderness trail last week.

The white flowers were in full bloom;

I still can’t remember what you called them.

I saw a pair of cubs running through the trees.

They reminded me of Taylor and Tom

the way they roughhoused in the grass

like they didn’t even know we were watching.

They always came home with grass stains.

Do you see them anymore?

Anyway, sorry I haven’t been by in a while.

Doc told me there’s only a few months to go

and I took a trip to see your mom in Peru.

——

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HEADLIGHTS

The road had become so routine that my half-closed eyes hardly noticed the flickering of my headlights. So too did they miss the tankard smashing through the center divider; straight into the car behind me. Nor did they attend to the bloody arm reaching for help as I drove away.

——

 

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PANCAKES (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Windy Night

Wind disturbs the leaves

yet it is not the trees who

search for a reprieve.

 

Onlookers

From the kitchen door,

I catch pairs of tiny eyes

peeking through the pane.

 

Better Red

Roses in autumn

remind trees who lost their green

the beauty of red.

 

Serendipity

I most enjoy walks

through these warm, grassy fields

carrying my shoes.

 

Pancakes

The syrup drips down

the sides of her tender wrists

as she lifts her fork.

——

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BAT SONGS

The shade of bats fluttering in the distance engulfed the lights of the stars, like lines of black paint against the night. The chill metal of the bench was sharpened as they passed overhead; their shrill chatter echoing in my ears. Their beckoning song seemed to call out, “Sleep, Ulysses.”

——

 

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THE HERD (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

The Herd

Beats in the distance

echo along the sunrise

like a veiled drum.

 

Grass

The shift of the blades

as wind washes through the plain

warns of life’s battles.

 

On Water

Walking through puddles

reminds me to imagine

my own miracles

 

Cleansing

Rain can wash away

the bad days. It’s up to you

to let it take them.

 

Night Driving

The trip was swallowed

in the abyss of the night

on the desert road.

——

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A WALK IN A STORM

Soooo I realized I really like these 50 word stories. They’re short, simple, and yet really difficult to do well. So I think I’m going to continue doing them sometimes to improve more. 🙂 here’s this week’s:

A Walk in a Storm

Being pelted with rain made for a weary walk. The flashes of lightning in the distance patterned the sky like dancers moving in sharp, jagged motions. I felt water beginning to soak through my gloves, yet when I squeezed my fists there was nothing but rhythmic determination to continue farther.

——

 

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