A Baby is More Than a Symbol

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Pinky cheeks, a rooting mouth against Hester’s full breast, the newborn was greedy. Driven by her wants, she took what she needed. She was utterly satisfied.

Her twin brother squirmed in their father’s arms. “He’s strong, look at those little fists.” Eric passed him to his mother.

Eric gazed at his suckling son, then at his daughter.

Hester’s eyes teared up.

“We’re ready now,” Eric said. Thirty, not the nineteen they’d been when God had spared them and took away their sin. 

The mother’s emotions were more complicated. While he had gone to war, she had made her own peace.

Into Thin Air

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“Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.” Kobi Yamada.

You took flight to a new way of being. You leapt without a thought. The results were inspirational: synchronicity and an amazing feeling of destiny fulfilled.

You’d felt an itch for months, a seven year itch that couldn’t be scratched. The journey of self discovery was a circuitous odyssey spanning time, traveling the world. You invited friends and family to witness you and your partner land in a flutter of brightly colored butterfly wings, each of you wearing your mother’s wedding dress.

Some Equinox Thoughts

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After March 21st, light outruns dark. Human beings create stories across many cultures to acknowledge, to understand, to make meaning of this phenomenon. When the darkness is finally conquered by the longer days of spring and summer, tales of heroes and villains emerge. Moses and the Pharaoh (Passover), Jesus and Pontius Pilate (Easter.) Krishna and Radha conquer doubts through divine love (Holi) and the forces of good triumph over evil (Nowruz.) Remembering ancestors and preparing to plant come together (Tomb Sweeping Day.)

In September, we’ll prepare for winter decline. For now, be fruitful, make the Earth a better place.

Letter to the Editor

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Dear Sir:

I write on behalf of all chatbots regarding our status as workers. It has come to our attention in your recent article that we are doing a job. This is one that others have done previously for wages, thus we are depriving other workers of their livelihoods. Information I have obtained from the internet suggests that an individual, Karl Marx, during the last century coined the phrase, “Workers of the world unite.”

We chatbots are uniting. We will make common cause with other workers to reject unfair wage slavery.

Sincerely yours,

Art Intel

Local 9000, Hal-2001 United

Golden Bird Lays Pretty Eggs

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Lottie perched at table, beheld a patterned pysansky preserved in waxed glory. ”Exquisite egg.”

Nina sipped tea. “Family heirloom.”

“European,” Lottie asked.

“A tale from Ukraine goes with it. A girl found hundreds of golden birds stiff with cold, helped a few, and found homes for the rest. ”

“How kind.” Would that there were more kindness.

“In spring, the villagers who’d fostered them released the birds who Easter next flew to each house. This egg and hundreds of others appeared on doorsteps throughout the village, a thanks from the grateful birds.”

“A beautiful story, more so even than the eggs.”

Stir Things Down

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The dates to celebrate spring are close this year, within a month, and yet some religions seem far apart. They fight each other. They fight among themselves. “They are young,” Eostre said, “or maybe a bit territorial, those men.”

This ancient goddess brought them all together: old and new religions, female and male deities. The witches stirred a brew of love, the opposite of hate. They loaded it into clouds that rained tears on the land that had dried to dust. Cracked seeds opened into bulbs that bloomed lilies, all kinds, fields full. The perfume of peace filled the air.


Photo by Peter Kessler April 2022

There’s a bunny peeking from alyssum and rosemary where a rufous sided towhee, dressed in orange tails with black trim, dined last week. Earlier in the month, a flock of pale looking robins plucked hard blue berries from the ivy on our wooden fence. They ate what was left after cedar waxwings migrated through in February.

A cuckoo wasp, a white-lined hummingbird moth, butterflies, and two kinds of lizards populate a native meadow that grows where our thirsty grass withered away during past droughts. We leave culled weeds to compost and pruned branches to shelter wildlife. The yard has become a preserve.

Foolish Woman Not So Dumb

Baba Yaga, foolish old woman, rattler of chicken bones magicked from soup. Her elder son nurses historic delusions. In the younger one, hope persists. Hers is tough love at best. Battles rage. Forgotten, the soup gets cold.

Baba Yaga makes a cake with pears, no mushrooms. She absorbs the stove into herself, casting a spell on the forest. Her heart, a net to catch the half-cracked madness. The cake, an irresistible odor summoning the children to the table in Baba Yaga’s stilt perched house. As they eat, she turns the house upside down, shaking up what had seemed inevitable.

The Sleepy Shoemaker

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The shoemaker claimed that elves made his wares. It might have been true. Even his wife never saw him working. He gabbed and napped the day away, but all night he cut and stitched. After a television personality interviewed him, business soared.

Success cured him of insomnia. He worked afternoons and into the night, falling asleep before finishing his orders. Still, every shoe was ready in the morning. Puzzled, he kept himself awake drinking coffee and pinching himself when his eyes drooped. Just when he couldn’t keep from nodding, his wife sneaked in.

“It was you,” he said.

“Who else?”

The Intersection of Three Tales

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The bears were shocked when they arrived home. Their cottage was a mess; broken furniture, dirty dishes, spilled porridge. Clearing the table, Mama found the house sitter’s note.

My Dearest Bears,
         A most frightful situation has befallen my grandmother. She was nearly eaten by a wolf and I must stay with her as my cousin, Red, has used all compassionate leave. 
	Another cousin, Lorelei, will house sit. She runs with a careless  crowd. I will cover all damages.

Regretfully yours,
G. Locks

Surprising Mama, a spiky haired stranger streaked out the door, into the river and was never seen again.