One Way Airport Call

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His accent moved around a lot, a swampy Southern drawl that sped up to nail a point. It was all factual– temperature, weather, numbers, deals notched up on a piece of wood like hunting prizes. If he had talked about bagging a couple of ducks, it wouldn’t have surprised me.

The way he talks makes me wonder if anyone is on the other end. Self talk, tons, clothed in cliched business garb.

Then, he’s staring straight through me, absorbed in his own thoughts. His gaze is steely, purposeful, crushing. Competition and victory are the only things that matter to him.

Left Behind

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Soon as she heard Biddy’s crackly voice, Vivian felt trapped.

Biddy folded her hands on the walker, a shocked expression on her face. Bessie’s nephew’s in the hospital. Top of his head come clean off. Her daughter called last night.” Biddy puckered up her lips like she was eating a lemon straight up, no sugar, no salt, just peeled off the tree. “Like he got scalped.”

Biddy wagged her head.  “You going to supper?”

Thrown together for decades, a friendship of convenience, Vivian considered pleading illness. What a gossip. Vivian fervently wished her husband hadn’t gone first. “I guess so.”

Milestones

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Josephine pulled the seams on her polyester pants straight. She thought it wasn’t right to wear dark clothes that said mourning on a warm day that said Texas summer. Fanning her face and damp underarms, she glanced at her daughter while the undertaker spoke. What Josephine really wanted was to go home and shower.

Cirrhosis took Josephine’s husband to an early grave, but not soon enough, she thought. She loved her husband, “Great guy,” she always said. She meant it despite his gambling debts.

Her daughter’s face colored thirty seconds after Josephine asked, “How much does the funeral usually run?”

Shrew Sonnet

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At night I reach for you, but you’re not there.

I wait, hear heels that tap across the floor.

It must, most certain be a trap, a snare,

Cruel trick, the phantom step beyond the door.

 

In breathless trepidation do I wait

For you, just you, no’ne else but you will do.

“I do,” the words I’ve spoken much too late

To bind our troth and make our life anew.

 

Dear Kate, I beg, please come to me again.

With heaving bosom, dance with me a turn.

Such perfect grace together we attain

That even Rose, her favor we might earn.

 

Alas, I wish that this were but a dream,

In fact, I fear it’s all that it doth seem.