She’s Moving Though She’s Ninety Years Old.

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The walls are thin. After my mom and I argue, I meet her neighbor in the rec room and it seems she’s heard everything. What I said about wishing my mother wouldn’t move because her memory is bad. Because it takes time to make friends. Because she’s not old furniture for my sister to rearrange when it suits her.

Mom depends on my sister. I live in another state.

The neighbor said, “My daughter bought across town. She wanted me to find a place close by, but I stayed put. People are nice here. I depend more on myself, now.”

From the Immortal Poets, Guaire the Generous

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It was a fine table Guaire set for the poets who stayed in his castle. But Seanchan, the most renowned, was displeased. “What victuals these? Better suited to cats than to learned men.” And by cats he meant the nobles filling their faces down the table. “So fat these cats, the mice run wild in the kitchen.”

When Irusan, King of the Cats, heard this insult, he came to kill Seanchan. Loading the bard on his back, he ran like the wind until they encountered St. Kieran who ran a hot poker through Irusan, saving Seanchan to reconcile with Guaire.

Retold from Ancient Legends of Ireland by Lady Wilde.

Looking for the Light

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“Why do you fear the dark?”

“It’s too quiet. It blocks my sight.” Dagny’s bright yellow hair contrasted with Lilith’s dark curls.

“Close your eyes,” she said.

He did. Reluctantly.

“What do you see?” Lilith moved a hand across his shuttered gaze.

“A flash, dark, flash.”

She dropped her hand to her lap. “Then gather the light that is left behind your lids and see my form in your mind’s eye.”

To begin, Lilith was a shadow. Her hair was the first to differentiate itself. Then her lips and her eyes, and once her face appeared, Dagny had no fear.

Inspired by Jane Yolen’s The Moon Child.

Going for the Gold **

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Margie* told a little lie,
Fleeced those who did not know.
And everywhere that Margie went, 
The lie was sure to go.
*Marjorie Taylor Greene

It followed her to Washington.
It spread and spread and spread.
The hospitals filled with Covid deaths
In states the color red.

Sean Hannity said, “Get a vax.”
And so did Valentine*.
But Margie wouldn't know the truth
If it bit her from behind.
*Phil Valentine, conservative talk show host

I hope this rhyme does not offend,
It is not meant to do.
It's only that we can't pretend 
Fake facts will get us through. 

And why, you say, a send up
Of Mary's Little Lamb.
False claims did plague its author, though
She'd published her iamb.

Eighteen thirty was the date 
On Mrs. Hale's book.
'Twas nineteen twenty-eight, about, when
Old Ford* had a look.
*Henry Ford, famous for cars and conspiracy theories

He wrote that Hale plagiarized
The poem she’d published first.
The lie went out across the land.
This fib was not Ford’s worst.

His may have rivaled Margie's lies,
Though, that I do not know.
But at the time, he did his part 
Mean chaos here* to sow.
*Via his newspaper, Dearborn Independent

Nineteen twenty-seven saw
Him hateful towards the Jews.
The case, it went before the court.
The judge decried his views. 

Ford used slave labor overseas
To build in German towns.
Despite his past apologies, 
The liar doubled down.

So now we come to Margie's “facts,”
The same The Donald told.
Like Henry Ford they watch folks die,
While piling up the gold.

**Next week will be a drabble.

Silver Linings

Photo by Peter Kessler

The silver lining in our Covid story almost didn’t happen. My son responded to a Facebook post. A Michigan friend, who was stationed in Afghanistan, posted a message from a Sacramento friend who had housing for herself, but not her pets. Through social media, they spanned the world to locate a fostering contact point. 

It was a risk. Little was known about animal-human transmission, so we were leery of the multiple moves the dogs had made on their way to us. Potential virus vectors. But when Max noses in or Kohnan sings opera, I’m glad we took the chance. 

Welcome Gnome

Photo by Monica McHenney

An innocent mistake, pressing the camera button. The Welcome Gnome on the front steps stirred, his soul waking in the hot California sun.

“Water. Make it a spray, a spate, a mist. Elsewise, you’ll suck the life from this old soul.” The gnome skittered into the shade of an overhang.

The hose sang clear wet.

He wavered, quivering silver like a heat mirage, so that she queried, “Are you okay?”

“Delete the picture.” He hovered, real and unreal. “Stuck in a camera, I’ll shadow to dust. Resting, must, in the garden. There’s a spot for me. I’ll find my way.”

Not An Emergency

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There was a fight about money after my father’s funeral, though money played no part. The details don’t matter. Proximity: same car, same hotel, same any building and we erupt. It would have been a ruckus except our husbands intervened. My sister pushed a finger at my chest. Ghosts burned through me. We could have been scrambling over sharp-edged furniture into the emergency room.

The argument was predictable, something to schedule for a convenient time. A time free of hot flashes and cold stares. After forty years of not settling things, the fracas was expected, even anticipated. Not an emergency.

Interview with the Antichrist

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Why resign?

— E-mail. God sent me a cease and desist order. It’s here somewhere. Oh, maybe it got trashed when I ran out of space in my Yahoo account.

Were you surprised?

— Yeah. He doesn’t know me from Adam.

No idea you were evil incarnate until God got in touch?

— How would I know? The Biblical criteria are all over the map. Nero, half the Popes, fictional characters, even cardboard reality TV stars qualify. Another reason to quit.

I’m hearing that presenting as a sympathetic character is important?

— More like well rounded.

So what’s your next gig?

— Fairy tale villain.

John Lewis- 1940 to 2020

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John Lewis was buried this week in Atlanta. He grew up in Troy, Alabama, where using a public library was for whites only in 1956. Sixteen years old, he sent the city council a letter, the first of many times he protested Jim Crow.

Arrested 45 times in civil rights demonstrations, he was known for making “good trouble.” Also for mobilizing political action with the phrase, “We’re going to march.” In 1987, he marched into Congress representing Atlanta.

Can’t stomach an unfair legal system? Can’t accept people getting arrested for exercising the First Amendment? Stand with John Lewis’s legacy. Support change. Vote justice.

Space Trash

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Insects buzzed in Angie’s ears. The air was cooling, the way it did during her afternoon soaps.

Something outside announced itself with a booming jet plane noise. Ted ran through the living room, onto the patio. The object he found was small, less than two cubic inches, but heavy.

After toing and froing past the telly, he showed Angie a piece of debris clutched in an oven mitt. It was a burnt toast color. “Space junk. Like the magazine picture.”

“Sure ’nuff.” She motioned Ted away. “Better save it. Call up the museum to collect it later, after my shows.”