Blessed Be

Ben blesses water he drinks. A Standing Rock elder taught him to thank Mother Earth and the Tualatin River. Ben is modern. He adds the EPA.

At First Sight

They met Christmas Day at PDX. Ed played ragtime on the Steinway. Al sidled up to do a soft shoe. They untied their bowties over craft beer.

The Real World

Sharon’s dreams make more sense than the truth. She dreams night and day. Like Snow White, she hopes to sleep until the world is made right.

 

Stellar Import

Her kid wants a purple one, but it doesn’t come in purple. Em makes one, but homemade won’t do. The cape has to come from Krypton or Macy’s.

Believing

Sunset blooms like a bruise in the wintry gray sky. Gentle night will bring snow flurries falling like stars. Kia waits on the porch to see.

 

Really

It’s all about the clawfoot tub. Ted loved her place. So he married her. They had kids. She died at 90. He won’t let them sell at any price.

First Interview

Josh dons his grandpa’s 60s-era three-piece suit. Its broad shoulders hug him as he leaves the homeless shelter. He prays he’ll get the job.

A Beaut

The thwack of typewriter keys fills the repair shop. The owner is a beaut, like his vintage machines. Ann takes him and a Smith Corona home.

Half-Blue

A ragged formation of geese flies by, squawking about a storm. The sky is half-blue, but Linda shutters her windows. She misses the rainbow.

To Be Heard

Mia whistles, not a song, but a cry like the wind. Twilight mockingjays answer. Tidying her one plate, one cup, one fork, she calls to them.

Like Home

Her red eyes click-click-click, tapping an unfinished sentence, ‘there’s no place,’ ‘there’s no place,’ until one day she’s here, just here.

Shaggy Dog Story

Fritz had a shaggy dog. One day the dog ate his homework. When he told his teacher, she laughed at him. That’s the day Fritz learned to lie.

Home

Paula grew up on a cul-de-sac. Now she lives on a dead end. She’s traversed many and many a roundabout in the interim, all leading her here.

Regrets

His thumb-twiddling makes the dog nervous. His dog’s panting makes the man jumpy. He twiddles all the more. Finally the forgiving sun rises.

Silver Hair

Maeve was 84, rode a ’59 Schwinn, and ran a printing press. She left it to her bike mechanic, Sam. In his comics, she became an enchantress.

Growing Up

The chest was too tall. The top drawer was Ada’s. When Ada left home, Bea climbed up to open it. She found Ada had left her a lilac sachet.

Shaded Eyes

The child’s hat has never been crushed. Its taffeta bow shines crisply white. She reaches up an unmet hand as she leaves her only ever home.

Calling to Her

She lives near the shore, but Pearl hasn’t seen it in years. She’s forgotten the way to the sea, but she remembers the language of seagulls.

Feeling Her Way

Even Mia’s bulldog learned to love the rain. They’d prowl the Oregon coast, faces upturned, whether spritz or splat. It healed Mia’s vision.

Raw

The gash in the wall exposes twelve layers of paint and wallpaper. Jill scrapes it down to raw pine boards. The past crackles to the floor.

Hot

There’s no wind today. Mia plays the chimes herself. Mark watches her hands ring the strands of Depression glass. It’s better than a breeze.

Second Sight

Ann drew her God with crayons as a girl. Now an old woman, when she stills her mind to pray, she sees that same orange and red ball of fire.

Dancing to a Different Tune

He heard 12 children play xylophones to an orchestrated marimba beat. She heard 4 kids in a break between sets, jamming amazing bright jazz.

Smith Corona

The pixie cut girl flashed a smile and a sign, ‘Typewriter Troubadour.’ The French twist woman gave $5 for one manually typed word, ‘Hello.’

Passing the Peace

John and Luke went to church when visiting Alabama, because they’re church-goers. They entered holding hands and shared a Bible. That’s all.

Breathing Words

They thought it was the paper they missed, lined paper, onion skin, reams of bond, pages of books. No one even remembered the smell of ink.

Albuquerque

Mac has never seen the ocean. Alia has never seen a cow. They meet on Route 66. She’s having coffee late. He’s up early. Hello dawns slowly.

Exuberance

Plucking a harp that isn’t there is not like air guitar. It looks strange. Jillian can’t speak, but she plays murmured concertos flawlessly.

Rolling With It

The earth shook a little. Nine patients in an oncologist’s waiting room looked up and smiled, unalarmed. “It’s an earthquake,” someone said.

Fancy Footwork

The only Spanish he knows, he learned on I Love Lucy. The only English she knows, she learned from her kids. Silently, they learn the tango.