As soon as my door creaked open that night I knew something was amiss. They were all inside, asleep, Father’s snores cascading through my second floor. The children’s sighs floating to my windows and settling into my walls. There was no one on the outside who should have been entering.
The inappropriateness of his ingress was apparent as soon as he stepped over my threshold. His presence had never been inside me before. He was a violation. I wanted to throw him out through the door he’d entered as if he belonged, to shake so violently that he would retreat, or rumble my people awake, but I was stuck, firm on my foundation. I begged for the wind to gust so my old walls would creak, for him to trip over an errant toy, to crash through me and cause alarm, but he snuck on nearly silent feet. He walked through me with the same familiarity as my people – a brazen affront.
The stranger crept up my stairs, placing each foot with care, the intrusive weight of each footfall compressing my carpet. Right, then left, then right again, pausing on each step to listen to the sounds above him – the sounds from my bedrooms. When he errantly placed his foot on the creaky edge of my fifth stair I rejoiced, sure that someone would stir in my rooms above. He winced and stopped, holding his breath. From above, Father’s snores stopped for a moment, and I braced with anticipation, waiting for him to fly out of bed. Instead, he caught his breath, rolled over, and resumed snoring. I would have wept, if I were capable of weeping. The stranger let out his breath in a quiet sigh, not unlike the sighs of the sleeping children, and continued his ascent. READ MORE…
a field of waving emerald grasses brushes
against my long flowing gossamer robe
as I clutch the ruff of the majestic lion
by my side. The lion and I are everything
and everyone we have ever loved or known,
animal or human, even those we have never met.
I wake up knowing I have received an answer
to a universal question I have never asked. READ MORE…
Madrid is all tapas and tired tourists, throngs of people walking too slowly. Nina had come to Spain to enhance her conversational skills and to take the Business Spanish course. She sat in a café drinking from the demitasse and hankering for a large Americano which this place didn’t do, just had the espresso machine. Her grandmother used to say that coffee was bad for your kidneys because it causes a short but sudden increase in blood pressure. Nina figured the recent research on coffee protecting against Parkinson’s and liver disease balanced out the risk. People round where she lived thought Nina’s family were Hispanic and that her name was Niña or ‘infant’, used diminutively for girls in the sense of ‘petite’. She was actually named after her Polish maternal grandmother who had told her the name originated in the old Slavic Ninati, meaning ‘dreamer’ or, possibly ‘one who dreams’ or has visions, but her grandmother was into all that hooey stuff. Nanna lived with them until she died in 1997 and used to whisper charms in Polish to her and her brother Alex when they were sick, which neither of them could understand. It used to make them laugh, her hot breath tickling their ears. Their dad used to make fun of her and her ‘snake oil shit’ behind her back. Nina and Alex loved her dearly, and just put it down to harmless superstitions from the ‘Old Country’. READ MORE…
You have ditched the plastic pumpkin
for a smart burnished satchel, a clue
to your pragmatic need for candy
on a night of gorging and bobbing
and greedy masked faces of boys with swords. READ MORE…
Fiction & Creative Nonfiction
Jordan Taylor Clark