Not Out Of Joint

LIght-it-Blue-NY-One-World-Trade-2-credit-One-World-Observatory-@OneWorldNYC

 

The farmer pruning rows of trees,

The seller in the market.

The hens that daily lay their eggs,

For tomorrow’s nest (or basket).

The driver navigating streets,

The postman carting packets.

The parent shepherding a child

In mask and zipped up jacket.

The nurses, doctors

Plumbers, pets,

Who have become our mascots.

The slower pace

The seeking gaze

In meetings held in tablet.

The smaller gifts

That bloom in hearts,

As parks in flowers blanket.

The ebb and flow of day to day

The births, the hope, the caskets.

The love that feeds

The good of deeds,

The evenings’ clapping racket.

For as so many things are stalled,

Kindness grows in ranking,

And we are really not at all

Out of joint in thanking.

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS writing prompt: joint

 

 

The Way It Used To Be

storm SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

There were hollows underneath the old ruins. They could be reached through the small shadowy glen that indented the hill where the remains of the stone structure stood.

Da had said that the underground spaces had likely been storerooms, but in Konnor’s mind they could just as easily have been dungeons. People had such things in castles and forts and towers. In old times.

Or perhaps still did. You never knew what could be lurking underneath someone’s residence.

He used to go to the ruins with Baldwin. It had been their favorite play space. They’d crawl through the opening in the rocks which led to a small roundish place with hand-hewed walls that still showed marks of chisels, complete with what must’ve been a doorway to other spaces but was blocked by a tumble of large stones.

They had made a plan to clear those, he and Baldwin, once when summer was long and they were bored and needing an adventure. They were soon disabused of the notion, however. Not only were the stones heavy and the tugging of them sweaty work, but the dust that fell on their heads from the ceiling made them realize that the whole thing could come down and leave them buried.

They weren’t ready to be buried. Not when ghosts and goblins waited to grab any who stepped into Death’s domain.

So they left the rockfall alone and found that their imaginations managed to terrify each other well enough without actually discovering what hid underneath and behind the areas into which they had no ingress.

Then Baldwin got sick, and when the fever subsided his legs did not work anymore and one of his arms was weak and he became morose and pale and could no longer come play in the ruins. When Konnor came to visit him, Baldwin reclined in his bed and frowned and said that dungeon stories were stupid and for babies.

Konnor stopped mentioning their games. He visited less and less until he only went when his mother made him. Baldwin was too angry and there was nothing Konnor could do right and he felt awkward and worried and sad.

His feet still took him to the ruins — they knew the way so well — but it wasn’t the same without Baldwin. The place felt spookier. Lonelier. Colder. Silent in a way that breathed him guilty. The stories that had been so exciting felt empty and Konnor began to think that perhaps the hollow, too, was for babies.

He turned his back on the ruins and tried to forget the way things used to be.

Then one day, as his feet walked him by, he heard mewling. At first he wondered if those were ghosts come to haunt him … but the insistent whines sounded too much like complaints brought forth by small, needy, hungry, living things.

He crawled in. His torch lit an area of newly fallen stones and a squirming mound of furry wobbly creatures.

It had been heedless to enter face first into a den. He would have been taught a painful lesson by the parent, had she not been crushed under one of the stones. It couldn’t have been long. Her motionless form was almost warm.

The pups mewled and one wriggled to nuzzle blindly against Konnor’s palm, seeking comfort. It was only when he picked them up into his shirt that he realized something.

“The stories we told may have been for babies,” he told Baldwin when he unveiled the brown head of a pup that had snuggled into the crook of his arm, “but the dungeons seemed to have produced some real younglings.”

“And this one,” he planted the helpless creature in Baldwin’s withered lap, “needs someone who understands. Da says her back must have been crushed. Her hind legs are paralyzed.”

Baldwin’s eyes grew round and as he reached to touch the pup, she licked his finger. “I’ll call her Dungeon,” he said gently and his voice held a hint of sparkle. “For the way it used to be.”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto challenge

 

 

 

No Longer Cold

HolidayNYC NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

It had stared

Though the window

At the clothed

Indoor tree

Wrapped in tinsel

And glory,

Gifts at its feet,

Stars on its crown.

And it shivered,

Naked,

In the cold.

All leaves long gone.

“This tree is naked,”

A child stopped,

Compared,

Bemoaned.

“It is too cold.”

Not anymore, Child,

Not anymore.

 

 

Note: I took this photo earlier today in New York City, as I walked past this brownstone’s holiday decorations. This post is dedicated to all who are outside, looking in. May you be seen. May you be clothed. May you be known. May you no longer be cold.

 

Also, for the new Monday Window challenge

And an extra tag for Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge of: Holidays

 

 

A Home For Joey

joey at the beach InbarAsif

Photo: Inbar Asif

 

He did not know how to play

But they knew he’d be

Okay.

He was scared of every thing

But they knew that he was

King.

He had to learn life from scratch

But they knew they’d love him

Much.

He’s the sweetest boy there is

Even unsure how to

Please.

And whether he’s a bit autistic

His kind of love is

Simplistic.

He is now a happy boy

Who gets his life to

Enjoy.

 

 

For the Sunday Stills Challenge: Pets

 

 

Lost Halos

Photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

She’d been surprised to find out there was property overseas. Grandma raised her, yet no word was ever said about it.

“You should go,” Abe said. “Check it out. See about selling.”

She took Daniel with her. Heritage for him. Distraction from grief for her.

The small apartment above the Shuk was dank and cramped. Her grandmother had bought it decades earlier. Investment in the Holy Land.

“We couldn’t pay much,” the ancient tenant said, tears and wariness in her eyes, blue numbers on her arm. “She was an angel. Kept saying we were doing the mitzvah on her behalf.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Grounded

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“Where did you find it?”

The boy’s face reflected his struggle: to tell the truth would be to admit he’d been doing what he oughtn’t, but to withhold the truth could mean that what needs to happen, won’t.

The woman waited. Integrity was best cultivated by one’s own appreciation of the internal equilibrium that is restored by accepting the inherent benefit of right versus wrong, and not by shaming or attempting to compel it via fear of punishment.

She knew, of course, that he’d been out of bed, and on a night when he’d already been grounded for breaking his sister’s carpentry project. All the more reason, she thought, to let him find a place to dig himself out of a hole of misdemeanors.

Some children tended to break rules all the time. Her son did not. Or at least not without what one could usually understand as good reason. That the nine-year-old had refused to say why he’d demolished Liz’s contraption, and that he did not argue when he’d been sent to his room, told her there was already more to the story than what he was willing to tell her.

The moment lingered. She let it stretch.

“Outside,” he said. He lifted his eyes to her, having crossed the Rubicon.

Displeased as she was that he broke curfew, she was proud of him for finding the courage to admit it.

“I see,” she nodded and raised an eyebrow in direction of his cupped hands.

“I had to save it.” Timidity was gone now that truth was set in motion. “Liz said she was going to put it in her new cage and keep it. But it is not a pet, and it is hurt and it cannot fly and something was going to come and eat it.”

The boy’s eyes were bright with tears of righteous defiance. “I don’t care if you ground me till I’m, like, a hundred. He needed help!”

The bird wriggled clumsily in the boy’s palms and the child’s young face crumbled in uncertainty. “But … um … before you send me to my room for forever, can you please please drive me to the vet?”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto prompt

 

 

Have Heart For A Better Humanity

at the end of a day

Photo: Monique Laats on Pexels.com

 

When a place of worship crumbles

Into hell of gore and pain,

And the sorrows of the many

Become what connects us all again,

Know that care can conquer ugly

And that compassion outdoes hate’s disdain,

As long as we eject terror

To heed the better, deeper call,

That anything that harms our kinship

Diminishes the very core of all,

Just as anything that builds it

Can lead humanity to standing tall.

 

 

For Debbie’s Six Word Saturday

 

A Kid’s Rock

Photo: © Randy Mazie

 

“She insists on coming,” he noted without raising his head and even though I hadn’t worded my question.

The quiet breathed and a soft breeze rustled the leaves and made shadows caress the stones.

“She stands by the gate and belts until I take her,” he added and continued to wipe his already spotless glasses. His fingers trembled, from palsy or emotion or both, I didn’t know.

“She misses her, you see,” he glanced at the goat. “Rejected by her nanny, this kid was. My Mary hand-raised her. She was this kid’s rock. Now all that’s left is this headstone.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Be With

Friendship Craft DiklaNachmias

Photo: Dikla Nachmias

 

When someone needs,

May you be there

May you be with.

When it is you who needs,

May someone be there for you

To be with.

 

For Nurturing Thursday

 

 

Not All Is Lost

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

 

They were always getting blown out of their homes. She couldn’t stand it. She knew how it felt to be homeless, especially for a youngling. And she’d seen the devastation of parents who’d returned to find some force had swept their babies off to unknown and worse places. She knew about being lost.

She was going to stop it.

At least for them.

Surely if she built it, they will come.

She kept checking and almost despaired, but one morning … there they were.

“Welcome home,” she whispered to the first eggs laid.

 

 

For Friday Fictioneers, August 3, 2018