Slip From Grip

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Enslaved persons cutting sugar cane on the Island of Antigua, 1823, (The British Library)

 

 

She fed them well so

They would

Sleep,

And silently

She gave the slip,

To all she knew

Yet did not sweep

Away the bite

Of whip.

She fled,

So the child in

Her belly’s keep,

Would not writhe, helpless,

In another person’s

Grip.

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: slip

(Note: Dedicated to all who suffered and still suffer under the yoke of injustice, discrimination, racism, and pretense. We can do better than this. We must do better than this.)

 

 

 

 

Resolute Rose

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Photo: Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

 

 

The least of hardship was when

She broke her toe,

Age nine,

Her youngest brother

Then a mewling newborn

In her arms.

She’d been pacing

Through the night

To let Mother

Recover some.

Ever the intrepid

Elder child,

Rose missed but

A step,

Taped her toes,

And walked on

Till the morn.

 

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Intrepid in 52 words

 

 

 

If It Rains

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Photo: Javardh on Unsplash

 

“If it rains,” she said.

“It pours,” he answered.

They laughed and touched palms

Over glass.

The barriers that divide

Not keeping them

Apart.

“And when it shines,” she said,

“It glories,” he responded.

She grinned and then the corners

Of her lips

Shook and her palm pressed

Again

Toward his

And her eyes unleashed a

Downpour of

Longing.

“Don’t cry,” he whispered.

“I’m almost ready

For the transplant.

My cells will welcome yours

Into my own.

As they had

In the womb.

It is like coming home.”

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Downpour in 88 words

 

 

 

Make It Home

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Photo: Osnat Halperin-Barlev

 

They strung up the hammock, and called it home.

There was a tent.

There was shade.

There was view.

There was fresh air.

And in the morning, sparkly tears of dew.

It wasn’t much, perhaps.

With a long trek to get water,

And so a lot to learn. Anew.

Still, they made do.

 

There had been little time to plan,

After they got the letter.

It was pay up, in whole,

Or let the owed sum fetter

Their everything into

Being a forever debtor.

So they packed what they owned

And drove away

With broken hearts and eyes the wetter.

 

At least here,

Even with no walls

There was shelter.

Which was, already,

Better.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Home in 114 words

 

 

 

 

Plenty Enough Of That

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Photo: E.K.

 

“I don’t know what we’ll do,” she sobbed.

He lifted her chin gently till the brown-speckled eyes met his. “We’ll manage,” he said, surety threaded carefully into his voice. He didn’t want her feeling as if she was weak for unraveling or wondering whether any of what she was feeling was excessive or unreasonable. It was not.

He didn’t have all the answers, either.

Only love.

He had plenty of that.

And it had to be enough.

“Everything’s a mess,” she sighed.

It was. And yet, it wasn’t. Not everything. Their care for each other had not a single tangle in it.

“It’s like this cotton field,” he breathed. “Raw fibers that are nonetheless brimming with nascent fabric potential. We’ll pick through our grief and weave love into a new life.”

 

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Fabric in 131 words

 

 

Toppers

tall-frames CrispinaKemp

 

It wasn’t an easy thing for a Bottom-Feeder to achieve Topper status. Most born to the Lower Gradients remained in the dank shadows of the towers, foraging for what could be found.

But Bronson never took the easy route. Not in birth, where his footling position had almost killed his mama and had left him only one usable hand. Not in growing, when he was often the last to be fed and the first to be beaten. Not in young adulthood, when he decided that wit and perseverance would have to do what his physique could not.

He lurked. He flattered. He kept abreast of Toppers’ visits to the LG’s for the vices, and used his nonthreatening appearance to offer guidance, and sometimes, services.

When Lorena’s ankle broke on twisted pavement, he lent a shoulder, led her home, and stayed. Life was better at the Tops, even as a pet.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Tomorrow’s Orb

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

” … And that is when the sun became the liquid gold …” Marianna tucked the blanket tighter around the child and bent to kiss the flaxen head. The short soft hairs tickled her lips. She hadn’t yet gotten used to the severe buzz cut. She resisted touching her own head.

“…and in the morning?” the little one murmured, half-asleep.

“It will turn itself back into an orb and rise into the dawn …”

The almost translucent eyelids fluttered open once to rest on the flaming horizon, before closing, heavy, onto the small cheeks. The girl’s breathing deepened and slowed in time with the surf, arms secured around a well-loved doll.

Marianna stared at the reflection of molten lava on the water, listened to the murmured rush of the waves, rocked on her heels, and hugged herself.

At least the weather’s holding.

The child turned. An arm slipped out of the protection of the blanket and Marianna tucked the slim limb back under the covers, securing the doll where it could not be seen. It was a forbidden toy, yet Marianna could not bring herself to discard it. Not when so much had already been lost. She swallowed, and her hand rose of its own accord to feel the expanse of her head, the hair no longer there.

It was the least of it. Better they be seen as male, anyway.

The sun sank, gold, into the sea. She thought of the bedtime story and of the simple acceptance of young minds. Of the trust, the effervescent hope. Her own breath deepened as her daughter’s face at rest loosened a coil of tension in her chest into tendrils of comfort.

They’d made it this far. The beach was secluded. The trees and darkness offered their own respite. She, too, needed sleep.

May morning come, she thought. She lay her head on their pack of belongings and spooned the child against her heart. The last of the light licked the dampness from her cheek. May we safely see tomorrow’s orb rebirthed.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo prompt

 

 

I Believe

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Photo: Charlie Hammond on Unsplash

 

I believe the magic

That is people,

And the unremitting wonder

That is found

Undaunted

In their hearts.

I believe the small,

Persistent,

Staunch soul rumble

That continues

Shaken but unfailing

To grow

Through the hardship,

Making handholds of the worry

All the while.

 

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: magic

 

 

The Big Scale

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Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

In the big scale

Of things

Where watershed moments

Froth and fall in

Flush forward,

Each of us but a dot

Drenched in mist

Hoping life

Flows without

A fast-forward.

 

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Scale