Daily Prompt: Candle

via Daily Prompt: Candle

My grandmother told me you light a candle

every night, to light the way for the lost,

the souls of the ones we love,

who struggle to find their way back home.

She lit one with a match and placed it

on the windowsill, and I began to wonder,

was it to show them the way home,

or was it because of fear of the dark?

Years later, I was the one lighting the candle,

and I was hoping she would find her way home,

so, just for a brief moment, I would see her again.

 

Candle

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Daily Prompt: Border

via Daily Prompt: Border

The hill slanted upwards very steeply,

and I wondered if the entire house was slanted, then, too.

I asked my mom, if I slept on the floor,

would I slide from the top wall to the bottom wall?

She laughed, and assured me that the inside was level.

The realtor showed us around, wood floors,

high stairwell that seemed to lead into nothingness.

In the back, between the kitchen and the living room,

there was a sliding glass door.– I walked through it.

There, in the garden, the grass grew long,

my shoes sank into the dirt,

and the green itchiness crept onto my ankles.

I stared at the snail crawling past a slab of concrete,

that just seemed to be placed there for no reason.

(I was later told that it was covering up an underground storage space.)

Beyond the slab was a slight, rock border on the grass

that was unevenly placed, like tiny hands had slowly

picked up rocks from another part of the garden

and placed them delicately onto this open space,

one at a time, until their little hands could pick up no more.

I wondered, then, did those little hands belong to someone

with little eyes, and when they saw the house, on that slanted hill,

did they think that the inside was slanted too?

Border

Daily Prompt: Realize

via Daily Prompt: Realize

The morning air is crisp

as it prickles my dry skin.

I feel a sudden alertness, maybe panic,

as I rise and set off to do drone work.

It’s all a routine now–

wake, get the kids ready, get myself ready,

go to work, think about being somewhere else,

come home from work, eat, sleep.

This morning I drag a bit,

I sip a little longer on my coffee,

I stare a little longer out the window,

and I think a little longer about my life.

I realize this life is happy, comfortable, cozy,

but is it fulfilled?

Have I reached my potential?

Of course the answer is–

shower time for the kids.

Maybe tomorrow morning I’ll have better answers,

but I suspect everything will be the same,

a comfortable routine, like an endless loop

and I’m hoping the groundhog would die already.

Realize

Daily Prompt: Daring

via Daily Prompt: Daring

 

Our neighbor walked to our door this morning and rang the doorbell during breakfast. He seemed distraught. I could tell from the way he rang it. It was two short dings in rapid succession. One after the other without a break in between to even acknowledge that the first had rung. I muttered to myself as I got up, “How daring of him.” Not only was he disturbing breakfast, but he’s also double-ringing the bell.

I opened the door to greet him. He stood still, eyes hidden behind sunglasses, and the round part of his nose glowed slightly red. “My dad passed. He went last night.” were his only words. Without saying anything, I hugged him with whatever comforting strength I had, just a slightly harder hug to let him know he could squeeze back, lean if he needed to, and to cry when he was ready.

He told my wife and I a story about his father, Joe. Some old obscure memory in his mind about someone asking Joe about heaven. His father had said, “I don’t think it exists. Nope, but if it did I hope it’s just a giant coffee shop, where I can sit around, listen to stories, maybe tell some of my own. That would be heaven.”

I remember one morning, I had a cup of coffee in my hand and I walked outside to feel the crisp, freshness of the air, and Joe was on his front porch listening to the radio and rocking in his rocking chair. I waved, “Hi Joe, good morning!”

He didn’t wave back. He got up from his chair and walked over to me. “Hey there, neighbor. I can’t see you very well from over there, and I might not recognize you when you wave, but please keep doing it. Keep waving, it’s a nice sight for my old eyes.”

And as our neighbor stood at our door telling us a few more stories, I cried. If all he wanted was coffee and stories, he could have had that here, at my doorstep, and he could have let heaven wait just a little longer.

 

Daring

Ramblings- Daily Prompt: Disagree

via Daily Prompt: Disagree

 

Marriage is one of those crazy things

that doesn’t quite make sense to the outsiders

looking in, watching a series of events

unfold, like a rom-com or sitcom,

or even a horror movie, — psychological thriller,

maybe.

They expect perfection,

after all, that’s what’s advertised.

An illusion of ‘happy ever after’

and those climaxes in films where they

stay together for the sake of ‘whatever.’

For the insiders, those in the know,

marriage is complicated.

Maybe that’s cliché, but marriage itself,

is cliché.

They ask, “Why are you getting married?”

and the response is generated using stock answers,

because of love?

because he/she is my best friend in the world?

because we have kids?

because I want to spend the rest

of my life with this person?

because I can’t outrun shotguns?

Then they say, “oh, that’s a great reason,

I’m happy for you.”

It’s all cliché, but we’ll continue to do it.

I did it. For all the same clichés I mentioned,

and quite a few I didn’t mention,

and somewhere in the beginning,

when things weren’t going so smoothly,

and I feared the happy ever after

wasn’t meant for me, it came to me…

I wouldn’t want to disagree with anyone else

and then have to sleep in the same bed with them,

wake up in the morning, and disagree some more

about the same topics, over and over again,

unless it was her.

There was no walking away, leaving in different cars,

waiting on that cooling off period, or forgetting the topic

completely, and moving onto the next.

It was disagree, sleep on it, disagree some more,

and agree to disagree.

It was that brief moment in a horror movie,

where all the protagonist’s friends are dead,

the monster is closing in to finish off the hero,

and then she makes it outside the house,

into an open field, looks up and sees the sun,

and, for a brief moment, feels the hope of a new day.

That’s marriage.

It’s running from danger,

finding ways to escape with your life intact,

all for those moments of hope,

where you know the monster is still lurking,

but that sun on your face is warm, and it’s a beautiful sight.

Disagree

Daily Prompt: Silence

via Daily Prompt: Silence

 

There has been quite a bit of chatter

in my mind, as I think of things to post.

The hurried samples and the prompts

swirl around in my head until– poof!

Silence….

I listen for inspiration, but I hear nothing.

My work sits on the desk

waiting for my ideas

to transform into actions,

but I sit still–

still listening,

for unborn drafts, and unwritten posts.

Publish button becoming a burden,

a heavy weight, like a boogeyman

crawling into the back of my mind,

devouring my thoughts and my passion,

until there is nothing left,

but an eternal silence.

Silence

Daily Prompt: Fragile

via Daily Prompt: Fragile

 

Yesterday, while taking my daughter to school, I noticed a child, maybe a second grader, laying on the ground by the main office. I thought he had fallen, or maybe fainted. I didn’t want to be that guy that rushes over there, though, and tries to help when I’m not needed. I’m the other type of guy, who walks to where it’s happening and waits for confirmation that help is needed. So, like a creeper, I crept over and stood close enough that if the child’s mother asked, I could spring into action.

She pleaded with him, “You’ve got to get up! This is no way for you to be acting. You can’t just lay here all day.” And, like some sort of wise, old soul, he replied with, “Well, if I can’t lay here all day, take me home, then.”

Knowing there was no help needed, I left. Throughout the day I’d think about that little boy and his protest. Something had obviously caused him enough distress that he’d rather lay down in front of the entire school, than to get up and go to class.

This morning, I saw him again after dropping off my daughter. This time he didn’t quite make it into the front gate. He lay in front of the school, in front of where the buses dropped off students. He was with his mother again. This time I didn’t veer close enough to hear their conversation, but I imagine it was the same as yesterday’s.

I smiled a little knowing it was another day of protest, but when I got to the car it hit me. A child’s psyche is so fragile. I remember being in elementary school and wanting to just quit. There were those days where the lessons just didn’t make sense, but that wasn’t the reason. It was always a social thing. My friends would decide I had done something to warrant them withdrawing their friendship, or the “cool kids” decided I was no longer “cool” enough to be seen with them, or that girl I had a crush on said I was being ‘childish’ (childish?! I was 7! Technically, that’s all I could be).

As I drove home, I felt empathy for him. I wanted to be his age, to walk up to him this morning and say, “hey, kid, it’s going to be fine. Let’s be friends. I’ll stick with you today and every day. I wanted to share my Handi-Snacks and tell him about the cool stuff I did over the weekend. I wanted to help pick him off the ground and dust him off and say, “That was a funny prank. Let’s go get in line before the bell rings.”

When I got home, I hugged my son. He’s too young to know, but I told him, “I’ve got your back, son. I’ll stick with you today and every day.”

Fragile