The Tuesday poetics at the Pub is hosted by Dwight Roth this evening. He enjoins us to write about the sounds of silence.    




     stumbling across the page

         tripping on the steps

                  crossing a line.



         words. Futile

    distractions; impediments;


                                                     Clear the way.

                                                     Cap the pen.

                                                     Close the book.

                                                                              Be silent.

                                                                              Become unwritten.


Three Sisters

working-template-for-ff-challenges44.png Below are 501 words in response to Charli Mill’s July 26, 2018 prompt at Carrot Ranch to: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about what happens next to a stranded suitcase. Go where the prompt leads you, but consider the different perspectives you can take to tell the tale. The 99 word version is beneath the longer version. Click over to the Ranch to see other 99 word stories about a stranded suitcase, or to leave a story of your own.


(501 words)

The three sisters spied it at once, a worn suitcase in their path.

“Unattended baggage!” the first cried.

“Abandoned,” lamented the second.

“Lost,” declared the third. “We should clear our path.”

The first sister refused to go near the suitcase.

The second sister found the suitcase too heavy for her to manage.

The third sister found that she could manage to carry the suitcase and she set it upon a bench.

“We’ll get blown to smithereens.”

“I doubt it,” said the third, “look, there’s a tag.”

                         Contents may vary

“Hmmm”, they intoned at once, and two of the three sisters agreed they should open it, the better to identify its owner.

The first sister moved some distance away with her fingers in her ears.

The second sister kept fumbling the clasp and found she could not open the suitcase.

The third sister studied the clasp and, on her third try, managed to unlock the suitcase.

“Don’t lift that lid”, pleaded the first sister.

“Yes, maybe we shouldn’t look inside”, wavered the second sister.

“We’ve come this far”, resolved the third sister. “We’ll find out what is inside this suitcase that was in our path.” She lifted the top of the suitcase.

When the suitcase was opened wide without incident all three sisters gathered round it to peer inside.

The first sister saw fear, all her fears from all her years, the little ones as well as the big ones. Some began to appear silly to her, looking in on all of them as she was, and she wondered if she might give some of them up. “Let’s abandon this suitcase, leave it,” she suggested.

The second sister saw worry, all her worries from all her years, the little ones as well as the big ones. She saw they were a tangle and she wondered if she might unravel them or just give them up. “I agree. Let’s leave this suitcase. We’ve no need for it or its contents.”

The third sister saw hopes, dreams and wishes. Some were from long ago, some forgotten, and some she hadn’t even realized yet. She rummaged through the suitcase, enthralled and distracted.

“Sister!” the other two finally yelled. “Let’s get going. Do you agree we should abandon this suitcase and its contents?”

“No! I’ll take it.”

But now the third sister found the suitcase clumsy to carry and she kept stopping to review and examine its contents. Their progress on their path was slow. Finally she had to agree with her sisters. She sorted through the hopes, dreams, and wishes, deciding on what she might take with her and what she would leave behind in the suitcase. Shiny as the wishes were, she left them. Hope was light and easy to pack. All three sisters took hope from the suitcase and carried it close. The third sister then chose her biggest and best dream and wore it like a medallion over her heart.

The three sisters continued on their journey, their steps lighter and more certain.


(99 words)

Three sisters came upon a worn suitcase in their path.

“Unattended baggage!” the first cried.

“Abandoned,” lamented the second.

“Lost,” declared the third.

The first sister would not go near the suitcase.

The second sister found the suitcase too heavy to move.

The third sister found that she could manage the suitcase.

All three sisters gathered round to peer inside.

The first sister saw fear.

The second sister saw worry.

The third sister saw hopes, dreams and wishes.

She left the wishes. She took hope and her best dreams. Continuing the journey, her steps were lighter and more certain.




He almost bumped right into me on the sidewalk, a cell phone held to an ear with one hand, his other arm cradling a fiddle case, all the while striding rapidly down the hill towards Broadway. Suddenly he stopped and turned, I thought maybe to apologize, but he didn’t say anything for a while, just looked me all over, me with my knapsack and guitar in its beat up case, he just standing there without saying anything long enough that I started to get edgy and move away, but then he asked could I play the classics?

I stood up tall and told him I could play fairly well, could sing too, knew the classics but didn’t play covers.

“Oh, an artist, yeah, me too, I don’t do covers either, except when I’m in need of a paycheck, and right now my guitarist is stone-drunk somewhere and I didn’t know if you’d be interested in covering for his paycheck in forty-two minutes.”

I told him if he could get me something to eat within forty-one minutes, and if I could perform just one of my own songs on stage, he had himself a sober guitar playing back up singer.

He laughed, said you never say no to your last resort or to your first real opportunity, and we walked together to the honkytonks on Broadway, carrying our instruments to the one where, in forty minutes, we had a gig.


six sentence story.jpg

The prompt word for Six Sentence Stories this week is “resort”. My entry this week features a character seen before in Nashville Dreams, and in Mother Church, both 99 word flash responses for Carrot Ranch. I am continuing her story in these six sentences. As always, thank you Denise from girlieontheedge  for the prompt. Go to the link up to participate or to read other responses from the Six Sentence gang. Join in!


Inside Out

dverselogo.jpgLillian at dVerse Poets Pub has poured a stiff challenge for Haibun Monday this week, stipulating the prose paragraphs be a true accounting, not fiction, and that the prose take us on “a journey into an interior”, that we “go back in time to one of the very first houses you remember living in. Try to recall a room or place in that house. The accompanying haiku should be traditional.” This is my attempt at meeting the challenge. 

What does it matter what the inside of this log house is like? Inside you will see that the inhabitants are ready to go back outside. There are boots just inside the door, some arranged around the woodstove, felts pulled out, wool socks and mittens draped over. The dining room chairs each shoulder a wool jacket or sweater, sometimes even pants, as it gets hot inside with long-johns on and the woodstove going. Just outside the door are everyone’s snowshoes and my skis; the wax on the skis will do for another outing, the temperatures are constant just now. They’ll be brought inside to warm when they need to be waxed again. There’s also a trapper basket on the porch, with an ice chisel leaned against it. The auger for ice-fishing got left here too; it gets used too often lately to bother carrying it back through the bulkhead to the cellar. In the cellar ice skates are put on near the dwindling woodpiles then walked on through the bulkhead to the small pond behind the house where neighbors might join in too.

Back inside, the dining room table has topo maps on it, and magazines and butterflied books, unless the readers are flopped over the armchairs and couches in the living room, occasionally getting up to stir the stew that is simmering on the woodstove, (bear this time). The books take the inhabitants outside too; they’ve each read the entire Farley Mowat and Sally Carrighar collections at least twice. And Jack London can make them feel bone deep cold even in this snug little log house, which, oddly, makes them want to go outside again.


Deep snow cloud walkers

laughing under bare branches.

Sleeping seeds sigh and stir.


working-template-for-ff-challenges42.png“They say.” The old woman rocked forward and hocked one off the front porch. “They say old women shouldn’t chew,” she cackled. “It’s unseemly. They say.”

She directed her sharp eyes at the young woman sitting on the step. “They say all number of things, made up things, hurtful things, say them as cowards, after you’ve turned your back on them. They can’t take a turned back; makes them wonder about themselves.”

“Great Aunt Fannie, they say you disappeared.”

Phwoot! She hocked another into the tall weeds. “Yes, they’ve always said that. Because they can’t explain me being here.”


Carrot Ranch July 19, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about Fannie Hooe. Although she is a legend in the Kewenaw, feel free to go where the prompt leads.

Fact/fiction… oral histories/they say stories… legends that grow like a twisting vine, putting down its own roots as it reaches, needing the dark anchor of soil as well as the bright promise of light. The persistent legend of the Lake Fannie Hooe region of Charli’s Kewenaw is that the young Fannie Hooe disappeared without a trace from her 1844 visit to Fort Wilkins. Do click over to Carrot Ranch for more on that story as well as all the flash fiction takes on this prompt.


six sentence story.jpg Robert reckoned that the man sitting across from him on the train couldn’t imagine anything worse than The Battle of the Wilderness. He allowed as how he’d fought in the Wilderness, then, feigning sleep, closed his eyes on the questions, tried to close his mind to the answers, tried to bring his thoughts to the family farm, to his apple trees, to finally returning home.

But even now, on the train that chugged steadily north to Montpelier, his thoughts went, as was their habit, back to when he had worked in the field hospitals. There were indeed horrors greater even than those of battle; sights and sounds and smells that Robert sorely wished to forget. Robert wished to forget putrid air thick with the smell of filth and gangrene, ringing with the sounds of delirious men screaming and moaning; wished to forget gathering amputated limbs from the dirty blood soaked floor where they fell, stacking them like cordwood on the wagons or just chucking them in a pile outside the makeshift hospital.

Robert forgot how he’d left Vermont with his regiment four years back with a notion of returning as a man, a hero, for now he just wanted to run to his ma and his pa like a little boy waking from a terrible nightmare, in need of comfort.


The prompt word for Six Sentence Stories this week is “habit”. Thank you Denise from girlieontheedge  for the prompt. Go to the link up to participate or read other responses. My entry this week features a character seen before in  Seeing the Elephant and in Scion.

The Final Frontier

“If you don’t replace that board I will. I didn’t put this fence up so that you could ‘just see what I’m up to’ over here, and I certainly don’t want to see your crap.”

His idea of a backyard was a place to putter with hoarded junk; hers tidy gardened areas and a patio. The fence was her solution to the visual and spatial assaults when his piles increasingly spread and drifted towards her territory.

He felt her solution only caused more problems. “It’s come between us,” he called over the fence.

Sometimes her husband stated the obvious.


Charli says: Broken fences can be mended. Everyone’s story matters.

Carrot Ranch July 12, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a broken fence. You can mend it, leave it, or explain its place in a story. Go where the prompt leads.


Can’t Explain

“Okay, take the car, I really need some cream, I can’t believe I didn’t get enough the last time shopping.”

They lived rural, but not so rural that there was a cow around; on a back road, but not so far back that a trip to town and the store was anything more than a delay and an inconvenience, one that delighted the newly licensed teen.

“I don’t need this cream so badly that you need to speed, just take it easy and be careful!”, she yelled as he raced gleefully to the family car.

Because he arrived at the store in record time, he would have extra time to hone his driving skills on the return trip, taking a network of back roads eventually linking to their back road, some of them further back than others, some quite twisty, some quite bumpy, all washboarded, one with a four corners large enough to blow some donuts.

Finally he drove quite neatly into their driveway, wiped off the carton of cream from where it had tumbled to the floor of the car then walked it into his mother who opened it immediately, but when she tipped it into her mixing bowl nothing poured out.

He could not explain how the carton contained butter and not cream.



The prompt word for Six Sentence Stories this week is “explain“. Thank you Denise from girlieontheedge  for the prompt. Go to the link up to participate or read other responses.


#Tanka Tuesday no. 92


# Cinquain Bewitch & Treasure

I’m back for more of  Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge NO. 92, “Bewitch & Treasure,” #SynonymsOnly, this time trying a “Butterfly Cinquain”.




Thieves, plundering,

swooping in bushy tailed,

untended breakfast plate their prize.


No wrath for these grape stealing crooks

beguile with their raiding.

Morning cherished,