Tender; SixSentenceStory

Every week, without fail, Denise at GirlieOntheEdge provides a prompt word on Sunday and a link up on Wednesday. I often fail to respond but after turning on the radio for just a bit this day after election day I got the line that would get me Six Sentences: Too close to call. The word is “tender” the rules are 6 sentences, no more no less, the suggestion is to have fun and interact with the other writers and readers.

Tender Wounds

It was a terrible thing, a calamity, seemingly unpreventable and yet, in hindsight, foreseeable, not exactly an accident.

Now there was much wringing of hands, for none had ever seen her laid so low, so weakened; now her people wondered and worried if she would ever recover from her wounds.

When the people wailed aloud, “How, how could this be happening?” the wise ones— the healers, elders, shamans and such that had gathered— looked at the people, exasperated but not without tenderness; “How indeed? She is not indivisible, not if the people do not stand united.”

“Will she make it?” they asked, “Will she survive?”

The wise ones, lowering their heads, could only say she was very tough but that her wounds were deep, her ills long unaddressed. “It’s too close to call.”

d’Verse Poetics; November

At d’Verse, the pub for poets, Sanaarizvi’s prompt is to write about November and to explain ourselves. I have always loved November in New England, even though I recently heard it referred to as Stick season, a let down for many after Leaf season. For everything there is a season and for leafless trees it’s all about roots and inner space. These three poems I had written some time ago but they never had any place to go– until now.

 November Skies
 First day of November 
  dawned kettle gray, scoured clean.
 Blue jays scrabbled by.
  Curled leaves clung, faded green
 but mostly burnt shades 
   orange, red, yellow 
  bristling against the canvas sky.
 Gray November skies,
  impassive and impartial 
 to the desperate brush; 
  orange! red! yellow! have no hold 
 on the marbled gray
  that reins the wind 
 that might send them flying
  that leashes the rain 
 that might wash them away.
 November is a wise month
  of endings and of beginnings
 destructive, creative, first and last at once.
  Last leaves, first cold
 crisp days expressed 
  between lengthening nights
 November’s gray casts a special light.
  In just a while all will be all right. 
 Mid November
 November gray dawned then calmly went along
  with gifts of days blue skied, days of warmth and sun
 November also gave the wind its head, loosened the reins and let it run
  stretched galloping; through nights and days it reared and plunged
  and cavorted with the leaping lashing rain unleashed 
 On those days leaves were wiped from their berths
  were spun and whipped and thrown down
 Color now mumbles subdued at the feet 
  of trees where, still grumbling, finally turn brown
 Wind and rain are brought to heel again
  to November’s commands obedient
 As much a Janus as another, yet ego-less and wise
 November emanates omniscience and is content 
  with the palette of its steely skies.
 Some power was shown, not all, not all
  brought to heel again, it’s not too late 
   to resurrect your fall. 
 November’s End
 November wanes, 
  no wind, no rain
    Cold sparkles in night’s dark.
  Lean land revealed, kneeled 
in prayer bold braced, skeletal bare,
   Clean spare trees exposed like spars;
  the bones of November support the stars.
 November has a deep abiding strength, so equably borne
  Strong and beautiful, elegantly unadorned. 

The Medusa Project

To find out more about the Medusa Project go to Mookychick. And yes, I have a poem in this anthology.

FREE: Download The Medusa Project Anthology

FREE: Download The Medusa Project Anthology
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Celebrate Halloween And Womxn Everywhere With The Medusa Project, A Debut Anthology From Mookychick. Download Poetry, Fiction, Artwork And Rituals… For Free.

CRLC Challenge; Lifesavers

The “CRLC” in the headings for my responses to the Carrot Ranch prompts stands for Carrot Ranch Literary Community. The Carrot Ranch Literary Community is a place where people freely and safely practice literary art 99 words at a time, a place to learn and grow as a writer. This week we are challenged by the community’s leader, Charli Mills, to write about lifesavers, and though the Coast Guard and their predecessors were implicated, as ever, we go where the prompt leads.

Into the Storm

Through rain pelted windows Marlie’s tree fort hove into view. Marlie read, curled up with Daisy on the couch.

“Remember when she used to sail in weather like this, captaining a mighty ship?”

“Remember when she made Tommy walk the plank?”

“Do you miss Tommy, Liz?”

“For better or worse, I do. I miss our opportunity to give Tommy a respite from his family. The great unmasked… What’s Marlie researching now, Bill?”


“The candy? Or health care workers?”

“Life savers— nascent Coast Guard.”

Putting her book aside Marlie donned her foul weather gear. She had to go out.


“Who will rescue us, Bill?”

“What? Are we a wreck?” He crowded into the window seat. Beyond the steamy window, Marlie braved the high seas to pluck Destiny from the surf.

“Not us. Us. /U/ /S/. Of A?”

“Oh. Ship of fools. Headed for the rocks.”

“We’ve been commandeered by pirates, with a fool spinning the helm. I’m scared Bill.”

“Me too.”

“Oh! Marlie! You’ve returned.”

“Mom? Dad?”

“We’re huddled in our lifeboat, Marlie. Get in.”

Marli climbed in with her parents and assessed their circumstances. “It’s going to be rough. But we’ll make it. All storms peter out.”

CRLC Challenge: Spooky Tale

It’s another week another post another prompt from Carrot Ranch. The charge this time? In 99 words (no more, no less), write a spooky tale told around a campfire. It doesn’t have to include the campfire; it can be the tale. Go where the prompt leads!

Coming Full by D. Avery

“No! He didn’t go on the mountain!”

“Don’t think I didn’t try to stop him.”  The old man squinted through the plume of pipe smoke enshrouding his face. Fog engulfed the mountaintop.

“Not today! The moon is coming full.”

He pulled hard on his pipe. “I warned him.” Coals glowed round and red in the bowl. “Just laughed… always wanting to prove us wrong.”

“At least tell me he’s not planning on hunting it. Not today.”

“He wouldn’t listen.”

They heard one shot, far up the mountain. Then shrieking wind. He sighed, tamped cold gray ash from his pipe.

Boutique; #SixSentenceStory

What-You-Seek Boutique by D. Avery

Her mood overcast and as unsettled as the weather, she ventured in, smiling at the sign in spite of herself, wondering how she’d not noticed the little boutique before with it’s two bay windows either side of the door, each sparkling with kitschy knickknacks and tchotchke.

She drifted among the crowded aisles until stopping short at a shelf where she found, carefully arranged in chronological order, all of her pain; she picked up the most recent, turned it over in her hands and examined it, and as she did, the shelf was rearranged by category, the full collection of all her losses before her, some, despite being older, still more acute than the one she now held. She gathered the losses all up at once and wondered at the weight of them, then carefully put each loss back down on the shelf, now espying other pain; slights, disappointments, and regrets along with deep injustices she’d suffered.

She remained, looked at them all in turn until the shelf transformed again, until amongst those relics she also saw her joys; love and friendship among the losses; growth and wisdom, resolve and resilience among the hurts and injustice.

“Forgiveness; hope; looks like you found what you were seeking.” The wizened shopkeeper winked, and immediately she was back on the sun speckled street where she saw, as if for the first time, the long vacant shop with its splintered shutters like eyelids closed against the dusty windows and between them the faded sign, ‘What-You-Seek Boutique’, over the centered door.

The word prompt for Six Sentence Stories this week is “boutique”. All you have to do is include the word within six sentences that have some semblance of a story, or even a poem. Thank you to Denise at GirlieOntheEdge for hosting.

d’Verse Quadrille #114; Poetical Magnetism

De Jackson, aka WhimsyGizmo, is tending bar at the renown pub for poets. For today’s Quadrille she wants us to “get out your poetical science kit and play with magnets”. I have a playful poem but my real achievement is that I am experimenting with the new block editor with this post, something I have resisted up to now.


Tested metal—  this man was tin!

Unaligned, no lodestone within

No choice, no either ore

alloy, ally, I needed more

What’s the point, of what worth

if unable to find true north?

Lost my bearings with that man

steeled myself, gave him the can.

CRLC Challenge; Chores

square-template24Over at Carrot Ranch the weekly challenges continue, even though Charli Mills is up to her earlobes in MFA work and related happenings. The annual Rodeo, the Ranch writing contest, is also going on, until the end of the month supplanting the Tuesday columns and Monday’s Saddle Up Saloon feature. It sure is worth a visit to Carrot Ranch to read, write, and appreciate literary art.

This week the prompt is to, “in 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about chores. It doesn’t have to be a western ranch chore; it can be any routine task. Go where the prompt leads!” I treaded word water for three 99 word essays before being led to a flash featuring that farm family and another unrelated totally fictitious take apropos of nothing.  


I, and my brothers, always had chores. Aside from some gender discrepancies, typical for the times, I don’t resent having had chores; in fact appreciate the experiences and learning that came from them. When I was a teacher I often asked students and parents about chores at home. Repetitive tasks, such as setting the table, support number sense. As parental scaffolds fall away a child learns independence and problem solving skills in the endeavor to complete a chore. Balanced with play, meaningful chores provide a child a sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction of being a contributing family member.

How chores are perceived by a child, and by adults, depends on how they are presented; attitude and mindset matter. The first definition of chore is a routine task; routine, necessary tasks are not necessarily unpleasant. Shouldn’t there be joy and satisfaction in completing a necessary task? And can’t one bring joy to that task? That’d be a fine thing to model for a child. Chores can be a shared time of skill teaching, of story telling, of instilling habits of stewardship and responsibility. Let a child grow into what they are capable of and don’t forget to play.

Do what you love, love what you do. Because I am able to pretty much do things when I want to not when I have to, I have no chores. I get done what needs to get done without stress. In fact routine tasks reduce stress; so-called chores can be a relaxing time of contemplation and mindful mindlessness, often serving to unblock some other stoppage. Unforced, tasks go more smoothly and successfully; what seems a chore one day eventually becomes another day’s pleasant project, the delay often necessary subconscious problem solving. To master your tasks, don’t be a taskmaster.


Lost in Translation  

“I learned a new word at school today.”

Hope’s dad continued scooping beans with his bread. “In the classroom or on the playground?”


He held his bread and looked up. “What word?”

“It started with a /c/ I think. Melinda made it seem like a bad word.” Hope continued while her parents exchanged glances. “It has to do with doing things you don’t want to do, and not getting to do fun things. Chores! That’s the word.”

“But Hope, you tend the chickens, and the garden; help us both out around the farm.”

“That’s fun! Mommy, what’s allowance?”


Tales Out of School

She loved the pedagogy, the art and science of teaching children, of engaging all learners. When she taught she learned, delving deeply into the topic when developing units of study. She led her students by following their lead. She relished helping her students make connections and demonstrate their learning creatively.

Then came the canned curriculum, the boxed units.

“This will be easier for all teachers.”

Easier isn’t better. Let me do it my way, she said.

“Curriculum delivery should all be the same. You can do your thing as long as you follow the program.”

Teaching became a chore.


CRLC Challenge; Kid Gloves

Unquenched     by D. Avery

More than thirst might make his voice crack. He left them in the dugout without speaking. Carrying the shovel, work gloves feathering out of his back pocket, he hoped he appeared confident to his family.
He arrived at the spring, the once muddy surface now flaked, dried and split like old leather. He methodically pulled his gloves on, grasped the shovel and bent to his work, one scoop at a time. Each thrust of the blade was a prayer, each going unanswered until finally he stopped.
Under a blistering blue sky he held his head in his gloved hands.

square-template21The October 8, 2020, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes kid gloves. A prop in the hands of a character should further the story. Why the gloves? Who is that in the photo, and did he steal Kids’ gloves (of the Kid and Pal duo)? Consider different uses of the phrase, too. Go where the prompt leads!                                                                    

CRLC Challenge; Dusty Trails

square-template18There’s so much going on at Carrot Ranch! Despite Rodeo contests running all month, the regular weekly challenges continue as well. This week the Carrot Ranch prompt is to: “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that happens on the dusty trail. It can take place anywhere. Who is your character, where are they going, and why? Bonus points if they meet up with Kid and Pal from D. Avery’s Ranch Yarns and Saddle Up Saloon (they hit the trail so TUFF could take over the saloon). Go where the prompt leads!” Despite the western leanings of the prompt I was led back to The Fold. But if you look carefully you might see Pal and Kid!

Star Dust    by D. Avery

“It’s my magical palace, Mommy!”

Taking her mother’s hand Hope twirled and danced in the hayloft until they both fell back into a pile of loose hay, laughing. Dusty trails of chaff sparkled in the shafts of sunlight.

“Stars!” her mother exclaimed.

“Make a wish, Mommy.”

“Does wishing work with this kind of star?”

“Yup. Mine came true.”

“What did you wish for?”

But Hope only grew quiet and snuggled closer to her mother, who stared up into the glittering dust. “I’m so sorry, kid,” she whispered. “But I’m here now, I promise.” Then she wished upon a star.