Writes With Pencils

fiction, memoir, essays and poetry

Getaway Bus

She stands erect at the bus stop,
with a small suitcase
sitting on the sidewalk
next to her
and a tightness stretched
across her lips and brow

two parallel lines
that lead nowhere in particular,
but map
the trail back to
where she left

for good this time.

Remembering Camelot


Every fly
is a dragon
you are a knight
righting wrongs
with a cattail lance,
standing guard
with a lily pad

Composure Decomposed

Airbrushed each day
in competence activity and rectitude
her face was flawless
free from blemishes
of failure insecurity and sin.
At least everyone thought so
and when asked about her skin regime
she only credited eating lots of butter and olive oil
and the luck of good genetics from her mother
who at 75 had looked no more than 60.

But then the perfect storm
of expectations loss and slaughtered dreams
beyond what she could bear
ripped away her glasses
grayed her hair
and with each squall and tempest
the careful coats of paint
then peeled away
in several shades of hardship
revealing all she’d lived and covered
while extolling optimism.

When the winds had once more calmed
and she first looked in the mirror
she reached from habit
for her brush and powder
to fill the cracks and layers now exposed
but when she took in her reflection
she saw a tender beauty there
from the sadness in her eyes
and weary sallow of her cheeks
to the deepened worry lines along her brow
all a burnished gold patina now
the vulnerability of uncertainty
of living her own truth.

The Lenten Rose Deflowered

Even near a seed-filled feeder
the squirrels are partial
to the hellebores,
a hidden gift I’ve discovered
left by the last gardener
who made this buttercup house
a home.

Demure in their woodland beauty
they are the first to bloom
amongst the ashen days
a month before winter’s end
with heads bowed
in reverential shades of speckled dusk
monk’s claret
dusty widows’ veils
and singed-edge sage of crone.

No trumpet of spring
as the upturned daffodil,
strengthened by the austerity of cold
they contemplate the waking
from hibernation
with the slow return of light.

While preferring the shade of the cedars
shrouded further by the habit
of rhododendron leaves,
this tamed wilderness
is yet no convent
leaving their stems and petals exposed
to tiny teeth and claws
as the sword ferns
fail to protect their virtue
from the insatiable chatter
of squirrels in heat.

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