The First Time

The first time I said “no”

It sounded like “I love you.”

He whispered it against my ear,

the words swiveling around the shell –

“Tell me you love me.”

“Tell me you love me.”

“If you say it, it won’t hurt like this.”

“Say, you love me.”

And he was right.

The words slipped, limp from my lips

and froze against the soft skin of my neck.

He flipped me over,

eye contact that was magic movie scene in the making

and my eyes were geometric shapes:

heavy plaid flannel eyelids,

all blurred and sparkling at the edges like

mermaid tail sequins glittered against black.

I cannot see his face through eyes like that.

The first time I said “no”

It sounded like “I love you.”

There was privacy in escape

and my voice was sorrow hiding

behind empty platitudes.

“Everything happens for a reason.”

Well, he didn’t ask to rob my house

until he was already in my fucking kitchen.

There was no hilltop to die on.

No cringeworthy argument to appease the masses.

I was wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

My bra and panties didn’t match.

I was not miscreant lurking in the dark alone.

I was standing out there in broad daylight.

I was outside a fucking Radio Shack.

I was 20 feet away from the sidewalk.

I could see the traffic on the highway.

But I can’t see his face in my memory.

© Laura A. Lord, 2021


Thank you to MindLoveMisery for the prompt.

Magic Trick

I learned early to avoid your gaze.
Survival comes from looking down at my feet,
amplifying every stretch of my ankle,
angling my body to the side,
as if the mere act of shifting myself for you
would give you enough space to ignore my existence.
I would agonize over my bangs,
drag them down to cover light, almond eyes.
Hiding in plain sight was always an arduous process.
I used my skin, an atypical artifice, as a Halloween mask
and abracadabra –
I disappeared.

© Laura A. Lord, September 2018


Thank you to MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie for their prompt.

Good Intentions

In the first few weeks after I met you,
you formed the habit of placing your hand
on the back of my neck
while I drove.

I thought it cute.

You were addictive
in your senseless charm
and I was a careless heart,
struggling to keep time
with the beat.

Decidedly, the tempo increased
and the knuckles scraped
a tap-dance slide
across concave cheekbones,
stark and thinned
by my hungering smile.

I thought to terminate the dance.

I thought to notify you of my intentions.

I thought to step back from passions raised
and push my narrow chin in the air,
to settle my shoulders back
and stiff as rigor mortis
my words would fall
and in their strength
would not break as they hit the ground.

Instead, you showed me the weakness of my spine
and your hand on my neck
tightened its grip
and my words fell hollow in the squeeze.

I watched them shatter,
as only sparkling good intentions can do.

© Laura A. Lord, 2016


Sometimes thoughts drift to darker times. Regardless, I am thankful to MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie for their wordle prompt this week.

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Photography by Jairo Alzate, Unsplash