Break Through

They call it breakthrough bleeding –

There’s a leak in our bathroom sink
and I’ve had a fan blowing for two days,
as my aunt’s fancy kitchen towels brine in musty water.
It blows a brisk breeze on my bare calves –
my skirt billowing out around my ankles,
puddled on the floor,
with my berserk little hormones
borrowing into the floor under my feet.
My breasts hang low and drag across
the peel and stick tile
until my bloodshot eyes finally focus
and find the bleak little ray of light –
shining simply because it’s switched on.

They call it breakthrough bleeding
and I know it means I’ve lost you somewhere in this dilapidated bathroom.
You have scattered your cells across the pad floating,
there,
on the floor between my feet.

They call it breakthrough bleeding,
but it’s really a leak
and the floor’s gone soggy,
so one wrong move
and I’m tumbling down with you.
Break.
Through.

© Laura A. Lord, September 2018


Thank you to MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie for their prompt.

Lightbulb

Sometime, in the damp, dusky hours before dawn
you laid your thick fingered hand on the glass
and watched your breath collect in little blossoms of clouds.
You traced around the wings of a long-dead, summer fly
trapped between the screen and the door,
and with a swipe of your palm
you vanquished the sky-scape you had created
and wiped your wet hands on your flannel shirt.

Compulsion led you to doing and undoing –
each little black button a snapshot of your mutation.
In and out, in and out.
Your brain building the city it would roam today
and each slip of your heavy fingers was a head-on collision, right into the wall

and it left you –
BOOM –
standing there at the crossroads of
Memory and Language.
Your tongue filling your mouth,
belting out a lonely tune
against the back of your teeth.
Your mind a candle in a parade –
lit and bright,
flickering and fading,
gasping at the air as the winter wind
pushed and shoved
and swept you up off your feet.

I wanted to safeguard your flame,
to carry you in your disease –
like knowing the name would make speaking it easier.
Like if you knew the date of today
or the words on your cereal box
or who the man in the bathroom mirror was staring back at you,
that you’d suddenly evolve
from candle to lightbulb.
You’d burn brighter,
steadier
and we could just flip you on
whenever we wanted you back.

© Laura A. Lord, 2018


Written in response to the prompts at The Beacon and Mindlovemisery’sMenagerie.

The Boy

The porcelain sink gurgles when the water splashes
and slips from the ends of my fingers
down the drain.

It has a drowsy drip
that echoes around this room
with its green wallpaper
and too bright pink roses peeling where they meet the ceiling.

There is a supple bend in the way you walk now,
as if someone has slipped in unnoticed
and upset the balance of your spine,
has stolen a single vertebrae
and left you unspooling out
vomiting the threads of all you were
across the yellowed tile of this bathroom floor.

The box they have brought to bury your son in
is too small and too white and
it shines so clean by the alter that I think you have not touched it.

I cannot walk down the aisle.
I cannot seem to leave this stall
and I stare at your white shoes with the little kitten heel
and the way your toes are pointed in at one another,
as if they were in conversation about the trip they must make –
down the aisle,
across the grass,
to the place where the green turf is rolled out
and the small mound of dirt is fermenting in the sun.

It is too bright today to bury a boy,
and so we will stay in this stall
and hide under the bright fluorescent lights.
We will stay here, where your shoes are all I can see
and where there is nothing more
than a drowsy drip in a porcelain sink
and roses peeling from the ceiling.

© Laura A. Lord, The Boy, 2016


The recent loss of that poor child in Florida has reminded me of a funeral I went to years ago. A different child, a different place, a whole different scenario of loss, but still…a loss.

Silverfish

I have perched on the edge of the heaving ocean’s waves –
a cliché of turbulent emotions raging in translucent spray.
It sends my mascara to running faster than any
fight or flight mechanism left in this old gray matter of mine.

I’ve got silverfish in my heart
and they’re eating at the yellow pages
that litter the floor
of my little castle keep.

I’m fumbling about in the rancid leftovers
of a fridge left behind.

Someone turned the power off on me
a few weeks ago,
but I never needed light for this sight –

I’m in my element here…

Here,

where the war stories of the day are bunched up under my head,
a lumpy, bumpy pillow that croons in my ear
every hour,
on the hour –
the breaking news.

And the breaking news is shattering news.
It’s crushing and devastating –
a shock to the system.
It’s the all new norm

and catastrophic in its mediocrity.

And I’m one wave crash from wiping out completely.
I’m a piss-poor balancing act on a boogie board –
I’m being eaten alive,

but the power’s off and so,
I can’t even see it happening.

© Laura A. Lord, Silverfish, 2016


I don’t claim to be anything more than I am – but there are people in this world who are especially attuned to humanity. They are effected in ways that may not make sense to others. These are the kinds of people who can read a news article and hurt so badly for humankind that they slide helplessly into a depression.

And in a world where there is so much hurting, it is easy to get lost. Bear with us, those of us who feel a little too deeply, who are thin-skinned, who wear our hearts out in the open like some big, bold flag…The world can be a little much for us some days.

Thank you to MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie for their prompt that helped inspire an aching mind today.

Wishbone

There is a space right in the center of a woman’s breast,
stretching between her waiting arms,

that craves a baby. It aches to be filled with the
soft bounce of new flesh, the warmth of new life.

It was here that I felt the wishbone break and
suddenly Thanksgiving was over. Celebration was

tossed aside as I snapped apart and became empty.
The hollow of the marrow leaked a plague stain –

bright red between my thighs. The world was silent
noise, all scurrying and rushed, while whispers passed

and the nurse stepped back as I shattered on her table.
She said, “There is no heartbeat.” and I thought instantly

of a washing machine – the steady thwump, thwump, thwump,
and knew that someone had turned it off.

Someone had snapped the wishbone and I was all
hollow marrow and no heartbeat.

© Laura A. Lord, 2016


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Photo by Sarah Graybeal, Unsplash

Design by Book Genesis

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

 

Snow Race

The sun lit a glare on the snow
like daybreak had suddenly opened in the field
and a new sun was rising beneath
the deer tracks and branches heavy
with the irregular garland of ice.

You lurked at my periphery,
just enough out of the way that I had to
adjust to see you clearly.

It seemed the structure –
the baseline of you and of me –
had slowly been falling apart.

We were degrading as the
foundation of this house.

We were slipping concrete blocks
and creeping marshland.

We were winter snows
and bare feet, and you said,
“I’ll race you to the barn.”

I remember the thin slide
of my t-shirt and the way the cold air
terrorized my flesh.

There was a glint in your eyes,
something wild that sparkled,
and with each discarded piece of clothing
we were bare to one another
for the first time
in a long time.

And I think then, you saw me –

racing across the snow,
my bare feet leaving dark little
tattoos across the perfect crust –

I think you saw me and I know,
for a while,
I forgot all about us.

© Laura A. Lord, 2016


There are bright moments in any ending. Yesterday we told our children the truth about my husband adopting them. We told them about their birth fathers, and it was, by far, the most difficult discussion of my life. This brought back so many memories, especially about how things ended. I remember this day in the snow and thank MindLoveMiserysMenagerie for her wordle that inspired me to think of this.

Photo by Roksolana Zasiadko, Unsplash

Photo Design by Book Genesis


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Scattered

I loved you in the darkest of night.
And somehow I expected the imperfect light
of the moon’s crooked smile
to light me up like daybreak.
But you were a lame sunrise.
You were a harrowing curve
and I was scattered as broken glass.
I was scattered as change spilled from your hand,
rolled across the hard, tiled floor.
I was a head’s down penny
and my copper had lost its luster,
so that even then,
in my weakest moments,
I was not worth the effort
to bend.

© Laura A. Lord, 2016


Thank you to Uncharted for their Six Sentence Story prompt  “change,” and to Three Word Wednesday for their prompt words: imperfect, harrowing, and lame.

The Beach

He woke up alone on the shore of an unfamiliar beach and
watched as the waves crashed down
like the thin, translucent skin of her eyelids.
White caps were salty, tear-stained lashes and
he laid his cheek against the smooth sand,
let them caress his face. His fingers dug
through each grainy strand and
he knew then, that he knew her well.

And when the waves receded,
pulled back from his touch to fill the void,
she screamed out –
so loud and long and low,
that for a moment
she simply disappeared and
all the was left in the space she had been
was the sound of her agony and
the salt stuck to his skin.

© Laura A. Lord, 2016


Thank you to the Miniature Writing Challenge for their prompt: “He woke up alone on the shore of an unfamiliar beach…”

To M.

Of few things am I certain,
but that there is something magical in the Christmas holiday,
and perhaps it is only the sparkling paper
and cinnamon scented kitchen air,
but you, I find, are transformed in these moments
and I see in your smile the boy you were
before you lost enough to turn you into the man you are.

© Laura A. Lord


Thank you to the prompt over at Miniature Writing Challenge. You can find this week’s prompt below:

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From Miniature Writing Challenge #22

Winter. Rain. Snow. Cold. Christmas…

As the year dwindles to mere days, it brings along these familiar words. This week’s theme is centered around the coldest season of the year, its traits and the celebrations it brings along with it.

 

Stand With

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I want to stand with Paris.
I want to stand with Beirut.
I want to stand with Egypt,
Bangladesh,
Turkey,
Yemen,
with Libya,
Saudi Arabia,
and Tunisia,
with Kuwait,
and Afganistan,
with Iraq,
and Syria.
I want to stand and stand and stand
but I’ve hit my knees
and forgotten how to pray.

I know in a few years Paris will be a grainy photograph
stuck to a thin page in some history textbook
with the caption
“Attack on Paris by ISIS.”
They’ll wrap up all the heartache and loss into
five words and
one photo.

Fourteen years of the War on Terror
takes less than fourteen pages
and it won’t tell you that everyone remembers where they were
when those towers fell.
It won’t show you the things we all lost in those sands.
Maybe it’ll give you statistics.
Two or three lines to describe the casualties.
And somewhere among those numbers I hope they add in
the loss of my marriage,
the loss of the ability of a man to father his children,
the loss of the love that was once held by two young people
crazy enough to dash naked through the snow
and lie for hours on the grass as if no one could see them.

I hope they add on every family like mine,
the loss that can’t be packed into a wooden box
and marked with a number
and a small white cross.
I hope in all the political shit
piled into the text of these next history books
it says that we stood united
in fear, and loss, and pain.
That we stood with Paris.
That we stood even when our knees gave out
and we stood when we forgot how to pray.

©Laura A. Lord, 2015