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.

When You Chose Plastic Over Me

The first time I left you alone you were lying milk-drunk
against the soft flesh of my mother’s chest.
I had taken one of the samples from the changing table,
its color too bright yellow,
its compact shape too round,
its label screaming epitaphs,
“More DHA!”
“Better for brain development!”
“Easy on sensitive stomachs!”

I felt the pale mounds under my baggy, frumpy tee –
two sponges, ripe with nerves.
I showed my mother how to prepare the formula.
I thought briefly about staying.
I thought briefly about canceling my appointment.
I thought briefly about throwing my breast pump
and every failed attempt along with it
right out the broad bay window out front.
I focused instead on restraint.

And five hours later,
when my breasts roared with leonine intensity
and solitary arms ached to feel your weight in them,
I lifted you to me,
nuzzled you close,
and you turned

away.

© Laura A. Lord, September 2018


Thank you to MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie for their 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.

Blink

The average human being blinks 28,800 times a day.
Supposedly, it’s more often than we need to.
Supposedly, we do it so much, because it provides a mental break.
Supposedly, blinking is how we refresh, reboot, rest.
But there you are.
You have implanted yourself in my offscreen movie.
You’ve folded into the material of my mind,
become part of my neurochemistry,
so that with every rapid blink of my eyes
I see your face.
I see your face,
streaked as an amaryllis.
I see your face,
like an escapist from your body,
peeking out from the broken beast.
My memory is an old black and white film
and I keep playing the sequence over and over,
like I’m pulling through the negatives of film I never want to see in print.
I drove to the gas station as if nothing untoward had happened,
as if you hadn’t changed the dynamic of my brain,
as if I the mud and blood and gas and debris stuck to my shoes was part of the actual design,
as if you weren’t in my sock and I wasn’t going to have to throw all my clothes away when I got home.
My car was on ‘E’
and when the mellow scent of gas hit me,
floating in a translucent cloud above the pump
I hit my knees
vomit sliding up my throat
and I blinked and blinked and blinked.

© Laura A. Lord, 2018


Thank you to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie for their prompt.

Make Me

I don’t need fragile smoke whispers
slipping past my eyelashes
and hanging as beads of sweat at the hollow of my neck.
No, darling,
I have forgotten who I am.
I need the molten mocha of your eyes
to burn through the butterflies of doubt.
I need pupils dilated,
heavy breathing,
sounds-like-someone’s-breaking-me
kinda burning.
I need you close as ivy, grasping on the legs of my pale skinned veranda.
I am a foreigner in my own skin
and I don’t need your swaying, sultry song.
I need you to scream my name into the back of my throat.
Make me remember
who I am.
Make me.

© Laura A. Lord, 2018


Thank you to Mindlovemiserysmenagerie for your prompt 🙂

15 Minutes

This was probably one of the hardest prompts I’ve ever had to do. The prompt asked for us to time ourselves for 15 minutes and write down every memory we could think of. The idea was to put ourselves in the shoes of the Hawaiian civilians who thought they only had 15 minutes left before the missile hit. What would we remember from our lives in 15 minutes?

I can honestly say I started out writing like complete sentences, but towards the end as I watched the clock tick down beside me I felt very panicked. There was no way I could get it all out. I literally started to just think of names, those people’s faces flashing in my mind. I couldn’t even place the memories, just that it was that person. I didn’t even realize I was crying while writing most of this until the end. If you have a chance to participate in this, please do. You can find the prompt here at The Beacon.


I had written “I love you” on an orange Easter egg and asked Mak to go find the orange egg in the fridge. There were too many orange ones and it took him forever to find it. It was the first time I’d told him I loved him.
When they finally handed me Dallas after her birth when they’d finally gotten her breathing straight.
I counted her fingers and rubbed her head.
She had a green and white and red knitted Christmas hat and dark hair.
When they laid Dude on my belly after birth and he was purple and quiet.
When he raised his head and looked around in the bath at the hospital.
When I held Tommy after my c-section and I was still shaking so hard I thought I would drop him
When Mak’s dad died and I saw him cry
When the hospice nurse told us my grandfather was dying and my dad cried
When we buried my grandfather and a woman gave me an old picture of his grandparents
When we buried my grandmother
I had to wash in the sink at the state park and my hair was bleached blond and I walked to her funeral
Dallas’ little blue dress that matched her eyes
My first date with Mak we met at Food Lion and got steaks
When I walked down the aisle to Papa Roach’s Not Strong Enough and could hear my dad crying
I danced with Mak at our wedding
I danced with my brother at my wedding and cried
When my brother came home from Afghanistan and I saw him get off the plane
When my dad put me on the school bus and he had a red truck and white shorts
Laying in the grass with Gary late into the morning and talking and smoking cigarettes
My dad making jokes when I was in labor with Dude
When Gary and I got back together and made love in the shower
Mak and I making love on the porch before he left for California
Mak making love to me for the first time after my surgery
When I miscarried at the hospital and Mak couldn’t get up from his chair
Giving birth to the twins
Holding baby girl before we left the hospital
Seeing Gloria in the hospital holding Tommy
Letting Uncle Eddie meet Tommy in the nursing home – he wore a white shirt and was sitting in the common room
Uncle Eddie taking Dallas to church on Sundays
Wrestling with Dude
Dallas and Harley in their Easter dresses
Mak and Dude in the window looking outside
Daddy and I at the flea market when I met a guy off some online site and he was teasing me about him
Meeting a guy named Creed online and thinking I was in love
Riding rollercoasters with Mak until we had headaches
Swimming with Mak when I was pregnant with the twins at the hotel
Walking away from my grandfather at the nursing home for the last time, he had on a white shirt and blue plaid pj pants
Eating peach ice cream with my Poppop and his Yorkie in the car
Sleeping in the bed with Shelby
Letting Dude sleep in our bed when Mak worked nights
Getting my ears pierced with mom – Justin teased her and said she was too old for two holes in her ears
Going dancing with Justin and laughing while he pulled over to pee on the wall of a bank
Hugging my brother when he left for the military
Seeing Matt in the casket
Daddy taking silly pictures with me before graduation
Mommom’s chocolate fudge and potato candy
Playing in my grandparent’s basement
Sitting on my grandmother’s bed late at night and talking
Mommon in her red recliner
The smell of my dad’s hands when he smoked
The way Mak smells when he gets back from a bike ride
The feel of Mak’s long hair
Dallas’ freckles
Tommy’s dimples
Tommy’s dark eyes
Dude’s eyes – just like mine
White Shoulders
Dude’s smile
Dallas’ birthmark
Tommy saying I’m gonna boop it
The day Mak adopted Dallas and Dude
Mak
Showering with Mak
Lying in his arms after sex
Yeah you’re cool and all
Mak
Mak

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.

Unkissable

My voice has become a barely legible script
careening off the sharp-edged cliff of my cracked lips.

I am unkissable, darling.

I’ve a leak in my head I can’t fix
and each heavy drop is jerk back to reality.

I’m leaving a trail of fuel and waiting
for one massive match to light
and fall
and set me ablaze.

The triage nurse wants to elevate my psychosis status.
She wants to twist the knobs at the back of my brain
and soothe the offline error tone that’s seeping
between the drought of my mouth.

I feel similar to a three year old
being taught patience,
“No, you can’t have that yet.”
But I want it. I want it, darling.

I want it back.

© Laura A. Lord, “Unkissable,2016


I have been away for some time. Away from my blog…my friends…my writing. I am struggling in the silence right now, so please bear with me.

Thank you to MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie for the wordle prompt. I needed it.

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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