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.

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 🙂

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.

Accidental Witch

The hallway was an obstacle course of moving boxes with flaps half open, plastic grocery bags stuffed full and overflowing, and random clouds of Fruit Loop scented vape clouds. I had to keep pulling the box in my arms to the side to be able to see ahead, counting doors as I went by, 33…35…37… My room, number 39, was at the very end of the hall. This third floor has weird sloping ceilings, as if this has been some old farmhouse attic that the college had hastily converted into dorm rooms without considering that most of us weren’t five-foot-nothing these days.

“Whoops! Here you go,” whoever I had just bumped into with my box said. I felt the box being pulled from my arms. A petite girl with blonde bangs that hung in her eyes smiled around the side of the box. “I’m Ann,” she said.

“Laura,” I smiled. “Thanks.”

Ann walked inside and I followed right behind her. She set the box down by the bed near the window. “Hillary and I got here last night, so we kinda already picked beds. Hope that’s okay.” She motioned to the girl lying on her bed, lime green earbuds poked out from under short layers of dark hair. She shot me a quick smile, closed her eyes, and went back to shaking her foot to the beat of whatever she was listening to.

“This is fine,” I said, plopping down on the bed.

“Where are you from?” Ann asked. Her bed was directly across from mine, and she’d sat down cross-legged on the end of it.

I bent down and opened the box. I had a whole carload to still bring up, but figured I’d get started on this one for the moment. The hall was complete chaos anyway. “Maryland,” I said, as I pulled through the box. Dreamcatcher…Salt Lamp…Tarot Cards…Candles…Bubble-wrapped packages of crystals… I had always loved the study of nature. My friend’s back home teased me about being a hippie. I think I was born in the wrong era. All of this natural healing stuff was pretty popular these days anyway. Everyone’s Instagram was loaded with herbal drink mixes that swore they would make you “Lose Ten Pounds in Five Days” or “Look Twelve Years Younger Overnight!” The bandwagon was pretty easy to hop onto.

“Wow!” Ann exclaimed. “Hillary and I are both Orange County locals. This is gonna be different for you, huh?”

I was pulling bubble wrap off some of my more delicate crystal pieces and lining them up on the window sill. I was glad they’d given me the bed by the window. “Yeah, it’s a whole different world out here,” I laughed. I pulled out a couple small candles.

“Oh, we can’t have candles in the rooms,” Ann frowned. She stood up and came over to my bed, perching on the edge. Her fingers ran down the side of the salt lamp, as she looked at all the items I was pulling out.

She laughed, “What are you? Some kinda witch?”

“Yes,” I said. My face suddenly flushed. Oh my God. Why did I say that? Ann’s laughter changed a bit. She raised an eyebrow and stood up. My brain was scrambling to figure out where to go with this.

“For real?” She asked.

I looked over and saw Hillary pop one of her earbuds out. She must have been halfway listening to our conversation.

I held a Jasper worry stone in my hand and was twirling it between my fingers nervously. “Well, like…yeah. But I’m not some…like…cook up children in my oven…kinda…witch.”

My face must have been twenty different shades of red. I brushed a strand of hair out of my face and looked up at Ann. She had backed up to her bed and was standing awkwardly next to it. She started fiddling with her bedcovers.

“So like…The Craft kinda witch?” She asked, a nervous laugh in her tone.

I laughed uncomfortably. “No. I just…I believe in natural healing. I’m not gonna curse anyone or anything…”

She laughed. “Guess I better not make you mad!”

Hillary was sitting up now. She raised an eyebrow in my direction and pointed to the crystals in the window. “No weird shit. Okay.” She ran a hand through her messy, short hair. “I don’t have time for weird shit.”

I raised my hands innocently. “No weird shit. I’m pretty quiet. I swear.”

She nodded her head, stuck her earbud back in, gave all my stuff a weird, appraising eye, and walked out of the room.

Ann finally sat down on her bed again. I put the candles back in the box and plugged in my salt lamp. It lit up with a warm, orange light.

“What’s that do?” Ann asked.

I touched it as it warmed up. “It holds the soul to my greatest enemy.”

The silence in the room was immediate and so solid I could barely move. When I turned and saw Ann’s face, I began giggling. Her eyes looked too large for her face.

“It was a joke.” I laughed. “It helps with allergies.”

A pillow flew across the small space and smacked into the side of my head, followed by Ann’s laughter.


The Prompt:

The best part about leaving your tiny, rural hometown is that no one at your new college knows who you are. You have moved all the way across the country and for once, you can be who ever you want. When you arrive on campus and finally find your dorm, your new roommates are already inside and unpacking. Your roommates immediately start asking you questions to get to know you. You end up telling an entire life story that isn’t yours. Write part of the story you tell your new roommates. Who are you when you get to make up your own personal experiences?

Please visit The Beacon at Chesapeake College for new prompts each Monday!

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.

Our Old House

Our old house had paneling on the walls –
slick with lacquer
that peeled up at the corners
in thin, wispy sheets,
the shedding skin of a home in
metamorphosis.

We hung photos on the walls
so that there were sparsely visible
little brown lines
framing each memory.

We turned that paneling into
our projected hippocampus,
because we could no longer rely
on our mind to remind us
from month to month
that we did, in fact,
love one another.

Our conversation was an impregnated thing
growing silently between us
with each reviling word that slipped
off loose tongues
and shattered in the light of our
cracked bedroom window.

We carried Medusa
hidden behind our teeth
so when we opened wide to let loose
a barrage of violent expressions,
we turned one another to stone –
frozen in the ache that can only be caused
by one who loves us enough
to speak the truth
and use “Sorry” as an empty balm.

And the day we became I,
when the old Thunderbird rolled in heavy dust clouds
down the driveway,
framed by Summer’s green tongued corn,
I never packed our pictures.
I left them hanging in their little square blocks
framed by the yellowed ash from
our woodstove, because

we needed reminding of who we had been
and I
only wanted to forget.

© Laura A. Lord, 2016


I think it is true, that it is only possible to hate and to hurt those that we truly love. In that spirit I was reminded today of the past. Thank you to MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie for the wordle prompt.

Photo by Annie Spratt, 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.

Please remember to sign up for my mailing list. There is a limited time giveaway for a coloring book when you do! Sign up here.

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


Remember to sign up for my mailing list today to get your free coloring book! I promise I will only email you once a month!

Dancer

 

You are the delicate fuchsia flower –
a tempestuous dancer frozen in the middle
of a lustrous pirouette. I found myself
stargazing in the deep purple of
your petals, as if I were watching
for Orion to slip over the knoll
and appear, there, in the soft skin
of your eyelids, closed in fraudulent
sleep. I traced the sunlight, bright
and thick as yolk, as it draped along
your leg. I passed the stain of your
birth, there, at the back of your knee
and minded the flutter your
lashes made. Your breath stuttered,
in spite of your control and I gave myself
up to your kiss – a slow drip of laudanum
that numbed my lips and set you
to dancing, again.

© Laura A. Lord, 2016


All things considered, I never dated a dancer. I did have a very passionate fling with a gymnast, but it burnt out quickly. Thank you to MindLoveMiserysMenagerie for the wordle prompt that inspired some memories this morning.

Photo by Matthew Wiebe, Unsplash

Design by Book Genesis