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

Little Deaths

Your fingers slid down my spine.
Four demanding, nocturnal snakes
slithering in the darkness.
Madly dashing for the little gilt knob at my base.
There, you could trip the switch and
turn me on. And I would sing. I would sing, and
sing the omen of little deaths to come.

© Laura A. Lord, 2016


Written for the prompts over at An Artist at Heart, Uncharted, and Three Word Wednesday.

An Artist at Heart: Miniature Writing Challenge – Music

Uncharted: Six Sentence Stories – Trip

Three Word Wednesday: Week 463 – Madly, Nocturnal, Omen

 

Sunrise

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Creative Commons

The bright light of morning crept through the cracks in our curtains,
shattered across your skin in an astonished display
that outlined the deep blue of your nightgown.
It broke a pattern of light and shadow across your face,
and I let my fingers wander to the lacy edge
draped along your thigh.
Morning’s red rose lips kissed the snow white skin,
there, on the soft spot at your wrist.
For a brief moment, before the light slid heavy and thick
up to completely illuminate your sleeping eyes,
I found myself afraid.
Afraid of what the night had left, scattered about my bed.
Afraid of what the light had shown;
and that somehow it would disappear.

© Laura A. Lord, 2015


This time of year makes me think so much of people who are no longer with me. I remember this woman, from entirely too many years ago. It didn’t last long, but I always wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t been so afraid of commitment back then. She was beautiful…


Thank you to Six Sentence Stories and Three Word Wednesday for their prompts this week!

1 A.M.

It is 1 a.m.
and you are draped across my body –
the potency of your soap
spreading across my skin.

Sleep is pounding in my skull,
but mutual lust is dripping –
a slow leak
down to my leopard print high heels.

Creative Commons
Creative Commons

Your mouth is pressed against my breast
and I gasp,
head thrown to the side of the bed
and our tiny room is tossed into a prism’s light,

the luminary lighting his small face in the crib
making dark eyes beam hazel
and so I slide out from beneath you.
He is crying and I take him from his bed.

I wrap him in my arms and
sidle down into the bed with him.
He is groping at my breast,
and it is 1 am

and he is draped across my body –
the smell of lavender in his hair
it’s a complete 180
and I’m spinning from woman

to mother
from desire, to nurture
from you to him.
It is 1 a.m.

and I am the light
cut from the prism’s heart.
I am one and all,
wife and mother

in leopard high heels…

© Laura A. Lord 2015


There is something odd, and yet beautiful in being a mother. It seems we always have so many different coats to wear: wife, mother, daughter, friend…Sometimes those coats seem to overlap, we slide from one thing to the other with little thought.

This was written for MindLoveMisery’s prompt.

Exploration

I was ready for exploration,
a bit of adventure in my
one window life.
Your fingers scrolled along
the relief map of my skin,
toured the pale purple peaks
and staggered down through the amber waves
at the apex of my river valley.

Oh you were my Sacajawea
and I was a bright pink plastic
vibrator with triple set speeds
and a versatile set of rubber rabbit ears.

You brought beauty into the mire of my world
and I stamped it out.
I drew four-lane highways across your domain
and planted my finger like a flag
right on the heart of the subject.

I’d never seen beauty shatter before.

© Laura A. Lord 2015


Written for the prompt over at MindLoveMiserysMenagerie.


Subscribe today for a coupon good for 50% off my book, Wake Up a Woman.

 

Feral: Part Three

feral“Wake up, Lily! The cab is here.”

Lily sat up sharply, frightened out of a deep sleep brought on by entirely too much alcohol and food and emotions and all those things that piled up on someone when the hordes of family and friends squeezed into your home and attempted to shove grief down under heaping spoonfuls of casserole and cheap wine.

“What?” Lily asked?

Her step-mother was busily moving around the room, her father’s old book bag in her hand. She busied herself with tossing Lily’s clothing into it, digging through the drawers and grabbing small stacks.

“What are you doing?” Lily yelled, sweeping her legs out from under the blankets and running over to slam her underwear drawer shut before Hannah could dig further into it.

“Helping you pack. The cab is here. Get dressed.”

The clipped tone fought its way into Lily’s head and she shook the sleep off before grabbing the book bag from her step-mother’s hands.

“Where am I going?” She asked.

“I don’t care, but you can’t stay here. Your father left me the house. I saw the will last week. You can come for the rest of your things later,” Hannah said, turning on her heel and walking towards the door. She paused and tossed a fifty dollar bill onto the table. “You can go as far as that will take you.”

She left the door open when she left, the sound of her bare feet stomping down the hallway. Lily stared at her disheveled reflection in the mirror and ran a hand through her ragged hair. She slipped into autopilot, shoving clothing and pictures and books into the book bag. Wallet. License. Picture she drew for her father. Two pair of underwear. A t-shirt. Her father’s sweater. A pair of jeans. Socks. The Catcher and the Rye.

            What am I doing, she thought. This is my home. She can’t just throw me out. She paused, her hand pushing the bulging pack closed. Maybe she can?

Lily grabbed her jeans off the back of the chair at her desk and rifled through the closet for a tank top and a button down shirt. She was yanking socks on her feet when she heard the car horn beep.

She snatched the cash off the table and stuffed it into her pocket. Clomping down the steps in untied boots, Lily stopped at the bottom landing and looked for her step-mother. The woman was nowhere to be seen.

“This is still my home,” she yelled. She slid down the hallway and peeked in the open doors. Empty bathroom, laundry room, and sounds of the Keurig spitting out coffee in the kitchen. Lily came around the corner and saw Hannah, her blue bathrobe pulled tight around her body, her hands clenching the steaming mug of coffee.

“He was my father,” Lily said. She dropped the book bag to the floor and took a cautious step forward. “One semester and I’ll be in school. I’ll be gone. Please, Hannah.”

Hannah lifted the mug and took a sip before setting it down. She focused on retying the sash around her robe, pulling it until it was snug against her small waist. “This is my house.”

“It’s my father’s house,” Lily ground out.

“No. It’s my house,” Hannah said.

Lily kicked the book bag at her feet. “Where am I supposed to go? Huh?”

Hannah moved over to the junk drawer at the edge of the counter and pulled out the floppy brown leather address book Lily remembered her father keeping in his back pocket constantly. It had a crease down the center from being sat on and pressed against his wallet.

“He had an aunt or something. Over on the eastern shore,” and with that, Hannah slid the book across the table, picked up her mug, and slipped out the back patio door.

Lily grabbed the address book, running her fingers along the soft leather. She grabbed her book bag and headed out. The front door was sitting wide open and outside the sound of an engine roaring softly provided the only soundtrack to her exit. She let the door close behind her and slid across the cracked leather seat of the cab.

The man behind the partition was older, with wisps of gray hair poking out from under a Baltimore Orioles hat. He smiled and lifted his hands in the air as if the sky were the limit.

“Where we going, hun?” He drawled.

Lily, started flipping through the book. “The Bay Bridge. The eastern shore.”


Part One     Part Two 

Feral: Part Two

feralwas a certain smell in funeral homes, a cloying mix of flowers and old lady perfume. Lily felt her allergies welling up, causing her eyes to water. She sniffed in the most unladylike way possible, but it was a funeral. If anything her allergies were her saving grace, she looked like she was mourning.

Not that she shouldn’t be mourning, but Lily found it increasingly difficult to make the tears come. Behind her the dark steel coffin stood like a sentry. She kept staring at it out of the corner of her eye. The silhouette of his face – one she knew so well. Her fingers swiped at the water gathering on her lashes and she brushed her nose. She shared that nose with the dead man. It was one of the only physical traits she could easily recognize as having come from her father.

It had been a little over six months since her father had sat everyone down in the living room after dinner and delivered the news like he was passing out a slice of after-dinner desert.

“I have cancer,” he said.

There was no soft opening line, no easing into it. He was as blunt and blatant as always. It wasn’t in his character to sugar coat anything, and it seemed cancer wasn’t going to be any different.

The silence that followed had set her ears to ringing. Lily heard her step-mother asking questions, but it was only her father’s words that she heard.

No cure.

No treatment.

A year. Maybe two.

Her father and Hannah had only gotten married last year. They hadn’t even had their first anniversary yet. Lily should have felt bad for her. Both of them had been married before, but where Hannah’s husband had collapsed while mowing their front yard, Lily’s mother had simply up and left. One morning she woke up and said, “I don’t love you anymore.”

Then she left.

Lily was eighteen when Hannah came into their life. She was too old for a new mother, but she would have given her a chance, if Hannah hadn’t absolutely hated her. Maybe hate was the wrong word, but there was a level of competitiveness there that had formed a wedge between them from the very beginning. Hannah looked at Lily as if she were the only thing standing between her and a perfect marriage. Lily’s father adored her, they had habits and traditions, things that belonged to them. It wasn’t like they hadn’t tried to include Hannah, but she wanted no parts of Christmas Bingo. She wanted no parts of anything that was between father and daughter and had slowly managed to end each little ritual like she were stomping out a stray ash from the fire.

Lily had been planning on college to get away, give them the space they needed. Her father’s cancer news put a hold on her applications and before she knew it she’d missed deadlines. Real tears filled her eyes then as she thought about having to take a semester off at home with Hannah. The house seemed so empty without her father in it.

Lily stole a glance to her other side, watching the way fat tears rolled down the perfect arch of Hannah’s cheek bones. A small birdcage black veil covered the top half of her step-mother’s face, attached to an entirely too large hat. She wore a form-fitting top, black pencil skirt, small kitten heels. As if sensing Lily’s stare, she turned and gave a smoldering look through the veil.

“My brother will sit in the front with me,” she said.

Lily’s eyebrows raised in shock. She was his daughter. She belonged in the front pew, the one where the sign “Family Only” hung from its little white ribbon.

“Why don’t you go find somewhere to sit down?” Hannah more commanded than asked her. She spun her head back around to embrace another person in the long line of mourners. Lily squeezed past the pair and went to find another seat.


Part One    Part Three

Feral: Part One

feral“What do you want?”

Cagedon stepped back, looking at the man who practically filled the doorway. It wasn’t often that he ran into someone taller than himself, but the older man had to be well over his own six and a half feet. Dropping his book bag to the porch, Cagedon extended his hand.

“I’m Cagedon McGrath,” he started, pulling his hand back when the man made no effort to extend his own. “I was just, um, looking for a room.”

The man looked Cagedon up and down, barely finishing his initial check over, when a wiry, high-pitched voice sounded from somewhere back in the house.

“I told you someone was coming by,” she said. “Didn’t I, Paul?”

The older man, Paul it seemed, ground his teeth together. “That you did, Ellie.”

“Well, let him in,” Ellie said, coming up behind Paul and sliding under the frame his arm made with the doorway. She was a petite woman, all wrinkled skin covering bone. Her hair was grey and stood out in kinks and curls from all angles of her head. A few strands had been wrapped around neon pink hair curlers. A bright red kimono dressing gown hung so long it dragged on the ground. She extended a white gloved hand to Cagedon, and at the same time, elbowed Paul in the stomach.

“I knew you were coming,” she said. “Back up, Paul. Back, back, back. Now.”

“You don’t know nothin’ about this boy,” Paul said, unmoving.

“He’s fine. I know,” Ellie said, lifting her chin and squaring her shoulders. “I know.”

Paul let out something close to a growl, and stepped to the side, pulling Ellie back with him.

“She knows,” he muttered, before walking off through the house.

Cagedon stepped into a room that resembled something close to a royal dining room – post tornado. The table was covered with mix-matched tablecloths and serving dishes. Candle sticks of every shape and size took up any available space on the sideboards and tables. A chandelier, which was fixed with bulbs of all shades and sizes, hung low enough that Cagedon had to duck under it as he came inside.

Ellie slid her arm through his, and escorted him into her home. She stood behind the chair at the head of the massive table and waited there quietly. Cagedon gripped his backpack in one hand and rested his other on the back of another chair. She didn’t seem inclined to speak, and he had no idea what to say to her, so they stood there in silence for a moment.

“Well,” Ellie finally broke the quiet. “We’ll have to work on this.” She motioned to the chair in front of her. “You are supposed to pull that out for me, you know?”

Cagedon quickly reached out and yanked the chair back, so Ellie could sit down. Once she had, he scooted it in and went to sit next to her.

“Sorry,” he said.

Ellie smiled. “Not a problem, boy. Now, I told you I knew you were coming, didn’t I?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” he started. “But how did you…”

“Doesn’t matter how. Just knew you were and I was right. It’s nice to be right. Makes Paul mad, you know, but it’s worth it. You’ll be needing a room, and I’ve got one all ready for you. I got up early this morning and got it all cleaned up and nice.”

She paused and looked him over, before quickly getting to her feet. “Not sure why we’re sitting down here. I’m sure you want to get some rest. C’mon now. Off to bed.”

Cagedon hadn’t even managed to get out of his chair by the time Ellie was already at the stairs and on her way up. He watched her totter to the side and catch herself on the wall, realizing she was attempting to navigate steep steps, in a kimono that trailed to the floor, and a pair of what looked like stilettos. She would lift the kimono occasionally, and Cagedon got a glimpse of bright yellow shoes and the thin ankles that barely seemed capable of holding her up.

She led him to a room at the end of the upstairs hallway. After a moment or two of fiddling with the door, Cagedon finally stepped forward and shoved it open. The strong scent of flowers struck him full in the face, and he began coughing and sneezing.

“Oh dear,” Ellie mused, waltzing into the room. “I hadn’t thought about you being one of those.”

She went to the window and pushed it open, letting the fresh air sweep through the room. By then, Cagedon’s eyes were watering and he had pulled his t-shirt up over his face, breathing in the soft cotton. Ellie narrowed her eyes at him.

“There are just some things you are going to have to get used to, boy and a clean house is one of them. Paul did it, so I’m sure you can too.”

Cagedon just nodded and pulled the shirt back down. “I’ll only be here a night.”

“Of course you will, dear,” Ellie said, patting his arm as she made her way to the door.

Cagedon turned to look at her, and Ellie smiled. “I’ll be right down the hall. Breakfast at…whenever I get up. Goodnight.”

With that, Ellie shut the door and Cagedon listened to the sound of her heels clicking down the hallway. He shook his head and stared around the room. Fresh flowers sat in vases on the dresser and both nightstands. Candles were lit on the bookshelves, and a jar of potpourri sat wide open on the desk. Even the bed was covered with flowers, some bright pink and yellow rose print. Combining it with the flower and striped wallpaper, and Cagedon’s head began to swim.

He immediately put the lid on the potpourri and blew out the candles. Then, systematically, pulled all the flowers from the vases and chunked them out the open window. It did little to help the smell, and so Cagedon stripped his t-shirt off and tied it around his face like a bandanna. It was going to be a long night.


Part Two     Part Three