Memories From the Farmhouse (#18 NaPoWriMo prompt)

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Oak shade and cool-breeze tire swing
Arched out over the hay field,
Glimpses into the off-limits barn.

Boosted on grandfather horses, legs split wide.
Pioneers exploring, night made by lying back on
Warm haunches, short hairs prickling in mine.

White clapboard siding trimmed in forest green paint,
Trickling past my ears, bucket on my oft-warned head, when
Chased by my brother around the ladder.

Lilac tree-bushes screening the barn,
The work truck closing on my finger and
A heated needle pulling black-red drops from purple pulp.

The smell of sun-warmed cherries in flats.
Lowing cows, stamping horses deep inside the barn.
Chicken wire woven with feathers.

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The whole family–Brandy (horse on right), Amy in red on Princess, Cam in blue on the pony Dandy–me in that favorite orange plaid cowboy shirt.

 

The Yellow-Jacket Story (#17 Na/GloPoWriMo Prompt tell a story)

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Dreaming again.
Father-turned-Hawaiian King
Slapping the pacifier on my back
I’ll work, I’ll work…

Words never formed as the air
Vaccumed out of my lungs.
Oregon house in flames behind me
Headless chickens in the yard.

The small dawn hours of crepuscular things
Puts me back in time.
The home of myth in Mosier where
Killing chickens, sleeping horseback, sheep stillborn was

The idyll of three small children.
Me youngest and spoiled fierce,
Amy, middle and good and tough,
Cam, oldest and visionary, in charge of his two-sister tribe.

Explorers that particular day,
Daniel Boones every one of us
(a man we worshipped at 5, 6, 7,
plus Laura and Doug, 7 and 8).

We went across the west pasture,
All the way down the ravine
Where Doug and my brother, Cam, climbed to the top,
Swearing they could see the freeway. Or at least hear it.

We ate our snacks, planted the dead-stick stake,
And began the toil up the hill.
Little legs just past nap days.
Tired.

The movie slow motion scene replays soundless.
Tired companions sprinting up the hill.
Cries unheard but written across my sister’s face.
Bees.

Somehow the barbed wire fence
Was a finish line of sorts: demarcation for safety.
We flung ourselves through, a ripping then:
My favorite orange-plaid cowboy shirt.

Doug at the house already.
70s green Pinto station wagon. Mom, dirt spurts
Up the pasture grade,
Thrusting children on scalding avocado seats.

Seconds like hours allow for
Phone calls, shocking hose water.
Why? Why? Washing bees from hair and clothes
Summoning other parents.

Foreshadowing a tumultuous, future
Amy’s face ballooned, stingers,
Lost from yellow jackets who don’t lose them,
Pincushioned into her head.

The doctor, closed–
Sunday at least four decades ago.
The hospital where kind white coats
Blew up fingered glove-balloons for stung kids.

Six stings for me. Cam seemed like none.
Even after all these years “more than 70 stingers”
From. Her. Head.
And pink vomit after ice cream.

I don’t know if I’ve remembered right. But that’s my story.

Ursula’s Lament (#15 NaPoWriMo Prompt)

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At the fuzzy edges of dreams
The aches begin again, arms no longer there,
Graced and graceful in their wave
Choral melody in perfect tone, her amethyst form dancing.
Ursula sludges awake, the shell ridged under aged flab,
Rough as her memories,
As her ecstatic dreams from when she was whole.
Six tentacles thrash, I will not remember!
Her father’s fury, “You will not sing, dance!”
Seizing her future and slicing it away.
Her lithe limbs gone.
“Focus,” his hiss foamy froth. “Only this.”
His form now long rotted, in the seawater
Caressing her form,
Her tears indistinguishable on her cheek.
Her eels slipping into the lair,
A copper ray of sunshine, born of Triton,
trailing them. For once the child’s melodic form silent.
For a flash:
I could let her go. I’m fighting my father’s fight.

Her aching phantoms.
Her weary form.
A smack of lipstick determination. Turning
“I can make you human, girl.”