UNDETERRED

first published: Halfway Down the Stairs, June, 2013

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About six years ago, a dark-haired, thirtyish man in a white T-shirt pushed an arresting young woman in a wheel chair up the main aisle of the hardware store. She had intense brown eyes, smooth tan skin like her companion, and exuberant, thick eyebrows.

     He approached me. “Do you have a little time you can spend with my sister? Anna has a few questions.”

“Sure. What can I help with?” I said. I was grateful. I am a rover in the store, free to help almost anybody with pretty much anything, but especially a  pretty girl.

The girl had the same shiny rich, black hair as her brother, shoulder length. Her upper body was brown and broad; her legs were in jeans, but Velcro-wrapped to the foot rests of the chair.

“Well, I hope you can help me with pulleys, because I have to invent some things. I can picture it, but I need help to get the pieces together.”

Her eyes were mirrors into which I didn’t dare look. “Okay.  Anna, I’m Jerry. What are we building?”    Continue reading

Married Love, Year Thirty

MARRIED LOVE, YEAR THIRTY      by Erik Svehaug

first published: UMM Binnacle Ultrashorts, 12-12-12

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Fading memory is now our little family’s art,
And gravity unwraps the careful packaging of youth;
So let’s meet in serenity, embracing grief and joy,
In the mercy of moments that dawn perpetually.
When you quit pressing weekdays into weeks,
And I stop scraping flotsam into heaps,
We’ll come together in the unmapped dark
And shine our flashlights at the moon.

A Hint of Wind

Published here:  Microstory-a Week, 11-30-2011

The young priest cut the outboard engine half a mile from Horseshoe Bay off the Marin Headlands. He had no fishing pole, no crab pots.  He spent most Mondays off from his stagnant ministry in this rowboat.

He tipped the engine up and back, put the oars in their locks, let the blades hang in the water.  He waited, bow pointed across open water toward old San Francisco.  Outside the mouth of the Bay, the barren Farallons called and the immense Pacific offered to take him.  The boat drifted dully.

He closed his eyes.  His seminary enthusiasm had met polite tolerance.  He just couldn’t engage these natives with roots as old as the Bible.  Power-Points were useless.

Small waves licked the side of the boat; the hungrier ones slapped it. Continue reading

Life Off the Cliff

Lessons that we all have learned from Pete:

Be blunt: rip the Band-Aid off the truth.

Share: it makes your ownership complete.

And laugh: some days refined, some days uncouth.

Bad news? Scream ugly once, then turn the page,

You are the writer at this theater, not the show.

No bragging rights unless you scar with age;

Drive off the cliff, if what you want’s below.

During the blink of light, the gasp of breath, that’s life,

Some brothers lock their doors, seat belts secured.

Back from the edge, to stay unhurt, to just survive,

They never climb the railing, jump the curb.

But some things aren’t revealed at a distance.

Fledgling egrets or nursing otter pups,

Cliffside terns or parading pelicans,

Fluttering monarchs or rhythmic waves of kelp.

Each day’s unique and sunrise is the proof.

One buffets the beach, like storms attack a boat.

Another fades to gray, with sun aloof.

Then, clouds and sea in stained glass seem to float.

Pete, the image of you that is going to last:

You let each and every morning have its day.

You take the good from all you see go past.

You love, and are loved, more than words can say.

aired on:  KZSC radio 6-8-2010