SEVERED DREAMS

UltraShorts Anthology: 12-6-2013

hilltop grove

The snore that severed me from peaceful dreams

Was his zipper, ragged as the pull stroke of a chain saw.

Though the act was six thousand and many nights ago,

The sound still rips through me as I edge toward sleep.

The cruelest wedge he drove forced comfort from my bed,

Where I might have healed when the pounding stopped.

My duvet of down and sheets of Egyptian weave don’t soothe

The girl of twelve, sobbing, shattered, on her closet floor.

The graft never takes; split forever, my seam is open to the world.

From dark to dawn, till I stand up, fully clothed,

I count the hundred saplings around her grave

And, weary, guard that little forest with my life.

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Married Love, Year Thirty

MARRIED LOVE, YEAR THIRTY      by Erik Svehaug

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

Moon-Jupiter-cloud-and-trees

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.

Myth or Mom?

Honorable Mention:  Fall, 2011

Mom was perfect from day start till shut eye. I can’t mourn her:  her myth remains, clogging my mind like milfoil. The woman, not my mother, died.

She willed good things to happen, healed wounds with a kiss, never lost her cool.  She exuded control, and I believed it of her, even after I saw her face without her teeth or commanding smile.

At twenty-three, sans my wisdom teeth, I passed a doorway in a huge medical center, a woman’s face spotlighted in the operating chair, visible because the dentist leaned away.

“Mom?!”

Her hand flashed up to hide the unmade bed of her mouth, the unguarded pink walls of her gums, stretched between two or three isolated teeth.

She was instantly in tears.

It was my fault.  I felt that terrible comfortable nausea of knowing I’d screwed up, just not how.

So I resorted to mythic beauty.

Until today.

Fresh Start

first pubbed ezine and podcast:  10-2011

He dumped you; hard.  You decorated his smell out of the apartment.

Later, as you chased a rag up and down the new heron-leg stools and along the front of the Uba Tooba counter; as you polished the rubber plant; gave the prayer rug a shake; combed the sand on the end table with a tiny rake;  artfully managed not to disturb the bonsai or knock the crystals from advantageous points in the high corners while you dusted;

the edge of the golden gong silently sliced your index finger.  A smile of blood slowly formed.  Impulsively, you wiped it on the flat brass face.  Your missing peace settled on the apartment like warm rain.  You struck the gong and your ears echoed the thin roar, shedding voices, dislodging hurtful jibes.  You struck again.

Again.

Again.

You clean weekly, since then, but gong daily.  A drop of blood keeps it real.  The gong is the color of rich oxblood shoe leather.  You see the good place you are in reflected in its face.

School of Dad

Manometer by stefanolmo

published here

I think my Dad invented Thursday Night School so he could avoid reading the notes my mother left taped to the fridge.

Dad made Thursday nights out to be a big deal, the weekly seminar at our house; he prepared for it all week, looking statistics up on line and checking newspapers, but I’m the one who had to haul the empty brown bottles to the driveway, Fridays, and sweep up all the cigarette butts and left over pizza crusts. Once in a while, I had to wash out a waste can laced with curds of old puke and napkins.

He was teaching the course: Inebriate Verticology. He had a sign, too, on his office door in the boiler room of John Russell Middle School: “Dept. of Inebriate Verticology.” He’s head janitor. Continue reading

Married Love, July

c/o shadesshuttersblinds.com

Binnacle Ultrashort H.M.

Sticky warm, he left work at the crack of the last whip.

She stuck the paintbrush in the freezer in plastic like a lollipop for use tomorrow.

Wide flung doors and windows admitted a bit of cooling air. They stretched their paycheck on the rug for a picnic.

A little chicken, pasta salad, thank you. They talked about the news of job cuts and her long days. They each ate half a watermelon.

Out of the smoke of hills on fire, the full moon climbed the trellis emitting pure catlight.

During the night their stomachs talked like foghorns. In the morning, they met in the middle of the wiggle room before work.

There was still time to walk the dog.

Hummingbird

pubbed here

I had to make it easier to whip out Wishes and show I was up to the next level. Up to the Miracle Corps light-before-the-end-of-the-tunnel standards. I don’t have to be another Jenny; just good enough to set up a trip to a waterfall with wheelchairs, or some other midsize Wish Fulfillment.
Jenny’s great, no doubt. Except for that one parent that one time. She can set up families of ten coming from eleven states arriving at twelve different times with thirteen different food allergies and all sleeping over with Mickey and Minnie in Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
What do I get? Look at this old folder:
“I want to go surfing.” What’s the big challenge? With a six-month window, I had to get a fourteen year old from Boulder to Huntington Beach.
Or: “I want to see snow.” In eight or nine months, a second-grader from Louisiana to the Rockies.
“I want to ride a bike.” Oh this was a good one…six or seven months, an eleven year old with no use of legs. Easy actually…hand cranks instead of pedals.
See what I mean? So basic.
So during my last review with my supervisor, Randy Lawson, I asked for tougher stuff. Some measurable way to prove that I was ready for five-wheelchairs-on-a-plane-change-at-O’Hare level logistics. What did I get from good old Mr. Lawson? Check this out:
“I want a hummingbird to kiss me”; 3 months.
Balboa Park, San Diego, Bird House. Ka-ching. Continue reading