Broke

Nelson keeps his deformed left hand in his jeans pocket, rolling a two dollar coin between his three fingers. No matter what happens, with this coin in his pocket, he’s never broke. With two bucks, a person just can’t be broke.

He zips his sleeping bag closed with his right hand, then leans back against the boarded storefront, underneath a gray awning that sheltered him from most of last night’s rain.  Waiting for Old Man Russell to move spots paid off, and Nelson is determined to keep this space for himself, even if it means a few more bloody fights.    

He squints his eyes, blurring his vision and softening the surrounding scene of cement, garbage cans and rusty cars. When Nelson squints, he sees only the centre of the picture: maple trees bursting autumn within the confines of the tiny city park across the street.

Crimson. Pink. Gold. Brightest red. The same colours that painted the horizons of his childhood. His family’s home, nothing more than a rundown shack if he’s honest, had the best view on the reserve. Aunt Gladys said they never had to decorate inside because nature provided decoration enough for anyone. Nelson closes his eyes, carrying his aunt’s words and the fantastic colour, a phantom of comfort, into his sleep.

In his dreams, his family are happy. They sit at picnic tables, waiting for the day’s salmon catch to cook on an open fire. Children play and run around. The adults are telling stories and laughing. But Nelson strains to hear their laughter. It’s blocked out by a loud crackling – the sound of brittle leaves as a strong breeze passes through the tree branches.

And now Nelson can smell smoke, can actually taste smoke from the air. Light wafts have grown into thick billows, raging out of the untamed fire. Salty resin catches in his lungs and takes hold of him.

Bystanders are too distracted by the flames to see a two dollar coin roll into the street.

Extinguish

What molten rage appears behind frosted windows
Your panic rises, scorching, then cools icy and remains
Tempers your home cannot, scarcely, contain
Trembling crumbles your well planned calm
You’ve known the truth for far too long
A wink, a blink, a flash, you’re gone.

d’Verse quadrille: 44 words using the prompt ‘wink’ (which admittedly I used in a darker way).

Inconsolable

Sisters, unlike.
One rounded, one jagged.
Puzzle pieces never able to click-fit.
Don’t make trouble, I begged,
Never understanding she didn’t.
Her heart broken in shards, impossible to mend.
My wrists cut in bloody despair.
She salved, bandaged my wounds
Before fading from view.

*****

dVerse quadrille prompt: puzzle (44 words)

Crumbling

Many’s the night you’ve walked these same miles, without ever lifting from your chair.
Dreams like loosed cobblestones, a path crumbling underneath your worn, hobo shoes.
Brief solace sometimes sought, diversions for your wearied soul.
Slippery side streets and names you no longer remember.

This week, dVerse Poets provided the Quadrille (44 words) prompt word: cobble.

Submerge

He didn’t glance back before falling forward
Into the still unknown of shocking cobalt.
Crystalline blue.

No one there to fuss or hold him
No one to cry out at just the right moment
Into the midnight afternoon breeze –
Please stay.

For those he’d loved always, eventually
Let go of his hand.
Left him stranded.
Cast away.

And when he realized this, his fate
He’d grieved. Hardened.
Become impenetrable stone.
Then (against even the quirkiest laws of nature)
Frozen to fragile ice, cracked, shattered.

If not submerged within this serene, sharp sapphire
Where else was he meant to be?

Written for dVerse, an ekphrastic poem responding to a work of art. Here that work is a beautifully complex, yet simple, evocative painting by Fay Collins

Damage

Sinewed hands grab my shoulders, shove me sideways down unfamiliar streets.

Glowing in the distant dark there shimmers a landed mermaid, enchanting, enticing,

Melting in the tarnished silver spoon I wasn’t born with.

Burns my hands. Burns my veins.

Soundless, the world is ash.

44 words (quadrille) for d’Verse. Prompt word: burn

 

Murmurs

When he speaks plain truth to himself, not often that is,
He whisper-tells that when he twists door handles, enters,
Rooms chill into icy, stony-silent, thin air.

But his deliberate shuffle awakens low-register murmurs,
Piercing, hot hissed hums.
Air full, no, fat.
Like him.

44 word quadrille for today’s dVerse Pub