The muddied uniformed woman walked into my kitchen, a steel cup of congealed redness in her hand. She tried to pour it into the sink.

I shook my head.

She sat on the floor, resting her head against my right thigh; darkened blood, flowing from her left ear, seeped through blue denim to chill my skin.

I rubbed my arms.

“Cold?” my fiancé said, frowning at me from across the table.

I glanced down at the woman.

Setting his fork down, he walked by her to stand behind me. “I’ll give you privacy.” He kissed my forehead, nose, lips… and spoke a soft “I love you” into my mouth.

“I need to clean up,” I said, after my fiancé left the room.

“Sorry,” the woman said.

“No need to be sorry.” I headed towards the bathroom.

I pulled my t-shirt over my head, and walked into the shower with my bra and jeans on.

Through the semitransparent shower curtain, I watched the woman sit cross-legged in front of my tub; her eyes fixed on the contents of her cup.

Once all the red had washed out, I struggled out of the wet clothes and wrapped myself in a towel.

The woman was trying to empty her cup in the toilet bowl. “Please,” she said, her marred hand extending the cup my way.

“You need that,” I told her.

“No,” she shouted, standing up and rushing through the door.

Hours later, the sound of steel landing hard on wood startled me awake. I smelled the woman. Keep your eyes shut. Think her away. But that never worked. I opened my eyes slowly, and rays of moonlight trickled through the bedroom window to outline the woman’s eyes—full of tears, blood and dirt, and just inches from my face.

I screamed.

My fiancé jumped out of bed. He knew not to touch me when I was like that. He called my name, from three feet away. “Look at me,” he said. “See me. I’m with you.”

“I see you. I’m okay.” My heart pumping wildly, my eyes averted from the woman and her silvery cup of blackened blood on my nightstand.

“You scare me sometimes,” he said, lying next to me.

“I scare me all the time.” I managed a grin.

“It’s frightening when I call your name, and your eyes are listening to things thousands of miles away. What if you stopped seeing me? Or… stopped loving me enough to want to see me at all?”

“I love you everywhere,” I said, “all the time.”

“Why?” He asked infinite questions with that word.

Wondering if he truly didn’t know, I said, “Because you ground me. You help me hold myself together. You know how to kiss my screams into song and fuel the bright that balances my dark. You remind me how amazing it is to be me. I’ll never stop loving that.”

He pressed his face between my breasts, and breathed.

I held him; and watched my eyes watch me, from a clean face, a torch overflowing with light in my healed hands.

Inspired by “Always”, winner of From Blackout Poem Bit to Flash Fiction or Full-Length Poetry, 2; because there was a tie between poetry and fiction, I let Shelle’s comment make the final choice, and went with fiction. She suggests “‘Always’ is so perfect as a stand alone [poem], delicious word food already, without needing the extra aioli…”.

a wee note on tardiness and stuff:
I’m a day late… and 200 words over my self-set limit of 313 words or fewer. The first was unintentional; I had an appointment that left me exhausted, and ended up taking a nap that lasted about 5 hours too many. The second bit was the cup’s fault… I’m not exactly sure where the cup came from… But once it got into the tale, it wouldn’t go away without morphing into something it liked—you know cups, my Luvs, stubborn like bloody mules.

Antique Always (Snape)
“Always” (quote from Snape, in Harry Potter) Antique Style Bronze Ring


From Blackout Poem Bit to Flash Fiction or Full-Length Poetry, 2

After publishing “Be Human”, the winner of the first From Blackout Poem Bit to Flash Fiction, I realized that I should have given you a form choice (i.e. would you like fiction or poetry?). My blackout poems are so short (hence the “bit”) that it might be fun to see what happens if I add a stanza (or three) to the original poem bit. So… as the title suggests, this week (and the ones that follow) we’ll go from blackout poem bit to flash fiction or full-length poetry; the choice is yours.

So, my Wicked Luvs… which of my Poem Bits should become a flash fiction tale (of 313 513 words or fewer) or a full-length poem?

Below, I’ve included the blackout and handwritten poems I’ve shared since last Friday (in reverse chronological order); your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to leave a comment letting me know which of the Poem Bits you would like to see expanded, and in what form: 1) Which poem do you wish me to develop? 2) Would you like your choice to be flash fiction or longer poetry? 3) *optional* Why?

On Monday or Tuesday *cough*, I will turn the Poem Bit with the most votes into a story or a longer poem, depending on the choices you make. Here is this week’s list:

bright magic
will the art of you—
bind many?
– blacked out from Caring for Your Book

“Seeing” (handwritten, not blacked out)
Brains know and hearts feel.
Raging eyes see little,
often nothing at all.

gently cracked
spine in the gutter;
the will-less
– blacked out from Caring for Your Book

Smile at the silence.
Listen to a star;
feel music
and wonder.
– blacked out from Music and the Classroom Teacher

“Always” (handwritten, not blacked out)
Why I always will?

Because my lips nearly burst
with the rage of my own
and you came and kissed them
into song…

without trying to change

in the seeds
of the universe—
much squeezed, life
– blacked out from Ageless Body, Timeless Mind

For images of the listed Poem Bits… visit me on Instagram.

From Blackout Poem Bit to Flash Fiction or Full-Length Poetry, 2