I stood under the shadows of the frost-lined lilac tree
its branches lifted to the sky by the thrust
of the fists of brittle flowers not yet broken apart by the cold
I hid under laughter
not wanting to ask:
are you too young for me
too sure of what you want

I wore a red dress that is too tight
But it keeps my heart from falling out
and making a mess all over your shoes

After we talk inside for a while,
you yawn to tell me I should go home
I catch this
like a fishhook through skin
intention that blooms into accident

You used to drive me across the city
And now every red car that passes
reminds me
of the way your dark hair looked
when you rested your head on my lap
and turned your voice away

I don’t want to hear about how you used to bring
women flowers
I don’t want to know this
I imagine you always chose the red ones. We like these best
They remind us that we’re not pregnant, and so
there’s nothing to fear

that we are still young
and in between the rifts of our bodies
there is still time
to live as if there is no need for sleep

My dreams have become ingrown
like fingernails
I never cut them
I sense your eyes aren’t used to candlelight
and so you see by touch
you read the thoughts
that I hide just beneath my skin

you know the braille of goosebumps
like the princess knew a single pea
under a stack of 20 mattresses:
these are the things that mean

When you left, I held onto all your childhood fears
that you once told to me between shards of broken glass
and I kept the shadows you left on my body
They spread like water over linen

When you used to sleep beside me
I would look out the window every morning
at the birds
the northern cardinals
points of blood against
the silence of the white sky


An Amish Christmas Journey

And now the next installment in my series of romance novel plot synopses that I rewrite based solely on the cover images. The first is here.

As always, I find these while buying my groceries. Who would have thought that so soon I’d find another beauty that features a cat? IMG_5060

Here we go:

Martha, with her subtly puffed navy blue sleeves and her lips the red of a newly raised barn, never thought she’d find the spark of true love. After all, how can a feisty yet well-mannered Amish girl hope to find that longed-for spark when one’s entire community refuses to use electricity?

Martha’s only hope was that the candle upon the windowsill would release a stray ember of love. Maybe this year, maybe just in time for Christmas. Surely that ember would guide her on the path to her destiny like a firefly soaring over the desolate, fallow field in the distance that doubled as a metaphor for her lonesome, underpopulated heart.

But, alas, that candle refused to do much of anything – other than turn Martha’s cheek a sallow hue evocative of either jaundice or overly churned butter.

That is – until one day that candle illuminated the soft mystery of the be-whiskered Klaus as he came out of nowhere and gracefully jumped up beside her.

Klaus, unworldly as a field of grain, was born in a barn. In fact, he was born in that very barn that Martha could see from her bedroom window every morning before she arose from bed to don a fresh apron. In a way, Klaus had always been there, watching over her.

Seated beside her, Klaus raised his small, soft white paw and gazed longingly at Martha’s loose bonnet-strings. His whiskers trembled like bits of straw protruding from a haystack during a windstorm. Martha knew in her heart of hearts that those whiskers trembled with love.

For Klaus and Martha shared a deep connection. Neither of them used computers or other forms of technology. Neither of them would ever drive an automobile, nor likely inherit property. Neither of them had any desire to wear ornate clothing with sparkly sequins or rhinestones. And, despite the absence of sequins, they both shone!

Martha’s eyes, once as dull as the blades of an overused plow, shone as she realized that her journey was over. This Christmas, though no Santa would come with presents, Martha had found her Klaus.