Writing is breath for me. Travel and curiosity contribute to my daily writing life. I've had pieces published in Adanna Lit Jour. and Halfway Down the Stairs. My first novel, The Call, comes out in 2024. I live in New Orleans.
This Too Shall Pass
Every time I think I know the lay of the land, things change. Mountains rise in front of me where I’m not expecting them. I lean forward, pushing my heels into the earth and hike upwards. The things I thought would bother me don’t seem so bad. The anticipated ick of chemo – no taste buds, bit of nausea, exhaustion, loss of more cranial peach fuzz – it seems okay… even, manageable. Truthfully, the anticipation of losing my hair was far worse than the actual head shaving experience. I’m getting used to things – sort of.
Her: He hasn’t told me where we’re going – but we’ll be flying. “Pack warm, outdoorsy clothes and hiking boots.” I’m stronger. Less broken. The desperate loss of Sadie – I still bleed for her. That’s what I called her. I’m sure she was a girl. It was almost too early to determine but she was more than just a collection of cells. I felt her soul leave that morning he found me. They say God only gives you what you can handle. That’s not true. I was swallowed by grief so vast, it hurt to breathe – the very thing we need to do as humans to survive.
Calliope's in the back yard, training yet, another pup. She fosters them from the nearby shelter. This one’s all black, short and stocky with a square head. Strong and playful, she struggles to keep the dog from pulling her off her feet. The pup is just that – a pup. I’d guess seven or eight months old. Reminds me of days gone by with my Granny Sawyer, training our herding pack.
In Over My Head
The sand burns my feet. My instinct is to run on tip toe – get off the sand – into water. I fight the urge – searching for my inner warrior to withstand the pain, even burning pain. I want to be one of those wise souls who walks over hot coals or withstands Arctic cold wearing nothing but a look of contentment. Earth’s elements can't crush me. I want to be a part of them... to feel their intensity and immensity. I welcome discomfort.
I Disappeared Today
I disappeared today. I’m not sure when it happened but now I can’t find myself anywhere. My family can’t see me, my colleagues can’t hear me, my dogs don’t even smell me. I’m just gone.... into thin air. Actually the air is thick and murky and has a sulfurous smell. So if I’m not here – where am I?
Another Brick in the Wall
Moss slippery, crusted with bird shit, clay crumbled, rigid rectangles. Like the large, colorful Jenga game on the sunporch, if you remove one of my bricks, I may collapse. Each brick integral to my overall structure and stability, despite the messy make-up. I appreciate their blocky durability, sharp edges, unyielding. Even when they rub and bruise my tender flesh, I refuse to let any go.
Rest A Spell
The glow of warm lights emanating from the wooden cottage beckons Nick. He slogs through knee-deep snow, one heavy snowshoe at a time while a nearly full moon illuminates the way. Stars sparkle overhead and crystal daggers of ice hang heavy in the trees, threatening to fall and spear him through. It’s a silent night – only the sound of his ragged breath, labored, in and out as he makes his way toward the cabin. He’s been here before, only then, he’d been running, needing distance. He’d had the advantage of being on foot and blended into the mossy green surroundings. He’s good at that. Two tours in Iraq taught him the importance of staying hidden in plain sight.
Kestrel in Waiting
Wyatt: Perched on the woodpile, resting or waiting? I’m not sure. She’s there most afternoons as I haul firewood for the coming winter. She eyes me before flapping away. Disgust? Those wings tell me I’m an interloper, not a friend. Each night the pile shrinks as I struggle to heat the cabin. Thick bark on the trees and early squirrelin’ of forest critters tells me we’re headed into deep winter. Need to chop another cord soon.
Saddlebags and Babies
I’m up to my elbows in dirt, digging roots and tubers, ginseng, snakeroot, cohosh, all manner of medicinal herbs. Homebase is a rustic, log cabin nestled deep in the Appalachians of eastern Kentucky, just off what will be known as the Daniel Boone Parkway. My partner is a sure-footed copper-colored steed I call Penny. We spend our days and nights traversing remote mountain hollers to treat the sick, the elderly, children, and women in labor. I work for the Frontier Nursing Service based in Wendover, Kentucky.