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This story may contain sensitive material or discuss topics that some readers may find distressing. Reader discretion is advised. The views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Vocal.

Don't Worry

Be Happy--for Poppy's Prompts

By Randy Wayne Jellison-KnockPublished 5 months ago 1 min read
Top Story - January 2024
Don't Worry
Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash


metal shatters the window

beside my bed,

piercing the flesh

of the little old woman

who watches me sleep

every night.

I do not hear

the report,

only the “thwup”

as it fashions

it’s hole

through the middle

of her chest.

But she does not die,

nor will she ever,

for she is but a doll,

my Babushka,

a treasure since childhood

& respite for me

in this troubled place.

The streets are quiet,

the only witnesses

to the night’s transgressions

a few dandelions

poking through

the sidewalk cracks,


in their ability to survive

even the trampling

of crowded feet.

She’s already

a patchwork of repairs.

What’s one more

tiny swatch

added to her quilt?

I should dig out

the bullet

from the wall

& glue it

up inside

as memento

to her tribulations.

I glance at

the alarm clock.


It can wait

‘til morning,

assuming I can still

fall asleep,

of course.

Ah, the city—

never a dull moment

even when asleep.

Probably shouldn’t

share this with mom

when next we speak.

surreal poetryStream of ConsciousnessMental HealthhumorFor FunFamilyCONTENT WARNING

About the Creator

Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock

Retired Ordained Elder in The United Methodist Church having served for a total of 30 years in Missouri, South Dakota & Kansas.

Born in Watertown, SD on 9/26/1959. Married to Sandra Jellison-Knock on 1/24/1986. One son, Keenan, deceased.

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

Add your insights

Comments (38)

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  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    What a chilling sense of normality.

  • Daphsam3 months ago

    Wow, this was eerie, but fascinating to read. 👏👏👏 your words painted the picture and brought me into the scene. 

  • Amelia Moore4 months ago

    lovely. nice job.

  • The Dani Writer5 months ago

    Surreal and loaded with details that catch the eye and ear. Makes one want to read it again. So I did.

  • I've enjoyed reading all of these for Poppy's challenge. This was no exception. Very well-crafted prose.

  • Love the ending especially... Probably shouldn’t share this with mom when next we speak. So true!

  • Atomic Historian5 months ago

    Amazing Randy!!

  • How did 'i miss this? Wooooo! Congrats on the top story...very well done

  • Margaret Brennan5 months ago

    congratulations on TS. This is fantastic. loved every word.

  • More excellent words Randy , well deserved accolade

  • Very well written!

  • Mesh Toraskar5 months ago

    Your ability to tell stories and keep the reader charged with tension, anticipation and suspense, almost have them enter an unbreakable contract with a form that breaks so often is really unparalleled, Randy! I was on the edge of my seat, wheezing through the lines until I hit the ending hard. Such an amazing piece of work! STUNNING!

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Outstanding Randy!!! Easy to read yet has depth and symbolic meaning. Great work as always!!! Congratulations on the Top Story!!!

  • Sara Frederick5 months ago

    Nicely done! Congratulations on your TS!

  • Melissa Ingoldsby5 months ago

    This shows a deep character study that really proves your understanding of humanity's darkness and spectrum of emotions. Excellent work!

  • L.C. Schäfer5 months ago

    Well done on your T.S. 😁

  • Babs Iverson5 months ago

    Fabulous!!! Loved it!!!💕❤️❤️ Congratulations on Top Story!!!

  • Cathy holmes5 months ago

    Back to say congrats on the TS.

  • Mariann Carroll5 months ago

    Very Deep, Pastor Randy.

  • Rachel Deeming5 months ago

    Blimey. That was dark. The picture made me wary but I was still unprepared. Great use of the prompt words to create something chilling and threatening.

  • Natasha Collazo5 months ago

    👏 oooo so cool ! I’m a fan

  • Tiffany Gordon 5 months ago

    Brilliant work Randy! 😱 BRAVO!

  • Poppy 5 months ago

    Damn Randy!! This is so unique and masterfully done! “a patchwork of repairs.” Is a great line!! And I love how you follow it up with the usually related “quilt”. You used all the prompt words so well and the ending was great too!!

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