2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 7

Wow! Somehow, we’re already a week into this year’s challenge. That seems impossible, but we’re there.

For today’s prompt, write a poem describing a scene in which two or more people interact without speaking. Such moments happen every day. Some are happy; some are sad; and some are angry.

Here’s my attempt:

“Where It Counts”

As the editor makes more copies
without counting them, the office
manager huffs into the supply room
and yanks open a cabinet before
slamming it back closed. Then, she sighs
as if the world has mounted her back
and pushed all the air from her lungs,
but the editor rolls his eyes and keeps
running out copies. He knows only
too well that paper does grow on trees.


Write an amazing story!

Many stories live and die by one simple storytelling element: Structure (or lack of it). Power Structure – Boxed Edition is the ultimate story structure software available to screenwriters, novelists, and other storytellers.

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393 thoughts on “2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 7

  1. Dan Collins

    Bodhi, B&W

    a good way to achieve
    perfect humility
    is to enter a dark

    room with two hundred
    black-and-white TVs
    to greet you

    with perfectly
    eyebrows rising

    in waves of Perry
    Mason, rolling
    across a wall

    “Oh?” they inquire,
    as all defense curls up
    under the endless question.

  2. Marie Elena

    Okay, I’m cheating. Robert said two or more “people.” But black labs are people too, aren’t they? 😉
    Busy, busy, busy. Hopefully back to read later …

    Speaking Each Other’s Language (a dodoitsu)

    If Joy (our Lab), went “too far,”
    We’d shoot her “the look.” Never
    Lost on us was the message
    Of the sigh she’d heave.

  3. Walt Wojtanik


    Reminders of an evening long ago
    the sound of crashing waves
    as the only thing we see.
    Gulls blindly call, falling
    with the rapid movement
    of Mother Nature’s sultry
    breath. On this spot,
    in this place, the sands stir
    beneath my feet a tremor
    reminiscent of the passion shared.
    Both new and scared and
    exhilarated by the moment.
    The lake breeze wafts through me
    and your embrace returns,
    excitedly it burns back into
    my heart and soul. All control lost
    in the crash of waves, the sound
    of our love making long ago.
    Now, in the whisper of wind
    you come to kiss my cheek
    and leave a fleeting flutter
    of your tenderness. I miss your love
    In the lake breeze.

  4. Brian Slusher


    She at her crossword
    He at his paper
    This is harmony
    Sunday’s staple

    A lemony warmth
    Ideal morning light
    Washing through the blinds
    Gilding the quiet

    As dust motes circle
    like sparks of pure pearl
    This is the silence
    Of the newborn world

    Before words and hurt
    Pre-war and poison
    Before the apple
    Of discord blossoms

    Together in peace
    With just the rustle
    Of rattled pages
    Like distant thunder

  5. Michelle Hed

    Internet Pen Pals

    I do not know the sound of her voice
    but she is not voiceless –

    I may have never met him face to face
    but he is not faceless –

    With the quiet clicking of our fingers
    dancing across the keyboard
    we talk,
    we laugh,
    we share –
    and maybe someday we will meet
    face to face.

  6. omavi

    “… As Dreams are Shattered”

    She looks at him in a well pressed suit
    Just sitting over there
    She remembers him and she wants to smile
    But smiles don’t come easy in this time
    He is looking at her wondering
    What’s on her mind
    She lowers her head hands moving hair out of eyes
    He takes that as a sign
    She is just wondering why
    She doesn’t understand all of this
    He understands too clearly why this should be
    Every time eyes lock
    So many stories are told
    Fun times unrolled and in the beginning
    This was not the story expected to unfold
    She stares and waits to behold something
    Just something left to hold
    He lowers his head
    And a daughter knows
    Daddy no longer loving mommy
    Means daddy will be daddy no more

    1. Brian Slusher

      “And a daughter knows / Daddy no longer loving mommy / Means daddy will be daddy no more”–strong final lines and all too recognizable to many kids (and adults). Why the quotations marks for the title–is it from some other work?

  7. Buddah Moskowitz

    This Bed

    In the end of all such days
    they find themselves
    back together in this bed,
    exhaling in unison
    as they lie down
    on their backs.

    In retrospect,
    the events of the day
    seems less insurmountable,
    and they close their eyes
    delivering these problems
    into the arms of
    unseen angels in the

    They clasp hands,
    close their eyes
    and implicitly trust
    that the other
    will be there
    upon rising.

  8. amelia louise

    Silently she
    slid her hand
    into his,
    folding her
    fingers gently
    over his.
    Glancing sideways
    she sees
    a slight
    curl of his lip
    in acknowledgement.
    A tear escapes
    her eye.
    Knowing this
    could be
    their last

  9. taylor graham


    They gather in the parking lot for the hike.
    Two gray-headed men with binoculars,
    an older woman in shorts and sensible boots.
    Young family with three small children.
    It’s April, trails blossoming among trees.

    One little girl can’t take her eyes
    off our car with hatchback open – old dog
    Boogie almost asleep inside
    and, squirming to be free, new puppy
    Loki. We’re packing up to leave

    when the girl breaks loose, runs wide-
    eyed reaching for soft sable fur and puppy-
    wags. Her mother without a word
    hauls her back to the group. Girl and puppy
    never break the bond of child-eyes.

  10. J.lynn Sheridan

    “An early luncheon on the veranda”

    She wore one of those bonnets
    with the netting over her eyes

    and a daffodil yellow silk tied at her
    neck to keep her sunspots covered.

    Missy Maycie kept her cotton-
    gloved pinky in the air as they

    sipped sweet iced apple juice tea
    from doll sized teacups enjoying

    an English high tea at ten-thirty
    in the morning. Grandpapa opened

    the screen and served a plate of
    silly greens leaving a little something

    extra behind.

    Missy Maycie’s cottoned pinkies drooped.
    Great Granny tucked her nose under

    her silk, her brimming eyes smiling at
    Missy Maycie’s crinkled up nose and
    sweet t’hee t’hee hee snicker.

  11. Nickie

    He was alone
    and she was alone,
    at a midsummer party
    each on their own.

    He had a drink
    and she had a drink
    not glancing at each other,
    faces blushing pink.

    He wanted to dance
    and she wanted to dance
    but neither of them
    took even one chance.

    He enjoyed long hikes
    and she enjoyed long hikes
    but not once did they
    ask each other’s likes.

    He went home late
    and she went home late
    without making any plans
    for a call or a date.

    He went to sleep alone
    and she went to sleep alone
    in a bed, in a bedroom
    each on their own.

  12. Walt Wojtanik


    We sit near one another,
    my wife and I, waiting for word,
    or a sign of something positive.
    John, her father, found lethargic,
    incoherent, unresponsive.
    His vacant stare burnt into
    memory and any bit of hope
    we have fades in the passing
    hours. Her hand slides, blindly
    seeking my touch, my warmth,
    my comfort, Security in purely
    tactile terms. Fingers intertwine,
    my other hand covers and pats
    softly reassuring that no matter what
    I remain supportive to bolster her.
    I squeeze, she returns the pulse.
    She knows I’m there. I know she
    appreciates and accepts my presence.
    No words can convey what loving hands
    express. We’re still waiting for word.

    Home briefly. This afternoon holds little promise for John, but we wait in vigil.
    Holidays and hospitals seem to be my bane.

      1. Walt Wojtanik

        He is resting, getting fluids and battling a VRE. CCU for the night; observation and sedation. Paranoia setting in an “sundowners” controlling his emotion. Tonight we rest and pray. We’ll see what tomorrow holds.

  13. PassionateQuill

    slow roasting ham, carefully braised
    potatoes washed, salad made
    a fridge packed with a day’s bounty
    not a better cook in the county
    soon the table with be spread
    they’ll take their places, grace said
    how much she loves, they understand
    not by her words, but by her hands

  14. Michael Grove

    Love At First Sight
    (A Fibonacci)

    glanced at
    each other
    from across the room,
    It was truly love at first sight.
    No words were spoken, and no promises were broken.

    By Michael Grove

  15. maggzee


    Thousands of sorrowful miles
    Crushed, rushed
    Heavy bag just out of reach
    A woman helped me struggle it
    Gently down and smiled
    The customs man
    Lightly brushed my hand, and nodded
    You thrust your red hat high above the crowd
    And I was home

  16. Imaginalchemy

    “The Silent Thoughts of Vlad the Impaler and Countess Elizabeth Bathory, if they Spotted Each other Across a Room: A Poem for Two Voices”

    I glance
    I glide

    As her crimson dress pools
    On the floor
    I can tell that he would
    Desire to see more

    I feel an odd stirring
    A passion, a hunger to master
    I know it is flirting with disaster
    But I feel my senses delightfully twirling

    Her vision could make a man reject
    The seductive call of war
    I know he wants so much more
    That just my radiant beauty, I suspect

    My sword-steel resolve crumbles away
    My heart feels like it is impaled

    His mystery ensnares me, my wits have failed
    I’m glad I took my special bath today

    I cannot explain it

    I know it will lead to no good

    But it is a fire

    This drawing heat

    That I feel

    In my


    1. Imaginalchemy

      Shoot, the format did not copy, and I can’t edit my original post! ARGH! Fine, let’s try it this way then…

      He glances

      She glides

      As her crimson dress pools
      On the floor

      I can tell that he would
      Desire to see more

      I feel an odd stirring
      A passion, a hunger to master

      I know it is flirting with disaster
      But I feel my senses delightfully twirling

      Her vision could make a man reject
      The seductive call of war

      I know he wants so much more
      That just my radiant beauty, I suspect

      My sword-steel resolve crumbles away
      My heart feels like it is impaled

      His mystery ensnares me, my wits have failed
      I’m glad I took my special bath today

      I cannot explain it

      I know it will lead to no good

      But it is a fire

      This drawing heat

      That I feel

      In my


  17. Andrea B

    Across the Hall

    From exam room #2
    I see you pace the scuffed
    tiles worn by the floor
    of exam room #4.

    The cool jelly on
    my belly chills me
    as I hear your
    nervous chatter.

    Doors close; I forget
    about you and meet
    my baby #3.

    In love, I leave,
    sidestep the doctor
    who keeps you closed off.

    As the hallway ends,
    the tension-hinged door
    pushes me into the lobby,
    closes on, “Get her

    Exiting only, I lose you
    to exam room #4.

    1. Domino

      Sara, I think we all do as much as we can. ^_^ All my moments here seem to be stolen!! I do love coming and just reading and commenting when I can, but it never seems to be as much as I want.

  18. Sara McNulty

    April 7, 2012 – Day 7
    Describe a scene in which two or more people interact without speaking


    Shadow woman, immobile
    on a hospital bed
    seems to be staring
    at the cracked ceiling
    with her cloudy blue eyes,
    as the weary night nurse
    working a double shift
    enters, her white rubber
    soles squeaking on sticky floor.

    Nurse fluffs pillows, lifts
    the skeletal arm of the shadow
    woman to ascertain blood
    pressure. Their eyes meet.
    They smile at each other,
    both knowing the pointlessness
    of this routine.

    Taking the brittle boned,
    liver spotted hand of old age,
    the nurse clasps it inside
    her own roughening palms.
    Human connection for two
    different women, each knowing
    the outcome of the other.

  19. Andrew Kreider


    He never asked their permission to go.
    Bounced, in an eyelash, without so much as

    a by-your-leave, from hero to villain.
    Now he’s back, and they are licking their lips.

    From the moment he steps onto the pitch
    come the boos – and the hands like javelins –

    broken only by laughter when he falls.
    He soldiers on, pretending he can’t hear,

    but the slump of his shoulders tells the truth:
    Sometimes you’re better off not going home.

  20. Nancy Posey


    Incapable of words,
    she must rely on looks,
    on touch and gesture
    for even her most simple needs,
    every itch that needs scratching,
    just a sip of water
    when her lips are parched.

    Her arms sometimes wave wildly,
    reaching for the hands
    she needs to stroke her hair,
    to rub her back.

    Without a spoken word,
    she can still express her strong desires,
    bestow her special kind of love
    to those who come near unafraid,
    no awkward holding back,
    who read her hands, cool and moist,
    fingers that sign: More music, more music!

  21. Arike


    Two layers of epidermis engage, press, send
    Pressure receptors deeper in the skin firing
    The brain cries out that substance has been met
    Crossing signals; the mouth releases only breath

    A high whine when fingertips meet – what?
    Slick slide of still-bleeding wound?
    The prickle of an uneven clot?
    A bobble of uneven skin, raw flesh?
    Space where body was supposed to be?

    Unknown if he could see through the hole
    Did he really put his hand in that side?

    Eyewitnesses are dead
    Replicating events difficult

    We probably know the type of nail ca. 30 AD
    The standard issue spear for a Roman soldier
    What death, resurrection would do – physically
    Thomas knows

  22. claudsy

    I’ll have to read and comment later, as I have company coming over soon. But here’s my offering for the day and this lovely prompt.

    Lawn Duty

    He reached for her hand,
    Small enough solace
    To bolster flagging courage.
    She squeezed his fingers
    And tugged gently.

    He followed her lead
    As they moved past the stone,
    Head down, he could not watch
    His past dwindle from view.
    She knew, knew the time he’d

    Spent caring for his children,
    Their sweet faces lit from within,
    Eager to please and play all day.
    Now, only photos remained,
    Memory prompts of days gone by.

    She pulled him close, arm in arm,
    Humming an old hymn from church.
    He sighed, knowing sleep elude him.
    He’d have no one to keep him company,
    No one to nuzzle with, tell secrets to.

    Others could never replace Pippa and Pepper.
    Others would never bring such delight
    Or mischief to a day’s somber turning.
    Only these two small bundles of fur
    Had ever gained the whole of his heart.

    Mom knew how it was, she felt for him,
    And she would never speak of his sobs;
    Fears in the night that two friends had soothed.
    He listened to her humming, his chest loosened.
    He didn’t want to go home but knew he must.

  23. Domino


    The small group of regulars,
    here on the bus, don’t really
    know each other all that well,
    but they’re familiar in a
    way drivers don’t understand.

    Danny, who can’t drive his Porche
    for at least fifteen more months
    because of a DUI.

    Trish and her daughters who all
    work as maids at the same ho-
    tel and chatter like little
    wrens for the entire ride.

    Gabe, who has epiliepsy,
    quietly reads his paper
    every morning while he
    sips coffee from his thermos.

    Marissa and Emily,
    ride to high school, and take the
    bus to avoid teasing kids
    now they’re an official couple.

    It is an ordinary day
    with a mellow feel, and a
    quiet camaraderie.

    And then the angry man with
    a swagger in a red base-
    ball jersey gets on the bus.

    The passengers give a col-
    lective sigh because they know
    just how it will go from here.

    He will stalk the aisle, berat-
    ing, trying to get someone
    to engage: then he’ll attack.
    They all exchange a glance, the
    regulars, and silently
    say with a look: be on guard.

    But this time, Gabe, quiet Gabe
    puts down his paper and stands
    in the aisle, blocking the way.

    Not one of the other ri-
    ders had realized just how
    big Gabe was, how intimi-
    dating he was while standing.

    The stranger stops, confused, un-
    unsure of what to do now.

    And as Gabe fixes his gaze
    on the stranger’s eyes, begins
    walking up the aisle, the now
    cowed stranger backpedals, he
    backtracks all the way to the
    front and sits silently there

    And Gabe walks back to his seat
    picks up his paper and takes
    another sip of coffee.

    The other passengers ex-
    change another look, this one
    of appreciation and
    maybe just a little glee.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  24. LCaramanna

    Lunch Date

    The paper on his desk was blank –
    not one homework question answered,
    his forearm casually shielded incriminating evidence
    from the teacher’s discerning eyes.
    Discovering his delinquency,
    a furrowed brow
    erased her smile.
    He held her gaze –
    no explanation escaped his lips.
    She pondered his expression,
    a quizzical tilt to her head,
    suppressed her need to ask why,
    placed the yellow sticky note on his desk.
    ‘Lunch Detention Today’ – the pre-written message.
    A simultaneous sigh escaped both teacher and student –
    hers in frustrated exasperation;
    his in sheer delight of obtained desire.
    As the teacher’s back retreated to the front of the room
    the pretty girl two rows over,
    whose telltale yellow sticky note
    garnered in math class,
    stuck unseen to the inside cover of her notebook,
    heard the message in his eyes flash
    loud and clear:
    Lunch Date!

  25. Benjamin Thomas


    She was elderly, greyed with wisdom
    Silvered with life experiences
    He, on the other hand, was a young lad,
    A timid little sapling moist with morning’s fresh dew
    His leaflets unfurled, His buds blossoming anew
    These two met in a home for seniors who immediately
    Struck an affinity for one another’s company
    She was aphasic, robbed of the spoken word
    From a previous stroke that left
    It’s impression upon her speech
    Which was largely garbled and unintelligible at best
    But they always were on the same page and never missed a beat
    He understood her furrowed brow, her lively gesture, her brilliant index
    Most importantly, he understood her heart
    So they lived, they loved, they laughed
    And boy, did they laugh
    The boy had many friends and acquaintances there in that home
    But She was always His favorite read
    They had a grand old time whenever they were together
    Day by day, page by page they had many chapters
    And together they wrote a bestseller

  26. posmic

    Easter Egg Drop

    without words
    your blades

    thwack thwack thwack

    slice the air, tell me
    you’re ready to drop
    plastic eggs on a
    sunny field where
    my daughter holds
    a red bag. One

    among hundreds.
    Red bags, red balloons,
    red flags waving to celebrate
    the egg hunt for ages
    5 to 8. I celebrate
    5 to 8, too.

    I squeeze her shoulder,
    let her go. Nothing too bad
    will happen. Helicopter, you
    watch over my child, all
    the others; plastic eggs
    rain down. Later,

    your blades will tell me,
    up and away, smaller and
    smaller, that the egg drop
    is over. She didn’t win
    the iPod, the bike, nor
    even any candy.

    It turns out that dropping
    hinged eggs from a helicopter
    onto hard ground is not
    such a good idea.

    And yet, helicopter,
    what a thrill to see you
    circle low, to hear

    the message of your blades
    through the crowds, the clouds
    pushing against bright blue air.

  27. Michael Grove

    In The Silence
    (A 7/5 Trochee)

    In the silence of the night
    Jupiter and Mars,
    bring to us a glowing light,
    softening our scars.

    Stronger hearts were broken by,
    daggers in your glance.
    No truer words unspoken
    from this happenstance.

    By Michael Grove

  28. Yolee

    Whose Faith is it Anyway?

    My feet move to the rapid beat of Mary Mary’s “Shackles”
    as I tap my computer’s keyboard. My teenage son walks
    by my bedroom. His milk-chocolate glance brushes the muse
    that had been adjusting to the grainy light in my eyes: the muse
    I finally found, the way I come across a sock in the corner
    of a fitted sheet slept on at least for one week. He walks
    to my garbage pail and dumps the contents into a white trash
    bag to check off the weekend duty. My brain immediately soaks
    the choppy chats we’ve had on God’s existence: The God mama
    gave me. My boy is a satellite dish in need of a wave to realize
    purpose. Thoughts jump on my heart like it’s a trampoline.
    He loves me but he’s detaching from my faith and, spirituality
    cannot be surmised like mathematics on the chalkboard
    we’re in. I smile, get up from my chair, and trace the side
    of his cheek down to his peach-fuzz chin: fortifying familiar
    practice. What has been nearly erased in pursuit of answers
    that will accommodate a new paradigm lingers like a ghost.
    The answer isn’t completely wiped out.

  29. Michael Grove

    That Look

    I’ve seen that look in your eye before.
    You don’t need to say a word.
    It is your way to settle the score.
    I’ve seen that look in your eye before.
    I’ve worn a pathway to the door.
    Nothing said and nothing heard.
    I’ve seen that look in your eye before.
    You don’t need to say a word.

    By Michael Grove

  30. De Jackson

    Last Words

    You lift your left hand
    the one that traced hope onto my cheek
    the one that laced my fingers into songs
    the one that held my heart
    sort of flutter it in the air
         and a wave of
            I’ll miss you
            I’m sorry
            I wish
            I want
    washes over me.
                         An anthology of us, it is enough.

    I lift my right
           and bid it flow
                     just so
              somehow sign all my soul must spill
                 but it cramps, and falls
                             and too much remains
                                                       unsaid, unwritten.

  31. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Cats, Poetry & Death #43
    Aftermath of Muselessness

    Pickle pricks up his ears
    Smudge sits bolt upright
    they stare at the door
    they glance at each other
    and then at the door again
    in silence
    the stares grow more intense
    as does the suspense
    a scrape at the lock
    a rattle of metal on stone
    another scrape
    a clunk
    the felines of the house prepare themselves
    for battle
    the door opens
    and the poet falls through it
    and to the floor

    …stone dead
    the cats step over the body
    and out into the cool night air
    in silence


  32. Michael Grove

    Two like Four

    The two of them like four
    sat in the dark closet and stared
    at the back of each others heads
    while watching themselves turn

    into the skeletons they were
    hiding from. He like Van Gogh
    had a missing ear and his own
    pistol pointed to his chest

    could only cry and pray as he
    cowered in the corner far away
    from the door. She more Keller
    like and much stronger than he

    sat upright with head held high
    and twisted her glass eyes away
    from him toward the frozen rope
    which hung from the cloths rod.

    Perched on the shelf above
    their heads was a vulture and
    a dove, an eagle and an owl,
    a cardinal and a blue jay.

    The writing was clear and bold
    on the back wall of the closet.
    Neither had read the sign
    as they sat in their silence.

    By Michael Grove

  33. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Dear Moosehead,
    Strange night last night. Really didn’t see
    us losing that one. Speechless! We were
    both silent and stunned, damn! the whole bar
    silent and stunned. Everybody drinking,
    picking on wings and ribs. Your cousin whispering
    her orders to the cook…strangest damned thing ever!
    got home drunk – the harpies aren’t talking to me either,
    not sure if that’s good or bad. Round two today,
    let’s hope we got something to shout about, pick ya
    up at 6. Bring money for beer.

    Yours in contemplative silence
    Ringo the Howler

  34. lionmother

    Coming Home

    I see her face as she walks through the door
    and smile knowing the way the night will be
    she will hold it all in her until the air
    begins to escape and form into tears
    while her day explodes around her
    as she lets out the tensions
    to us listening yet not able to
    direct events to soothe her
    stressful mind and ease the
    unmanageable pain she continues
    to collect as she moves
    through the monotony of her
    work life unable to change
    and forced to be burdened
    by the harmful barbs of others

    She answers my smile with
    her own, tight, lips pressed
    eyes dull, controlled and
    then suddenly the face
    changes and becomes
    once more the sweet little
    girl she strives so carefully
    to hide and I fold her in
    my arms to stay the flood
    of tears.

  35. Marjory MT


    The light
    in your eyes
    says it all.

    A soft touch
    on my shoulder,
    says it all.

    A cup of fresh brew
    waiting as I awake,
    says it all.

    A single bloom
    for no reason except it,
    says it all.

    Tickets to a show
    You’d rather not see,
    says it all.

    A quiet evening,
    sitting peacefully,
    just you and me,
    says it all.

  36. Marjory MT

    IN or OUT

    You come into the room,
    Your body attitude,
    Your gait, your face.
    say it all
    “Come, it is a good day,”
    “Stay out of my space.”

  37. Marjory MT

    The Boy……..Waiting

    Dad would soon be home
    and at the window,
    the boy watched – waiting.

    Dad was busy exercising
    and web-surfing,
    the boy stood – waiting.

    He was busy with business
    on the phone, with eating,
    the boy sat –waiting.

    Busy reading,
    watching the news,
    the boy lay – waiting.

    the boy grew – waiting.

    The man –
    stopped waiting.

  38. eyeisawrightr

    The Letter

    He opens the front door
    foot snagging on the threshold
    stumbling into the room

    He’s clutching a letter
    from somewhere
    with news that
    changes everything

    She looks up from
    her desk piled up
    with bills
    raising eyebrows
    smiling slightly

    He smiles back
    waving the letter
    taking a deep breath

    She jumps up
    chair scratching
    the wood floor
    takes his hands
    into hers

    They dance

  39. ely the eel


    The man isn’t old by some measures,
    quite ancient by others.
    Mostly, it depends upon where he is,
    who’s nearby.
    Sometimes, it’s the weather, the rain,
    His 68-year old body made 86,
    war-torn nerve endings enflamed
    by moist air.
    Today it was the boy, Elijah,
    grandson of a neighbor,
    looking out her window.

    The boy is young by some measures.
    wiser and older by others.
    Mostly it depends upon the day,
    how he slept,
    if grandma’s nearby,
    if he got role in that new commercial,
    if the pool is empty of adults.
    Sometimes it’s his need for speed,
    his 10-year old mind wishing for 18,
    so he can drive something more than a dream.

    They are long-distance buds,
    the man and the boy,
    the type of friends who most often
    communicate by written word,
    e-mails the penpalship of the day
    Together, they are writing an epic poem,
    starring, of course, Elijah,
    his family and friends in supporting roles.
    They seldom speak in person,
    the man writing a page of Seussian rhyme,
    the boy reading the electronic copy,
    never editing, directing the next page.
    Today is one of the rare days,
    the boy visiting for Easter,
    the man reading poolside.
    There are other vacation kids around, so
    the pool will soon be loaded, joy filled.
    It is tempting to call on grandma,
    “accidentally” bump into Elijah,
    (though he’s taken to calling himself Eli lately)
    but that might interrupt the flow,
    the rhythm of what they have.
    The boy will be a tween soon,
    likely bored with their neverending story.
    It’s the way of such things.
    Best to leave it alone,
    take the pleasure of it as it is,
    not think of the measure of what might be.

    Tucking his page marker in,
    the man and his book head home.
    His wife will ask if he saw Elijah,
    and he’ll say yes.
    She knows him too well to ask what’s new.
    She’ll simply leave him to his contentment.
    Later, if he wants to, they’ll talk.

      1. ely the eel

        “comfort, hope and the inevitability of change” is exactly it, so i now know that you are not just a fabulous writer, you are also a great reader…then there’s the day when Eli told the poet that he’d been spelling his name wrong for a couple of years…

  40. misskatieesluu


    Energy flows through the stadium
    the wind blows with the smell of playoffs.
    People all around are shouting and yearning
    yearning for the sweet smell of victory.
    The umpire yells, “play ball!”
    the crowd agrees as strike one is called.
    Settling into the uncomfortable seats and fall haze,
    all the outside problems melt into nothing.
    With 40,000 people all around you,
    it’s hard not to wonder what brought them here.
    But they’re here
    and you have something in common with them all.
    And when the final score rings out a victory,
    you are all joyful, if only for a moment.

  41. Kelly Eastlund


    In the photo he’s sitting next to me
    at the dining room table
    blue shirt, sleeves rolled up, smiling
    down at the cake in front of us
    chocolate with sprinkles
    and 16 candles I am blowing out.
    I don’t remember what I wished.

    Today I will bake a cake for you
    and put a single candle on it
    pretending there are 78.
    I’ll sit at the dining room table,
    blow it out for you
    and wish you were here
    sitting next to me

    (For my dad.)

  42. Mike Bayles

    Silent Stories of my Life

    Without a word
    she worked every muscle
    as in silence
    they told the stories of my life.
    A tight calf spoke
    of a mile run too far
    in the journey of life,
    while a tight neck
    spoke of tensions of the week
    and the injuries I bore.
    As she worked
    the soles of my feet
    she worked pressure points
    connected to every nerve,
    and with every touch
    she grew to know me better
    as she learned to read between the lines
    of the stories my body told
    while for the moment
    all I could do was breathe.

  43. Joseph Harker

    Seraphim Girls

    Two of them are on the light rail headed north:
    one with dreadlocks and a silver nose ring,
    wearing hunter green and black,
    the other pink-and-purple-haired, thick glasses,
    carrying a backpack covered in patches
    and rainbow-striped pins.

    Their hands move in and out of shapes
    which call for description. A conversation of
    unknown shadow puppets:
    butterfly, comet, spiderweb, opening rose.
    Rings of air and cupped palms, entire arms
    crooked into geometry.
    And their faces change just as easily,
    melting from surprise to humor to mischief,
    the whole body a liquid live with electricity,
    constantly changing its easy shape.

    An angel is a being who carries truths
    more delicate than dust suspended in light,
    which we shatter
    with our ungainly touch and braying voices.

    Two of them make eye contact
    as they get up to leave the train: not merely
    turning another language around their knuckles
    easily as cat’s cradle,
    but rather another way of growing the world,
    taking it in and giving it a description
    without the manacles of consonant and vowel.
    More like a river of air, like they’ve found
    a little bit of that fallen grace.

      1. Marjory MT

        A deaf man I know once told me that he felt sorry for the hearing people who had such a ‘limited vocabulary’.
        In sign language every tiny hand or body movement or expression can tell so much more. It is oh so beautiful to see.
        I became very aware of how I ‘spoke’ in all ways when I met him.

    1. De Jackson

      Joseph, this is simply the most gorgeous description I have ever read, of what is by far my favorite language. My friend Lisa (who is not hearing impaired) does worship with sign, and it embodies your line:

      “giving it a description
      without the manacles of consonant and vowel.”

      Just beautiful. Thank you.

  44. Katrin

    These are incredible, today, poets!
    This is one of the saddest I’ve observed in several different orchestras:

    It’s, more often than not,
    a silence, heavy and barbed
    between the principal flute and
    principal oboe
    An iron curtain, years in the making,
    based on a fester of interpretive parameters,
    sailing through a symphony of
    Brahms in the same luxurious yacht
    A marriage of sound, years of breathing
    together, of matching, fusing,
    supporting each other’s leaps
    like seasoned ballet partners
    And the chill between them so disquieting,
    so poignant, their absolute dissonance so crystallized,
    especially when the
    duets are in a major
    key, and their privilege, after a life
    of clipped wings in the practice room,
    is to soar above a
    sea of stringed turbulence

  45. PKP

    words don’t cut it …

    They spoke
    in staccato shower
    of bits and bytes,
    profession, politics,
    world affairs, food,
    random words falling
    sharp clean hail
    as his foot slid soft socked
    shoeless silent
    beneath the table between her
    parted thighs


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