2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 27

Happy Administrative Assistant Day! If you’re an administrative assistant, perhaps you’ll get a chuckle out of today’s prompt. If not, I hope you still get something out of it too.

For today’s prompt, write a take off poem. Take off work for you admin assistants out there (and any other workers). Take off a runway–for those of you who like to fly. Take off from a dangerous or weird situation–or maybe even a comfortable one. Or maybe you have a completely different take off of a “take off” poem. Go on and take off on your poetic paths.


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Here’s my attempt at a Take Off Poem:

“take off”

take off in the morning
take off in the evening
take off whenever you like
but don’t you take off
with my bmx bike


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer used to get everywhere important on his BMX bike…back in the days when children did not wear protective helmets. It was a dangerous time when kids all roamed the suburbs in search of trouble to get into. Sometimes they found it; sometimes it found them; but always kids were flying to and fro on their bikes.

Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which means he gets to do a million things to help writers find more success with their writing (including this blog). He’s also the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53).

Connect with him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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291 thoughts on “2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 27

  1. Connie Peters

    Taking Off

    I love
    that feeling of relief
    after making it to the airport
    figuring out the kiosk
    getting the ticket
    checking the bags
    shuffling through the lines
    finding the gate
    taking the seat
    and clicking the belt,
    and the anticipation
    of the destination.

  2. Valkyri

    WIP. Still tweaking the alliterations.

    The Bannerman

    Standard flying high, steeled
    against the wind, our horses

    We see the succulent green
    trees of home in the distant
    haze of the horizon.

    The grey cliffs and misty
    forests call… beckon us further

    Wicked are the enemies who
    have kept us afar from this

    Cruelly they taunted me
    and my clan, mine kinsmen.

    They abused the sacred Gods
    of our hearts.

    They mocked with scorn our
    honor and our pagan ways.

    War descended like a wraith’s
    fearsome shadow, Praise Odin!

    The darkness of our wrath fell
    in a fury upon them.

    We tread on each with solemn
    sorrow, though our deeds be

    We have vanquished the
    virtuous wretches ‘neath
    our very heels.

    I take off and ride to the fore
    on my steed toward the place
    of my birth.

    Steadily I gallop with no other
    thought than the burden of my

    to carry home, at long last,
    the lone banner of my people.

    Peacefulness has once again
    blessed our clans and we revel…

    praising the High Ones for their
    protection, and power above

    1. ppfautsch24

      Taking off…
      Feeling a bit off my game,
      Head throbbing, hands shaking,
      Body aching, and I can’t seem to recall
      My own name.
      I need a day off!
      By Pamelap

  3. Tom Hayes


    Take off my cowboy hat.
    I can do without that.
    Don’t need no leather vest;
    already won the West.
    Can live without those snakeskin boots,
    and pearl handled gun that shoots.
    Lose those spurs that jingle jangle.
    There’s no more cattle left to wrangle.
    I’d even give it a whirl
    without my cowgirl.
    Just one deal breaker here, of course;
    ain’t no one gonna take my horse !
    … and one last thing,
    Still bury me with my boots on.

    — by Tom Hayes 2016

  4. Austin Hill


    How do you TAKE OFF from retirement?
    What, exactly, is it that you do?
    What breaks up the monotony of leisure?
    Is it merely a change in venue?

    Do you get TAKE-OUT Chinese for dinner?
    Wait to see what TAKES PLACE on your favorite TV show?
    How ’bout you TAKE YOUR TIME while shopping?
    Perhaps TAKE YOUR CUES FROM the ones in-the-know.

    Do you TAKE NOTICE OF those around you?
    How they TAKE CARE OF the highs and lows.
    What do you TAKE AWAY FROM their thoughts and advices?
    TAKE AS GOSPEL their words and their prose?

    Will you TAKE ON new projects and courses?
    Do you HAVE WHAT IT TAKES to start afresh?
    for you to TAKE A CHANCE? Confess.

    Be sure to TAKE A CRACK at something.
    TAKE A LONG HARD LOOK AT what’s ahead.
    Or they’ll surely TAKE YOU FOR DEAD.

    © April 2016 Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

  5. qbit

    Had to catch up from yesterday, so here is two for one…

    I almost welcome
    This morning of my auto-da-fé.
    My “act of faith” – the
    Penance of heretics.

    First I must confess the gravity of my sins,
    My apostasy,
    Then will gladly slough off this mortal coil
    In flowering conflagration.

    Did I burn for you?
    Did my heart cry out inflamed?
    Did our skin shed in sheets
    Livid with fire?
    Did I covet your soul,
    Enveloped in passion,
    Until it was naught but char?
    Yes, yes to these.
    All these and more.
    I was craven and
    Idolatrous of you
    Beyond redemption.

    Your eyes,
    My love,
    The eyes of a Grand Inquisitor
    Taking my measure.
    I declare
    That I repent not.

    But let me loose
    This sackcloth,
    Cast off
    These ashes.
    Come to you again ,
    Your lover.

  6. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    Take off on flights of fancy,
    Set sail on seas of dreams;
    He says it’s easy as it can be.
    Take off on flights of fancy.
    (What’s the chance he
    Isn’t what he seems?)
    Take off on flights of fancy,
    Set sail on seas of dreams.

  7. lsteadly

    Take Off Into the Night

    The phoebes are back again this year
    a total relief, a godsend really
    after what they went through
    last spring with us constantly disrupting
    time on their nest
    while we filled our woodshed
    with the next season’s logs

    This year they’re in luck
    since we finished stacking before their arrival
    the buds have barely burnished a presence
    even though winter’s already let go
    and birds busy themselves
    waiting for the rains as we do
    to call forth spring’s green
    with the fevered cry of peepers
    once daylight takes off for the night

  8. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    Take off your coat and stay awhile,
    There’s no real need to go.
    I know you want to; I see that smile;
    Take off your coat and stay awhile,
    Make yourself comfortable, and I’ll
    Keep you warm, despite the snow.
    Take off your coat and stay awhile,
    There’s no real need to go.

  9. elishevasmom

    Random Words and Rhymes with Take Off

    In this year’s bake-off
    Auntie Matilda’s Apple-Blueberry Crisp
    took 1st Place.

    “Ah, flake – off, already. You’re getting on my nerves.”

    Take that keepsake off the top of the dresser.

    wanted to
    shake him off, then
    shook him off—you
    could see little bits of him
    all over the floor. Oops,
    stepped on one!

    The quake shook for a good
    30 seconds—felt like days—
    knew it wasn’t
    no sunrise
    or sunset
    how irrational
    I should be having
    all these thoughts crammed
    into what might be my last seconds.
    When the quaking stopped
    I was
    covered with
    plaster dust.
    Ceiling cracked
    but nothing broke.
    Amazingly, the quake’s magnitude
    was below 6.0. Nothing
    overly serious.
    Stood up, shook myself off
    and realized that I was
    shaken, not stirred.

    Copyright © Ellen Evans – 2016
    day 298 of 365
    PAD 4.16 a take off poem

    1. tripoet

      I really think you have something started with this image. I hope you will make a complete poem of it.
      “In this year’s bake-off
      Auntie Matilda’s Apple-Blueberry Crisp
      took 1st Place.

      “Ah, flake – off, already. You’re getting on my nerves.”

  10. tunesmiff

    G. Smith (BMI)

    How many feet of lumber?
    How much concrete to pour?
    How many yards of carpet?
    How many square feet of hardwood floor?

    How many piles of ceramic tiles?
    What color do you think?
    The light for the dining room,
    Grass in the yard, and don’t forget the kitchen sink.

    How many pounds of nails.
    How many pounds of screws?
    Granite or solid surface counters?
    The choice is up to you.

    How many squares of roofing?
    How many gallons of paint?
    Howany brushes and rollers?
    Are we done yet? No, we ain’t.

    Bricks and sticks,
    Are all it takes,
    To frame and build a house;
    But it takes more,
    Than windows and doors,
    To turn a house into a home, a home
    To turn a house into a home.

    How many electrical outlets?
    How many feet of wire?
    How many feet of plumbing pipe?
    How many hammers and saws and wrenches and pliers?

    How deep is the foundation?
    How high the ridge line above?
    How many hours of labor?
    How much a labor of love?

    Bricks and sticks,
    Are all it takes,
    To frame and build a house;
    But it takes more,
    Than windows and doors,
    To turn a house into a home, a home
    To turn a house into a home.

  11. trishwrites

    This prompt made me think of that song Leaving on a Jet Plane. And someone wrote a country song last night – Angie I think, so songs are on my mind…

    You said you were leaving
    but only for a short time
    I stood on the doorstep
    the sun setting behind you
    I wanted to tell you I’d follow
    you anywhere

    You didn’t tell me it would be so hard
    how loneliness can be an ache inside
    I wonder if you think of me when you’re
    on the back roads with the windows down
    and that song plays

    Red sky at dusk, is that
    our twin souls bleeding?
    Endless nights
    Lonelier mornings
    The walls don’t answer

    I miss your smile, your skin
    the sound of your footsteps
    I can’t remember your voice
    It scares me this forgetting

    Do you hear it?
    That’s the sound of when
    I stopped believing in you

    1. Michael

      Trish those last three lines gave me such a suck in of air……such a build up of memory and yearning and then the complete loss of connection……very powerfully written….

  12. candy


    the moon has taken
    the whole night off
    and the stars have
    called in sick
    the cow took off
    from the ground but found
    there was nothing
    up there to jump over
    the dish and spoon
    got lost in the dark
    and stumbled their
    way back home
    the little dog thought it
    was all a big joke and
    chuckled and laughed
    out loud
    but the fiddling cat
    such a very cool cat
    fiddled his way to dawn

  13. artifiswords


    He took off
    Like the
    Hounds of Hell
    Were on his tail
    Conditions perfect
    A past-its-prime
    Hot air balloon…
    New pilot & trouble…
    Over his head

    The top burst open
    Streaming envelope…
    Before my eyes
    He plunged
    To his demise…
    To Baton Rouge
    A stranger who
    Fell out of its skies…
    To me a retched memory
    But lesson learned

    © 2016 Robert Mihaly

    Posted also to:

    *Note: This is an account of a true event.

  14. Michael


    Monday morning dawns
    9C is awaiting me
    I feel the need to take the day off.
    Its not hard to ring and say
    Sorry I’m ill
    Be back tomorrow.
    9C are loud, obnoxious
    uncouth, unruly
    I hate being told where to go
    They hate the idea of ‘learnin’ stuff’.
    I need relief
    I need a 9C free Monday.

  15. RJ Clarken

    3-D Glasses

    “Admit it. We all take off our 3D glasses during a movie to see how it looks without them.” ~Unknown

    One lens is red; the other’s blue.
    They mess with your high-def and view.
    You take ‘em off; you must appraise
    the blurry picture and the haze.

    It’s such a hassle wearing these,
    but sans them, movies sure displease.
    You take ‘em off; you wanna check
    the screen without the film’s eye-tech.

    And then you note, the audience
    shows 3-D disobedience
    and takes ‘em off; it’s their intent
    to feel the flick’s disorient.

    Without them, double vision reigns
    with weird dispersions and eyestrains.
    You put them back, you cineaste,
    and watch the movie, to the last.


  16. Lindy™

    SkyBird Bound
    -for my Sister

    Take off and fly
    SkyBird bound
    your spirit is not tethered
    to any ground

    Dragons don’t dream
    of places that seem
    any better than this
    or reminisce
    over fallen stars
    and their memoirs
    Time marches on
    too soon it’s all gone
    They explore possibilities
    with ease in the breeze
    where landings are seen
    few and farther between
    becomes wing
    Flight becomes sight
    tears become might
    heart becomes art
    to the end from the start
    and love for love’s sake
    is never a mistake

    So take off and fly
    SkyBird bound
    your spirit is not tethered
    to any ground

  17. KatesBookshelf

    My Assistant is Never Around
    by katie lyn branson

    Sven, my assistant, is taking today off
    not that he’s ever been much of a help
    sitting around drinking my coffee instead
    of bringing me a cup or two, I blame his
    brother Johann who works for Gevalia
    lazy good for nothing gorgeous men
    who are too consumed with themselves
    Instead of mowing lawns or heavy work
    instead of being at my beck and call
    instead of doing anything worth while
    I hired Sven cause he’s a good lookin’ guy
    who I thought would bring me coffee in bed
    and do all the heavy lifting I’m not willing
    to do, but instead I’m doing it instead.
    So he’s rather useless, and I pay him
    too much, but what can I do, he’s a
    pretty boy I like to watch move around
    Ah, I might want to fire him, but why
    when he doesn’t cost me a dime?

  18. _Kirk_

    Write a take-off poem…
    I will not be there tomorrow

    Lidded windows lilting, drifting
    from consciousness to waking dream, awakened
    by another supine stifled scream
    of madness. Madness,
    and invented sight, companions of the watch
    and overseers of the night crawl closer,
    mocking, striking, tolling, winding,
    clocking the time between breaths and blinks
    as another captive thought released
    to darkness comes back a beast to kill
    repose and throws the locus of control out
    to the unseen and deep until I bargain for mercy
    and beg the shadows,
    I can’t sleep.

  19. Thedeb

    Take Off
    By Debbie Cerrito

    They’ll take off soon
    …my baby birds,
    will surely go.

    Born yesterday (it seems)
    …my baby birds,
    have grown so fast.

    I’ve watched them learn
    …my baby birds,
    now feed themselves.

    Go then, and take off
    …my baby birds,
    love lifts your wings.

  20. Asha1000

    Time Clock

    time, measured in miles or inches,
    lives measured in hourglasses,
    can someone reset the time-clock?
    will the hand that writes on the wall
    value-engineer our lives
    once the sand has run out,
    once the last breath takes off?
    will it be like taking off
    on holiday to a resort
    off world and full of sand?

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  21. Beth Henary Watson

    He hopes it takes off

    It will take off, this great adventure of yours,
    They told him, and we’ll be your best customers,
    Said most of his friends who’d done nothing like it,
    Risk more than everything for a dream, a hope, really,
    Because he was young and carefree and could do that:
    Chance it all for a chance that he could be more
    Than his mates for sure and move in new circles,
    Among people who worked hard but who got
    To call the shots, never had to punch a clock
    Because they owned the time-keeping software.
    He hoped it would take off, needed it to
    In the next six months before his savings ran out.

  22. LoriP


    It’s a take off the old world
    Inspired by it, really
    Just a few changes.
    You probably won’t even notice.

    Instead of this and that
    There may be that and this,
    Maybe a few less taxes
    Maybe a few more rules.

    A few less people, of course,
    But don’t worry,  you’re one of us,
    You’ll be there, my friend
    It’s only them we’ll leave behind.

    Certainly we’ll need new laws
    To protect us from troublemakers.
    Everyone’s got to play their part
    Everyone’s got to be on the same page.

    And, I’m sure you’ll agree,
    We’ll need a harsh penalty
    For those who don’t follow the rules
    Who think they’re smarter than us.

    After all, it’s our world,  new and improved
    Just a take off the old
    A few minor changes,
    You’ll never even notice.

  23. Sharon


    Take off the mask
    and let yourself be
    who you are all the time,
    not just when people you want to impress
    are around. Take off the fears
    that keep you bound in yesterday’s woes,
    their heavy load weighing you down.
    Take off the armor of distrust and suspicion,
    put it aside and welcome life
    with all its good and all its sad.
    Open your heart even if pain enters in.
    Take off all that hinders, fly through life
    filled with joy. You live only once,
    choose to smile more than you frown.

  24. Friend

    Almost the end
    of Poetry Month–ready
    to prepare for May?
    Well, if you’re Roman Catholic,
    you’d know that May is the month of Mary–
    at our school, they paraded with a statue of her,
    and put a tiny crown on the head of the statue,
    which seemed most odd
    to this Episcopal girl.

    Perhaps I should be interested in Older Americans Month, being
    an older American myself, but then,
    this month also honors salads
    and barbecue
    and hamburgers.

    Then there are days
    for candied orange peal, and lumpy rugs,
    Save the Rhino Day, and
    Baby Day, for which the food
    (if you weren’t satisfied with the barbecue, hamburgers and salad,
    is asparagus wrapped in bacon
    (something Freudian here?”

    Be sure to plan ahead!

  25. MikeGill

    Just One of Those Days

    Have you ever
    had one of

    You know
    the ones,

    The ones where you
    wake up
    before the alarm
    and lie in bed
    wishing for another hour but
    you know it isn’t coming.

    The ones where you
    muddle through
    the day at your desk—
    there but not there
    at the same time

    The ones where your
    Has stayed behind
    on the pillow
    leaving your body
    to make its own way
    on autopilot for the day.

    That’s today.

  26. ely the eel

    Taking Off For Bliss, 8-30-14

    Jess and Andy, under a tree,
    Out came the sun, this time to stay,
    shining in sunlight, a fun wedding day.
    Friends and family, gathered in the park,
    headed up for drinks before it got dark.
    Laughter abounding, as should be the norm,
    children all dancing, the band in rare form.
    Parents relieved that the day had gone well,
    no one unhappy, at least so you’d tell.
    Four generations in photos that day,
    couldn’t have been better, that’s what we all say.

  27. Jo Lightfoot


    A year of your pet’s life
    equals seven of yours.

    Life with a cat or dog
    (a typical choice)
    can be heart-rending
    as it grows up—
    for how it acts up
    and what it gets into.

    On a cat, you cain’t
    impose restraint
    or, on a cur, a curfew.

    Pets take a toll.

    This formula occurs:
    for every year of your pet’s life,
    take off one of yours.

  28. mjdills


    My daddy raised some hell in
    until he was a wise guy at the age of
    and decided to take off
    for parts unknown
    and rode rails,
    picked watermelon for pennies
    and played his harmonica for company.
    It was 1919.
    People were lonely everywhere.

    Daddy was deathly afraid of snakes and
    all things that moved across
    the face of the earth
    without feet.
    This would include
    which scared him more than

    He came back to Montana as a young man
    And chased smoke for a living;
    a dangerous pastime
    that brought him to familiarity of deep fear
    and profound courage.
    Mother Nature, out of control.

    My daddy was a humble man in many ways
    but he could stand up to a fight
    with little compunction
    and was always on the side of
    the underdog,
    the Cinderella team,
    the downtrodden.

    a place named for mountains ,
    known for a vast sky;
    where my daddy’s heart yearned
    and his mind imagined.

    My daddy was a Capricorn,
    an earth sign,
    as am I, a Virgo and
    my mother, a Taurus.
    These are feet that sense
    the dense physical world.
    Like Montana.

  29. seamuscorleone

    Following Fight or Flight

    We were both backing out of parking spaces
    At the Group Health Clinic,
    A place of Impatience.

    I had seen you at the pharmacy window
    Making the man explain to you why
    You could not return over the counter medicine
    Without a receipt.

    So I had preconceived notions.

    I had my cell phone in one hand
    With the speakerphone on,
    Explaining how I would be late
    To meet my son from the bus.

    You were old and grumpy.

    You slammed on the brakes and
    Yelled “get off your phone!”
    I stopped,
    Looked you in the eye,
    And slowly
    Gave you the finger,
    Mouthing the words
    That finger implied.

    Your eyes got wide and you reached down
    Beside you and I was afraid you had a gun.
    I pulled around you carefully and got into traffic,
    Eager to take off and get away from you.

    I could see you behind me in the rear view mirror.
    Coincidence or,
    Were you following me?

    A reminder that a quick finger
    And mouthed words,
    Not even spoken,
    Could lead to a tragic return
    To the medical complex I loathed.

    You followed me for blocks and
    I prepared myself for
    Fight or flight when
    I turned into the parking lot
    And you did not follow me.
    Maybe you never were.

  30. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Tangled Retirement

    That’s me
    tangled in stuff to do.
    I should make a list
    of my to-do lists
    advised a friend
    but I’d just lose it.

    Better advice:
    just take off
    go somewhere
    leave all lists
    behind, enjoying
    wherever I find myself.

  31. Jane Shlensky


    They never seem to tire of watching her,
    their ties loosened, their small bills in their hands,
    their drinks finally sweeping day away,
    waiting until she takes off outer wear.

    She’s not a stranger to teasing their minds,
    tweaking imagination where it lives
    between their ears. She dresses as if she’s
    surviving Russian winters, layers deep,

    but not so many that impatience reigns.
    The big bills only surface when the time
    is perfect, music throbbing underneath,
    and she can fake a zipper briefly snagged.

    A little pause like that can reap rewards,
    each man who watches her leaps up to help.
    She shows her gratitude by showing skin
    and slowly dancing ‘til she’s drawn them in.

    And she is pretty, body trim but lush.
    She dances well as if she is alone
    as if each dip and swell were lay of land,
    as if her passion waits but for a touch.

    For now she has them eating from her hand—
    she is the loved one, they the tender man
    who zips and buttons her, kisses her neck,
    reveres her as the other in their lives.

    It is a fantasy, of course, but she
    is well aware of what they come to see
    of what they’ve lost or thrown away or left,
    so the illusion strips them of themselves.

  32. writinglife16


    I want to
    take off these layers
    that I wear to hide.
    I want to
    reveal my true self
    and the dreams inside.
    I want to
    walk a true path
    with joy as my guide.
    I want to
    take off these layers
    that I use to hide.

  33. Danielle937

    Take Off from Writing

    Take off from writing
    Give yourself time to recoup
    You dream about book signings
    But there are other things to do
    Such as getting evolved in a sport
    Or even take the time to read
    Go see a movie or a concert
    Volunteer to those in need
    Because if you want fiction
    That only you have thought of
    You must explore other assets
    And thank the man above
    Because if you don’t get away
    All your ideas will begin to fade
    But if you take off, originality will stay

  34. Jane Shlensky


    She dusts it with a brush
    small careful flicks
    and sees how thick the residue
    of years, cracks in the paint,
    like wrinkles on a face.

    Layer by layer, she lifts
    dark grime away glimpsing
    at last what lies beneath,
    details and colors still shadowed
    but promising new light.

    A year she works away
    meticulously taking off
    the scars and rags of time,
    restoring art to what it was
    a century ago, touching it

    speaking to it, as she would
    an old friend, telling it her life,
    guarding it from harm, uncovering
    subjects whose faces seem
    to know her name and smile.

    She works a stubborn damaged spot
    far in the corner, clinging to canvas,
    but it peels away revealing
    something else that lies beneath,
    a mystery not hers. Her job is done.

  35. Jane Shlensky

    I’ve enjoyed your poems and bios, Robert. They always make me smile.

    The Entertainer

    Miles does impersonations of the guests,
    of movie stars and known celebrities,
    amusing when the subject isn’t you.

    He’s done these take-offs since he was a lad,
    his parents first, then teachers, neighbors, friends,
    girlfriends, sometimes resulting in a slap

    or throttling by those whose sense of fun
    did not extend to laughing at themselves.
    He says he reads a person for layers—

    actions and words that point to deeper fears.
    He peels them like an onion to their cores
    then reinvents them as caricatures.

    And since he knows take-offs can stir up ire,
    he does himself to show there’s no ill will,
    but he avoids his vulnerabilities.

    “I cannot keep a wife,” his buddy says,
    doing a take-off of a blushing Miles.
    And he is good, though Miles is pricked to note
    he’d like to punch his roaster in the throat.

  36. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Take-off from Midway Airport

    . . . askew beneath the plane’s metal wing
    geometric shapes
    houses, yards, punctuated
    with swimming pools
    a contest
    for the bluest eye
    focused on identical irises
    pocking residential lots
    reducing yards

    further out
    the view east
    toward Lake Michigan’s western shore
    Chicago’s toothpick towers
    plunge into the choicest real estate
    hors d’oeuvres
    puny sticks poking skyward
    ignoring the crumpled sprawl
    of the vaster suburbs

    swinging free of Chicago’s clutch
    the plane wings level
    stretch featherless
    a metal raptor
    soaring over tamed prairie lands
    plow-tooth scored
    assorted farm homes, silos, barns
    tacking each separated parcel to the underlying soil

    then clouds consume us
    thermals bump against the metal skin
    like buffalo calves seeking long-lost udders

    flight attendants populate the narrow aisle
    scatter peanuts, pretzels among us
    assure us all is normal
    all is well as
    we zoom west above the continent
    it once took months on foot to cross

    1. Jilllyman

      “like buffalo calves seeking long-lost udders”
      I will never fly without this image – Brilliant!!!!
      (Flown out of O’Hare a gazillion times, but never Midway. And just across the lake – my hometown. Miss the big lake.)

  37. Joseph Hesch


    For weeks we’ve waited, peeking through the lacy front door curtain as a pair of house finches set to keeping their own house in our covered entryway. One day there was nothing but lazy disinterest in the swale of the too-late-removed Easter wreath. The next, I found a mesh of twigs, sprigs and finch spit. And inside I spied an egg, light sky blue with reddish dots at one end. Eventually, five potential finches grew in the goo within their thinly armored launchpads. Mama finch would sit dutifully upon her someday quints, bursting for the skeleton red maple out front only when the tread of threat approached the doorway. Her mate would stand astride the gutter along the roofline, staring red-headed avian wrath upon any who might crash their birthday party. But today, they’re gone, taken off, their nest deserted, save for that first egg. At the bottom of the little crèche I found some feathers and scraps of shell. I doubt they just up and took off. I never saw the feathered parents feeding any gape-beaked peepers, never saw them fletch in drab brown glory to arrow off into a world where crows and kestrels, house cats and hawks could end in a flash a life barely begun or even long-lived. Did I miss their birth and fighter jet scramble into those cruel pale blue skies or did something cruel from those skies scramble those lovely ovate spheroids for breakfast one morning while I pondered my flown-the-nest babies’ last time eating breakfast with me. I’ll wait one more day to take down the wreath. Now it’s a memorial to hope and potential, enmeshed with a mystery. A sky blue Sunday kind of mystery, like a certain resurrection. With blood red dots.

  38. mitchsteve

    And One Day Dad Will Just Take Off

    Dad, or more correctly, the dementia,
    has the habit of heading to the porch
    where complicated minutes are devoted
    to coats and unsuitable boots.
    Mum appears, says, Ray, take off
    those shoes, and come back to bed.

  39. De Jackson

    Terminal Velocity

    Fasten your seatbelts and syllables;
    you are now free to move about
    the chambers of your own heart.

    Pay no attention to the objects
    in your rearview mirror; they are
    much smaller than they appear.

    we ascribe only to the pull
    of friendly skies and the lull
    of moving forward while
    sitting still,
    and the law of broken

    All clouds and curses lifted,
    these rubbled troubles are un

                                    (Warning: contents may have shifted.)


  40. Danielle Robinson

    Forsaken Children

    Born broken, innocent, and pure.
    Some unnamed and unknown
    without any extensions to kin.
    No lukewarm hellos
    Before ice-cold “I’m sorry. I have to go”.

    Others, claimed and named
    then forgotten like passed due bills
    or have queried conceptions
    by the ones that take off from child support
    with no shows or chilling goodbyes,
    outcries of worthless “I love yous”
    and misfortunate “See you laters!”.

    Danielle C. Robinson

  41. Tom Hayes


    Take off
    your fancy clothes
    your shield of vanity
    uncovered, stand there, in the light

    Put down
    your shiny things
    your treasure trove for show
    unburdened, stand there, in the light

    your light inside
    beyond your beating heart
    all else, exists but one moment

    — by Tom Hayes 2016

    1. Jilllyman

      ‘Naked’ ‘Empty’ ‘Earthly’ You have a knack for those end words. Wait… the first lines, too! Take off, put down, embrace. GOOD stuff!! (Exploration of poetry is so much fun!) Jilly

  42. Angie5804

    Take Off the Layers

    Take off the layers
    The ones that cover
    The ones that hide
    I can’t abide
    All the lies
    The stories
    The half truths
    The untruths
    Pull back the film
    That makes things foggy
    That overlays and overlaps
    So that just perhaps
    I’ll see what’s legitimate
    Lovely and bona fide
    Let the genuine you
    Come shining through

  43. leatherdykeuk

    Over the Field

    It’ll be all right
    he touches the side of his nose
    with his middle finger
    a conspiratorial nudge harking to some gypsy rite
    (he’s one quarter gypsy on his mother’s side
    and has the eyes of his grandmother)
    and against my better judgement I let him lead me
    through the wood (private, no trespassing)
    and along the back of the hawthorn hedge
    where last summer’s brambles pluck at my jumper,
    unpicking the seam where I burned the cuff n the electric fire.
    The cow shed is old, unused
    and mostly dry thanks to an intact roof
    though the rain spits at us through glassless windows
    and the lime from crumbling mortar whitens our clothes.

    He builds a fire in the middle,
    a circle of sandstone boulders dredged from the canal
    England’s Glory kissing the edges
    of yesterday’s Sun,
    dancing through straw and crackling pine needles
    birch and alder twigs send shadows dancing.
    He opens a can of Tizer,
    offers half a Bounty bar.
    The repast of Kings as his hand brushes my leg,
    his fingernails caked with dirt and ash.
    My heard thumping under my anorak.

    The reflection of blue lights
    against the crumbling brickwork
    and he’s off
    a rabbit catching the scent of hounds
    leaving the carrot untouched
    with my knickers still around my ankles
    when the officer shines a torch inside.

    © Rachel Green 2016


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