The Sphinx [Short Story]

She was sitting quietly at roadside with the body of a lion and the wings of an eagle when I chanced upon her.

So silent was her repose that I had no warning of her presence until it was too late to turn back.

Without even a hello she gazed through my eyes and said: “Only mouths are we. Who sings the distant heart which safely exists in the center of all things?”

I wondered what gods she believed in. I knew that no matter the answer I gave, I would be wrong.

My answer was silence. The space between us echoed with my answer’s absence.

“What a disappointing answer,” she muttered, almost to herself, grabbing and devouring me in one bite.

I never got the chance to gloat when a second later I realized that my answer had been correct.

Photo by Karen Khafagy on Unsplash

At DVerse, the prompt today is to write a piece of flash fiction or other prose up of up to or exactly 144 words, including the given line of poetry:

“Only mouths are we. Who sings the distant heart
which safely exists in the center of all things?

– Rainer Maria Rilke

A Kind of Library [Poem]

“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library”

– Jorge Luis Borges


Shards of light
through dust particles
flicker like fireflies
dancing through dim-lit rooms
in unpredictable flight patterns.

The yellow sun of noontime
shakes off its rays
across the spines
of yellowed and crackling books,
abandoned to time’s hands.

The air is stale-sweet,
the musty heaviness of sweating books
mixing with the scents of vanilla
and tobacco
that linger among the pages like memories.

Shelves born mahogany
have washed themselves
pale-brown
with the soft-bleaching sunshine
of many forgotten years

and lines of paleness have been etched
across shelf and book alike
at the angle of sunlight
through windows
to mark time’s passing.

My fingers trace this discoloration
from book to book
towards the small window
as my eyes slow-adjust to the dim light
and the ghosts that float around me.

I must be the first visitor
in ages,
my mere presence mixing up the dust
as I crack open a random book
to its first page.

There is no one here but me
and all of human history,
bound in fraying spines and crackling covers.
The solitude feels almost like how
I would imagine paradise.

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

For Eugi’s Weekly Prompt, we are asked to craft a poem from the following prompt:

sun kissed paradise

ours is a world of our own

serendipity

The Lighthouse Keeper [Poem]

Dusk
like a blanket
stretched over the sky
making heavy
the world’s eyes
and drawing the lighthouse keeper
from the comfort
of his bed.

Though
it was said
that he never slept,
in truth, the lighthouse keeper
laid in darkness
through sunshine days
so that he was accustomed
at all times
to the night
and its horrors.

If you ever chanced upon him
by day
he might say
what he said to me
on that otherwise unremarkable
midsummer day:

“My
eyes
can see beyond the horizon
in those first minutes
of the night –
In the air
I can smell danger
and
see ships
devoured by the rocks.

I can feel the souls
of sailors
scattered all along this shore.



The more I see
of the night the more I fear.
Nowhere is how little
we truly are
more clear.
Let it be said that
fear
was
my first friend here
and she shall be
my last.
She will have my back
to my dying day.”

He spoke no more
and was gone
and though I saw him no more,
I have heard it said that
though his light
was never extinguished
and no ship perished on his shores
he died young
with grey hair
and skin-spots
and the same weary eyes
I saw all those years before
because that fear
and the ghosts
only he could see
slowly
consumed his life
out in that lonely lighthouse.

Photo by Danish Prakash on Unsplash

On DVerse today, the challenge is to write a poem in the voice of a fictional character. It can be any character you like, and you can introduce it in your own voice if you choose (à la Coleridge, though I certainly wouldn’t insist on this) but the main body of the poem must be in the voice of your character.

Blooming [Poem]

Like a seed
the thought arrived
on westward winds
blown from foreign fields
beyond
comprehension

It laid roots
and rainwater rivers
ran through
sprouting flowers
into sun-dashed days

Suddenly
it fled
on an eastern wind
leaving me
distracted
by the beauty of
its blooming

Photo by Barna Kovács on Unsplash

On DVerse, the Quadrille prompt asks that we write poem must be exactly 44 words and include the word seed.

My Hotel Heart [Poem]

My heart has always been a hotel –

a passing through point
on the road to somewhere else

or else a place to drop off bags
and lighten the load for a short time
during one night stays and brief layovers.

The only signs
there was every anything there
at all
are
ruffled sheets, indented pillows,
the odd forgotten sock or sweater,
a short letter,
scrawled on hotel stationary,
hidden
in the drawer
of my mind.

My arteries are clogged
with the mass
of small trinkets and memories
left behind by people
who have
long-since forgotten
staying
the weekend
within my walls.

When I met you,
my hotel heart
did not know what it felt like
to feel like home,
which may be why
we began in stops and starts,
departures and returns,
each return uncertain.

When we would fall
into a comfortable silence,
each on our own phones, in our own worlds,
connected by nothing
but your head on my shoulder,
I would fear
we were falling apart
and wait for the comfortable feeling to leave,

but it never did.

In those silences,
we no longer felt
the distance of being two people,
no longer needed words
to convey
our thoughts –

just being together was enough.

In those silences that we shared
my hotel heart
began to feel
more like a home.


Photo by Dominique APPIETTO on Unsplash

A Romantic Dinner For Two [Poem]

Fried chicken, texas toast,
hold the slaw,
and add an extra texas toast.
A large sweet tea for her
and a lemonade for me.
Some extra sauce packets in the bag,
Please!

A meal fit
for a prince,
or a king,
or a god,
or just me and you,
two broke 20-somethings
with no pretenses between us.

The dining table is set across the dashboard
in a mess
of haphazardly stacked
sauce containers
and 32oz cups
packed into
already over-flowing cup holders.

The air is humming
with soft background beats
as we trash talk
and watch the street roll sleepily by,
streetlights and neon flashing
and reflecting
off the dash.

You kick your feet up
on the steering wheel mid-joke,
and my distracted hands
spill sauce down my shirt,
freezing us
in a moment
of silence.

We break the silence
with a flurry of laughter,
tears mixing with the sauce
until it seems
like the whole world
is nothing but
an absurd joke

and all
I want to do is
laugh at the world
in my sauce-stained shirt
with you
next to me,
laughing too.

Photo by Andre Ouellet on Unsplash



The Dead Sea [Poem]

Under the darkness
of a new moon,
The Dead Sea
is a mirror
that casts
no reflections,
A surface
made of glass,
primed to shatter,
or burst,
doomed to return
to sand –
forever to run
in-corporeally
through the fingers
of cupped hands.

Wade into the water
as deeply as you can,
but you will
not leave a ripple.
Your brittle bones
will slip beneath the surface
like a ghost
and if you dream
to dive deep into the sea,
know that the thick water
will swallow you
in a single breath
and spit you out
on the coastline
long before the water considers
giving up its depths.

Photo by Dave Herring on Unsplash

This poem was written based on the below prompt titled Eugi’s Weekly Prompt – Reflections – April 15, 2021:

reflections mirror

past, present and future, the

outset of purpose

Since everything is a reflection of our minds, everything can be changed by our minds. – Gautama Buddha

Go where the prompt leads you and publish a post on your own blog that responds to the prompt. It can be any variation of the prompt and/or image. Please keep it family friendly. Prompts close 7 days from the close of my post.

More Than A Stranger [Poem]

When you
visit a new city,
treat it
like home.
Hold it tenderly
and love
all of its
rough edges.
Roam outside
of the usual
tourist traps
and turn
the worn pages
of each
passing street.

Find hidden places
and turn down
chance
side-streets
without warning.
Walk briskly up
escalator
steps.
Glare at those
who
do not.
Grumble at tourists.
Wish you had stayed home.
Experience
the city
as more
than a stranger.

Photo by Kamil Kalkan on Unsplash