Sweet Little Nothings

Make the first move.jpg

She’d moved away from it all
before he could take her away from it.
Her reinvented life was such
that when he made the offer a second time,
there was nothing to take her away from.
When the right man came along,
it was not to take her away from anything,
but to add to what she already had.


#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book


The hospital was painted in nature’s green & man-made white,
the nurses filing through the corridors
like whispering ghosts in cartoonish scrubs—
a sort of earthly purgatory.

They’d come into the world,
15 miles apart,
but departed together—
one after the other.
Did true love take away the other’s will
to live without them?

Mother & I prayed together,
Caitlin & I laughed together,
but David & I mourned together.
It was the saddest of the 3
that seemed to bring people together,
even if it didn’t keep them together.

Our Christmas tree was like something out of a magazine,
the Suttons’, like something out of an awkward family photo,
& yet, there was something about it that warmed me,
even as ours left me cold.

For it was because of me he stayed,
& because of her, he would go.
To wish for him as mine
seemed a form of matricide.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #461: Picking Up


Picking Up Toys

Raggedy Anne is looking rather ragged.
You’ve made a hat out of stickers for her;
you’ve pulled her yarn hair apart
so it looks like she has a bad perm.
She is not yet missing an eye
(only because it’s made of thread),
but if you needled her to death
like Mama used to do to her “friends,”
she’d be real sorry.
You’ve turned Baby Aimee into a double amputee.
I thought only woodland creatures
chewed off their own foot
when it was caught in a trap.
Mickey’s hands look like they were caught
in a stump grinder;
poor Frederick the Poet Mouse
looks like he’s been on a starvation diet.
And Quackers?
Well, he’s hanging on (or together)
by a thread,
for mastication is your instantaneous gratification.


12 Things I Learned as Editor-in-Chief of the College Newspaper


1. Raw talent < a willingness to communicate regularly, learn from more seasoned reporters, meet deadlines and care about the finished product, go on assignments that may not be of great interest to them personally (but need coverage), and actually talk to people.

2. Camaraderie happens organically when everyone is doing their job and meeting their deadlines.

3. You cannot be an editor without first having written articles for the paper. If you don’t write in Associated Press (AP) style yourself, how can you recognize it in the work of others?

4. Just because a paper comes out monthly doesn’t mean that one gets three weeks to write a story. Due dates should be no later than one week after the event occurred, as that allows time for editing.

5. You can’t write a certain type of story if you haven’t read a few (good) examples.

6. Making meetings < Meeting deadlines

7. If someone wants to be a columnist (i.e. the creative side of journalism), they have to earn it by being a reporter first. You don’t start at the top.

8. If someone does miss their deadline, but they turn in something you need, sometimes you have to make allowances for the good of the paper.

9. The best way to recruit new staffers is to reach out to the professors and ask them to recommend students.

10. Make sure bylines are on every story. Whenever I look at a layout, I don’t look at everything all at once. I start with the headlines, then the bylines, then the photo credits, then the captions, et cetera.

11. I trust people under 30 (as flakiness has no age).

12. Making a “mock layout” by folding 2 or 3 pages (depending if the issue is an 8-pager or a 12-pager) of printer paper into a book and marking it up makes the layout editor’s job much easier.

Poem-a-Day November 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #30. Theme: One More (Blank)

Betty Slide 13

One More Memory

If I had just one more memory–
one more moment stretched into years
(with light years between the seconds)–
I would have so much to show-and-tell you.
Does that not sound like a little child?

Your presence
in the absence
of space and time
as you observe Hannah’s progression,
listen to my stories,
and see this, your daughter,
in the collegiate green cap and gown,
having remade herself into the ungraven image
she’s always wanted to be.

We share memories of you at the table;
I like to imagine you hear us
every time we speak your name.
We have no complaints.

Dad still carries your driver’s license in his wallet;
there are never enough pictures.
We say, “That’s a Mom joke!”
(when the joke is truly terrible)
or “Remember when Mom ..?”

Dad still calls you Mom;
I call you Grandma.
“Say ‘Good-night, Grandma,’”
I tell my daughter,
“blow her a kiss to heaven.”
It’s a kiss strong enough
to shatter
to defy
I catch the one you send back
and plant it on her cheek.

We call you what our children call you.
You wanted Dad to call you Betty more.
Your mother always called you Betty Ann.
You liked the names Carolyn and Elise.
You dug up the roots of the family tree
to give me mine.

She is…she was…
it is just “Grandpa’s house” now,
but the contact still reads “Mom and Dad’s”
in my phone.
I will never change it.

We remember your goulash–
the only thing you knew how to make–
even though we weren’t even Hungarian.
Still aren’t.

We just are.


Poem-a-Day November 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #29. Theme: Remix


From Within

God was there between them,
holding both their shaky hands.
Crumbling was that faith
that marriage was forever,
but when they looked at one another,
seeing one another the way they did,
they saw from their reflections
in the windows of their souls
that God was the fulcrum,
and she, the power suit in her marriage
and he,
in his birthday suit,
was a kept man.
But for this practice of self-reflection,
of seeing themselves obstructed in the beam
they saw in one another’s eyes,
they also saw that he needed her
as much as she wanted him.

*For this poem, I used every word from this one: https://sarahleastories.com/2018/11/28/poem-a-day-november-2018-writers-digest-challenge-27-theme-sturdy-shaky/