Outside

What is that on your hand. Let me see it. Not the back of your hand; show me your palm. Both of them. That spot is new. You’ve been outside again. Without the proper protection. Again. What was it this time? Picking flowers out in the field or skipping rocks down by the lake. Don’t you realize we can’t do that any more. None of it. We can’t go outside. It is killing us. That spot, it isn’t just a stain that will wash off. It’s an infection, one that will spread. We need to get you to the medical ward immediately.

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Her Ghost

Her ghost haunted his thoughts. Not a real ghost composed of ectoplasm and rattling chains, more a ghost of a ghost, a shadow or reflection left over after cancer had separated them. He imagined he could see her out of the corner of his eye as long as he didn’t look directly at her. Who knows, perhaps the remnants of her microbiome, a wisp of a bacterial colony still carried on her movements and sensibilities. Her presence, however incorporeal, comforted him, gave him succor in an otherwise empty home.

The Seventh Wave

Standing on the sunset washed beach, nothing but water, deep blue water, to the horizon and over the edge. That’s where they are born, the waves. Out at sea beyond where you can see them, inexorably making their way toward shore, unseen, waiting until the end to rise up, guided by the reefs, the mountains beneath them, shaping them. As the waves emerge, tentative, horizontal to the coast, no one knows just how high they’ll go. And then they crest, a curl forward, always forward as far as they can, until they recede, undercutting the next wave, each in turn transforming into white froth as the seabirds circle overhead in search of protein. The final wave comes, born in the deep ocean, already on its way to its own demise, the final struggle of the water to climb back up onto the homelands, washing away all remains you’ve left in the sand, all traces, footprints, paths no one will follow.

Yes, Child

“Hello, child.” I hate when she says that. Yep, here comes the pat on my head like I’m a dog or something. Makes me want to punch her in the throat. Stupid old lady. Why should I care if you don’t remember me? I’m standing right here in front of you. You see me, don’t you? Yes, you do. So obviously I’m not a child. Stop trying to put yourself above me. You’re not better than anyone. You can’t even go to the bathroom or walk without help. You’re like a big baby. I’ve got plenty of my own problems. I don’t need an old lady thinking I’m just a child.

Lament for Jem

T’was a sad day they laid ole Jem down to rest
not for the sake of missing him when he was quick
instead it was the truth in his ghost, a sadness kept him aground
once he found when a-haunting the pubs
he could no more lift a glass than eat one
no more would the ale or stout grace his gullet
so excuse his moaning for he strongly enjoyed his beer