Created For His Pleasure

Syl’yanna was created for Prince Herrin’s pleasure.

He loved pretty things.
So, they made her very pretty.

He loved soft, silky hair.
So, they gave her hair that felt like the softest silk.

He loved blue eyes.
So, they made her eyes the exact shade of Monday blues.

Every detail that he loved,
They made sure Syl’yanna possessed.

But they didn’t know.
Because Prince Herrin never said.
Because Prince Herrin never wanted to admit.

They made Syl’yanna everything he could love.
Everything he’d find attractive.

But Prince Herrin was not attracted to Syl’yanna.
He could not love her.
For his heart refused to turn that way.

But he did not turn her away.
He let Syl’yanna stay with him.

They became good friends.
In time, she became his trusted friend and counselor.
Syl’yanna became the one he trusted more than anyone else.

And Syl’yanna was happy.
For though they had created her for his pleasure,
They had given no thought at all to her pleasure.
So, she had no interest at all in such things.

It made her happy to be his friend and to be the one he trusted.
She did not need anything more than that.

The Tea Pot And The Sugar Dish

The tea pot and the sugar dish
Couldn’t stay together
But couldn’t stay apart.
For the one needed the other
And the likewise was true.

But they were not on friendly terms.
Not by any stretch of imagination’s elasticity.

The tea pot snarled at the sugar dish.
The sugar dish threw sugar cubes at the tea pot’s snout.
The tea pot spewed hot brew at the sugar dish.
The sugar dish thwacked the tea pot with sugar cube tongs.

Of course, they kept their animosity up
Only when there were no humans around.

When the humans were around,
The sugar dish stood stoically by the tea pot’s side.
Still and stiff and silent and well-mannered.
Absolutely ideal working partners.

But when the humans were quite done with their tea
And they put the tea pot and the sugar dish away,
That was when they started up once more.
And it will always be that way.

The Warmth of the Water

The boy waited for her to leave. He knew that she meant well. He knew that she wasn’t going to hurt him in any way. But he waited for her to leave the bathroom before he removed his clothes.

He averted his gaze as he undressed. He didn’t look at the bruises on his arms or at his reflection in the mirror. Fortunately, that avoidance behavior was a familiar habit with him. Mirrors were not kind to him. They were blunt and cruel. He couldn’t pretend away what they impassively revealed.

But if he didn’t look at it, if he didn’t see the dark purples and yellowing-greens on his skin, he wouldn’t be reminded of where they came from. He wouldn’t remember the fear. He wouldn’t remember the panic, the certainty that he was going to die this time.

But this woman…This woman who’d just let him into her bathroom…She had promised him that she would never hurt him like that. No matter what he said or did, she would never add to his collection of bruises and scars. It was a frightening promise for her to make. Because he knew there was always the chance that she would break it.

Others had broken it.

He wanted to trust her, wanted to believe her. But that was a frightening thing for him too. Trust and belief were shadowy things that were hard for him to hold onto. He always wound up letting them go, because of too much hurt. Too much betrayal.

Too little to trust or believe in.

But this woman was different. Or so she seemed. She seemed to care about him. To really care about him.  He did wonder about her agreeing to leave him unsupervised in a bathroom. If he wanted to hurt himself, he could easily do so. If he wanted to drown himself, would she be able to save him in time?

But he had been the one to insist on being alone. She had honored his wishes and she had left him alone.

As he approached the bathtub, he wondered what he would have done if she had insisted on staying with him. Would he have been able to undress in front of her? How would her insistence make him feel? Safe? Or trapped? Exposed? 


One of the scariest words ever created. It was all of the scariest feelings constricted and choked into a single ten-letter word. It was huddling in the corner with nowhere left to run and no defense. It was the inability to fight. It was the maddening desire to run away and not know where to run to. It was not knowing who to trust.

He was glad she had left him alone. 

The boy turned on the faucet and fidgeted with it until the temperature was just right. He stood by the tub and waited for it to fill.

He glanced back at the door, just to make sure that it was safe. 

The door was closed. No one was yelling on the other side. No one was bashing at the door. No one was fiercely twisting the door knob.

He shut off the water and stepped into the tub.

He sat in the water. Closed his eyes. Leaned his head back. Breathed. 

Tears fell down his face as he realized that he could finally breathe deep, relaxed breaths. When was the last time he truly felt free and safe enough to do so? He didn’t know. He couldn’t remember.

His tears fell into the warm water.

The warm water soothed his aching bones.


Splashes of color filled the expanse.

They hit the canvas in an exultant spray
In delirious drops
In indulgent splots and spots and splatches.

Deep violet!

They cover the canvas in an exuberant disarray.
No order.
No pattern.
No defined shapes.
No well-conceived plans.


And the paint trickles down.
And the colors meet and merge.

Deep violet!Gray!Grey!

In an organic, chaotic display
Of colors and chaos
That slowly meld into a dramatic expression of joy.

Off The Edge Of The World

“Grace Amberly, iconic soul that she was, has fallen off the edge of the world. She’d always said that she’d do it one day. But no one really believed her. After all, celebrities have a reputation for saying the most outlandish things to stay in the limelight. Grace Amberly was no exception. She loved the limelight. She lived for it. She lived in it. It was all that she had ever known.”

Petra Harmond gave Eric Saiyin, her fellow newscaster, a look. He was supposed to read the adequately rueful but always professional message off the teleprompter. But he wasn’t even looking at the teleprompter. He was just saying whatever came to his mind.

He had a very bad habit of doing such things.

There was one particularly notorious incident back in ’87 that had put him in trouble with the bosses AND the Clean Air Waves Commission. That was a less than shining moment in either of their lives.

“But lo and behold! She actually abandoned it! She left the limelight and just fwhooop! Fell off the edge of the world. No one knows where she is. If she’s dead. If she’s alive. If she’s living as a grocer in Tahiti. Or serving fresh watermelon at Bob Evans in New Hampshire. No one knows if she will ever return to the spotlight. I’m sure we all can agree on the hope that she will. A woman with her talent will be sorely missed by all of her eager and loving followers on social media and…well really. In all media.”

Petra considered interrupting him, but she knew from past experiences that never worked. At the very most, it made her seem rude. At the very least, he ignored her and he was seen as rude. She resisted the urge to tap her fingers on the desk or to roll her eyes or to show any hint of impatience. She knew it was all a matter of waiting him out.

“Her talent was one of a kind. A shooting star. A diamond’s momentarily glint. And yes. She will be sorely missed by one and by all.”

Petra looked down at her glass of water, which was sitting out of sight of the cameras. After all, newscasters were not supposed to drink anything while the cameras were on. It was the unwritten law of the land. It was all a matter of waiting him out. She knew he had to be close to the end.

Eric looked directly at Camera #2. “Grace Amberly, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, know this: You will be missed. Thank you for everything. Thank you for sharing your God-given gifts with all of us, your ever adoring public. We all wish you well.”

Petra sighed with very subtle relief. It sounded like he was at the end.

Then, he put his hand over his heart and started to sing Amazing Grace.

That was Petra’s breaking point. She picked up her glass of water and took a nice long sip.

Chocolate Rivers And…

Chocolate rivers and licorice trees.
Honey flavored berries and brandied cherry seas.

Almonds fall from the sky in summer.
Pistachios fall from the sky in fall
Peanuts fall in spring.
In winter nothing falls at all.

Lemon haze and honeycomb stew.
Strawberried days and blueberry dew.

Ice cream in the morning.
Chocolate pudding at night.
Starburst candies in the evening.
Peppermint candies to help you sleep tight.

The Pen Ached

The pen ached for her loving touch.
For the feel of her fingers.
For her hand’s guiding movements.

For it had been a long time since it had been touched.
Such a long time since it had been held.
A terribly long time since she had helped it create.


And stories.
So many stories.
Stories only her hand knew to create.

The pen ached for her loving touch.
It ached for her guidance.
It ached for her to give its ink a voice.

Black Heron In A Gilded Cage

Emperor Fall-As-Rain’s palace was beautiful. So much gold leafing. Such exquisite tile work. It loomed high over the city and the rice fields.

It was a gilded cage and Black Heron was trapped in it.

Oh, she was free enough to walk outside on the palace’s many balconies. But she could not leave. She belonged to the Emperor and she would belong to him until her death. That was the deal the Emperor had struck with her father, Cold Rice, long ago — Cold Rice’s first born daughter given to Fall-As-Rain and 3000 years of unfailing rice fields given to Cold Rice in exchange.

Black Heron had tried on many occasions to fly away, but then Emperor Fall-As-Rain had clipped her wings and made them impossible for her to access.

So, she walked the balconies and watched the pigeons fly freely.

Her heart burned with longing. Longing for freedom. Longing for flight. Longing for a better life than the one she had known. If she could only regain her freedom, she knew that she would not return to Cold Rice’s house. For that house was not her home.

It had never been home.

Emperor Fall-As-Rain’s palace was never home either.

Black Heron walked the balconies and dreamed of a better life. A free life.

She dreamed of a place she could own.

A place she could call home.


Kelly needed to run.

Running kept him calm. It kept him breathing. It kept him alive.

It kept him sane.

Then, Covid-19 came and walloped him. He was hospitalized for two and a half months. He couldn’t run. He could do nothing except fight this disease and fight to stay alive.

The thought of being able to run again kept his heart beating, kept his lungs breathing.

There was a lot of rehabilitation and quarantine stuff for him to work through after he was free to leave the hospital. Through it all, he kept his eyes on the prize. He stayed focused and motivated to do better, to get stronger, to walk again. To finally run again.

His first outdoor run was on one of the back trails at the local metropark. That trail was one he’d run at least 10,000 times in his life. He knew every bit of it — every hill, every blade of grass, every tree. He recognized every dandelion and the way the fog persistently hung over certain parts of the path.

It was an easy 15 minute jog, 20 minutes if he wanted to take time to enjoy the view.

It took him 45 minutes, at least.

Kelly needed to run, but his body was having none of that. His lungs protested. His head objected. His legs threatened to pitch him off the hill for pushing them so hard.

So, he had to force himself to walk down the path he wanted to run. But, as he did so, Kelly swore to himself that he would get stronger still. He would one day run again.

He needed to run again.