GloPoWriMo – Song 8

Skips-in-Muddy-Puddles (When Slavery Ends)

When you were taken
from swamp, from egg-sister,
egg-brother, from the soft mud
of home

And hauled past volcanic ash
to frozen lands to
trek into stone
reaches of the Imperial City

When you were torn
from soft mud, from grub baskets
full, from the song
of the great Hist Tree
from home–

Stolen. Alone.
It is a life, anyway,
whether yours or none.

When slavery ends
you’re free.
You find you have
no desire to return.
The song of the Hist
is the song of the graht-oak,
of the cherry,
of the ash pine.

Aldmeri, Daggerfall, Ebonheart–
all one.
All people are as
your people and
the Hist as any other tree.

Now that you are free,
it matters not if you’re alone.

Wherever you are
is home.

Daily Prompt: “write a poem of gifts and joy. What would you give yourself, if you could have anything? What would you give someone else?” from Na/GloPoWriMo.

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NaPoWriMo 2019

Summer House: The Ferry, To and Fro


The Ferry, To and Fro

At summer’s start,
the ferry leads
west, to escape,
to sanctuary.

We leave behind
the daily life
of alarm clocks
and automatic
coffee pots.

Drink in
the slowness
of the rhythm
of sunrise
and sunset.

This is a new life
in a place
not ruled
by wires.

At summer’s end,
some head back
east again,
where the office
waits with an
inbox fuller than
the busiest tide pool.

But some of us
stand on the south shore
of the island,

watching the ferry
as it becomes smaller
and smaller.

We turn to smile
at each other.
We are not on board,
and the summerers
have left.

And the quietness
of the days

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Author’s note: This concludes Summer House! Thanks to all of you who read it. I enjoyed writing this exploration of change and the ways that, sometimes, change leads to good things.

I’ll have a new series starting up shortly, Ten-Cent Tarot, which will be more typically SimLit, even featuring some of the pre-mades, if they cooperate! Don Lothario–I’m looking at you!

Eight Pieces: As it Fits


Kristal’s stay was coming to an end. On Friday, the rental service would come to pick up her canvases and ship them back home. She’d arranged for them to be sent directly the the gallery. She’d been in contact with the gallery owner, a friend and former colleague, sending him snaps of her paintings.

“The light’s incredible,” he’d said. “I’ll take them all.” He’d already lined up a few customers who had first bids.

A new career opened, like she’d hoped. Even if she didn’t earn enough to live on through painting alone, it would help, and she wouldn’t have to return to full-time work.


She realized she’d grown homesick when she painted a landscape from the mountains where she’d spent summers as a child.

Soon, she’d smell pines again and feel that northern air.


Her dogs were at the clinic. One had an ear infection, the other an eye infection, and the third, a urinary tract infection, but the vet was administering treatment and he assured her they’d be cleared to return with her on her flight Monday morning.

It had been easy, after all, to select the dogs to adopt. They chose her, in the end.


The Afghan was the first to befriend her, following her back to the casita. Then the spaniel, who seemed to be something of a pack-mate with the Afghan, chose to stay with them.


Two dogs? Kristal wasn’t sure she was ready for that. But it seemed cruel to separate them, and her big house had plenty of room.


The chocolate mixed-breed began to hang about the casita, too. Could she handle three?

She waited for the chocolate mix to wander off, but she stayed, following her and her dogs to the vet clinic on the morning she took them.

“Might as well come along,” she said, bringing the third dog into the waiting room with her.

The cost of vaccinations, spaying, and the treatment for the infections added up. On top of that, she had to purchase three travel carriers, and she bought three more flight tickets, so the dogs wouldn’t have to be jostled around in the baggage compartment where it was noisy and cold.

Her paintings had better sell! But family isn’t cheap–it’s dear.


On the last weekend, she worked on a small canvas. This one, she wouldn’t sell. This would stay here, hung in the casita, a piece of her to remind her always of where she had changed, a tribute to the something that comes from loss, when we look inside to find what remains.

The colors of the painting danced up from a dark center, rising to open out into something that felt, to her, like hope and a new feeling of home.


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Summer House: Open Doors


Open Doors

Kitchen doors open
to let loose the scents
of stew, roast squash,
steaming peas,

Kitchen doors open
to send free the sounds
of humming the song
that grandma sang,
the C major scale
played by stumbling
fingers of a child,
the shouts that
supper is ready,
that the cake
is done,
that it’s
time to

Kitchen doors open
and in you come,
with your hurried
laughter, your
impatient joke
your muddy
across the

Kitchen doors open
but you fall silent
with a sigh.
must wait
for a different
door to find release.

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Lighthouse: Stay


On Santi’s first night with us, I didn’t sleep well. I kept hearing again the angry chants of the rioters, with Santi’s music quieting it all. The music carried power, while the musician stood vulnerable.

And then, the pain of parting rushed through me. I couldn’t bear that she’d be leaving us.

In the quiet hour before dawn, I took Mojo for a walk down by the beach.


He understood my feelings, even if he couldn’t comprehend their reasons.


We walked until the sky turned silver. Slowly, quietly, the spin of the lighthouse beam brought my thoughts into harmony with my greater trust: It would all work out. It would all work out and I would accept it.


I would accept it, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t be saddened by it.


When we returned home with first sun rays, I wanted to stop the sun. I didn’t want another day to pass, for the day after tomorrow, Ritu would take Santi, and even if I trusted, even if I could feel acceptance and harmony, I felt resistance, too. I could accept it, but I didn’t want to accept it. I wanted to stop it.


In the early morning, waiting for Sept and Santi to rise, I busied myself with chores.


When I came back in, I found Santi cleaning the bathroom.

“Oh, honey!” I said. “You don’t have to do that! You don’t need to do chores!”


She looked up with a big smile. We went into the kitchen, and I heated up leftover tacos for breakfast. I sat at the other end of the table, avoiding looking in her face. I was distancing myself. I didn’t know any other way to approach this.


She found delight in watching the goldfish in our tank. Seeing her happiness, my throat tightened, and, as I heard Sept’s footsteps on the stairs, I ran outside. I was afraid I’d start crying if I looked in his kind eyes.


But he followed me out.

“What’s up, Mal?” he asked.

I let it all out.


I told him about trusting, accepting, resisting, and all the denial I was wrapping myself in to try to get through this. I told him I’d fallen in love with Santi, and I couldn’t bear that she was leaving us.


“In that case,” he said. “She’ll stay!”


I didn’t see how it could happen.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “It can’t be that simple.”


“I don’t see why not,” he said.

“What about Ritu’s plans? What about the family she’s found for her?”


“She’s staying with us,” Sept said. “I’m part of this thing, too.” He meant that he was part of the rebel movement, and I know now that he wasn’t just an incidental part of it, he was an integral part of it. In his own way, here on this planet, he was, even then, a leader in the movement. Sept was important.

“Can you do that?” I asked. “Can you decide something and make it happen?”


He reminded me that Ritu worked for the movement–she was there to support it–and whatever Xirra and the others directed, that’s what she did. And Xirra, in this instance, would take her lead from Sept.

“In other words,” I said, “Santi stays with us!”

“That she does,” said Sept, “if you feel it’s best.”


It turned out to be very easy. Ritu didn’t have another family lined up yet–she hadn’t been sure what to do with the child, and so she felt relief that Santi would stay with us. She said she couldn’t imagine a better placement, for everyone concerned.

That morning, when Sept and I went back inside, Santi waited in the kitchen. She was still hungry, even after our taco breakfast. I made a sandwich and served it to her.

“Here you go, moSanti,” I said.


Squeegee, mobizaabgotojo!” she said.

“Would you like to stay here?” I asked. “Gotukoda?”

Byugotokoda,” she said. “Squeegee.”


And that’s how Santi came to stay with us and to be our daughter. MoSanti.


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Lighthouse: Home, Again


It was late when we got home. I’d texted Sept when we pulled into the bus station, and he was waiting by the gate when we arrived.

Baliyu daschavendru,” he said to Santi.

Squeegee,” she replied. She said more to him in Vingihoplo. I recognized the word yobaska–uncomfortable.


“She says you’re tired,” Sept said to me, “tense. Would you like a shoulder rub?”


I melted into the warmth of his hands. Santi laughed.


MoSeptemus lsuravensiku-lsuravensiku MoMal!” she laughed.

“What did she say?” I asked.

“She says we love each other!”

“No, really?” I feigned surprise.


Byusoklo! Byosoklo!” she chanted.

“She says we should kiss,” Sept said.


I obliged, picking up Sept’s hand, and kissing it, as if we were actors in Santi’s own private play.


I was being dramatic, but Sept was earnest. I could feel warmth and sweetness flowing from him, and Santi seemed to bathe in the happiness.


“Ritu called,” Sept said. “She thinks she’ll be detained in Willow Springs for a while, so we should just hang tight.”

I wanted to tell Sept all about what had happened, with the riot, the bullying of the kids, and strange effect of Santi’s music, but I didn’t want to talk about it in front of Santi. It could wait.


Santi began asking Sept all sorts of questions. With the language barrier, I’d hardly heard her speak at all, and I’d developed the impression that she was largely nonverbal. But she was a chatterbox when with someone who could understand her.


I left the two of them to become friends and headed up to the porch. As I walked away, I caught a few words, byukoda, mobizaabgotojo–“sweet home,” “dear caregiver.”


Sept explained that, here, she could show her true form, if she desired. It was her choice.


I glanced back to see her, a moonbeam in the flowers.


I stood on the porch, petting Mojo, who was beside himself that I’d come home, and watched the two of them talk.

Sept told me later that he was telling her that it was possible to make a home here on this planet. She’d asked if the planet herself would welcome her, being from someplace so far away.


He said he asked her how she felt about that, inside, when she was very quiet and when she listened to the planet’s whispers.

Kihukoda! E koda-daschavendru kihu!” she replied. Sept provided the literal translation: “Planet home. I’m home-welcome planet.”


“She said that sometimes you have to travel far away to find your home again,” Sept said.


My heart broke that night while I watched her eating supper in our kitchen. We’d been given a few extra days, with Ritu being detained, but soon she’d come to take Santi to a new home, a more permanent home. It would be good for Santi, I was sure, to be someplace where she’d be safe and well-cared for. But I was in no way ready to part with her.


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