The Eyes Have It

image

Have you ever been walking down the street, minding your own business, in a hurry to get wherever you’re going, maybe to an appointment with your tax man, or maybe just to meet an old friend for coffee, when you happen to meet one of those people’s eyes? Homeless people, or as my old man’d called them–bums. And did you ever get the feeling that until you looked at them, met their eyes, they didn’t truly exist? As people, that is. Kind of like window dressing. Or a street light. There but not there.

Last night I looked. And now I can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t do nothing but think about those eyes.

I’d come out of Delmonico’s feeling fine, belly full of prime rib, a good-looking woman on my arm, and the night still young. All through dinner Veronica’d been playing footsie under the table and batting those mile-long eyelashes at me. I’d known what dessert was going to be, and it was going to be good.
Continue reading

A Place

ocean_sunset

she murmurs, she sighs,
a brine-steeped zephyr,
her voice is a cry
that calls out to me
across the miles,
to a place she cannot see,
to a place she cannot be

twisted roads and alleys,
grassy hills
and green valleys,
lay down a protective cover
to separate she and I
like a jealous lover–
or an overprotective brother

she comes to me in dreams,
sunlight and starlight,
a reflected wet succubus gleam
that rolls wild and free
I yearn for her liquid embrace,
to return to a place I cannot see,
to a place I cannot be

Photo from Pixabay

The City by the Sea–part 2

Image-144-

Part one here

“I don’t know what’s wrong with him.” Doctor Littlefield moved the palm-held heart monitor over Zackary’s thin chest. “He seemed fine when he was born—except for the skin color, of course. But that’s beginning to fade, and still…”

The baby was breathing almost normally now, but earlier Lissa had wondered if he was going to make it this time. The coughing and wheezing and sucking for air, it had tied her stomach in knots. Zackary was only a week old and she was already madly in love with the tiny life she and Gavin had created. She had tried to distance herself, knowing from the moment the doctor placed him in her arms, and she had seen the green tint of his skin, that she would probably lose him. He was one of those who were not-quite-right. But how could she not love him? She had changed his diapers, sang to him, held him as he suckled at her bosom. My God, she had even named him—against everyone’s advice.

Doctor Littlefield smiled down at the infant she held cradled to her breast. Lissa saw the sadness in her eyes. How many babies had she helped into the world? How many babies had she seen depart it?

But not my baby! Lissa held out her arms. Continue reading

The City By The Sea–part 1

Image-144-

Part One

“Gavin, wait, you forgot your mask.” Lissa waddled to the door, holding out the filter by a thumb and forefinger as if it were one of the icky, four-inch roaches that prowled their apartment every night. God, how she hated those ugly things, but nothing you could do but learn to live with them; they weren’t going anywhere.

Gavin took the silver mask and settled it atop his blond curls. “I could’ve got it, babe.” He looked down into her eyes, a gentle smile curving his lips. “You’re supposed to stay off your feet as much as possible, you know.” He laid a gloved hand on her swollen belly. “Doctor’s orders.”

For all the good it’ll do, Lissa thought. Had staying off their feet saved her sister’s baby? Or Beverly’s? Or anyone else’s she knew? She wanted to go outside, walk, run, even if it meant suiting up and breathing through a filter. “I just…I want…I’m so tired…” Continue reading

Five Equals One

FiveOne

I am mute…
too much screaming deafens love.
I am blind…
angry eyes bring down darkness.
I can’t taste…
foul bitterness coats my tongue.
I can’t smell…
decaying lives occlude my nostrils.
I can’t feel…
sadness surrounds my desolate heart.
I am empty…
a lonely vessel, yearning to be filled.

Photo from Morguefile

You Are What You Read–part 2

dirty-873203

Part 1 here

She came down hard on her butt.

The ship listed to one side. A dream, Jane thought as she slid along the planking. This is just a dream. But that knowledge didn’t stop her from being scared out of her wits, and it sure didn’t stop the all-too-real pain of splinters gouging her palms as she scrabbled for a handhold.

Her fingers brushed—what? She turned her head to the right, and there was The Book and her fingers were gone, swallowed between its open cover. Then her arm was gone, and oh sweet Jesus, it was sucking her up, pulling her inside itself, pulling her into its yellow mouth.

Again, falling, tumbling. And again being deposited. Somewhere.

Jane opened her scrunched-tight eyes. Back resting against the wall, she was sitting on the floor of the closet inside the Liberty Public Library, the feather duster on the varnished boards beside her. And The Book.

She giggled. Silly of her, she’d sat down in the closet to look at The Book, and had fallen asleep. Good thing it was Saturday and she had the place all to herself. It wouldn’t have done for sour-faced Miss Maples to have caught her napping on the job.

Yes, that’s what had happened: she’d fallen asleep and dreamed. And oh, what a lovely dream it had been. Until its end. Continue reading

You Are What You Read–part 1

dirty-873203

Jane Hitchcock twitched the feather duster over the shelf of old books, stirring up years of dust that had settled upon their frayed tops. Wonder why they’re hidden away in here where no one can see them, she thought. A treasure they are, so old. And worth a lot of money, I’ll bet.

Her nose tickled. She sneezed, the sound as loud as a thunderclap inside the small closet. The flailing duster snagged one of the books, knocking it to the floor where it lay open, its fragile insides exposed.

Jane bent over—no easy task for her two-hundred-pound-plus frame—and reached for the book. But then she noticed something. Strange. The lines upon the yellowed pages squiggled, wiggled, jiggled.

What in the world…

With a pained grunt, she dropped to her arthritic knees. She pushed back wisps of graying brown hair that had escaped its tight bun and peered at the dancing letters. Something was there, on the page beneath the words. She leaned forward for a closer look.

Her belly shoved up against her ribs, demanding room for itself, almost cutting off her supply of air and causing her to breathe in fast little pants. “What…is…that?” Her chubby fingers splayed over the brittle paper.

And she was falling. Continue reading

Words

psychosis-388874_1920

sleek and slimy, your words slither through my mind
looking for the perfect spot to bury their rotten fruit…
dark and deceitful, they search out doubtful soil
the most fertile place to plant seeds of backdoor guilt

black and blue, the almost-hidden quagmire of blameless soil
cries out as holes are punched in its belly of insecurities…
willful and wicked, the tainted words are dropped in
where they burst open and sink their greedy, guileful roots

and the cycle begins again…

Image from Pixabay

It’s A Job–part 3

Gloomy misty country road in autumn forest. Shallow depth of field

Part 1 here       Part 2 here

Propped up on the pliant, leather sofa, iced coffee and a bag of Dove chocolates near at hand, I tried to concentrate on the open textbook braced against my raised thighs. Meta-ethics, normative ethics, applied ethics…

Why did I need to study philosophy to be a molecular biologist? What did philosophy have to do with genetics? I sure as hell didn’t know, but the counselor had said if I wanted to supervise research projects in vector construction, I’d need to hold a Doctor of Philosophy, along with a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology.

I had to agree with Daddy on one thing: you can’t fight city hall. So I hadn’t argued, just signed up for the required classes because…

Because someday I wanted to fiddle around inside the human DNA, discover which gene did what, which ones produced murderers, rapists, child molesters. I wanted to ferret out the genetic factor that made people turn out like my Daddy: mean to the bone. And I wanted to turn them off. For good. Better yet, introduce an improvement, something like the spider-silk goat milk.

My mind swam with possibilities, the changes and enhancements that could be made to the human race, creating a society where fear of your fellow humans didn’t exist. Utopia. Well, almost. There’d still be—

A soft thump broke the silence. Continue reading

It’s a Job–part 2

Gloomy misty country road in autumn forest. Shallow depth of field

Part 1 here          Part 3 here

“Ania, my baby sister has died.” The professor’s voice pulled me back into the present. “I have to go home for a few weeks.”

“Of course,” I said. “Where’s home?”

“Krakow. I have booked a flight out for tonight. Tessa, I hate to ask this of you, but I have no one else I trust.”

“Anything, Professor.” I took a sip of coffee, looked up into Cass’s curious eyes. “Anything at all.”

“Can you drive me to the airport, then pick me up when I return?”

“Of course.”

“And there is another thing…it’s about the spraying you have been doing for me.”

“Don’t give it a second thought. I’ll do it every evening like always.”

“There is more I need to tell you, Tessa…to keep you safe. There are things you do not know.”

I looked up. Cass had moved away, but was still within earshot. Whatever the professor had meant about keeping me safe, I didn’t want her to pick up on. My love was such a worrywart. “You can tell me on the way to the airport.” Continue reading