[Frag]ments of Bark

and she was like, i don’t know who
you are anymore. and i was like
a bit of green fuzz caught in her
sweater. (a dog could have left
me there, coughed out after the cat
dance.) and she said, last saturday

we spoke.

i lied, and said i didn’t smoke
anymore. (not since the fire.)


A Sister’s Marriage

She shudders, a jangle of gold,
before kicking into village
dust to raise Kali and Shiva
in one long whirl of color.

Her sari is my mother’s, and my father
provides the music: sixteen beats
to the moment. From what garden
the kohl that wards evil eye?

She knows. Her palms bloom red
this wedding night. Beneath her feet,
we sing to the henna tree: she,
a blessing and palanquin to the moon.

When a Man Loves a Woman – conversation overheard in a restaurant

SadGirl “Hello?” She held the cellphone tightly against her head, her slim fingers white with tension. Only moments earlier, the restaurant’s host seated the young woman in the booth across from me. She had long, black hair and delicate features. A tiny thing, she was slender and petite, and in many ways, the young woman looked like a doll – fragile, with wide, frightened eyes. Her sweater was thick cashmere; her skirt short and dark. I believe her heels were Jimmy Choos.

“No,” she said. Her voice trembled, and she closed her eyes. “I can’t talk about it on the phone. Please, just come to the restaurant.”

I tried not to be obtrusive in my scrutiny of the young woman. Instead, I pretended interest in my shrimp cocktail, yet her furtive actions and obvious discomfort snagged my attention. I averted my gaze, finding some small detail in my cutlery to examine. Out of the corner of my I eye, I saw her drop the phone into her purse and anxiously scan the restaurant. She was crying. Or at least she had been. Her pretty blue eyes were raw and red rimmed. Her pale cheeks were flushed. She held a tissue clenched in her fist and dabbed at the corners of her eyes. Her lips trembled and fear clouded her angular face. She was a pretty girl, though clearly terrified.

Around the young woman, the restaurant whirled in the hustle and bustle of a family diner at lunchtime. Teenagers spoke in whispers. Some glanced her way. Others were boisterous, laughing at jokes unheard by either of us. The young woman seemed wholly unaffected by the small diner’s crowd, drawn into her own little world of impending calamity. Whomever she spoke to on the phone would arrive at some point, and then the drama would begin. I wondered what set the young woman on edge. What was it that she feared so much that she chose a public place as a venue to disclose her secret?

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Photo by Al Forbes

Photo Copyright Al Forbes

This is a 100-word challenge from Friday Fictioneers. Have fun, and let me know what you think.

“You’re sure that’s Hermes?”

“Trust me, Eury.” She loosened her hood’s drawstrings. The dark cloth squirmed under her touch. “I would know.”

Eury glanced at her sister’s writhing hood, then pushed back her own hair and put an arm around her.

“Why you, and not me?”

“First time around, you were born that way. I was cursed to be who I am.”

“What’s your plan when you find him?”

Medusa removed her sunglasses, careful not to meet her sister’s gaze. Wearily, she rubbed her eyes, then replaced her dark glasses. “This time it’s Percy’s turn to lose his head.”

An Embedded Journalist Recants Too Late to Change History

Out of the night, rage, with tawny limbs
and braided hair, the sergeant’s smile
caught in her teeth. Medusa! Her name is fear
and the howl of my brothers still twitching

in burnt fields. Oh that tangle of serpents
about her head whips frenzy into her eyes: dreaded
locks flicker blood, like tongues, snickering
in a hunter’s moon. Leaps from horseback,

a whirl of short swords and a single red shriek:
even Gaia stands still for her daughter’s vicious
stride. And yet I am struck by my companions
to silence her savagery, as Greek generations

must never know that for just one kiss
I would stand here forever, and watch
her as she spits fire, and my bretheren
die as they embrace her sword arm.

–Taken from the journals of Antaeus,
who was slain by Hercules, that none
would ever know the craft that hides
the truth of leader of the Amazons.

This is my response to Trifecta’s writing prompt: write a piece between 33 and 333 words. Mine is 164 words, and it uses the following word/definition:

CRAFT (noun): 3 : skill in deceiving to gain an end

Everyone is invited to play.

This is a community-voted challenge, which means that readers have the opportunity to vote on their three favorites by visiting Trifecta’s site after the challenge closes on Thursday, at 7PM Eastern time.