A Mother Still

When she returned home from the hospital, she locked her doors and lay in the bed alone. She didn’t move; she couldn’t, the pain was too great. She felt as if pieces of her had been ripped out from the inside—they had. She felt she was hemorrhaging enough blood for two persons—She was.

When she bled through her pad, she didn’t attempt to change it. She couldn’t if she wanted. She was too sore to roll over onto her stomach—empty and full at the same time—slide one leg off the edge of the bed, and then the other, crouch onto the floor and then pull herself up, take one step, and then another to the bathroom too far away.

She couldn’t imagine sitting on the toilet, wincing under the ache of the muscles in her thighs and abdomen pulled tight, looking down between her thighs into the bowl of the commode and seeing remnants of a life swirling and blending with urine and water. To see it caught up in the fibers of a maxipad clung to her skin, like a nightmare trapped in the dreamcatcher’s net. To feel drops trickle down her legs when she stood and slowly dragged forever filthy clothing back over her hips.

She curled around the pill bottle clutched in her fist. Prescription pain medicine strong enough for her to become addicted to after the physical pain had left her, but the emotional trauma still remained. She hacked up saliva and mucus from the back of her mouth and used it to push two down her throat. She lay on her back, watching the ceiling spin overhead. When she closed her eyes, she dreamt of drowning, of splashing to the surface gasping for air, and tiny little hands, stubby little fingers, dunking her head back under.

She woke choking, unable to breathe, and when she looked up, she thought she saw eyes, narrowed and burrowing. She sat up. Through the pain, she crawled to the other end of the bed, to her purse hanging over the bedpost, and retrieved a pen from the front pocket. Lying back, she wrote upside down, crooked letters on he stomach, below her navel, against her throbbing womb, in red ink.

Believe me, I loved
you—Before Winter’s smitten
death—And even still.

—Nortina


It is Short Story A Day May, and today’s prompt asks us to write a story in the form of a series of letters. This haibun is the result of how I was inspired by the prompt—my “series of letters” coming together to form the melancholic haiku at the end of the story. 

#BlaPoWriMo: Fallen Hero (poem)

Addict
found half-submerged
in a manhole—
scorched wrists
from needle shots
through veins.

Reports broadcast
homelessness, depression.
Divorced family
across state lines—
wife preferred a
man who could hide
his nightmares; soldier
in bed alone.

Dog tags project
still images of
half-naked children
dancing a dirt song
on fire.

—Nortina


Written for today’s #BlaPoWriMo prompt: write a poem for the lost soldier.

WODW: Letters to Devon

I wrote this poem three or four years ago, and I think it best embodies the prompt for Write or Die Wednesday, which is the following quote:

image

I had plans to include this poem and a handful of others into a chapbook about pain and loss and emerging out of a toxic relationship a better person. Unfortunately, I have a problem with finishing what I start. Hopefully, sharing this poem will reinvigorate my desire to publish that chapbook. Enjoy!

Letters to Devon

I
Breaking
Entering
Hiding
Jewelry, shoes, phones, TVs, guns, galore.
Law enforcement pushes through the door
Collecting
Arresting
You call me to implore.

Eating junk
Vomiting it up
Pulling hair
Crying in despair
Visiting
Calling
Writing
You promise we’ll be together soon
I pray it to be true.

II
Hair thinning
Weight climbing
Tears flowing
Same routine as before?
Walking
Pacing
Pacing the floor
Wondering why you don’t write to me anymore.

III
Mother screaming
Hands trembling
Stomach churning
Different routine from before.
Positive test hits the floor
Doctor’s appointment set
Doctor’s appointment broken
Still pacing the floor
Wondering why you don’t call me anymore.

IV
Writing
Erasing
Scribbling frantically
Begging you to come back to me
Others make visits
Notice my name removed from the list
Return to pacing the floor
Wondering why you don’t want to see me anymore.

V
Rubbing cream
Looking inside
At pictures black and white
Smiling
Laughing uncontrollably
Thought you’d love to see
What you’ve always desired your first child to be
Continue pacing the floor
You still don’t write to me anymore.

VI
Checking phone
No missed calls
Peeking in mailbox
No white envelopes
Months passing
Tummy rounding
One debt to society paid
Again pacing the floor
You still don’t call me anymore.

VII
Rage swells
And dwells within
Circulating
Body pulsating
Typical that you wouldn’t stay through thick and thin
Letters ripped and torn
Disheartening confetti float to the floor
I’m glad I don’t have to write to you anymore.

VIII
Stomach spreading
Hair still shedding
Too weak to pace on feet
Resting in bed
Wishing you dead
You still refuse to come see me
Friends gossip
Love’s blossomed
Your new heart and soul
Says I’m a lying whore?
Hee . . .hee . . . whoo . . .
You better pray you don’t see me anymore.

IX
Puffy face
Red eyes
Stained cheeks
Sensing an air of defeat
Wiping tears
Hand dropping to belly
A strong kick felt within
Creeping smile
Warm radiance embraces
Why should I cry over you?
Someone pure and new
Will be arriving very soon?

Baby’s coming
Father’s missing
Pushing
With no hand to hold
A bittersweet delivery
Tears of joy
Tears of pain
Cuddling my new man against my frame
Eyes connect
Fingers caress
Affection encompasses
As his lips touch my breast
Love returns
Anger recedes
No longer pacing the floor
I don’t care that you don’t call me anymore.

—Nortina