A smiling sun
in a nearly clear sky
Except for one cloud
There are flowers
Four, to be precise
In this picture-perfect moment
The grass is green
but a little too green
Like the eerie moment
when everything’s perfect
right before it all goes wrong
Right before the flowers wilt
And the sun dims
And the clouds begin to multiply
This perfect moment
Lost to a world
that cradles Destruction
like a baby
and raises pain
like a child
It loves to overthrow
The Mother Earth
The Field of Abandoned Dreams
in the Land of Lost Hopes.
All the thoughts
That have been lost
to The Field
The Field of Abandoned Dreams
in this place
and The Monster Under the Bed
The Creature in the Closet
The Chaos in the Cabinet -
They were created there
Made of pain
and a little bit of magic
The Field of Abandoned Dreams
it is misery
the birthplace of all Heartache
So if you’ve come today
for a blessing of comfort
what’s in The Land of Lost Hopes
Is nothing of the sort.
Just a bench. Just a bench they say. My only purpose as a seat for the parents who aren’t asked to play. If only I could show those stupid humans what’s what. Then they would know. Then they would see my worth! I could do karate! Pow! Pow! Or ballet! Plie! First position! But a bench? No way, josé! This guy could do so much more, but those humans are too chicken to see what I can do. I mean, look at Slidey over there. He’s big. He’s red. He’s twisty. Suddenly everybody loves him. Do they love me? No. Even though I could be big, I could be red, I could be twisty. I could do anything if they just gave me a chance. You seein’ this writing piece. It’s the most interesting thing you’ve read all week. The press would love me.
“Look at him!” they’d say. “He can do it all!” Instead, they stick me in the corner and tell me to sit there and wait to get squashed. How fun! If only they knew… I could be revolutionary! That’s for another day, though. Back to doing my boring job…
My. Reflection. Came. Out. Of. The. Mirror. Ohmygod Ohmygod Ohmygod Ohmygod! So, I was just sitting there in my parents’ bedroom at the full body mirror, the king sized bed behind me and the TV to my left, making faces in the mirror, ya know, totally normal day, when suddenly, my reflection just jumped out of the mirror. What the heck? I thought.
“Are you…” I started, “my reflection?” My reflection nodded merrily. “What the-” the world went black as I fainted.
“Hello? Are you alright?” I opened my eyes to see my real-live reflection staring at me. She looked exactly the same as me - the same grey-blue eyes, the same (beautiful) messy blonde hair. The only difference was she was just a little bit more, well, shiny, a little like she was reflecting all the light that hit her.
“Oh my gosh!” I crawled away from her as fast as I could. “I’m dreaming. This is a dream. Or a hallucination. Just… pinch me, or something. Wait, why are you not moving when I move?” I made a face, but she did nothing.
“Please, reflections have minds of their own. Your people… humans, or something, could not understand how a reflection could possibly work, so we just pretend to be copying you. I know you humans think you have the world all figured out, but you don’t factor in the most important thing: magic. It messes with all of your equations.”
“Not two plus two.” I responded, deciding I was going crazy and getting over it.
“Yes two plus two. What if one or both of the twos were magic? Then they could change size and become any number, even six billion-million.”
“That’s not a number,” I said defiantly.
“Magic,” she reminded me in a sing-song voice. “Remember?”
“Ugh. You’re so… like me. Why are you, anyway, if you’re so magic?” She rolled her eyes like, ‘Kindergarden, people.’
“I was still created from your essence. But every essence has a brain with a specific thought process. See? So, I’ll look like you and have the same contemplation as you, but I don’t do exactly what you do because I’ve gone through a different life, with different experiences to base my ideas off of.”
“But we still have a similar personality.” She gave me a proud smile.
“Exactly! Now you’re getting it!” We high-fived. “You can’t tell anybody about this, though, okay?” I nodded. That made total sense. My world could not handle magic. “I’m really not supposed to be here at all, actually. I’ll try to visit again soon, but I don’t know when I’ll be able to. If the people from my home find out, I’ll be in worlds of trouble. Perhaps… perhaps I’ll teach you some magic. Someday. Until then, I must be off.” She started to step into the mirror.
“Wait! I called. “Please, wait. Your name… is it the same as mine?” She smiled.
“Adohr is my name. I believe you know why.” I thought for a moment.
“Adohr. Rhoda backwards. Your name is mine backwards.” Her only reply was a smile and a glance as she walked into the mirror and melted into my position. “Adohr. I like it.” With that, I walked away from the mirror and saw Adohr wink in the last moment of view.
The willow was sunken
its two limbs falling
to the ground
Though the sun was hopefully rising,
there was no hope
for this tree
The Sorrow Tree
that’s what I called it
the day we met
I saw this beautiful tree
Crippled by the hands of Time
and I knew
he had gone through Pain
For I saw
in the distance
The Sorrow Tree’s love
another tree looking just like him
two limbs nearly on the ground
and a hopeless air
all around her
She was taken from him
by the wretched creatures
inhabiting this earth
the evil souls
Ruining the life
of my beloved
and his beloved
Willow of Agony
Oh, the innocence of
The Sorrow Tree
September 17, 2050
Ashmiza Qita stared at the blank screen in front of her.
“Write about an ‘ah-ha moment,’” her teacher’s voice said in her mind. “Write what you know.”
Ash glanced at the clock in the lower corner her compatible computer. 17:00.
After staring at her clock for another three minutes, she spun her chair around with her joystick. It hovered off the ground, showing her the rest of the room for ideas.
Across the room was her window screen.
“Window,” Ash said clearly. “Next.”
A cobblestone street appeared with the ancient temples of Rome on its sides. The chatter of tourists and the smell of pizza filled the air. Rome was built up around her, a thousands years of history behind it.
The Eiffel Tower rose above her as pink, sunset light glistened off the Seine. One by one, the streetlights flickered to life. Paris’s love surrounded her.
Birds called to one another, their bright feathers whirling through the sky. Monkeys swung from branch to branch, making the light filtered through the leaves swirl across the floor. The Amazon Rainforest danced in full swing.
Red and orange light glowed and bounced off the ground as scientists in thin space suits rushed from one dome to another, carrying specimens, equipment, and maps. Human civilization on Mars burst through the window.
Ash flipped through countless scenes, each one as average as the next. Leaving the window screen on real-time, she kept looking for more ideas.
Her old space helmet sat in on a bookshelf from her field trip to Venus. Ash drove her chair over to the shelves and picked up a piece of paper off the shelf and folded it in half. It instantly expanded to be a full book.
The Art of Creativity the cover said in gold painted letters. She flipped through its countless pages on ideas and imagination.
Some of her other books included The Cure for Cancer; A Stroke of Genius, Where the Bees Went, and Dark Matter; The Space Around Us.
Haven’t humans had any good ideas yet? Ash wondered as her chair floated back to her desk.
17:45, her clock reminded her.
Ash pushed a small button on the side of her computer, and it folded into a card, perfect for fitting in a wallet and light as a quarter (not that anyone still uses quarters; Paypal is so much easier). Slipping it in her pocket, she hopped down the stairs to the living room.
“Mom, I’m going to get a cupcake,” Ash said, heading for the door.
“Be back by 18:30!” her mom called to her.
At the door, Ash plugged in the address of her favourite cupcakery “Baking Me Crazy.” The door glowed blue as she stepped through and onto the sidewalk, directly in front of the store. Ash ordered a triple chocolate cupcake and expanded her computer.
As the chocolate hit her tongue, her teacher’s words echoed in her mind.
“Write what you know.”
Ash’s fingers pricked on the keys.
“Ashmiza Qita stared at the blank screen in front of her…”
Sixty-six. It’s the sixty-sixth day of no sun, though it feels like it has been millennia. I sit in the darkness of my room, staring out the window. What I wish I could see… Sun, moon, stars, anything but the cold darkness of the snow clouds above me. It’s bad enough I see no sun during the day, but now the clouds have cursed us with no stars?
I glance back at my clock. Eleven fifty-three.
“Almost there,” I whisper to myself. Almost there.
I look around my room, seeing all the tasks that await me in the morning. On the opposite wall, a torture device commonly known as homework sits on my desk. Littered on the floor are dirty clothes that need collecting and washing while my clean clothes are still waiting to be put into drawers in front of my bureau. The room is painted dark grey (obviously not my first choice) adding to the dreary darkness. I moved from the second floor to this room just last year, and we haven’t got a chance to repaint it yet. My first choice would be yellow, like the sun, but I doubt it’s ever going to happen.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see light. My head whips to the window. A glint of silver sneaks through the clouds. My heart leaps as hope shoots through me, but it hits my chest and shatters as the wind shifts and the star disappears.
The winter is too long for me. Every day, I trudge to school with my flashlight. When the snow is soft, I sink in above my waist. The snow soaks through my boots, leaking into my socks, chilling me to the bone. When it’s hard, I slip on ice; bruising myself all over, then looking like a fool trying to stand, slipping a flailing.
In the beginning, the winter isn’t too bad. I hold onto any hope, any light that still stays inside me. The skies are a bit pink then, as if in an eternal sunset.
Then the darkness comes.
It seeps into me slowly, surrounding me on all sides, suffocating me. Dangers lurk around every corner. Once again I’m five years old in the dark: fearing the monsters in the closet, the evils hiding under my bed.
I glance at the clock once more, still alone in my bedroom.
I pull myself from the window, praying the clouds will move away in time. The floor chills my feet as I pad down the hall to Thea’s room. Creaking the door open, I step into the room. It’s much like mine, only neater.
I see the one light that keeps me going aloft in her dreams: Thea, my sister.
During the cold winter days, she comes to me as I sit in the dark. Wrapping her arms around me, warmth spreads through me. We watch the stars twinkle and dazzle, trying to recall the constellations and find them in the sky. Once and a while, the sky is lit by dancing lights. Greens, blues, and purples move like the ocean waves through the sky, weaving through the stars.
“Magic,” Thea whispers in my ear.
“Thea,” I now murmur, shaking her awake. One look at the twinkle in her eyes tells me she knows what time it is.
Holding hands, we hurry back to my room, making sure not to wake our parents.
We sit on my bed, our eyes flitting between the horizon and the clock. Eleven fifty-nine. Clouds churn above us. They could be splitting apart, but maybe joining together.
Our eyes are locked to the horizon, our hands locked together. A single light gleams through the clouds as they split, farther and farther apart. The skies clear, making way for the sunrise. Pinks and blues flourish across the sky, lighting up our world. The snow twinkles and the mountains glow.
“Magic.” The word echoes over the land, lighting everything in its path.
It is strange how easy lying becomes.
I never thought I could have such a huge secret and not constantly burn with wanting to tell everyone. I thought it would be harder. A huge part of me is hidden, shelved away from prying eyes.
In a way, I wish it was harder.
Not telling people is...painful. But not because it hurts to keep the secret.
It hurts because there if this huge part of me that people don’t see, and I love it.
I revel in having something so totally mine.
But I wish I didn’t enjoy it so much.
I wish it wasn’t so easy to pretend that everything is normal and perfect and exactly the way it should be.
Lying is so easy. So wonderfully simple.
But it makes a person feel slimy inside, after a while.
If it was so easy to keep this secret; to hide this part of me, what comes next?
It scares me.
How else will I manipulate people’s perceptions of me?
I know I can trust them. I can. And yet…
For some reason I still feel the need to put guards up. To hide behind a screen of falsities.
Maybe I have to be honest with myself before I can be honest with anyone else.
But that slimy feeling follows me. I feel its tendrils tangling around my limbs.
Tightening every time I open my mouth.
Making me into a monster with every white lie, every half-heartedly muttered agreement, every too-quiet argument.
My secret brings me so much joy, and so much pain.
To not share it seems blasphemous.
Yet I am terrified of what may happen if I allow those words to pass my lips.
The retaliation for the truth could be disastrous.
Lying is so much easier.
Cowardly, painful, and monstrous,
but so very much easier.
There once were two girls named Drizella and Anastasia. They were as beautiful as they were kind with hair like silk and eyes of jewels.
Their sister though, Ella, had a beautiful face to hide her ugly heart. Drizella and Anastasia tried to welcome her into their family, but Ella pushed them away. Her mother’s and father’s death had left her heart scarred and bruised, leaving only an angry, broken pulse behind. Her face, though, was still as fair as ever and when she wished to be, she could still put on a sickly sweet smile to fool others.
A ball was announced for the prince’s eighteenth birthday. All the maidens in the land, beautiful, ugly, kind, or cruel, were invited. Someone would be chosen to be his bride.
As Drizella and Anastasia went out with their mother to find dresses, Ella refused to go.
“I don’t want to be seen in public with you.” She spat the word as if it had a bad taste that went along with it.
Instead, the stepmother gave her money to buy her own dress.
“Be kind to Ella,” the stepmother told Drizella and Anastasia once in private. “She’s had a hard life.”
At the ball, the Drizella and Anastasia were proud in their dresses, one soft rose-colored, the other a natural green. But Ella told them otherwise.
“Your clashing dresses are giving me vertigo,” she said, putting her hands up and backing away.
“She’s had a hard life,” the stepmother said once more when Ella was gone. “I’ll talk to her tomorrow, but let her enjoy the night.”
Ella, however, looked beautiful. Her blue dress draped to the floor elegant and smooth, but still fluffy enough for any five-year-old girl to squeal about. Her hair flowed down and around her shoulders, curling and perfectly windblown. And as always, her face was without a flaw. But the shoes were the crowning jewel: pure glass, carved like crystal to fit perfectly around Ella’s dainty feet. They twinkled as she swept across the floor to the prince.
Drizella and Anastasia put the harmful words behind them and skipped out onto the dancefloor. Laughs and dances were shared with others, and they had a wonderful night.
Ella had been off dancing with the prince. Her smile and eyes sparkled in the light just right and he had fallen for her in minutes.
Ella only went home that night to gather her things.
Anastasia and Drizella went to the now unoccupied room that once was Ella’s the next day. Only one thing remained on a small table. A glass slipper with a note. Only one word was whispered through the room:
it wasn’t always like this,
for that’s all she can remember.
it wasn’t always like this.
she can feel the exhaustion creep,
Leaden, through her veins-
but the iron stains her lips.
soon, the wastebasket overflows with napkins, tissues, blotted, stained-
all remnants of her attempts to scour, to sweep away
what ought not to leave a mark.
it is strong,
but she forgets, day after day, night after night,
to take her medicine.
she knows it will improve.
she knows it’s not permanent,
and it’s bittersweet, for, she realizes,
that nothing’s ever set,
just a passing dream,
in a long and fretful night.
a teenage year.
i’m okay, She says.
but she knows that’s a lie.
she is lost.
She is so very, very tired.
but someone comes,
Day after day, night after night.
And gathers all the shattered things up, for a moment, into a warm
“if they aren’t now, they will be”
She is ready to believe.