The Ward


TW: Child Separation

“She missed the bus,” Mary said. Her feet dangled off the side of the child’s chair. The heel of her little black shoe tapped the linoleum as it threatened to slip off her foot. She drew a big yellow circle in the centre of a blank page.

“Has your mommy missed the bus before?” Lynne asked, crouched down to Mary’s level. Her wireframe glasses sat loosely on the tip of her nose. After a couple of hours of giving the small girl cola and chocolates, toys and TV, which she refused fervently, it was the crayon set that seemed to pull her out of her shell. Lynne imagined her grey hair would look unkempt by now.

“Mama… My mama doesn’t like that word.”

“What word? Mommy?” Lynne narrowed her brow.

“Mm-hmm,” she answered. She shaded the yellow circle with fast thrusts. “My mama missed the bus because I was bad.”

“Has she done this before?”


She picked up a purple crayon and drew a face on the sun. One of her shoes dropped on the floor. Mary shifted her weight and crossed her leg to sit it under her bottom.

“Tell me why you think you were bad?”

“Cuz I was,” she shrugged.

Lynne patted the girl’s hand, and Mary dropped the crayon onto the table. With the most matter-of-fact tone, Mary started talking.

Mama likes her juice. I don’t. Her juice smells funny. Sometimes Mama is really fun to be around when she has her juice. But sometimes she’s mean. Sometimes I get in trouble for being bad.

Mama throws my toys away when I’m bad. But when she isn’t looking, I dig them out of the trash. She doesn’t know it, but I hide them. I have a secret place that I put them.

My pink sparkle magic wand was in her chair yesterday. I forgot it. It was supposed to turn the chair into a big throne so Mama could be a queen. But it didn’t. And she sat down. She snapped it in half with her butt.

She slapped my hand and called me a naughty girl. Then she threw my wand away.

But it was my favorite! So I took it out of the trash when Mama was on the toilet. I took it to my room to fix it but she finished too soon so I stuck it under my mattress.

Only she saw the star sticking out.

She made me sit in the corner, took all my toys and threw them in the trash.

“So see? I was bad. And Mama is punishing me,” Mary said.

Lynne looked at the little girl and wanted to give her a hug. “Your mother isn’t punishing you,” she wanted to say. “She passed out on the couch. You were lost and roaming the streets until uniforms came to pick you up. You poor dear.”

“What if I told you that someone new, someone better could be your mama?” Lynne asked.

Mary furrowed her brow, “No. My mama is my mama.”

“What if your new mama would let you have all the magic wands you wanted?”

“No!” Mary said, slapping Lynne in the face before running to a corner of the room.

Lynne stroked her cheek before walking out of the room. She locked the door and rested against it with a heavy sigh.

“That didn’t go so well,” her supervisor, Greg, said.

“I know I was too heavy-handed in the end there.”

“No easy way to do it. She’s a ward of the State now through no fault of her own.”

“Wish there was some way to tell her that,” Lynne said as her shoulders sagged. 


Image: Source


Music Memory


It was a whim. No. More like a sudden desire. After years of collecting dust in the top of my closet, I decided to play my flute.

I pulled it out and opened the zipper to reveal the long rectangular case. The yellow polishing cloth stuck out from beneath the case. My fingers grazed the cloth. Without even realizing it, I slid it out and unfolded it as I snap the case open.

The silver Gemeinhardt sparkled within the granite colored fabric molds.

Memories of marching on the football field flooded my mind. For seven years there had been hours of band practice and concerts and yellow bus rides.

I connected the pieces together, fingered the keys, and blew through the mouthpiece to release any stray material that wasn’t there.

I remembered the music days with Dad, he with his keyboard and his friend with his guitar. He would ask me to play flute as Moody Blues echoed through the house. “Tuesday Afternoon” or “Nights in White Satin” were his favorites (neither of us liked Jethro Tull). I never heard how I sounded over the synthesizer and Dad’s bellowing vocals, but I always enjoyed that moment when I was part of the music.

I put my lips to the mouthpiece and blew. A weak sound resonated through the room, and I lamented at the tone. It was my embouchure. I might not have forgotten the correct fingerings for the notes, but I had lost my grasp of the signature pout. I sat up straighter and filled my diaphragm to blow harder. My natural vibrato came through, and I stopped to smile.

I remembered my senior year of high school. The band director named me first chair, despite my insistence that he had made a mistake. I was a passable flutist but never first chair quality. Still, he persisted, and despite the grumblings of the other flute players, he handed me the single piccolo the school budget could afford. It was the single best moment in my musical life. The look on Dad’s face that night made the memory even brighter.

I thought about how I’d won a solo contest later that year. Our band placed in the yearly competition even with me playing the piccolo. I wondered if I was too hard on myself growing up with my flute and if it was at all possible that if I’d practiced more instead of focusing on my vocals that maybe I could have done something more with my beautiful Gemeinhardt.

After high school, I barely touched my flute, yet it was still my pride and joy. I enjoyed music days with Dad as we played and sang Gospel music, and I remember thinking back then that when I had a family of my own I would make sure music was a part of our life together.

As I blew into the flute and released the uneven sound, my cat pawed at the instrument and sang with me. My dogs put their paws on my lap, cocked their heads to the side, and talked at me.

In a way, I guess I finally have what I dreamt of all those years ago – my own little family orchestra.

Image: Source



Image (YeahWrite Winners Post #352)
I am attempting my first erasure poem. Most of the text has been blanked out. The remainder reads as such:


of crappy piping

Noodle around with good enough –

Say I had fun.

It feels like fun
while you learn
but you’re frustrating

See, while not the best
Writing picks are based on
style, pride


Handy writing –
Critical feedback.
Highlight the good stuff.




The bedroom door is ajar allowing the glow of the morning sun to spill out into our darkened room. Weary but serene, I blink at the amber rays. We are not alone in bed.

At some point in the night, the tuxedo cat with a cacophonous cry and a tiny purr cuddles in between our pillows. His tail tickles my husband’s nose as his whiskers tickle mine. He remains there in various positions through the night and into the morning. While an early visit to the bathroom sees the calico join the three of us. Her loud purrs make my chest and hand vibrate with a tempo of their making. It grows in volume, until I’m sound asleep.

An hour before the aforementioned dawn, two giant dogs inch their way into the bed. Avoiding the cats, they slot themselves into the middle. Their paws and heads touching us both. One curls up into our legs, the other threatens to push us out of the bed completely as he sprawls out. Somehow, we sleep in this controlled chaos.

As I contemplate rising, I can’t help but smile. My little family shares this moment of serenity more frequently than not. It’s crowded in the queen-sized bed, with twenty feet, four tails, and six heads, but it’s ours. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


What? We’re hoo-man too!

Brotherly Love (a rondel)

We shared a room, my brother and me,
For but two of our adult years.
At first, we saw no shame, you see?
Fights were few – a truly strong bond nears!

As time drew on, none could foresee
A closed door & Mother’s absurd fears.
We shared a room, my brother and me,
For but two of our adult years.

Mom cries about how it looks, a plea –
An accusation of incest – oh, the tears!
With slapped skin, slammed doors, and sneers,
There can be no forgiveness – oh, tragedy.
For but two of our adult years,
We shared a room, my brother and me.


(Not even sure why, but I felt inclined to write a poem this week – a nonfiction one at that. I hope the hints aren’t too subtle. I was trying a Rondel. Also, full disclaimer: I realize I kinda suck at poetry, hence the concrit badge. 😉 )