The Power of Habit


Emma wonders if any of the others are thinking of Macbeth and his witches. The kindling takes hold with a loud crack. Sparks flash, and rise into the night. Someone has thought to bring food this time: a pot of chili in a small cast-iron cauldron. Emma cannot imagine anyone will taste it. Their hunger is not for food. The pipe sizzles at the touch of the lighter. The itch of anticipation glides along her forearms. They all say they want to kick the habit. But, they’ve all been through rehab, at least once. It’s where some of them met.



For Tara’s 100Word Challenge… the prompt this week is Habit. So many interpretations… what’s yours?




Lowest Common Denominator



Dear Mary,

Thank you for the card after the delivery of my twin girls. I appreciate your congratulations though I somehow think a Good Luck card might be more appropriate. Already, I find the need to steel myself against the lowest common denominator of our society that seeks to undo all the gains our gender has worked tirelessly to secure. Have you read the Twitter comments on a recent Jeopardy contestant’s breasts? But, I must not despair. With luck, hard work, and fine role models my girls will not be cheerleaders, and will eschew every hue of pink.



For Tara’s 100-Word Challenge. The word is Luck. Try it… Join in the fun!


Thanks for reading!

Toasted Pecans




The toasted pecans were his idea. She conceded, as she always did. But, not before wondering why she stayed married to a man who behaved more like one of their children than an equal partner in this fleeting, matchstick-constructed game of Life. Why wasn’t she in Greece fighting the migrants for beach towel space on a sun-drenched shore? Isn’t that where all the housewives of Lifetime melodramas turned up? Tumbling into the beds of drop-dead gorgeous locals who really, really love them?


She popped a pecan in her mouth. All right! They did add a certain joie-de-vivre to a salad.


For Tara’s 100 word challenge… the word is “idea.”

Thanks for reading!


Old Soul




She steps outside looking as if she has just risen from a tangle of warm sheets, her eyes half-closed, black hair an unbrushed jumble of coarse curls, an old-fashioned broom in her hand that looks as if it, too, has just awakened from a dream, spikes of dirty blonde hair at odd angles. She sets to work sweeping a day’s accumulated dust from her tiny porch onto the unwatered patch of lawn. How peculiar that one so young, she can’t be but twenty, performs a daily ablution like a spinster in a historical novel who lives utterly alone.


I got wind from my writing friends that the 100 Word Challenge – the prompt is “peculiar” –  has been resurrected by Tara. Seeing so many familiar names of much-admired friends I felt I had to join in. Please click the icon and read some fine short stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Thanks for reading… !


Where the River Meets the Sea




At the mouth of the river where fresh water collides with the sea he maneuvers his kayak in silence, the only sound the sluice of water against the paddles: right, left, right, left. He slides his vessel into the slow-moving current at the precocious wild rose that in the spring blooms the color of his wife’s flushed face asleep in the over-warm bed from which he slips on cat’s feet every morning, without fail, before dawn.


the wild rose
a deep pink
punctuation mark
no beginning and no end
where the river meets the sea


In the shallows he slows to watch two fish quietly tread water. Their tails churn the sand: right, left, right, left. He doesn’t know their name though each time he sees them he makes a mental note to find out what they are. But, he never does. The water becomes murky with movement, and he moves on.


two fish tread water
obscured in plain sight
triangle tails
in constant motion
do they mate for life?

His route to the sea is always the same, but the landscape is forever changing. Someone said you never step into the same river twice. He finds that to be true also of the land, the sky. One day the reeds are tall and straight, the next doubled over by the foraging of deer. Some mornings he cannot peer through the white, wet blanket of fog. The next gulls wheel and squall in the cloudless unfiltered sunlight. On another day torrents of rain cascade from his shoulders into the river, and at long last he feels cleansed.


impurities of sin
cleansed by the rain
and the sea
and the salt
burn the tongue

He once collided with sin. The memory of iron and rust forever on his tongue. The isolation, the violence, guilt and debt, fists in his belly: right, left, right, left. It’s in the past, but never, no not ever over. Before dawn he glides his kayak along the surface of the river. He collides with the sea. And on rare mornings when the rain scours his skin, at long last he feels cleansed.


Tanka prose…. just because I felt inspired.