I'm sitting on your bed watching you rub lotion downs your arms. The smell of vanilla turns around and sits on your green blanket next to me.
"Hopefully you don't have to carry me home this time."
I focus on your face to see you smiling.
"Remember? When I got that burr in my foot and you piggybacked me all the way home?"
"Oh right! Yeah."
I laugh with you. Your freckles are like a spray of sand wind-whipped across your face.
Your eyes widen, looking behind me and you wave out the window.
I look out and my heart falls.
"Periwinkle!" Your boyfriend shouts his stupid nickname for you joyfully.
You run to the front door and into his arms.
I knew he was coming today. I was just hoping against hope he wouldn't. Maybe he would get the flu or have to look after his brother or just not want to come.
But here he is.
He swings you around before putting you down and lifting a hand to his forehead. It shades his face so he can see me walk up behind you.
His smile looks so genuine. His eyes are sparkling and his hair is flopping over his eyebrows. I wish I could hate him.
I smile back.
The hardest part is seeing him look at you. Seeing him love you. It's how I would look at you. You're happy and I wish you weren't. I'm sorry. The worst part of loving you is wishing no one else did.
Sand dune mountains
drier than the best red wine
Grains blow over my skin
like a gritty lotion as the
wind obscures the
My camel climbs another wave
blanket wrinkled between
The burr of air grinding
skin from bone
An oasis beckons
a wavering mirage
shades of green
on desert yellow
And the bubble bursts
My eyes crust closed
Summer Word Play
The witching hour approaching
Some were busy dreaming
With a flick of the wrist
A burst of sand began trickling
Down from the being’s fist
The being tried to wave
But a periwinkle had managed
To form a tight hold like a cave
Surrounding the being
’twas as if being wrapped by a blanket
Thinking of how to escape
Then one word came to mind—
-‘Burr!’ burst out the geist
Alas~ this didn’t work
The geist suddenly had a new idea
And used it’s telekinesis to raise
A bottle of lotion from the drawer
The periwinkle felt the lotion
Sliding down its vines
Soon it retracted
& hid behind the curtain shades
The geist snickered
Making its way
To another abode
16th July, 2022
Reflecting the Fire
"Where is that boy?"
The voice is gruff. Griffin knows immediately it is Father, back from work. It's not a good sign, because he shouldn't be home this early. Ten o'clock is early for his parents, and past Griffin's bedtime.
He tugs the blanket over his head, trying to even his breathing. He needs to make it look like he's sleeping, but Father can probably hear the beat of Griffin's heart through the thin walls of the house.
The door to his room opens, and a wave of panic sweeps over Griffin.
Father is not fooled.
"Stand!" Father demands, his hands clapping together. It sounds like a gunshot.
Mother stands in the doorway meekly, licking her lips in a nervous habit.
Griffin crawls out of bed and puts his feet on the cold floor. He stands, his nightshirt catching on a burr on the bedframe.
Father grabs him by the back of his shirt, and it takes everything in the boy not to whimper. Father is in his work coveralls still, smelling of oil and dirt and alcohol. His nostrils flare, and his bushy eyebrows hide the glint in his eyes.
"Have you taken money from me?" Father's tone is dangerously calm.
Griffin squeaks in alarm, his feet scrabbling for purchase as Father, with his great strength, lifts him into the air.
"Have you taken even a goddamn penny from me, boy?!" The room rattles as Father yells. Mother tugs at Father's arm.
"No," Griffin chokes out, clawing at the neck of his shirt.
Father tosses him to the ground, and Griffin skids across the floor, colliding loudly with a shelf. A book tumbles to the ground, and another one hits him painfully on the ear, and an hourglass shatters next to his foot.
Sand pours out, filling the cracks in the wooden floor.
Mother kneels next to him, tugging on his ear. "Griffin, you tell him the truth now," she says evenly. He breathes in the scent of her: firewood and earth and lavender lotion.
Griffin eyes his mother, and she nods at him. He remembers when he was nine, and he'd bought her a periwinkle from the flower girl on the street. She'd been angry, but he hadn't understood, because it was just one coin. And he'd earned it. Running a letter across town.
But money wasn't meant for him, it was meant for her. For Father.
"I--" Griffin started, but his throat closed up.
Father yanks him to his feet, takes a fistful of his hair, and pulls him from his room. When Father lets go, they are all three in the kitchen, the fire sparking in the corner still. Griffin shades his eyes from the flames, his eyes not adjusted for the light.
Father smacks the kitchen wall loud enough for the crack to echo in Griffin's head. "Don't you dare lie to me."
Mother presses her thumb sharply into Griffin's collarbone, which might afar look supportive, but from up close feels very uncomfortable. Griffin looks into her face, and she stares grimly back at him.
His body shudders as he realizes what he must do.
He did not take any money.
"I took the money."
All Griffin hears then is the ringing in his ear as his Father takes his first hit. He forgets everything else after that. The only things he can't forget is the soft padding of Mother's feet as she leaves the kitchen and climbs into bed, and the way the blood from his mouth drips onto the floor in a sticky, fire-reflecting puddle.
Shades of periwinkle
a dull lotion
soothing those wave of pain
that sharp burr of you
you little prick
squeezing together tight
sleepless sand swollen eyes.
Little flower of mine
Your sunflower smell sticks to my skin like burrs on socks. A sticky sweet scent, like sweat and suntan lotion. Memories of your curly blonde hair clinging to me like seaweed. Pattering through my brain, your feet leave muddy footprints all over my frontal cortex. I think about hot summer days when I would wrap you up in your froggy towel like a fuzzy blanket after bath time. When you poked your button nose out to ask for kisses, and we snuggled on the couch to watch cartoons. Flowing and receding, the reflections come in waves. I think a lot about those days. About your heart shaped shades and periwinkle ribbons, and the tumultuous laughs during Saturday morning tickles. I think about the hourglass that is our lives, and how each day more sand trickles to the bottom. So I savor those hot summer nights of drippy ice cream cones and chaotic bathtimes and soft curly hair and suntan lotion. I breathe in deeply and take in each memory, each wave, and I hope you never stop snuggling closer to fall asleep on my shoulder.
Drew me in.
Latched onto my heart.
Dug I’m deep, like a burr
Wave. After. Wave.
Broke down my walls.
They crumbled to sand.
Shades me from pain and hurt
from those gone before.
Your words, a healing lotion, that soothes even the hottest memory.
With a comfort no one has ever been able to provide.
A hint of periwinkle.
Reveal your desire.
I bask in your want and need of me.
"is it glass?" asked the marquessa, and held the box with her fingers.
"ney" said the merchant. "it is a rare gossimer substance. secreated from the gossimer periwinkle. look now at the three small indents and the three cathments on the lid. push those into the indent and it holds well. and it is so light and resilient. and.. watch.."
said the man and dropped the transparent box on the marble floor.
"it shatters not!" exclaimed the courtier.
"true. the gossimer is light and has some flexibility. it does not shatter if dropped. think how your guests shall be amazed as you pack fruit into these, and present them upon the table. why, it is all that the great ladies in florence talk of" he concluded.
"how much for the boxes then?"
"oh, i shall sell you not obe, not two but such gossimer boxes, suited perfectly for grapes and strawberries, apricots and plums. for seven gold crowns for THREE dozens!"
"i shall not argue. Mortimer!" she said ordering the courtier to write the item.
the boxes were lovingly presented to the marquissa in an easy to cary stack. Mortimer took them reverentely.
"i thank thee" said the merchant.
"what have you got?"
"oh...i have much more merchandize, of far off lands. observe, exellency, yonder blanket. it is thin as parchment, is it not?, but look carefully now.." he said and took up the smooth , leathery cloth. from it, he pulled out a small translucent part. a part in it was easy to remove, "as you uncork a wineskin" he reported proudly. then with much air he blew into the mouth, his cheeks puffing. soon, ridhes formed on the blanket , which grew and extended in straight lines. the blanket grew in thickness until it was bloated, which then the merchant replaced the cork, and held up the object. "this fine wonder is a rare bed, made from the strong skin of Sumerian dragons, which slithers upon the sands of that distant land... it holds its form, yet is soft and yeilding. you may fill it..well your servant may..fill it with breath, and you could lie upon it. resting thus in the forest shade after a hunt , or upon the pleasure barge. it can also float upon the water, and bare the weight of even a grown man, dressed in armor!"
"a wonder" exclaimed the lady.
"truly...your majesty. i am proud to offer you two of these, one decorated with the image of an orange fish with fine white lines, as a clown is dressed, yet the fish is rounded in the shape and pleasently smiling, from the depths under the waves. i can also provide you with another, one which bears the stark likeness of a beautiful young girl " explained the merchant, and produced a second such blanket, unfilled with air, which bore the image of a richly dressed princess, blond of hair "
"i see the blanket is decorated with snow flakes . ..interesting " said the marquesa. " yes, your highness. it is of great craftsmenship. and an inviting artistry, and , know that it shall not bare stains nor be easily sullied otherwise"
"i shall take both, how much will you ask?"
"that shall be costly, yet not without reason, considering the outstanding craftsmenship and distance travelled to obtain such a miracle. "
"it shall be twenty gold pieces for the one, but only five and thirty for the two. "
"that is rather costly"
"it is, and no lie.. excellency. but not without reason, i am sure you'll agree".
"i'll take only one, the one with the fish, i think. "
"perhaps you'll think of both, if i shall offer further enticment?"
"what have you in mind?"
"oh, your majesty...this ..is a special treatment."
"what have you?"
"oh, observe please this softly carved article, carved from the rare burr of the alabaster tree of Zanzibar. feel how it bears the pressure of my hand. why, the slight application of pressure, will cause ...well, here is the nozzle...as the nozzle generously yeilds the rich lotion"
"oh? a lotion"
"yes, highness...this lotion is specially important through great voyage from distant islands. observe that it even bears the great seal of the noble house, Piz Buin. "
"is that not in the swiss lands?" interrupted the courtier"
"no, my friend. it is not. this one is from tne faraway island of of piz buin, upon the lands near Persia. the lotion, so applied is used for the conservation of the pale skin of royals in those lands, from the reddening of skin in the sun. it has come here through ship and camel, and ship again. crossing the lands of turks and sarasans, pirates and barbarians. and i shall give you this tube if you buy the two air matresses...i mean blankets..."
"for five and thirty gold?"
"em...it is a great buy...but...well...i shall not deny you..your highness with these goids. for thirty-five gold.."
"is there more?" asked the marquesa.
"have no doubt , excellency"
it was then, when the merchant was about to produce the Zoon, that the courtier, calculating the fortunes that were already vouchsafed, interrupted the peoceedings. and reminded the lady, that they must not tarry longer in the heat, as that the sun was not to her advantage.
You are periwinkle tinged memories hiding in the sands of time. All nostalgia and heartbreak, shades of blue and gray overcast what was once laughter, once love. Hands that used to hold each other, hidden under blankets, on walks at midnight, soft with the vanilla lotion you used to wear, now refuse to even wave hello. Lost instead in a forever goodbye, but still caught on the other, a burr on our memories.
Driving an Angel of Angst
“Left lane closed ahead.” “Detour.” “Use alternate route.”
The more I drove on the interstate, the more signs and orange cones and construction sand and traffic bottlenecks covered our route like an unwanted blanket in the dead of summer.
“Faster, Dad! We’re gonna be late for my game,” came a teenage voice from the backseat. “And I’m the starting pitcher.”
I lifted my shades and glanced behind me. “I thought you were asleep.”
“But we’re gonna be late and…”
“Relax,” I said with a dismissive wave of my hand. “Do you have a burr up your butt? Look, you’re wearing your uniform, so you can jump out when we get there and the Blue Angels will have their starting pitcher on time.”
“Geez, Dad, we’re the Periwinkle Angels. Are you color blind? Hey, do we have any suntan lotion in the car?”
I tossed the sunblock into the back seat and pulled over to the curb – next to three empty baseball fields.
“Well, well,” I said with an edge. “Looks like we're the first ones here.”
“Dad, you drove us to the wrong park.”