Out of Water

photo by HS

A sylphine little naiad
Found herself upon the land.
Why her pond was now a desert
She just could not comprehend.

She had never dealt in plastic,
Neither purchased nor used gas.
She had  no use for electric
Being an aquatic lass.

Greenhouse gases were a mystery.
Climate change had been unknown.
Till rising temperatures and unchecked drought
Devoured her wet home.

Her marine adapted system
Needed water things to eat.
No other pond place could she walk to
For she hadn’t any feet,

Her slick skin dimmed and dried out,
Her thick, light hair went lank.
Her gorgeous sequined rainbow tail
Rotted to brown and stank.

Humans, surprised to find her,
Surmised what she might be.
A fattened, dying catfish
Or a slender manatee?

Adapt! They cried. Evolve or die!
Or sing for life and food!
But her thirsty throat was iron.
All sounds she made were rude.

An arrogant, pretentious man
Stood up before the crowd.
He held his chin up very high.
His voice was very loud.

Aren’t all mermaids lovely?
Aren’t they sirens of fair song?
This toad cannot be that, laughed he.
I know I am not wrong!

Dear friend, offered a wiser man,
Perhaps you just forgot
A thing can not be all it naturally is
When it is where it’s naturally not.

HS 8-29-2016


Toiling in Blame

Ah the bracken,

I am shaken,

To my tender, creamy core.

Oh this thicket,

Where’s my ticket

To your softer, saline shore?

I push forward,

Always shore-ward.

I know I may sustain some scratches.

Scalpel glances

could by chance lance

my viscera through patches.

I’m a beggar.

Lift a finger,

Or drop a weighty crumb.

Ease my longing

for belonging

somewhere not beneath your thumb.

My dignity

It left me,

replaced by just this need:

To lick the salts

Coating your vaults.

If blood could melt them I would bleed.

Oh my husband,

tender heartland,

I know your heart it shaketh.

I held the vessel

By its tassels.

I shuddered at its breaking.

I’m a darkling.

No more sparkling,

All rust and shame and blame.

I will be working,

Without shirking

So long as you are game.

I cradle love,

A candle mine,

A threatened, spitting flame

Against the tempest

Of your anger

Till you taste sweetness in my name.

HS 8-29-2016

Image credit: unknown

What Happens in the Cottage Cupboard

Eclectic clutter,

Quirky knick knacks

Clamoring quietly in close quarters.

Heathcliff rants rhetorically against the sunny outlook of James Herriot.

Tiffany finds the adventures of the Pevensie children patently stupid but holds her tongue.

Thesaurus sleeps and drools synonyms into books below,

An alliterative leak

Pooling into the frustrated French dictionary who whines nasally at the flat faced fashion models

Who are professionally focused on selling overpriced merchandise to no one in particular, airbrushed cartoons of false femininity.

A translucent, teal glass candy dish conceals tiny tools for the intricate work of manicures with delicate reticence while

An Art Deco clock with stilled mechanisms commiserates with a 50’s fan.

Their conversation includes everything that technically makes them tick.

The cupboard husbands the petite side table, his protective arms spread wide, their novel children and novelty items clustered about them.

A fanciful family.

A carefree collection of unique accents and imagined truths.

Who knows what tender conclusions are come to between these closely clumped micro-cultures, so brilliantly unlike.

I strain to hear the whispers of their eccentric, inanimate souls.


A corner in my cottage. HS


Blessed Unborn

Last winter I walked with my mother.

There were cracks in my marriage

or at least in my heart.

I was staying with my sister

five hours away from

the epicenter of my pain.


We moved slowly,

my mother and I,

bound in boots and cumbersome coats.

I described my discomfort

through a magnifying glass,

enlarging details while unintentionally

ignoring the larger picture.


My mother was bent

in attention and thought,

her expression seemed sad,

or maybe thoughtful.

She reflected briefly on the thicket of her life,

her self often obscured by the tangle of

the thorny needs of others.

I felt impaled by a  familiar stab

of excruciating empathy

then released it immediately.

It hurt to hold.


“If I could do it again,” she said,

“I would never have had children.”

I felt





Although I enjoy them,

I will never have children.

I have no faith that I would not pass on

my tainted inheritance





Pink sky melted to red.

The cold light of stars effervesced in the east.

I did not know then if

I could go home to the questions

that had burned through

every layer of me except

my self-protection.


In spite of this upheaval

I felt comfort.

I knew I had time

to evolve unfettered by others.

No small souls would go unnourished

nor be unintentional casualties

in  emotional warfare

as I had been.


We turned back west,

faced the fading fire and

I felt safe in the knowledge that

I would find my way and

my blessed unborn

would never be

accidentally crucified by my agony.

HS 8-20-2016


Found Peach

One muggy evening in early August

while navigating my familiar four-mile loop

I shopped for trees I might later purchase

to plant in my cottage garden.

I ran a steady 8 minute mile while my gaze was tangled dangerously

in the variegated canopy shading the uneven sidewalk.

On previous adventures this has resulted in sprained ankles.

Some things one never learns.

A dogwood? An elm? An oak or an ash?

I analyzed trunk texture and leaf shape

for aesthetically pleasing combinations.

Not a quarter of a mile from our Main Street home,

an adolescent peach tree hugged an alley in a sullen fashion.

Its back was pushed against the brick wall of a local preschool

as though avoiding notice.

Its leaves were empty canoes and

its scrawny branches were sagging with boredom and  fruit.

I stopped to sample a blushing golden orb.


The flesh gave way exquisitely to inquisitive teeth.

Fructose laced syrup bled down my chin,

a flawless liquor.

I glanced in surprise at the surly sapling.

It shrugged noncommittally

as though it hadn’t tried at all

to sculpt this perfect peach.

HS 8-18-2016

Pins & Petals

My childhood inside my palm
Is pins and petals mixed.
There’s sweetness in the fragrance there
As long as I am fixed.
But should perchance I startle
Move too quickly, lose control
Those poignant points of memories
Impale that tender sole.
So I must strive for constant peace
Maintain internal calm
To not disturb those sharp small stems
That hurt my soft, sweet palm.

HS 8-14-2016

photo by HS 8-15-2016