A Patient Haiku

silver-lined clouds drift

latent plants, contained in buds

wait, through winter freeze

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#staysafe #stayhealthy #stayhome

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©2020 Tanya Cliff

A Grateful Haiku

larval-shaped Monarch

shows Milkweed deep gratitude

with devouring bites

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©2020 Tanya Cliff

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No Turning Back

There is no turning back
Each push,
this birth a struggle
we will win
you and I,
my winsome child
Each push
a little closer
as you cross this swaying bridge
tethered
I’ve got you
almost in my arms
Let there be storms
I will hold you
comfort you, guide you
Each push
we’re almost there now
There is no turning back
to womb’s warmth
Fight through
the pain
the fear
and
cross
Welcome to your life
There is no turning back

my response to the following prompts from these awesome humans:

Beth’s “there will be storms”

Eugi’s “winsome”

Sadje’s photo prompt

Stephen’s Level UP Challenge that combines them with a twist

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©2020 Tanya Cliff

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An Inviting Haiku #2

hand-held wand crackles

casts sparkling, inviting spells

on warm summer nights

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©2020 Tanya Cliff

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The Sun Melts

The sun melts
Crimson pools spill across the horizon
staining clouds
oranges, pinks, purples
A beacon?
Welcome, Night
The moon
waxing, waning,
in a perpetual dance with an ever-jumping cow
A harbinger?
So long, Day
Sands
through the hourglass
falling, passing
“hush-a-bye baby on the treetop” time
A promise
Living art
rendered in warmest hues
broad strokes across the cool sky
Time
passes by

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©2020 Tanya Cliff

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Cardinals

The sun travels along the arch of a low horizon—the short path
of a winter day
when cold air aches
pressing into our bones
Later, ice-glazed tree limbs crackle
in the midnight winds
heard outside our shut-tight glass
Snow falls, covering
paths, dead leaves, and seeds
In the frigid morning, the birds seek
a meal to sustain them
They gather on our deck
where the filled feeder hangs like a beacon
juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice
jostle with their larger brethren
the hairy woodpeckers with their zebra-striped backs
and the hungry cardinals,
their flaming feathers, a florescent highlighter against the snow,
marking the places where the seed falls
They write their stories in footprints as we watch them:
the male cardinals wait while their partners eat their fill,
then battle with each other for the choicest remains
Chivalrous? or cavalier?
Crimson heroes to their girls
Red villains to each other
Can a man be both things?
Do the history books tell?
For the cardinals, the chronicle of this winter journey
will melt, the empty seed shells scattered
will dissolve
into fresh earth and green grass
But we will remember both hero and villain,
their footprints transcribed in letters
of our poems and prose

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©2020 Tanya Cliff

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Did I Say?

Did I say that I want you?

Alice enters the room and stares at Jimmy, waiting. How can he not remember? He yelled her name three times a few minutes ago. Her knees need replacing, and the hallway—stacked with bins of her half-finished crafts and quilts—requires negotiating. He had sounded afraid, almost panicked. She responded as fast as she could hobble, but, now, he looks up at her, baffled.

Alice’s children had warned her about getting involved with a man that late in life. Her daughter had complained, “He just wants someone to take care of him.” Her son had been less tactful, “He is broke. He needs your money.” What money? Her mortgage had been paid off a few months before her husband died (eleven years ago, but it feels like yesterday), and she is the sole the beneficiary of the modest life insurance policy he left behind. It covers the property tax and puts food on the table, not much more than that. She had heeded their warnings for two years, but Jimmy’s persistent pursuit had proven charming. Or maybe she had just grown weary of driving herself around town and pulling the garbage to the curb once a week.

Jimmy takes the garbage out now, at least if she reminds him; and he is a good driver, provided she pays attention and tells him where to go. When the kids ask her about Jimmy’s driving, she ignores them. (She doesn’t tell them about the woman he nearly hit in the parking lot of the grocery store last month or how she had to grab the steering wheel last week when turned the wrong way down Highway 35.) She hides the car keys from him, so he can only drive when she is with him.

Did I say that I need you?

He had told her that he was going to rake the leaves out back and then watch the golf tournament on tv. His shoes sit on the mat by the back door, clean, empty. He looks at Alice, vacant, the television remote upside down in his hands. The tv is off, the leaves, not raked. Jimmy turns away and stares at the blank tv screen.

Alice wants to yell at him, no, to scream, but Alice loves Jimmy too much to raise her voice. She walks over to him without saying a word and presses the power button on the remote control. He grins as “Wheel of Fortune” lights up the screen. As he fist pumps a correctly guessed letter, he shreds her dreams in a dignified air of victory.

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©2020 Tanya Cliff

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This is my response to Stephen’s Level Up Challenge that combines several prompts. Thanks to all these talented humans for the prompts:

https://godoggocafe.com/2020/02/11/level-up-writing-challenge-2-11-moves-to-the-cafe/

https://godoggocafe.com/2020/02/11/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-tuesday-february-11-2020/

https://lifeafter50forwomen.com/2020/02/10/what-do-you-see-16-february-10-2020/

https://amanpan.com/2020/02/10/eugis-weekly-challenge-love-february-10-2020/

The Playlist

Back from the dead
The tomb did not consume
I am being dramatic
It was just an MRI
It felt like a tomb,
except for the meditation music
I could have selected Alternative Rock
Is there a Spotify playlist across the River Styx?
What tunes comfort that lonely sail?
I don’t know; it was just an MRI
You enter an MRI breast scan face-down,
midsection supported by a narrow bar, breasts—
one still bruised from biopsy—dangling,
Don’t move, for 45 minutes
It is uncomfortable
I am not being dramatic
Technicians cover your eyes with a warm cloth before you enter,
pipe music through headphones
to distract you
from the loud bangs, clicks, whirs
of the mechanical tomb
You choose the tune,
The playlist, so you don’t forget
This isn’t a tomb
Don’t move
It felt like a tomb—
cramped, ill-fitted, distressing, dark
I am back
I am not being dramatic
I am struck by the light at the end of the MRI tunnel
Comforted by the playlist

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©2020 Tanya Cliff

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Cherita #17

the cat prowls the midnight garden

discovers scarlet rosebuds, sweet basil,
the flowers of chives, tempting catnip

as she explores
the moonlit Eden, grateful,
her senses come alive

kitten

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©2020 Tanya Cliff

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Written in response to Stephen’s Level Up Writing Challenge, using prompts from the following awesome humans:

Beth – https://godoggocafe.com/2020/02/04/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-february-4-2020/

Eugi – https://amanpan.com/2020/02/03/eugis-weekly-prompt-alive-february-3-2020/

Sadje – https://lifeafter50forwomen.com/2020/02/03/what-do-you-see-15-february-3rd-2020/

Stephen – https://fullbeardlit.org/2020/02/06/level-up-writing-challenge-week-of-2-3/

Mushrooms, Sensible

mushrooms, sensible,
savor the cold air of fall
peak in November
after flowers have given up hogging attention,
the blush of their petals long browned
in September’s hard breezes
Who wants to compete with summer’s bloom?
Or be buried by winter’s snow?
Not mushrooms, shrewd
They have waited, a humble audience of spores,
captive in the moist soil of the forest theater,
while the warm season’s wildflowers danced on the stage
and the grasses grew tall
By late autumn, those players are reduced to chaff
Not mushrooms, judicious
Now, brilliant hues of capped fungus grow—fireworks
born of the detritus
erupted from the ground
The winds of November shiver mushrooms’ umbrellas
and send their spores cascading
for a moment to glimmer against the Harvest Moon
then settle in beds made by worms
with dead-leaf blankets
protected from winter’s crystal show
as snowflakes bloom and blow

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©2020 Tanya Cliff

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Written in response to Stephen’s Level Up Challenge at Fullbeard Lit. (I missed Christine Ray’s prompt for Once, because I haven’t seen the movie.) If you don’t already, please consider giving a follow to the talented writers who provided the prompts:

https://braveandrecklessblog.com/
https://amanpan.com/
https://fullbeardlit.org/category/poetry/
https://midwestfantasy.wordpress.com/
https://marylandpoetblog.wordpress.com/

For more writing prompts and a friendly place to share your work and support other creatives, visit: https://godoggocafe.com/

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Note to my WordPress friends:

In late summer of 2018, I was diagnosed with Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer. I underwent a Nipple-Sparing Double Mastectomy followed by two reconstructive surgeries, and months of painful rehab. I am healthy and getting back to my creative endeavors. I have missed you! Please watch my site in the coming weeks as I work back into weekly posts and announce exciting new endeavors.

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