Missing, Presumed Lost

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By SpaceX – Falcon Heavy Demo Mission, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66235869

Missing, Presumed Lost

Floating behind me,
a sea of blue, an immense sphere
comprising all that I know,
adore and despise,
breathe and asphyxiate,
drink and drown.

Ahead, you glisten, in quiet peril
reflecting light, juxtaposed in endless black,
after reporting a problem, drifting away,
brave smile in your voice
unintelligible
at this growing distance.

“You’re too late,” you said,
while still in range,
the warmth in your voice
transcending the void,
inexplicably soothing
my chilly fingers
and frosty extremities.

“Oh shit,” I said,
profanely breaking protocol
as the aspect of you
slowly shrank to a point of light.

“I’m sorry,” I offered to the magnets
within the transmitter mic,
a vain effort to overrule
our physical plane.

“It’s ok,” you said tenderly,
reassuring neither of us,
us both ignoring the
depleting oxygen alarms.

“I’m on to my next waypoint.
We’ll have to rendezvous
at the next target window,”
you declare as if our time were not
fleeting, finite,
our fates fixed.

You disappeared beyond the thin blue line,
leaving me to contend with the enormity
of the pale blue light and
an hour of radio silence,
floating above our northern hemisphere,
tilting away, towards winter.

“You free?” your voice vibrated
into my anxious receiver
after a maddeningly long silence
as your glimmer emerged
from the far-side,
rising to rival Venus-glow
and moondust.

“Yes,” I replied quickly,
maneuvering towards a
rendezvous altitude.
“I’m listening. I’m here.”

Then everything went null,
no heat, no cold,
not even light or shadow or grey,
leaving us clasping onto nothing.
***

Shared at Poetry Pantry #496

Lurlina’s Intimates

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Image by ElinaElena from Pixabay 

Lurlina’s Intimates

“Welcome to Lurlina’s Intimates. My name is Lurlina,” sang Lurlina musically over the soft sound of Muzak being piped in overhead. The store was so empty that every note, every windbreak to breathe between the notes could be clearly heard.

“Can I help you find something- oh! I remember you!” she added, beaming, with a wink. “Vic, isn’t it? Couldn’t stay away from me, could ya?”

Vic smiled. “Actually, I’m here to find a gift for the wifey,” he said.

Lurlina pouted, biting her lip. “Oh boo. I though you came back for me.”

Vic blushed, grinning warmly. “Well you are quite pretty, but…”

“It’s ok honey,” said Lurlina, gently touching his forearm. “I’m old enough to be your mom, so I can get away with it.”

“Yeah?” said Vic with raised eyebrows. “I’m 26, and you don’t look much older than that!” His gaze lasted a half-measure longer than what was needed, and as he became aware of himself scanning her vitality – as if the lie could be seen in the nooks of her hips and the crannies of her cleavage – he forced his eyes toward a rack of unremarkable halter tops.

“Aww… bless your sweet, nearsighted heart,” purred Lurlina. “You’re getting all the discounts when I ring you up.”

Vic laughed, looking around the empty store nervously. Taking a deep breath, he returned Lurlina’s fixated gaze. “Don’t worry,” he said. “My momma raised me right. I know better than to ask-”

“My age?” said Lurlina, cutting him off with an electric smile. “Yeah, you shouldn’t ask me that.” They both laughed as Vic shrugged and then relaxed his shoulders. “OK, so, let’s just say that I’m old enough to be your…  older sister.”

“Whatever you say, big sis!” replied Vic with a smirk.

Lurlina lightly slapped at his shoulder. “Oh, don’t mind me, honey,” she said. “I’m just a harmless flirt.” Her eyes lingered on Vic’s chest and arms a few full measures before snapping back to his face. “So, uhm… What can I help you find, sweetie?”

Vic drew a breath as if remembering that oxygen is essential. “Oh! Uhm, I’m looking for some comfy loungewear for the wifey.”

“I might have just the thing over here,” said Lurlina, sauntering over to several racks of lavender lacy tops with matching soft, billowing pants, pulling a top off the rack with a cheeky flourish. “I find this to be the perfect balance between comfort and,” she leaned forward, making a comma with her left index finger, singing teasingly, “‘here kitty, kitty, kitty!’ You know what this is!” she said, straightening with a laugh.

“That looks…” Vic said, with eyes that were definitely not staring at her cleavage on purpose, as the top displayed by Lurlina was within the same eye-frame as her cleavage – so technically speaking, those caramel breasts just happened to be bouncing there – the lavender top, and not the caramel breasts looked, “really good.”

Vic shifted his weight, adjusting his shirt and his pants, with a slight fidget or two.

“So how big are we talkin’?” asked Lurlina softly.

Vic’s smile vanished, and his brow furrowed, knitting together. “I’m sorry… what?” he asked, tilting his head slightly.

Lurlina blushed, laughing nervously. “I’m sad to say it, but I didn’t get a good look at your wife the last time you both came in. Do you know what size she is?”

“I’m sorry,” Vic repeated, closing his eyes, shaking his head as if that’s ever helped to reboot a brain. “what about my wife?”

“Your wife,” Lurlina said slowly through giggles. “How big is she? Is she about my size?” Lurlina pressed the top to her chest, posing to demonstrate as Vic swallowed. “A little bigger? Smaller?”

Vic, finally composed, stared at her as if solving this algebraic problem would win himself a lifetime’s supply of vodka and weed. “She’s about the same size,” was his final answer. “Shit. I should know this, shouldn’t I?

“Probably!” laughed Lurlina. “It’s OK, hun. I’ll include a gift receipt.” Lurlina reassured him with a touch of his forearm. “You can always come back to exchange it. Even if you lose the receipt,” she added with a teasing tone and a slow-jazz grin, “if you come back, I’ll remember you! I’ll always remember you.”

“Is that a perk of being the owner?” laughed Vic, now following her lead to the check-out counter, taking full-measure of her hip-sway.

“I’m not the owner yet,” said Lurlina, between scans and beeps, ringing up unearned discounts. “My mom’s the owner. She’ll be retiring soon though.”

Vic gave her a puzzled look. “Is her name Lurlina too?”

“Her name is Fritzi,” Lurlina said plainly. “I think she used my name because someone trademarked her name or something.” Lurlina grinned and her eyes narrowed. “But I really think she used my name because it sounds more enticing.”

Vic stroked his fuzzy chin. “Hmmm… Both names are unique,” he said, pausing with a crooked grin, “but I like yours more.”

“Now who’s the flirt!” exclaimed Lurlina with a light tap on Vic’s chest. “It’s ok with me, honey. Flirting will get you all the discounts up in here!” Their eyes and glazed grins synched over several bars of the piped-in jazzy sax Muzak. “Don’t worry. I won’t tell.”

“But won’t you husband mind?” Vic asked, briefly breaking their eye-contact.

“Husband?!?” Lurlina laughed, ringing up his total. “Real smooth, young fella.”

“What you mean?” Vic pulled back, shrugging his shoulders while fumbling in his wallet for his debit card. “You got me curious, is all.”

“Oh, I got you curious, huh?” Lurlina stifled another laugh while queuing-up the keypad for Vic to enter his PIN.

“I’m just sayin’,” said Vic, shaking his head and gesturing for emphasis, “you gotta have a lucky-ass-hell man waiting for you at home, right?”

Lurlina stopped laughing and her smile faded. “Oh, that ship sailed two U.S. Presidents ago, honey. He long gone.”

“Oh,” said Vic, turning his gaze to the floor as Lurlina seemed to look right through him, towards something only she could see, her eyes fading, becoming dull and unfocused, her lips pursed pensively. Their financial transaction was completed within the momentarily awkward silence.

“I messed up a real good gumbo we had back then,” she admitted, shaking her head.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Vic offered somberly.

Lurlina pressed her face into smiling again. “Oh, don’t be, child! Lessons learned. We build and grow and move on. Hell, his own mama even forgave me! She and I still have dinner together sometimes!”

Vic laughed nervously. “That’s… pretty cool and nice and…”

He winced, continuing with, “…and totally not weird at all, right?”

Lurlina laughed a genuine, bubbly laugh. “Boy, you silly! Too bad you’re off the market! But it’s just as well. When you’re sure you’re vibin’ with the right one, make sure you pay attention! Don’t wait for something better or pass it by because you don’t wanna be tied down!” She shook her head, smacking her lips disapprovingly.

“Cause when that person’s gone, when you let them leave the store, sometimes they don’t come back, ya know?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Vic said, nodding thoughtfully. “But sometimes someone else comes along when you least expect it…”

Lurlina broke their eye-contact after a few more musical measures. “Yeah, but I’m not lookin’ for any of that these days,” she said with a finger-wag. “My kids are not quite your age, but they’re off to college, and I’m just out here having as much fun as I can while I can, ya know?”

Vic’s brow furrowed skeptically. “You don’t look like you have kids old enough for college,” he said.

“I already rang up your discount, Mr. Smooth,” Lurlina said with a smirk and faux-exasperated eyeroll. “What more can I possibly give you?”

Vic reached across the counter, resting his hand on Lurlina’s forearm. “I don’t know,” he said, “but I get the impression that you might have more to offer…”

Both took in a shallow breath when they remembered to breathe.

“…in here,” Vic finally finished his thought.

“I… I don’t know,” Lurlina stammered, tensing up, pulling away slightly, but not completely. “Maybe I… uhm… I dunno, baby, maybe I already showed you too much?”

Vic gently squeezed her forearm. “Perhaps something I haven’t seen yet, then,” he said.

Lurlina swallowed hard, biting her lip, her carefree smile yielding to an earnest urgency. “You sure this is what you want, Victor?” she asked carefully, in a husky, almost chilled low growl. “Cause I don’t do half-measures, boy.”

Victor nodded. “I think we both already know the answer to that,” he said with a blunted, lustful authority, his smile also fading to a soft, somewhat faux neutrality.

Lurlina placed her off-hand on top of the one Vic used to hold her in place, giving his hand a reassuring squeeze. “Well then…” The door-chime signaled another customer’s entrance into the store, compelling the two to quickly disengage, standing across from each other stiffly.

“You should come back tomorrow evening after we restock, just before closing,” said Lurlina through a practiced professional smile. “We’ll have a new line of more risqué designs that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. I’ll be alone, but it’s usually dead here. You’d have me all to yourself, ya know?”

“I’d like that very much,” smiled Vic “Tomorrow it is, then.”

Vic gathered his purchased items and left the store.
***

Written for the OLWG #27 – What is he Thinking? weekly prompt. This week’s line prompts to incorporate were:

  1. get away with it
  2. Here kitty, kitty, kitty
  3. You shouldn’t ask me that

I decided to try this prompt after reading Violet Lentz’s intriguing contribution to this prompt, Mrs. Oswald.

I sketched-out the dialogue in about 25-30 minutes, but afterwards, I kept coming back to shape and frame it, a nip here, a tuck there, until two hours later I had… well… whatever the hell this little thing turned out to be. I feel like there’s a bigger story here. Perhaps I’ll chase it someday.

 

Garden Rival

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A Steller’s jay. Photo by Michael Anfang on Unsplash

Garden Rival

I called to the Steller’s jay
rooting for seeds in my shabby garden,
but he didn’t answer; he

just kept flittering hither and thither,
loudly shacking his territory with
a harsh “SHACK-Sheck-sheck-sheck-sheck!”

sifting the choicest bits
ahead of the luckless wrens and finches.

I didn’t think he was listening,
but I couldn’t help myself.

I asked him if it was true
that in order to love another,
you must love yourself first,

for I observed that I’ve loved some
like my life was forfeit, and yet others
forced love from lungs in violent spasms,

spilling onto pages and surfaces,
surging to fill every crevice and valley.

I’ve loved tenderly and scandalously,
I’ve loved dutifully and illicitly,

I’ve withheld from others
and denied myself the respite

and believed fatted luxurious lies in real-time
to preserve rotted acorns of truths long gone,

often hating both who I was, am,
and whatever I have become,

and so I asked him, am I doing it right?

I didn’t wait for his answer,
because he’s just a dumb, greedy bird
hording the good seeds for himself.

The Steller’s jay stopped flittering,
made a loud “skreeka!”
looked me in the eye

and said, “That’s the stupidest thing
I ever heard! Love don’t work that way!
Maybe you’re just too dumb for love!”

I read somewhere that Steller’s jays
often mimic birds of prey
to fool rivals into hiding.
***

Originally shared on Medium.

Also shared on Poetry Pantry #495.

Bound by Three Scientific Methods

Bound by Three Scientific Methods

1.
You are a commonplace being,
bound to one of many wandering orbs,
circling one of countless common
main-sequence stars

–  not unlike the twinkling sequins
pinned overhead to our night sky –

within one of a myriad of galaxies
among the observable universe,

and yet, despite our observations,

there is no evidence among the galaxies
of another galaxy like ours,
for among the trillions upon billions
upon trillions of doppelgangers

– give or take a few trillion,
for this poem is of art, not science,
and numbers that big hold little meaning
to an average poet’s brain –

there is no star like the one star
entrapping our world,
no world like our world,
and no one on that world
who makes me smile like you do.

2.
I wrote about how special you are,
trying to quantify and distil your
essential essence into

an incantation I could call on
to fortify my purgatory
with memories of you,

but my words were too remote,
too chilly, too clinical, and
may as well had been stillborn

as an incomprehensible dead language
when translated from my inner-voice
and gestated into our common tongue.

I click my tongue
in bemused disapproval
of the effort

while still retaining the ability
to smile at the universe, knowing
that its vastness contains a singular you,

a lone me, and a bond
unlike any within our reality.

I smile, knowing
that somewhere, sometime,
I have entered your thoughts

as you often rule mine,
and at that very moment,
I know that you smiled at the thought.

3.
Scientists estimate
that there are at least
one hundred billion galaxies
in our observable universe,

an unimaginable number
which is somehow far less than
my “trillions of billions” of galactic
scientific wild-ass guess,

but not nearly as poetic.

Somehow,
I guess my imagination
exceeds even the
observable universe

when trying to solve for
the commonplace, exquisite
variable of you.
***

Originally posted on Medium.