This gorgeous image was done by Rebecca Poole at Dreams2Media, and she’s given me permission to post it and the poems and Flash Fiction it inspired.
In summer when the sun beats down
Upon the scorched red earth,
The angel of the fire and rain
Swoops down upon the land
And bending low he spreads his wings
His blessings to bestow.
His wings, his wings, his jagged wings
Fan embers into flame
And blazoned on the mountain peaks
His sign, his name appears.
“Aaroeth,” he cries, “Aaroeth I am.
Behold my linéd face,
And in my eyes, my soulbound eyes,
The shade of Evermore.”
His steepled hands he downward turns
And on his open palms,
The shining mark of summer’s heat
Clouds over ‘fore it dims.
A spinning swirl takes its place
And over palms he blows.
“You beg relief from heat and sun
I grant your bold request.”
Across the breast of Africa
The winds toward ocean swell
He lifts his voice, proclaiming loud,
“Behold, a hurricane.
Sometimes it’s best to let them lie,
Dog days of summertime,
Endure the cruel rays of sun,
The heat that will not quit,
For respite’s not so sweet always,
So let proud Aareoth sleep.”
The mask of all the lovers hung
Just there upon the wall,
Where voices had like angels sung
“Come answer true love’s call.”
The bells of morning bitter rung
Ignored by one and all.
Time’s fickle pendulum had swung
No memory recalled
What love had been, what love had done
Or what true love had meant
And love is something now to shun
For self seems heaven-sent
Now All exists to serve the One
And kindness has been spent.
Self over sacrifice has won.
Why wonder where love went
When I, me, mine on every tongue
Fills air with sour gall?
If broken love, betrayed, has stung
Yet keeps us in its thrall
And to our faltering dreams we’ve clung
No matter now how small
Will angel melodies be sung
When mask does shatter, fall?
Keep masks for childhood’s fairy tales
And mirror life for mine
For songs and writ before life pales
And love is not a shrine.
A shell of sugar sweetness fails
I’ll take the true-spoke lines.
The sweetness all too soon grows stale
Life’s salt for me’s just fine.
Flash fiction, 300 word maximum
￼The first uncovered bit was a minuscule peek of green in this adobe oven. Not a true oven. Just felt like one. For the thousandth time, Aubrey wondered why the hell he’d chosen the Southwest for his doctoral research. Dig season: bake researchers at 150° for 8 hours.
But this, sudden color thrusting from the reds, the backdrop that mimicked First Nation dweller’s skins, could be worth it. Aubrey’s heartrate sped up. Department chair vied with History Channel for daydream space.
The brush replaced his trowel. He soon tempered brush usage. Puffs of breath, angled across the surface. He ignored hunger, insistent bladder. The light had dipped below due-diligence’s threshold before he looked up. A ring of undergrads watching … reverently?
He shoved himself upright to see the overview detail had obscured. His breath caught. A mask. A freaking intact mask. The field director shoulder-patted him.
“Excellent find, Aubrey. This will make you.”
He knelt again, shirt-wiping suddenly sweaty hands. A hesitant finger, skimming, tracing the outline, the markings. Finally, touching the forehead’s center.
Warm. Not environs warm. Radiated warmth.
“Mmmmpphh.” His shocked nerves jangled, his hair raised. More, his mind … heard. He swallowed panic, had to get out of the sun, to the field lab to cool off. He stood, covered the mask, and backed away. The voice remained.
He curled in his tent with the fourth liter of water; the voice remained.
At midnight, half-lotus position beside the mask, the voice remained. “It’s time.”
A rift widened above the mask, and through it, a vision — subtle invasion, then outright war. Death. Servitude.
Hallucination. It had to be. Please, let it be. Extended finger sizzled. Damn. Real.
Balance: humanity v. History Channel. No-choice choice.
Aubrey grabbed the mask. “Not here!” he shouted, diving through.