Forced Pieces Taken 

The pieces lay on the floor, minute and indescribable, 
unaltered and fragile,

broken- 

one for each hand,

grabbing, 

clinging, 

needing-

they are used

to fill holes, 

made from parasites

born from sticky shame 

and guilt.

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Prompt: The difference between the first death you remember and the most recent one

You always remember the first time you die because it’s your first time. It’s like your first kiss, just not as magical. The first time I died was an interesting event. It had to do with witches, demons, curses, magic, you know, all that fairy tale crap. My most recent death: hit and run. Nothing cool or glamorous. No. I was hit by a car while I was walking home from the grocery store. That had to be one of the stupidest and uncool ways I could  have died, well besides choking. At least it wasn’t that painful. 

I finally managed to open my eyes and was greeted by gentle darkness. I moaned as I shifted my fingers and toes and they creaked to life. The memory of the red car crashing into my body on the sidewalk came back to me and I shook my head internally. I couldn’t believe that I had died from that. 

My eyes began to adjust to the darkness and I saw that I was in a hospital morgue, lying on a metal table. As more feeling returned to my body I noticed the cold air in the room and the disgusting smell of death and formaldahyde. Hospitals always try to cover the smell of death and it always fails for me. Death has a very distinct smell, sharp, with a tang of metal and the earthy smell of water and rot. Fresh death smells mostly of blood and despair until the rot sets in. 

I sat up and assessed my body. From the slow return of sensation I determined I had been dead for about eight hours. Not too bad, I thought. 

Sensory Prompt: The Worst Thanksgiving Dish I Ever Ate

I remember it dripped, oozing brown goo down the sides of the plate, dropping sticky blobs on the tablecloth. The smell was horrendous, like someone had decided basting a dead bird and throwing it on a table was a good idea. I had to eat it. It was inevitable.

I poked it with my fork, praying it was actually dead. Part of me was convinced that it was going to rear up and swallow my fork in its blubber. Lucky for me it decided to just jiggle a little and settle back down.

My grandmother smiled as she told me that Grandfather had made this. It was his special stuffing. It looked more like muddy water with the consistency of the slime you make in middle school science class. I smiled at her and nodded, sliding a piece of the mud onto my fork. She turned back to talk to the others and I dropped the goo back on my plate. I thought frantically about how I could get rid of it without my grandparents noticing. I scanned the room and spotted the dog slinking in a corner. Our eyes met and he trotted over, sliding under my legs at the table. I took another forkful of stuffing and turned it sideways, allowing the food to sidle to the floor. I pretended to shift the napkin in my lap and looked down at Rover. He hadn’t touched the stuffing. He looked up at me with hopeful eyes and I knew I was doomed.

“May I please be excused?” I asked politely. I hoped that by pretending I was full I could avoid the goo.

“We’re still visiting honey, and besides, you haven’t touched your stuffing.” My mom smiled at me and I knew I wasn’t going anywhere until my plate was cleared.

I sighed and then took a deep breath. I could do this. It was just muddy water slime. No one at the table had died. Yet.

I decided to eat it like I was taking off a Band-Aid. That would be the best attack strategy. I scooped a big forkful of stuffing and gulped it down, swallowing my pride in the process.

It tasted worse than it looked if that could be believed. Pieces of what I could only assume was burnt bread and spices forced their way down my throat in something akin to watered down mud. It was all I could do to keep from gagging. I looked at my grandfather and smiled, hoping that was all the encouragement he needed for his dish. His sweet smile back indicated it was. As much as I didn’t like the stuffing, I loved my grandfather, and so, I closed my eyes and devoured the rest of the stuffing on my plate.

Dinner ended shortly after and my stomach was rolling from the stuffing. “Honey you ate your entire plate! I’m so proud of you!” My mom cooed. I nodded weakly. My grandmother brought in two pies, both, she explained, were made by my wonderful grandfather.

I almost threw up.

Sand

Time and time again

I swirl the sand

beneath my toes

and try to think

only of its coarse hands

tickling my feet

but to no avail-

the sand is you,

rough and scalding,

soft and caressing,

you-

that brought me

to where the sand

wedges itself between

the small cracks in my heart