Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

A ninja closes in on
the victim’s aproned hips
sashaying in time to James
Brown, sheathing dual
swords precisely when
that high note hits
to steal a hug
from mom.

In response to this prompt from Samantha Lazar, for Chalkboard:

Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash

When we’d said goodbye,
you mistakenly thought it meant
I was leaving. You’d always underestimated
my level of commitment
until I ghosted you.

You didn’t count on the way
I’d wake you early each morning,
stomping downstairs to unpack our baggage
in the cellar of your lower legs and drag out
those black & white archives;

selfies that made you tingle
before you got up to pee. Settling into
your stomach, I’d blast music you hated
and have a dance party, kicking up pangs
of regret each time you remembered
how I licked my lips before I ate.

You’d clipped…

South Toe River, Burnsville, NC — Photo by Elizabeth Helmich

It was long after daybreak but still early enough to worry, just a little, about the black bears and hope they’d finished their morning rounds. I was, after all, walking along their regular path between the rhododendrons to find the perfect spot to cast my line in.

The river was frigid and wild as a mountain river should be. I’d missed the constant tug on the rod that’s easy to mistake for a fish. …

Elizabeth Helmich

Holes and a series of rabbits — my debut poetry collection — now available!

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