Tamara is the winner of Vol 2 – 40, Vol 3 – 1, Vol 3-10 and Vol 3-24. She escapes the screaming hyenas that circle about her legs (did she call them hyenas? Sorry, she meant, adorable children) for an hour or two at a time to weave dark enchantments and adventurous tales from the tip of her pen (wearily cracks open the laptop and stares blankly at it for awhile).
Vol 3 – 24: The Lighthouse
I stand at the precipice as the light flashes across the sweeping currents. Oceans of emptiness, misty ridges, and forests of oblivion blend into one conglomerate mass that shakes my inner core, shattering it—creeping cracks crawling through crumbling crevices.
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls. All your waves and breakers have swept over me.
Mom, you left the door open last night. The whispers plague me. Doctor visits, the dreaded diagnoses. She’ll need a full-time caretaker, you know.
I study the wrinkles that crease the back of my hand, the age spots that dot the surface. I do remember the whisper of cherubic lips on my cheek, pudgy fingers offering dandelion bouquets.
I don’t understand why I can’t find my children. I search the panorama, but they’re hidden in the mists.
Deep calls to deep…
Only one thing remains constant—the light in the mists of oblivion. All your waves and breakers have swept over me.
I close my eyes and step over the precipice. Tumbling, flying, falling, I hit the emptiness, the ebb, the pull of current. The world says I am lost; I’ve forgotten and will be forgotten.
I wipe the tears from my eyes and swim toward your light where home lies beyond.
Vol 3 – 10: Over the Fence
The yard next door is empty until your family moves in.
The “for sale” sign tumbles, and the picket fence whitens.
Flowers line the porch, and the front windows light at night like laughing eyes.
The crisp autumn evenings echo with shouts, leathery thumps refracting from the glove on your hand as you pound your fist into it, waiting for your dad to toss the ball.
The heated steam of summer bakes your bronzed legs. An open book nestles below your shaded eyes while the blazing sun roasts above.
In winter, your parka fluffs around your pinked cheeks like the warm fuzz of a kitten’s fur, and your blue eyes snap with cold and fun.
They think they know you, the girl-next-door.
Button-cute, they say.
Daddy’s girl, they say.
Tom-boy, they say.
They don’t have my vantage point from beyond the fence.
They don’t see the losing battle where you’re alone in your field,
Arrayed with useless weapons
And harmless nets,
A dull spear
And a cracked shield.
The cancer spreads like warm blood,
Soaking your cells with poison and dulling the warrior’s glint in your eyes,
So that one day I wake up,
And the yard next door is empty.
Vol 3 – 1: Distortion
It is the distortion that I do not see.
It wavers, offset, unbalanced, against a backdrop of perfection,
Deep hues blending one into another like the shift of twilight into dusk into night.
Beauty spills from the scene, and peace, the scent of
Fingers lacing my hand,
A casual brush of my hair behind my ear.
So that when you smile, I don’t even notice the cracks in the smooth granite,
The weeds in the white lilies,
The scorpion that hides in the sand.
When you look at me with the familiar smile-creases,
When you lean in for our mutual touch,
When you raise your glass in toast to me,
I never notice the poison that swills the wine.
It sinks deep, unnoticed, into the purple liquid.
And on top, on the shimmering surface,
The picture tilts.
Vol 2 – 40: Vain Race
One runs from fear, the monsters of his past slavering at his heels.
His father’s fingers press against his throat,
Anger distends his features, twisting, purpling, panting—
Daddy’s familiar face the scene of a monster.
Death from fear or flight to freedom? Nightmares cross the finish line first.
One runs from love, tears and kisses shrouded in but a memory
The taste of her lips haunts his dreams,
Shivers across the flesh of his arms.
Mea culpa, my Father. I have sinned in the arms of a married woman.
Death from vengeance or flight to freedom? A bullet crosses the finish line first.
One runs from death, the Reaper’s cold breath shimmering in the darkness behind.
The pain creeps into his lungs, pulsing, aching.
He inhales, and a knife slices down deep inside.
He coughs, wipes the blood that bubbles past his lips, speeds his pace.
Death from bleeding lungs or flight to freedom? Cancer crosses the finish line first.