The Forgotten Elderly

They were left behind
like empty carts in a now empty parking lot.
Once touched, then guided by sure hands
doing for others, sometimes in steady sun,
or picking up the pace in life affirming rain.
They weathered storms until they could not.
And now they sit, in that mawkish pool of wet,
that sickening smell of decay.
They sit in a place where no one comes,
drowning in their memories.


Photo by Janet Webb. Written for the incomparable Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Friday Fictioneers where we’re asked today, to respond to Ms. Wolf’s photo in 100 words or less. Word Count: 71.  Rochelle: please excuse the free verse rather than fiction today!

Why hast thou forsaken me?

…and Namrah spread his wings as I clung tightly to his undulating spine. He took me to the place last inhabited by my kind.

He landed on dry encrusted earth; trails of criss-crossed steel nearby. His massive head nodded to the open door and he watched as I ventured in. Rows and rows of emptiness. Benches of once polished oak, gathering the dust of ages. A transport station. Hope long since depleted.

Tears streamed from my eyes as I sought Namrah’s fold. With a keening guttural dirge, his one tear joined mine. And he lifted me, soaring, into the clouds.


Word Count:  100.  Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers. Rochelle is the master of flash fiction (a story of 100 words or less) and challenges writers each week with a photo, posted on Wednesdays. Photo credit: J Hardy Carroll.  Stop by and see some of the tales garnered from this photo!

Party Lines

Telephone chatter,
chirps heard round the neighborhood.

Eunice knows
what clara knows
what maybeth knows
what celia knows.

Biddies gathered round the wire
in times gone by.


Word Count: 27.  Written for Rochelle Wiseoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers (photo prompt appears on Wednesdays)  Photo credit: Roger Bultot.  Apologies to those expecting fiction here….saw this photo and could not resist! When we were first married (early 1970s) we lived in Marengo, Iowa — the last place in the USA to have 4 digit phone numbers (think about that!) and of course, we also had party lines. For those of you too young to understand, those were the days of rotary dial phones where 5 or 6 or sometimes more families all shared the same “line.”  We always picked up our telephone receiver (the piece you listened to and spoke into) carefully, and didn’t start dialing until we knew it was “free.” OR, chuckle deviously here, you could listen in to what was going on in the neighborhood!




I am not Sarah Elizabeth!
Call me Izzie, please.
I hate these tedious tatting lessons.
My dresses always have dark dots in the lace
and my finger tips feel like pin cushions.
Thimbles are the silliest things
impossible to maneuver.
I’d rather be a Samuel.
Sammy in knickers and suspenders
rolling a hoop and playing catch.
And my chest.
I’m soon to be found out.
And mother shall issue those dreaded words,
“It’s corset time.”
I’d rather hang from the rafters,
ride bareback and swig spirits
than be straight laced
wearing one of those things.
I hate being a girl!


Word Count: 100   Written for Rochelle Wisoff- Fields’  Friday Fictioneers — prompt photo appears on Wednesday and posts can be early. Apologies to the purists as I “arranged” my lines in more poetic form today. It is after all, NaPoWriMo (national poetry writing month). Photo Credit: Mary Shipman

For Tohi

Born into a mystical place of she-wolves, Tohi was granted one wish from her sungod.

And so it was that she arrived in a New World. She watched humanoids thrash in cold waters, struggling to reach land. Found walls with no doors. Saw fences and miles of barbed wire, shredding dreams to shards of despair.

Tohi wept, tears that grew from soft rains to rivers of grief. Graveyard plots grew in numbers and the ground was sodden until it could hold no more. And she became the final witness, as this New World became the Last.

Weep for your children
for they see the hatred sown
and will reap its fruit.


The first three paragraphs are written for Friday Fictioneers, hosted each week by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. She provides a photo prompt and asks that folks create a story, flash fiction, in 100 words or less (word count: 96).  The haiku that concludes the post is written for NaPoWriMo day 23.  Taken together, prose + haiku, they become a haibun.  Tohi is the Cherokee word for peace. Photo Credit: Madison Woods.

Color-less World

We didn’t notice at first. She’d misplace keys. Or forget to call.

Once the diagnosis came, I used to take her in the back yard with a coloring book and a box of sixty-four crayons emptied into a bowl. She used the crayons gaily. To color and for digging in the dirt. Always the brightest colors. Lines were immaterial. She colored with sheer exhuberance.

Slowly, the colors changed. Two-fisted brown sharp edged lines filled page after page. And then I found her, staring straight ahead. Coloring book upon a rock, no sign of her upon its pages. And I knew.


Flash Fiction (100 words) written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers. Photo prompt from Kent Bonham. For a recent poem I’ve written on the subject, read Dementia.


He lived on the streets. His junkie parents couldn’t deal when the infection went to his ears. He could sign though. Well enough that petrified folks gave up their money to the frightening, grunting teen.

Today’s cold was numbing. He entered the church and spied the antique clavier. He found himself sitting, eyes glazed, watching his fingers fly over the keys. What the? And somehow, music filled his head. Loud, crashing crescendos of…

The cop’s shove knocked Ludwig off the stool. The angry gesture sent him sulking back outside. He stopped to listen, straining. Nothing. The mute world stared back.


Word Count: 100   Although it’s Wednesday, this piece of flash fiction is for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Friday Fictioneers. Photo Credit: Jan W. Fields.  Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 to 1827) was almost totally deaf in the last decade of his life. Many of his most admired pieces were composed in that last decade. Would that a homeless young boy might have his talents and we would never know.


I needed to get off!

Tarmack for an hour. The screaming kid in front of me? Don’t get me started on that. And then the kid behind me decided to be Ringo Starr. Rhythmic kicks like a drum roll until someone mercifully said stop.

Grab the carry on and shove like hell.

“Ladies and gentlemen. We have an emergency of sorts.” Of sorts?

“A passenger’s wife is in labor. He’s trying to get there in time. Please remain in your seats until he’s left the plane.”

That’s it. No connection. Good luck buddy, I’ll remember that excuse for next time.


Word Count: 100   Completed for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s weekly flash fiction challenge: Friday Fictioneers. Photo credit for this week’s challenge: Michelle Greenwood.

Mrs. Ambrose

“I’d like a cup of hot chocolate, please.”

She’d walked out of the nursing home, no interest in the craft for the day. She couldn’t handle origami and hated working with glitter.

So here she sat on Christmas Eve day. Across from a young couple who chatted quietly, packages beside them. She remembered those kind of stolen moments with Ben. Their kids home with the sitter, last minute shopping done.

She sipped the sweetness, eyes closed, remembering.

“Mrs. Ambrose? You need to come back now.” She pulled the old coat closer to her chest and walked back across the street.


Word Count: 100   Photo credit: Jean L Hayes.  Story motivated by Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers photo. Thank you Rochelle, for your work this past year and here’s to an inspirational 2016!

Empty Nest

Coffee cup in hand, she focused on the shapes coming into focus through the morning mist. James said they’d be a family science project. Bat houses. She’d agreed, only if they were a good distance from the house…

A good distance from the house…in-state college would have been nice. She smiled softly, thinking about the “Roots and Wings” adage on the plaque above her bureau. He sure spread his wings…

The telephone startled her. Coffee sloshed as she grabbed the phone. “Hello?”

“Oh, sorry mom. Did I wake you? It’s noon here. Just wanted to touch base. I miss you.”


Word Count: 100.
Photo credit: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.
Flash Fiction written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Friday Fictioneers.
Learn more about bat houses!