For the Love of Harold

Widowed at eighty-three, she didn’t cry until they closed the lid on Harold. Never to see him again in that beautiful dark blue suit, worn on so many of their date nights over many years. The love of her life, resting in the Peters-Carmody Funeral Home, before the hearse would take him away.

Five years later, Maud Smith noticed an elderly woman sitting in the front row of mourners patiently waiting for Father David to begin the rosary. She approached the funeral director and quietly asked “Who is that old woman in the front row? Why is she sitting with my family?”

“That’s Mrs. Crowley, ma’am. She often comes to our viewings if the decedent is male. Her husband Harold’s service was here five years ago. I think she imagines him lying there, near her again. You see, to her, death is quite romantic.”

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Bjorn is hosting Prosery Monday, where a line from poetry is given and then must be used, word for word, in a piece of prose that is 144 words or less, sans title. Today the line is from Bob Dylan, “To her, death is quite romantic.”
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Psychotic Break

And so I wandered. Lonely as a cloud, seeking some break in the darkness you left behind. How did I get to this point?

Your proposal caught me off guard. I craved love for so long, my heart could not believe your words. We spent those next weeks in pure bliss. I asked to meet your family. “Soon enough,” you said. Then one day I came home to an empty apartment. Your clothes were gone. Your side of the bathroom, pristine. You’d stood there that morning, shaving off your beard until a fresh unfamiliar face looked out from the mirror. “I’ll have to get used to that,” I said. Did you want me to? They found me, wandering through the house. Incoherent. The darkness was everywhere.

I’ve spent years in this institution now, wondering if you were real.

Written for Prosery Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. EXCEPT, today, we’re not writing poetry. We’re writing PROSERY! This is a form of creative writing, developed at dVerse. The prompter (today it’s me) gives a line or two from a poem of her/his choosing as the prompt. Writers must then write a piece of prose, think flash fiction, that contains the given line(s) word for word, within the body of prose. The punctuation may change….but the word order must be the same and it must be word for word. The prose must not exceed 144 words in length (sans title). As the pub tender/prompter today, I’ve selected the line “I wandered lonely as a cloud” from Wordsworth’s poem I Wander Lonely as a Cloud. The line must be used word for word within the body of prose (punctuation may vary), and the prose must be 144 words or less in length, sans title. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!

Go Forth, Multiply – Mandate of the Deities

She was born in the fortieth century. Her lineage could be traced to earth, before it succumbed to supreme neglect. It is her wedding day. Carrying a bouquet of hybrid plumeria fertilized by star dust and carnage from deteriorated communication satellites, she slides between Ursa and its latest shard, to meet her chosen mate.

“Where is the payment I required for my body to wed your being?”

Handing her a package vibrating with energy he mouths “It is a moon wrapped in brown paper. As you mandated.”

Once unwrapped, it floats toward her three breasts illuminating them, and then seemingly melts into her circuitry. She smiles, knowing she is now impregnated. Her kind will continue. No longer needing this other being, her eyes turn iridescent green and devour him. She fades into the celestial skies, content to know she will multiply.

Written for Prosery Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Bjorn is tending the pub and asks us to include the line “It is a moon wrapped in brown paper” in a piece of fiction that is 144 words or less, sans title. The line is from the poem Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy, a Scottish Poet who was the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 2009-2019.

Prosery: a form created by dVerse. A line from a poem is given for the prompt. Writers must include the line exactly word for word (punctuation may be changed) within a piece of prose (not poetry) that is 144 words or less, sans title.

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The Return

Namrah soared high. Twenty years after the Peabody children wished him live, he decided to return. Would they want to travel on his golden wings again? He’d taken so many children across the globe on secret midnight rides. Sometimes circling the full moon, chasing shooting stars across the skies. He’d not been above American shores in all these years. Would Allen and Susan consider themselves too old to climb aboard his teal feathered back?

Closer to their city now, but why so dark? Hovering over their yard, he stared in disbelief. Piles of bricks, uprooted trees, scattered roof tiles, shattered glass. Fear seized his heart. What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this rubbish? A solitary tear escaped one azure sequined eye. Has time destroyed the home, the town of his origins? Are Allen and Susan alive?

Written for prosery Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Mish is pub tender and asks us to include the line “What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this rubbish?” from T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land in our flash fiction of 144 words or less, sans title. I’ve written of imaginary friend Namrah in years past. Here we visit him twenty years after he was wished alive.

Prosery is a genre created by dVerse. Pub tenders choose one line of poetry and writers must use that exact line (only the punctuation may be changed; word order must be the same) in a piece of prose, 144 words or less in length, sans title.

Covid Casualty

James was an over-achieving gregarious intellect. Last to leave the office party, pleasantly tipsy, never offensively drunk. Top salesman for too many quarters to count. Then Covid hit and the world cocooned itself.

Confined to his efficiency apartment months on end, ambition disappeared into vodka bottles. He wore the same sweats day and night. Sat slumped in a second-hand folding chair, computer on his lap. When called by HR for his end- of-year report, he slurred “I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility that existence has its own reason for being and in due time I will send you a profitable report.” To which the HR Director replied, “What???”

He slammed the phone down; slammed the computer screen shut and stood up swaying. Eyes bloodshot, James reached for a sixteen-ounce tumbler and the vodka bottle. Just another day in this godforsaken Covid world.

Pure fiction…..but I fear isolation has affected far too many in negative ways.

Written for Prosery Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Merril asks us to include the line “I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility that existence has its own reason for being.” from the poem Possilibities by Wislawa Szymborska. In Prosery, we are given a line from a poem and must insert it within the body of our prose, word for word (although the punctuation my be altered), and the prose can be a maximum of 144 words, sans title. Most writers consider this a flash fiction prompt that includes a specific line of poetry. Photo from

Excerpt from a 17th Century Young Woman’s Diary

I cannot tolerate my life! My intellect, dismissed at every turn. My fingers bleed as I mind my needle. Young men cross the seas on great ships. They find adventure while I sit here. They hunt great whales; something I can only dream of. Oh yes, I carry a part of those great creatures within my bodice every day. Their great bones defiled to stays, crushing my ribcage, attempting to confine my will. Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy upon my soul.

Born female in this world, the great bane of my life. But my plans are made. My brother’s breeches hid beneath my bed, with scissors to cut my hair. Next week, I too shall set out to sea. Breasts bound by rags, but spirit freed. I shall become young Phinneas, and taste the adventures too long denied me.

Written for Prosery Monday at dVerse, the vitual pub for poets around the globe. Today Linda provides the line “Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy” from May Oliver’s poem “Azures” published in the book Wild Geese.

In prosery, we must use a specified line from a poem, exactly as written, in a piece of prose that is no more than 144 words long, sans title. It is similar to flash fiction — but must include the specified poetic line. We may change the punctuation of the line, but the wording must be exactly as it appeared in the original poem.

Image: Woman’s stays c. 1730–1740. Silkplain weave with supplementary weft-float patterning, stiffened with whaleboneLos Angeles County Museum of Art, M.63.24.5.[1]

A Christmas Tale

Reading what I have just written, I now believe . . .
A snowflake smudges the next word. Where did that come from? I’m sitting at the kitchen table!

My eyes bug out in disbelief. A reindeer spotted with snow, stands behind me! I rub my eyes because surely this isn’t real? Then he invites me to climb on his back! Knowing mama and papa are soundly asleep, I scramble up. Out the window we fly, heading due north. My cold fingers clutch his collar, copper bells cold on my palms.

We land on a peanut-brittle paved lane with tall candy cane light poles and elaborate gingerbread houses! I see gummy bears chatting, sitting on gigantic lemon drops. Absolutely agog, I follow an elf to a sugar spun door. The door flings open and I know right then. I will always believe!

I’m hosting Prosery Monday at dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets. BUT, on Prosery Monday, we don’t write poetry!

Prosery is defined as a prompter providing one line from a poem, and writers inserting that specific line into a piece of prose, for example flash fiction. The punctuation and capitalization in the line may be changed, but the words and word order must remain intact. AND the prose can be no more than 144 words in length, sans title.

As host today, I’ve chosen the line “Reading what I have just written, I now believe” from Louise Gluck’s poem Afterward. So come join us! Insert this line, using these exact words in this order, into a piece of original prose!


From across the room, we look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of time. Up close, we see now, he should not be here.

He sits alone at the same corner table every day, all day, playing solitaire. Narrating his rational plays, he slaps down cards so hard the table shakes. His sane voice, loud above the moans and snores of others. They sit slumped in wheelchairs or on upholstered couches with protective plastic seat covers. Some have spittle hanging from parched lips. Between hands, he talks to the teenage aide standing nearby. “I lost again. Nobody wins here. Did you see that string of clubs?” She nods, bored with her job.  “I want my Science magazine. They didn’t renew my subscription!”

How was this man, an inconvenience to someone, surviving here? We will definitely report this hellhole to authorities.

Written for Monday’s Prosery prompt at dVerse.
Kim hosts today, asking us to include the line “From across the room, we look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time” in a piece of flash fiction, exactly 144 words in length. The line is from D. H. Lawrence’s poem Humming Bird.

Image in public domain at

The Hunt

Love is primal, fiercely protective. She understands that. Why doesn’t he?

Listening with a keen ear, she stands on rocky ledge, exhausted but alert. Will he find them? Her little ones are quiet now. Appetites sated, they sleep so sweetly. Their limbs tangled together, lying so close to each other. A red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills, illuminating the only path he can take to reach them now. Bramble burs prickle her scalp, tangled in her hair. Days on the run, she is more than disheveled. His bullet only grazed her, but the wound is beginning to fester. He will still want her. Will he continue the hunt? He covets her little ones. Their young fox pelts will bring a good sum. She hopes this new den will escape his site and he will turn to other prey.


Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today I am hosting PROSERY MONDAY.

The prompt is to include either the line “a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills” OR the line “moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome treetops” in a piece of prose (not poetry) that is 144 words or less.  The two lines are from Carl Sandburg’s poem JAZZ FANTASIA – you’ll find his full poem here

PROSERY: inclusion of a particular line (word for word) from a poem, in a piece of prose – can be flash fiction, memoir, or nonfiction. A form unique to dVerse where we usually write poetry! The PROSE must be 144 words or less.  

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A Story Left Untold

She sat on the antiquity store’s floor and opened the diary – forcing its bent blackened silver latch. The first water-stained page said Miriam‘s Property. Turning that page, she began to read the faded script.

Dearest sister. I shall explain only here. It is far too difficult to say aloud, as surely your tears would flow. We have shared our mother’s womb; secrets; our very clothes. Never have we needed a mirror as our faces reflect each other’s. But I am no longer you. I long to experience more than our future holds. More than mother dearest teaches us; than father expects. You gossip with ladies on our streets. I near choke as dust engulfs my dreams. We go in different directions down the imperturbable street. And so tonight, I

There were no more words. Just empty pages ~ fragile and mildewed, minus Miriam’s hand.

Written a bit late for Monday’s dVerse prosery prompt; posted today for OLN.

Prosery is a form unique to dVerse: flash fiction, no more than 144 words, that includes a given line of poetry, exactly as it is written.
Merril asked us to include the line “We go in different directions down the imperturbable street.” The line is from Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem An Aspect of Love, Alive in the Ice and Fire.