Hard rain stains the pavement, the spilled ink of spring. The dead come alive nightly to fog my dreams: my mother in her blue bathrobe shedding fuzz, the shy girl from high school whose heart attacked her before leukemia could. They sit on my bed, unlatching demands from their packed baggage: Why didn’t you? Why won’t you? Brad Pitt says hello. In a bank. Goodbye, says the heart girl from high school. How do you want your money? You never. You shouldn’t. In fives or tens? Wake me up, Mother. I’m alive.

12 Comments

  1. Robert Vaughan

    Hi Sarah, love this micro-slice, and how aural your piece is, especially setting the tone with that evocative opening line. I’m a sucker for any literary piece that addresses planes merging (dead coming alive, someone underwater communicating with someone in the air, etc.). It creates this hypnotic state that infuses the paragraph, just as those unanswerable questions also do. Also your punctuated ‘You never. You shouldn’t.’ This is a simple, yet complex thing of beauty. Ready to ship out, perhaps to Paragraph Planet (75 words exactly) or 100 Word Story?

  2. Sarah Freligh

    I’m always fighting against making “sense,” even when I write poetry, so I let myself be led by sound. So glad to picked up on that!

  3. Koss Just Koss

    Hey, Sarah. I love the ways you don’t make sense and do. And “Brad Pitt says hello…” And the clashing of worlds. Great piece.

  4. John Steines

    Hi Sarah. I agree that this is nicely put together. It has the dual feeling of remembrance and dream, and it can be read as either, both or somewhere in between. I really like the simplicity of this: ‘They sit on my bed’. Good work. j

  5. Chelsea Stickle

    This utilizes the prompt theme perfectly. Grief makes everything feel dreamy and unreal. I’m so entranced by the mother and her entrance “The dead come alive nightly to fog my dreams: my mother in her blue bathrobe shedding fuzz…” Somehow I know exactly what this bathrobe looks like. And “fog my dreams” is such an excellent turn of phrase. So is the ending. “Wake me up, Mother. I’m alive.” It fits the story, but also seems like something I want to say? This micro is mystical and, despite and because it’s confusing, it feels like it’s revealed something about me that interests me. So thank you.

  6. Meg Tuite

    Hi Sarah,
    Love the alliteration and musicality of this beauty! That first sentence kicks ASS! Love the ghosts that come in: “my mother in her blue bathrobe shedding fuzz,” “the shy girl from high school whose heart attacked her before leukemia could.” ” unlatching demands from their packed baggage:” Gorgeous and then the questions? For a micro this beauty is packed! I agree with Robert. Send it out! LOVE!

  7. David O'Connor

    Sarah, the ground you cover in so few word is astounding. From Leukaemia to Brad Pitt and the bank, somehow it all makes perfect sense to me (the reader) My only minor thought would be give the title a little more juice but over all, it’s a beautiful micro that says so much, well done!

    • Sarah Freligh

      David, hard agree about the title. I am THE worst titologist in the history of the world.

      • Nancy Stohlman

        I suggest “trying on” phrase/word combinations that already live in your story, either as the title in duplicate or as the title instead of the text. xo

  8. Nancy Stohlman

    This is such a tight nugget of everything in this class–when you deny the reader any opportunity to “make sense”, they are forced to surrender: either towards the poem or away from it. In this case we surrender towards it, melt into it. Goo between the words we don’t understand but love just the same. I’m left with a feeling of belonging–to this family, this world, this delusion. Dysfunctional, perhaps, but belonging all the same. xo

  9. Adrian Frandle

    such a wonderful lesson in compression – thank you so much for sharing. it’s as if the tight sheets tucked in helps us feel safer to dream bigger. the specificity of the blue bathrobe shedding fuzz conjured my mother in a way i hadn’t considered in awhile. riveting!

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