Trudy Gertrude Anne, you better watch That sassy mouth. The devil is going to get you. A stern message from her mother, For having a say about things. Stubborn as the front door, swollen and stuck on a muggy July afternoon. Barreling barefoot around the farm, A 10-year-old powerhouse, Waving a big stick. Toes darkened with mud, a remnant from the morning rain. She was on the lookout, a sharp eye, She’d give that devil what for If she saw him first. She could fight When she needed to. Her big brother found out, Both teenagers now. He thought he could snatch that drumstick Right off her plate But she and her daddy got them, It was their Sunday dinner tradition. She took it back, Had a big ol’ bite. His hands wrapped around her throat, Tight as last year’s church stockings. Her knee landed the blow, Where it counted. “I’m not taking it anymore” she screamed, Her voice strong, a force rising in her. Off she went, Safe among the cornstalks, hidden. She could hear them, Calling her name, as she Drifted to sleep Under the nightlight of the moon. She never knew what happened, but He never touched her again. She tells the story from time to time. Now as Trudy – Gertrude never fit. She still has plenty to say. Carries a cane now, Just shy of 92, Still warding off the devil. He never had a chance. Blueberry Bliss Arranged in an alluring pyramid, piled high. A batch of blueberry bars. A reminder Of a dessert my mother made for company. A time when eating andinnocence did not reside In separate universes. Heavy on my plate, Dense buttery crust, a thick layer of blueberries Peeking out under crumb topping and a dusting of powdered sugar. The chilled plate clinks on the counter, and The barstool accepts my fleshy ass without judgment, Berries ooze between my teeth, A surprise tang of lemon, Tattoo of sugar on my black trousers. My tongue swirls, circles to catch An escaped flake of crust. Abandon, A symphony of flavors. Waltzing textures, Create an opulent tapestry for my taste buds. Bliss is a baked blueberry 18 Dimes I see them everywhere now. Our daughters too, so strong and beautiful, Missing you. They found one on the track that wraps around the schoolyard And then another under the antique oak table at the Lodge, Our sanctuary, while you were in hospice. Did I ever tell you the story? It was Kim. A connection from home And, a welcome friend when I moved to California. Just before her grandmother died she gave Kim a jar of dimes, An odd collection. When her mother died years later, The dimes started appearing. Shiny distractions from her grief. Comfort tucked away in her pocket. I found one, The morning I lost you. The glint of it catching my eye, Nestled along the edge of the cemetery. I was there to pick out your plot, Awash with the surreal absurdity of it, To make this decision on my own, Choosing where I’d leave you to rest. You’d like it. Plenty of shade from a giant elm, And, a nice view of the park across the street. I laid down along the length of your grave, Under the cobalt sky, A surprising gem on an April day in Iowa, A stark contrast to the usually dreary grey. It felt like home. And now I sit at dinner with my twin sister and cousin, At a vineyard in Temecula. You would have loved it here, Tranquility falling over us Like the soft white clouds blanketing the mountains. It rained today, Our anniversary. Twenty-three years. It was the waitress who discovered the dime under my chair. She placed it beside me on the table And the aching for you lifted for a moment. I long to feel you, The warmth of your belly pressed against the small of my back, Lulling me to sleep on a Saturday morning. Safe in the wrap of your arms. The dime rests in my hand, Your presence, A perfect gift. Margot Burns is a Midwestern native transplanted firmly in Denver, Colorado where she enjoys a passion for creating stories about family, food, love, and the revelations of personal growth. Her book "Wide Awake Musings from an Unconscious Life" is due out the summer of 2016. In the meantime, she maintains a career coaching and vocational rehabilitation practice and is a certified teacher of the Enneagram personality system.
Mid-Autumn 2015 Sam and Chloe never thought they would spend the summer holidays fighting a battle against the dark past that haunts Kingsholt, a mansion inherited by Chloe's parents. A long time ago the Vikings burnt down the monastery that was built near Kingsholt. A few monks who escaped hid the monastery's treasure and dug a pit in which to bury the slaughtered monks. They swore that if anyone opened up the pit and used it for other purposes a darkness would fall over the area. Nimbus,an obsessive one-time circus hypnotist and acrobat, lives with his wife and two children in a cottage in the woods of Kingsholt. He opens up the pit and uses it for all his rubbish. With death, kidnap and madness ensuing, can Sam and Chloe and their guardian Aidan, bring back the light to Kingsholt? Here is a fine and beautifully written adventure story with all the cliff-hanger elements needed to keep one in suspense: murderous plots and an ancient mystery, riddles, clues, rhymes and a map, darkness and ambush in a forest, a burial pit and a hidden tunnel, a time warp of omens and terror where innocence and evil fight to the death and beyond. ~ Mandy Pannett Susan Skinner has published seventeen books of which the following are for young adults or children. She is married with three children. When her sister died she and her husband looked after the four children who were left. She now lives alone with her dog Alfie who is waiting for his story to be told! Pre-order on Amazon 19