spent

a lamentation

the work comes — it goes
every call is torture to the bones.
we communicate with vigor, yet
with ease. 
patients want to know 
listeners can schedule their appointments
and offer empathy too.

a doctor’s office landed in
my teammate’s queue — their issue
crept in without cause.
a 3-month-old showing symptoms
of a virus meant for adults and the elders
in the early stages, but really
did they know who it 
would attack and who it
would leave alone?

when we start scanning babies
with machinery doling out
radiation because their lungs
are about to collapse, the world
is truly at its end.
I shout at the screen housing 
messaging tools and the software
we need to scan through 
thousands of accounts.

it doesn’t shout back.

I can tell my days are beginning
to blend — Monday is Friday.
Tuesday is Thursday. 
I don’t know what weekends are anymore.
and the lovers of this world continue
on, sampling pain in
little festive bags — afraid to share
their happiness.

who will appreciate it?

“I am spent,” I say this to 
my mom as she breathes on the
receiving end of the call.
she’s breathing . . . breathing. 
how often have we taken this for granted?
breathing . . .
she hears me — pauses for effect.
she tells me she is afraid to
go outside and I understand.

I understand.

I spend many of my days
arguing with God — telling him how
I really feel. he knows. I know he knows.
but, I tell him anyway.
I want to wade through waters
less choppy and with each
passing moment, the hardness comes
and my face has bruises I
no longer hide.

“I am spent,” I say to anyone
who will listen.

I am almost at my end.


Originally published in my new publication soliloque via Medium.

Feeling the Feelings

A Lamentation

Have we always been so
bad at being human or
did we arrive at this point
over time? 
Is inhumanity ingrained
in our souls and passed
down to generations after us?

We’re flailing about in time
knocking down common sense
and running over logic.
I’ve had my share of selfish
people and my stomach is full
of disdain for my brethren
who’d rather skip rules
and toe a harsher line.

One day, the spirit of togetherness
will envelop us and mark us
with its care.
But first, we must crawl out
of our shells and move closer
toward acceptance of others.

On my dying day,
I want to be remembered
as a task manager who
managed to love everyone
but right now, I am nowhere
close to that.

I hope I still have time left.
I want to still have time left.
Please let me have more time.


Originally published via Medium.

Un-fixable


Flash Fiction

Photo by Tyler Lastovich via Pexels

Readers: The following fictional piece is one of abandonment, frequent miscarriages, and self-harm.


My body decided to terminate my pregnancy. The phone calls won’t stop. Everyone says the same thing. Everyone thinks I can just pick up and start anew. It doesn’t work that way.

I’m broken. There’s no fixing me. This is the third time. It will be my last.


My name is Clara De Jesus-Mendez Moses. I am an only child to older parents. Friends say, maybe it’s my DNA. That I am full of codes and clues and puzzles that only lead to trauma. My mom was forty-two when she had me. Dad was fifty.

I grew up in a stuffy, one-percent, melanin-robbed neighborhood. Piano lessons. Debutant balls. Beauty pageants. Cozy Camp Lassiter. Passing . . .

My family denied our heritage. Mom, half Black & Israeli. Dad, half Mexican & Black. I fit somewhere in the middle as a conglomerate of all things and no things.

They married me off at a young age — 19. Todd Ramses Moses. Yes, it’s a weird name. But he was beautifully breathtaking. He was a God. My God. I worshiped him. I was his temple.

We tried for children immediately after saying, “I will.” No “I dos” for us. Our first time, I’d just turned 20. Nine weeks in. I lost the baby. Our second time, 22. Thirteen weeks in. Again. The last time, a third — I couldn’t make it to six weeks. That’s when I told Todd I was broken and if he wanted children, he should find someone else.

He found someone else.

The cutting started. I’d scrape my wrists with razor blades lightly. Just enough to see blood. Once a week or whenever I felt inadequate. I felt inadequate all the time.

I’d managed to leave that stuffy neighborhood, immersed myself in a diverse community, and taught at one of our schools. I decluttered my home. Anything that reminded me of Todd, I tossed. That didn’t stop the cutting.

I was supposed to be happy.

I have a huge attic. It’s quiet and dark and has great acoustics. I sit with my legs crossed early on Saturday mornings and strum old love songs on my guitar. It helps. I get through the day after seven or eight songs.

Every few weeks, a family member stops by. A friend. Someone from our church. They mean well. They want to be sure I’m eating. I nibble on plates of food but never finish a meal.

“Don’t name them.” That’s the advice my therapist gave me after my second miscarriage. “Don’t name them.” I named them. I mourned. I grieved. I’m still mourning. I’m still grieving.


Todd has three girls now. A set of twins, five — and a two-year-old. I saw him at the market with his mighty fine family one Sunday. He waved, cautiously. I nodded casually. I pushed my cart as fast as it would go.

I wanted to get back home as quickly as possible. The urge to cut again had taken over. I was remembering who I was — who I’d become. The woman who couldn’t have children.

My body decided to terminate my pregnancy. The phone calls won’t stop. Everyone says the same thing. Everyone thinks I can just pick up and start anew. It doesn’t work that way.

I’m broken. There’s no fixing me. This is the third time. It will be my last.

I throw myself at my door, crash into a chair in the kitchen, and dig deep into my skin.

The pain rushes over me instantly then stops. I feel nothing.


This piece began as a response to two different Twitter prompts; vss365 (anew) & vssmurder (terminate).


Originally published in The Junction via Medium.

Reflections of a Lost Love that Will Never be Found

Flash Fiction

Readers: This fictional piece has content that reflects upon depression and briefly mentions suicide.


I don’t know where we went wrong — don’t know what I could have done. I thought everything was fine — everything was okay. She’d been hurting, I tried to step up. It was hard loving her — hard trying to constantly fill in the spaces that had holes bigger than my heart. There were locked up voids — galaxies of pain unfit for undoing. Everyone said, “Don’t do it. She’s damaged goods.” I wondered what in God’s name would make people say some of the things they said about another human being.

Everyone needs love. EVERYONE! That was my response — to all of them who thought they were going to shift my position or move me toward a different path, I never flinched. I stayed until she left. I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew she was hard to love.

She was a wall — brick and mortar, impenetrable, but I broke through. Years of listening to her and learning her ways and loving her and being there for her got me through the thickest wall I have ever met. But she left. Six years — six long, sufferable years — she left. I feel fine. I am fine. I will be fine.

I AM OKAY! I say this to my younger sister who never liked her. She asked if she could stay with me for a few days or weeks or months, just until my eyes looked normal again. Just until I got up out of the bed without any coaxing from anyone else. Just until . . . She’s not a nuisance. I know she means well. I would probably want to be around her too if her heart had been plucked from her chest, flaunted in front of a hateful public, and stomped on.

She was a wall — brick and mortar, impenetrable, but I broke through.

I know I would want to protect her. But I would give her space. Would I give her space? Did I give her space? She used to say, “You know all the right ways to love me without smothering me. You grant me peace. I need that. I love that.” I thought I was in the clear — I was making headway. She didn’t even say goodbye. I got up on a cold, Saturday morning, rolled over to her side of the bed, pressed my hands into the space she used to fill, and lied there. She never returned.

Two days later, I received a text message that said, “I am holding you back from finding a partner who can love you much better than I can. I won’t do that anymore. Deena, I won’t be your burden — I won’t wear your shoulders down. I love you. I always have. I always will.”

And just like that, I found myself listening to Anita Baker, Michael McDonald, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and a list of other artists who have a plethora of open up your heart and come back to me songs. One thing was certain — she wasn’t coming back. I could tell when I read the message — she definitely wasn’t coming back.

My mom came over on a Monday morning while my sister was at work. She called herself tidying up the place — but I’m what they say is “a neat freak,” so there wasn’t anything left to tidy up. She opened up the curtains and blinds in my bedroom and implored me to get out of bed. I turned to my right side and continued to lie still. I wanted the comfort of my covers. I wanted to pretend I was being shielded by her — loved by her.

I got up on a cold, Saturday morning, rolled over to her side of the bed, pressed my hands into the space she used to fill, and lied there. She never returned.

No one prepared me for the day the dam would break. No one told me heartache would feel this tormenting. Everyone thinks you should move right on past the pain and get back to living. But, shit . . . don’t I get time to mourn my failed relationship? Don’t I deserve my grief? Don’t I get to say when I am ready to move the hell on without being told to?

A long-time friend, part-time lover called me one day when I was sulking. I looked at the name and number as they flashed across the screen. Something deep within me told me not to answer. I did.

“Hey . . . If you want to talk, I’m here. I know you — I know you’re over there thinking it’s something you did and it isn’t. You only know how to love all parts of a person even when they’re truly hard to love. Sometimes, people just have to find their own way and it has to be without anyone else tagging along.” I held the line. It was so good to hear her voice — to sit with her words and remember who we were. She had a point, right? It wasn’t my fault. I thanked her for calling and found my way to the kitchen.

I splashed my favorite bowl with some homemade chicken noodle soup — filled it to the brim. I slurped every mouthful, enjoying the flavors — deeply experiencing the calming powers of comfort food. The phone rang as soon as I licked my lips and wiped them clean. An unfamiliar number . . . A call I probably shouldn’t take. I did.

A long-time friend, part-time lover called me one day when I was sulking. I looked at the name and number as they flashed across the screen. Something deep within me told me not to answer. I did.

“Deena! Deena, you there?! Please, say something!” I couldn’t I just sat there. A hollow space in my soul sunk even deeper. It was as if I’d known what would follow next. “Deena! *sighs* You’re listening to me, I can hear you. Parker was found dead this morning — slit wrists, in the tub, by her next-door neighbor. I’m coming over.”

Why’d my sister call me from a number I don’t know? Did she say Parker is dead?! Is she coming over? I slapped the spoon from my bowl, turned on the water from the faucet at the kitchen sink, and slowly — the tears began to fall again.

I knew she was never coming back.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium

Unintended Codependency


I never want

to be so afraid

of living

that I

s  t a y

with someone who

makes me

f e e l

like I’m dead


I know so many women who’ve found themselves in this predicament. They’ve stayed so long with their partner(s) they’ve forgotten how to live on their own and they’re willing to remain in that relationship, regardless of how they’re being treated because it’s all they know–it’s all they’ve allowed themselves to know. And the fear of failing outside of the relationship scares them more than dying within the relationship ever could.

I’ve had to leave a couple friendships because the toxicity of what they were used to seeped into the seams of who we were. It’s harmful. It’s hurtful. And it’s a hindrance on their lives and the lives of others. Sadly, no one can force them out of their situations. It’s something they have to find the strength and belief in themselves to do.

It’s something they have to believe they’re worthy enough to do.

I can only stand by and love them as I know how. I can only support them in their efforts to become better as much as I can. But I’ve learned to remove myself from situations that are out of my control and I draw the line when I’ve noticed how hard one’s efforts can be especially when they’re ignored or avoided.

I can only wish them well when nothing else works and love them from afar.