Sweet As Sugar

A Haibun, 2 Parts

Musical Selection: Eagles|I Can’t Tell You Why

Photo from ds_30 via Pixabay

She sits across from us — hair pinned up tightly in an aggravated bun. I have my hands on my lap. I am centered in my chair — immovable. She invites us in for tea, this will calm our nerves, she says. We sit quietly. She gathers the good china, readies the table, and prepares some Earl Grey. He spies me looking at her precariously. I give him a cautious wink — I nod slowly. He knows something is wrong. He says nothing.

“Your sugar cubes . . . One lump or two, Dears?” We look at each other before speaking. We both shout in unison, “Two, please!” She plasters a fake smile on her face then offers us a drink we’re scared to consume.

afraid to drink tea
something’s not right with our host
but we can’t be rude


We sip our tea slowly — breathing in and out as we swallow. She eyes us nosily. I sit back in my chair — rock steadily. The air in the room wolfs around us — strangles us into silence. She seems nice. She seems sweet as pie — sweet as honey — sweet as sugar. But she’s not. We know she’s not. We just can’t put our fingers on it. He takes a few more sips then his head lands on the table with a loud thud. “Teddy! Baby, wake up! Wake up!” I look at her, she’s still smiling — the same fake one from earlier. What has she done?

host for evening tea
is a killer in disguise
we both die that night


Originally published in The Weekly Knob via Medium.

Writers: A Challenge

I am posting this here too, just in case any of you are on Medium and not Twitter, you’ll see this challenge/call for submissions should you fancy to tackle it along with us:


Writers: A Challenge

Haibun A Heart

Writers, this is your fifth challenge of the year and for this one, we will dive into form and structure once again and write our way through the haibun. What is this, you may ask?

Haibun is a prosimetric literary form originating in Japan, combining prose and haiku. The range of haibun is broad and frequently includes autobiography, diary, essay, prose poem, short story and travel journal. — Wikipedia

The challenge: I am asking you to “Haibun a Heart” which is to write a prose piece centered around your heart’s desire or passion or pain or love in any form and to also incorporate a haiku too. 


An example:

The night’s wind sunk deep into our bones — drenched us in pain. We waited for the evening to end. Nothing could relieve us of the passion that festered in our hearts. We begged to be rid of it — to move away from it — to grow in another direction, but it was not our time. If we had our way, we’d lose ourselves in the midst of it all — consumed by love’s touch. Drowned once again.

passion was our pain
this night’s gift led us to love
we seal off our hearts


Let’s make this happen, people!


•Request to be added as a writer by emailing me at acorneredgurl@gmail.com with “Please Add Me” as the subject line and please include the link to your Medium profile. Don’t want to be a writer in A Cornered Gurl? Simply comment with your response in this challenge post, or create your own post to your profile or in another publication, however, please use the tags, “Challenge” and “Haibun.”

Since this is a challenge call, all submissions received by 6:00 pm, US ET Thursday, October 29, 2020, will be published by 7:00 pm, US ET Friday, October 30, 2020. Any other submissions received during the week and by 6:00 pm on Sunday, November 01, 2020, will be published by 7:00 pm on Monday, November 2, 2020, US ET. CHALLENGE SUBMISSION BEGINS NOW. 

Show me what you can do with this challenge and “Haibun a Heart,” beautiful people! 

*Finally, this is a read-for-all community. There will be no metered paywall or locked pieces in A Cornered Gurl. If you do not know how to unlock your submissions, please learn how to here. The Weekly Knob gives an excellent breakdown on deselecting the option to curate/distribute for paywall prior to submitting to a publication.

A Cornered Gurl Guidelines


Originally published via A Cornered Gurl on Medium.

gifts and blessings

Modern workplace with gadgets in cozy room with soft light
Photo by Kelly Lacy via Pexels

A chance–I had to take a chance once again, so I readied myself last Friday and put in for transfers to three different departments within our organization. Apprehensive and fearful of what could actually take place, I had to trust the experience. We have lost so many team members to other jobs–places where they can feel *safe* at home while they work–places that enrich their lives as well as allow them to continue to give remarkable care to our patients. I am taking a chance again. Each job is a remote or work-from-home position. One department, two of my former team members have recently made their home, and one (former team member) . . . decided to put in a good word for me with the direct hiring manager.

An email came today. An introduction to who she is and what she does, after I submitted my resume and cover letter at my former team member and friend’s request. We scheduled a phone interview which is for tomorrow at 12:15 pm, US, EDT. I am excited, but I am also scared. I believe it’s a good scared, though. I informed my direct supervisor of my actions as the transfer will include her signing off and approving my actual resignation or notice if I am hired for this position. I am thankful for this gift–this blessing. When you work hard and do the job you’re supposed to do, people recognize it. They put in a “good word” for you. They speak to your strengths and what you can offer that particular company.

I am happy I had someone on the other side vouching for me.

this could be the change
light at the end of tunnels
God’s making a way

Non-Fiction Saturdays

beneath

a haibun, 3 parts

Photo by Sébastien Conejo via Mixkit.co

The wonders of the world lay deep beneath her hair. The very essence of what there is to gain from a stressful day full of anguish and the sounds of beasts rapping at closed doors is nothing. I tell her to press forward and find her strength in the pulse of a tiger’s breath, but she is not interested in climbing up the optimistic ladder tonight. I smell safety around the corner. She runs for cover. I stand with my hands held high — raised above my head. I surrender to the depth of this defeat. She claims my trust.

beneath her red locks
is a star-spangled blue moon
a wondrous new world

Broken babies and haunted Mamas wield their way into our midst. We shield ourselves from their pressure. The room is ice. There is no fire for warmth. I rub my hands together and watch the steam sift in through the cracks. She takes two steps forward, purses her lips against the air, and lets out a sigh of relief. The floor is empty. Patients are packing up — discharged by their residents or attendings. We dance alone. A tango. A foxtrot. A waltz. I simmer in the darkness with her.

lonely in this place
of impatience and patients
dancing the foxtrot

Big Pharma called the shots on the drug saving his life — it’s no longer covered. He’s in room 213 of the ICU. Death is standing by his door. She pulls a mask on to her face, laces her hands with gloves, and walks in to oversee the cleanliness of his space. He is barely breathing. The sun skips on the open blinds — his hair never touches the pillow. There, in the silence of the room, she prays to a God who walks the halls but forgets to open the doors.

on-call patient care
fills up her nightly duties
death is still coming


Author’s Note: I wrote this piece as a reflection on the most recent book I read which was In Shock: My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope by Rana Adwish, MD. If you’ve not given it a read and you’re interested in knowing what a physician has to say about being the patient who dies, is brought back to life, and lives to see just how medicine needs transforming — this is a book I’d recommend for you. Peace.

*Originally published in The Junction via Medium.

Amusement Parks and Broken Hearts

Igor Starkov via Unsplash

musical selection: cherrelle|everything I miss at home

A Haibun

She placed her cold hands on the blue of her fur coat — enraptured by the clouds’ sadness, she felt her heart move in and out of time. He was supposed to meet her there. They agreed. Time. Date. Place. She was there. He wasn’t. Where could he be? She thought to call him, maybe he needed a reminder — a nudge. The wind bit her cheeks with its presence — stuck in place, she dreaded the feeling coming over her. Is she being stood up again?

wrapped in stunning blue
her cold hands hugged her body
biting wind kissed her

The sun peeked in on her. It nodded in her direction, shone a powerful ray her way, and stepped back behind the clouds. She picked up her phone. She pressed 3, held down the number for three seconds, and watched his name appear on her screen. She’d call. He’d answer. They’d discuss things again. Time. Date. Place. He’d calmly explain how he was busy and seemingly forgot about their date. She’d hear someone in the background, a woman’s voice. She’d know — instantly, she’d know. There is no room for her.

the perks of speed dial
a convenience she needed
to find out the truth

An amusement park date. Just like during her teenage years . . . Danny Simpkins said to meet him there then. Bring a towel, your favorite sneakers, fireworks, and a flashlight, he said. She arrived fifteen minutes early. She had everything she needed and what he wanted. She waited. And waited. And waited. Danny Simpkins did show up, but with someone else — Tori Barksdale, the most popular girl in school. She watched him pepper the ground with his hot steps. Her eyes turning on her. Her heart, a sack of doomsday. She felt her world ending.

silly boys break hearts
unaware of life’s deep pain
girls pick up pieces

She thought back to those days and remembered how she vowed to never let her heart break into a million pieces again. She was older. She was stronger. She knew how to remove herself from a situation before it could shake her down and melt her into a puddle of pain. Around her, children cheered on the carousel. Their little voices loud enough to pop her eardrums. This was her place of renewal. She would be okay. She would go on. She would know another Danny Simpkins and Travis Calloway on sight.

a pact she had claimed —
to love herself so much more
and grow from the pain

Now, she watches the moon open its eyes. The night air creeps in coolly, nestled behind the sway of the trees. She pulls her coat tighter, presses the fur closest to her skin, and dreams of disappearing. “I hope she never feels the way I do. I hope he keeps his promises to her.” She thought this to herself — empathetic to the woman’s heart because she knows what pain feels like; what a broken heart needs in order to mend. Funny, she’s had to break herself down and build herself up over and over again. She was just like that amusement park.

each year, some new fun
gone again until the fall
amusement for all.


Originally published in P.S. I Love You via Medium. Shared is the “Friend Link” since this is a Medium paywall piece. Thank you for reading.