Back to Where Home Is
Robbie slugs away from their home, blade dripping blood, legs shiftless and without care. He will bury the child’s head in a toxic heap, far away from the townspeople. It’s where the others are. It is where he is thought to be from–garbage. The tale of his emergence is a strange, sad one. It is said among the gossipy that his Mom delivered him in an alley, tore him from her womb, and threw him in the nearest dumpster.
She was not quite human, but not quite monster, either. She was this strange in-between thing and fearful of passing down her likeness to her offspring, she rid herself of it. The city trash collectors came the next day. One, a father of two girls, heard the wails of a shivering baby. He ordered his partner to help him search through the pounds of garbage, finally landing on Robbie. They stood flabbergasted, exhausted from a day’s work, but also scared to death. What was this thing? They wrapped Robbie in a soft towel kept in the truck’s bed, and transported him to the nearest convent.
Let the nuns deal with him, they thought.
Those who truly fear God are said to have ways of exposing evil and exorcizing it. After months of exorcisms and numerous Doctor’s house-calls, the sisters believed that Robbie should be sheltered, kept away from humanity, for they knew that others would fear him. From the very first time he walked, they took him to the local park and explained to him that his place was among nature. From dirt he arose, back to dirt, he would go.
And with fresh blood on his hands, Robbie hurried to his place of safety, away from the summoning calls of the neighborhood children, away from all that was normal.
From dirt, he arose, back to dirt, he would go.
*This concludes the Sharp series. Thank you for reading.
The Rains Came
Robbie clicks his tongue, summoning a new day, the rains came along to cleanse what has been made dirty. Jaimie is still asleep. Her five-year-old dreams cause her to smile… Angels are watching over her. She snores lightly, unaware of the half-man/half-devil waiting not too far from their door. He toys with the blade, licks his sharp teeth, and smacks his lips.
He measures the distance from the bushes to her window. From the bushes to their front door. From the bushes to their beaten up, midnight blue sedan, and then counts…
He counts the number of minutes it takes him to beat the sun and kill again. Dawn does not wait for him, it awakens to the birds’ songs.
Just one more, he thinks. Just one more.
Playing With Fire
Jaimie is five. She knows to eat her vegetables and to wash her hands before and after every meal, but she doesn’t know about staying away from Robbie. Robbie is the town’s secret. He lives in the park, lurks around after midnight moons, and chases things he cannot catch. Jaimie is one of those things.
She skips in her front yard, her hair looping around the air as she jumps, little girl hops, barely leaving the ground. He’s watching her, twiddling his thumbs and scratching his scruffy beard. His meds are still bleeding under his tongue. He never swallows.
The rope skips the ground, Jaimie counts to one hundred in Spanish, her plaits bouncing in unison, in sync with each number. In the bushes, Robbie settles. He counts along with her, sharpening his blade, and panting like a hurried devil. He will have his fill. His teeth form into tiny razors, his hands contort and crack as they shift. He is becoming the fire everyone escapes.
He sits and waits until dawn.
nicknames aren’t what most aspire to.
we’re often saddled with descriptions
that lessen our personality,
but “the little Monster” suits Jernee.
on walks, she sets her eyes
curiously on nature’s green gifts,
sniffing out the elite versus the subpar.
she has a system.
I am watchful, yet patient.
I admire her investigative process, her
obsession with marking her territory.
I give her space to explore
crumbled earth between her toes,
the dust settling on her paws
becomes a lickable treat after two miles.
we break for hydration and deep breaths,
neither of us — as young as we feel.
during Winter, the dew-drenched grass
is slick and tricky but doesn’t trip
the quick pace of a four-legged athlete.
she glides through the sea of green
life is less difficult with her around.
the walks we take, they are glue
for pieces of me prone to breaking and
in need of constant repair.
she senses my love for them, for her.
in every step, I witness a pet
who is confident in her role as
caregiver, as companion.
I don’t have to be anyone else.
she gives me space to adapt
whenever adaptation is necessary.
I favor the weekend morning walk.
we stroll and strut and spend
our time wisely.
just us, the wind, God, and the clouds…
and the knowledge of a connection
between a woman and her dog.
My little dog — a heartbeat at my feet. ©Edith Wharton
This is my eleventh year with Jernee by my side. You may hear people say, “I don’t know who rescued who,” but I do know and I can say without one shadow of doubt, that with her — I am much better. With her, I am alive.