Family Owned

Part I: A Snapshot

Open Arms|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

“Davie Boy, pull that branch away from the main walkway, please. We don’t need anyone tripping and breaking their neck … The last thing I can stomach is a lawsuit, especially during a damn global pandemic. And while you’re at it, see if you can take a proper photo of the Jane Magnolia trees. I wanna showcase them in the new magazine for the shop.”

Starla beckoned from behind the desk of her family’s bed-and-breakfast. Davie Boy, her younger brother, helped to keep the place up and running. He was what you’d call a “handyman,” but he was more man than he was handy.

“And where is that God-forsaken niece of mine?! CHLOE! CHLOE! GET DOWN HERE, ASAP!”

The walls of the shop creaked. Starla was a loud woman. Always heard. Barely seen. She made the lives of everyone around her miserable. She now lived as a divorcée who owned two cats, a dog, and hundreds of handmaid quilts from the elder women in her family. And … part of the bed-and-breakfast. Buddy, her older brother, is the other owner.

“Starla, I don’t get paid enough for this. I threw my back out messin’ ‘round with them branches and those magnolia trees aren’t half-bloomed yet. Be a pity to waste good film on them in that state. Probably best to wait another week.”

Starla listened to the saucy words of her kid brother, knowing full well he was half-right. A lump formed in her throat. She swallowed hard.

“Whatever. Thank you.”

Buddy didn’t stick around much. The only things he had on Starla was age, favored gender by their dad, and the uncanny ability to lie in the face of danger. He could talk himself out of trouble and talk himself into bed with anyone. Starla, if she were truthful, envied him.

“I’ll just see if Buddy can do it the next time he swings by this way. He should’ve dropped the deposit off last Friday, haven’t seen the fool yet. Don’t worry about any of it, Davie Boy. It’ll get done. Can you collect your daughter and run to the store? Here’s the list.”

She handed Davie Boy the shopping list and watched as her niece came bouncing down the stairs in a revealing top and some short-shorts — Daisy Duke short.


“No, ma’am. No, ma’am! Head right on back up those stairs and put on some more clothes, young lady! What in the name … Have you lost your mind? Davie Boy, you let her dress like this? Showing her business to the world? You will march right up those stairs and find something else to wear.”

Starla rubbed her temples and sighed a great sigh. Her head throbbed. She needed a drink. Davie Boy’s voice snapped her back into focus.

“You know I can’t do anything with her, Starla. Since June died, Chloe’s been acting out — talkin’ back, breakin’ curfew, smoking weed — ”

“She’s been doing what? Aw, hell no! Leave her here with me. She can help me with the B & B and the flower shop. Don’t you fret, Davie Boy. Things’ll be back in order around here soon. Just you wait and see.”

Chloe descended the stairs just as her aunt finished her speech. This time, she had on a mini-skirt, a halter top, and some thigh-high boots.

“Davie Boy, go get me that vodka and some ibuprofen.”

Starla shook her head in disbelief, tutted the air between her teeth, and shot her niece a devil-filled stare.

“Tomorrow. I’ll deal with you tomorrow.”


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

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Featured Audio Poem of the Week

Jennifer Patino is not only a most recent contributor to A Cornered Gurl via Medium, but she is also someone I have been reading on WordPress for years. Her most recent blog/website is Thistle Thoughts and the world of poetry, spoken word, essays, and her thoughts and reflections come to life there.

Recently, I put out a call for audio poems to be submitted to A Cornered Gurl for our Feature of the Week and approached Jennifer to take on the challenge. She did so. Not only did she hit us with her words, she gut-punched us with the reading of them.

A Native American, “enrolled Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe,” Jennifer speaks about her people, their fight to survive, what has and continues to be taken away from them, and the move toward the betterment of our nation and our hearts.

I give you, You Wanna Talk, and I hope you feel it as much as we do.


You Wanna Talk?

Photo by Dulcey Lima via Unsplash

Audio Poem

I’m petrified into silence,
mute disbelief, my grief
holds my tongue, my words
buried inside me

You wanna talk oppression? It’s
almost an obsession, how you
feel you have to prove you suffer
more than the weak

You wanna talk fear? When I
wake, feeling like I was born
for the slab and may arrive early
because you “can’t breathe” through a mask?

I can list many, my dear, who literally
could not breathe, while being murdered by
police brutality, who
could not breathe in gas chambers,
who are no longer breathing,
brothers, mothers, significant others

You wanna talk sin, or attacks on religion?
My people could practice again in 1978, remember
it was taken away? No, you don’t
You can’t

I can’t speak for all, only me,
a voice from your sacrificial altar,
a daughter being led to slaughter
for your economy

for your frogskins, your chameleon colored money
You wanna talk hardship?
You can’t work on a ventilator
Your bank doesn’t matter
when you’re deceased

I watch infections increase, and
I cry for every family I watch
injustice happening in the streets,
and I contemplate destiny

I think of all these martyrs, I try
and remember, their names, their faces
I want them to be
more than just a hashtagged tragedy
I want, no, I need
to remember

You wanna talk flags?
I wave a white one too
It says “I surrender”


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Redacted (An Experiment)

Europeana via Unsplash

An Audio Poem

They tell me, erasing one’s
bloodline is not something
they can do, however, I’m
censored and erased without permission
and I wonder,

“Is it what I’m saying or how
I’m saying it?”

And I sit and watch the people
of the world gather amongst
themselves to finally show us
their vocal sides of life.
I guess being silent came
at a heavy price and not everyone
can carry a cross.

Not everyone’s built for burdens
thrown upon their shoulders at
a moment’s notice.

I’ve found my cross to bear is mine
and mine alone — I carry it knowing
this life is not my last.

Many are learning about Tulsa, Rosewood,
Atlanta, and Wilmington
and they think they know the struggles
of a people who have done nothing but
fight for basic rights to
claim the fight from us.

Yes, we need your voices.
We need you to understand that
this — this being black and fighting
is a thing that has been a thing and
now with new eyes placed upon
fresh faces, millions see what should
have been seen centuries ago.

Removed from history books, our stories
were buried in places where cobwebs
hide and tethered papers have been
forbidden to see the light of day.

You tear down a few statues, remove
racist blips from comedic performances,
change the names of products drenched in hate,
and feel as though this should . . .

Shut. Us. Up.

Oh, ye’ of little faith, we are only
growing stronger and the fight that
will come after this will be one
spoken about years beyond the depth
and breadth of the color of one’s skin.

Now, redact that.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Absent-minded

silhouette of man holding two childrens on shore during daytime
Photo by Jude Beck via Unsplash

Hurriedly, he slathered butter on the toast & shoved the kids out the door.

“Come on girls, quickly! You don’t want to miss the bus!”

The girls followed behind him, their bare naked bodies bopping in sync with Daddy. He thinks, has he forgotten something?

He has.


This microfiction piece is in response to a Twitter #vss365 prompt. The word: slather.

When the Night Barks

And love has no bite

Photo Credit: Luis Quintero via Pexels

If I had a magic wand, my life would not include me saying the following statement multiple times a week: “No, I am not taking any visitors at this time. Due to my line of work, it’s best that I do not.” For those of you who do not know, I am a Patient Access Specialist turned Screener for an imaging facility. My transitional position, due to the Coronavirus COVID-19, places me front and center in surveying patients and taking their temperatures prior to entering our waiting areas. I screen anywhere from one hundred twenty to one hundred eighty-five people per day with a low to moderate percentage of exposure to the virus.

Some family members get the importance of my refusals to their requests, others want to test the waters of me and see how far they can take their reach without me blocking it or shutting it down. I am not one who likes repeating herself but for this, I make sure I am loud and clear.

I will miss out on a few opportunities for gathering with family this summer and it is because I have to take every precaution to ensure my safety and the safety of others. My health is important. I want to be sure it remains intact for the foreseeable future.

I have brothers, cousins, uncles, and aunts who want to visit from various Coronavirus, COVID-19 hotspots across the nation and in my mind, all I can think is, “Why would you want to visit me while we’re in the middle of a global pandemic? Why do you think I want you to?” Politely declining family gatherings and visitations is becoming my forté but I have no regrets. At least, not right now.

But how will I feel when the night barks and love has no bite? What will I do when the yearning for a hug becomes the one prayer I lend to God religiously? Am I strong enough? Will my defiance of running toward “some sense of normalcy” get the best of me? Only time will tell.

Right now, I am in avoidance mode and for several reasons. I cannot, in good faith, slack off in any way on the methods of survival and remaining virus-free if I give in to the simple requests of others.

To an unbearable extent, everyone is antsy. They’re ready to experience life the way they knew it to be Pre-Coronavirus days, but I am faced with the reality of its deadliness every single day and I am in no rush to gain a life back that does not have what I mostly need from it.

I have had the ungodly task of living through sixteen days wrought with worry while a co-worker panted through the depths of Hell and came back from a rigorous bout with said virus and the last thing I want is to be in his shoes. No, thank you.

It breaks my heart to not be able to see, spend time with, and share in the love of my beautiful family, but I love them enough to know I am bad for their health and to keep myself away from them regardless of their pleas. I love them enough to want them to live through this phase of life, come out unscathed, and tell the story of it.

The night does pull at me and oftentimes, I haven’t the strength to conquer it. A few loud barks from its deep voice doesn’t scare me. I don’t even flinch.

But, I will be completely transparent, it’s the absence of the vastness of love and all versions of it I miss the most. It is the intensity of a thing I’ve forced myself to believe I want more than breathing. I want to live through this pandemic and share stories of it with the same loved ones pressing me to open up my door and let them in.

Will I lose their admiration and perhaps the closeness we’ve had over the years? It is a possibility. But, I’d rather keep the potency of love in its full form in my heart than run the risk of losing its bite.


Originally published in P. S. I Love You via Medium.

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Creative content straight from the mind of an innovator trying to shift the world with her writing.

$1.25