Photo by Jonathan Battistella on Unsplash

“Alright. We’ll start with very simple plies like so,” she began, her head tilting and arms moving in fast, abbreviated motions as she gave us the exercise. “So…demi, demi, grande, grande, port de bras forward, roll up, then tendu to second position. We’ll do that en quatre. In second port de bras goes toward the barre, in fourth it goes away, and in fifth, back. After you come out of fifth, releve, then come up and balance en passe for eight. Arms in first or fifth for the balance. Come down, turn, and we’ll go straight into the left side…

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so many chances spaces places to run to from and hide in close me, lock me tight my box dark and secure empty cold dark
so dark never let me out

i’ll shout out the demons burn them with my words
fireballs scorch them me you
let me burn alive

consumed by black so hollow haunted solitude sounds so confining,
so consecrated, so convincing
staring into the absence long enough leads one to see something

lights forever facing right at you
opening opening your eyes

my box is so dark, so comfortable, safe
i long for forever darkness i ache for…

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Insta-Mom — Just Add Water!

Now you too can be a Super Mom! Our revolutionary new product is guaranteed to transform you into a coupon-clipping, condo-cleaning, state-of-the-art Mom as we embark on a new millennium! Merge Martha Stewart with Donna Reed and add a dash of Tori Amos and voila! Insta-Mom is here!

Contains: One (1) Insta-Mom (ingredients: attractive 20-year old waitress that just gave up on a dance career and barely completed depression treatment), One (1) Young Dad (ingredients: brainy but romantic computer geek with hazel eyes and brown curls), One (1) Ex-Wife (ingredients: unstable, pseudo-hippie ex-wife to abandon her son and thus necessitate…

Photo by Isabella and Zsa Fischer on Unsplash

Seattle, 1999

“Liz, I want some Froot Loops. Liz, please get me some Froot Loops.” I rolled over to my left, meeting two summer-sky blue eyes looking back at me. “I want some Froot Loops, Liz.”

I looked at the clock. 7:53 a.m. “Okay, Ollie, lets go get you some Froot Loops,” I said with a sigh. Frazier was still asleep, on the other side of the bed, so Ollie and I crawled over him. I picked the toddler up, and he clasped his chubby arms around my neck. “Is that my good morning hug? Thank you. …

Photo by ALEXANDRE DINAUT on Unsplash

The house rumbled and the windows rattled in their sashes. Lightning shattered the sky every few minutes and I counted one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi, four-Mississi- and thunder boomed again. Instead of going up, my counts went down until they were on top of one another, no Mississippis in between, just light ripping open the sky while my bed shook.

My door opened with another bang and Jessie stood there, a perfect black silhouette against the bright hallway. Another flash of lightning came and lit her up like daytime. Sobbing, she ran and threw herself onto my bed.

I was hot, even…

Photo by Charles Loyer on Unsplash

I hear his heavy steps on the servants’ stairs. I didn’t hear his truck sputter as he pulled into the driveway, the chatter of the rippled glass as he opened and closed the backdoor, or the slip of the lock, but I hear his footsteps on the stairs. All fifteen of them.

At the top of the narrow staircase, he wrestles with the glass knob and the door yawns to let him in. The stairwell door shuts, he shuffles for a few steps and another handle rattles. One, two, three doors to pass through before he’s even in the hall…

Photo by Pat Whelen on Unsplash

When I was a girl in the 1980s, we lived in a mobile home park at the top of a steep hill in backwoods Missouri, about 25 miles outside of Saint Louis. The road was paved, but a dead end. In winter it made the perfect sledding hill. Gasping, my sister Abby and I dragged our makeshift sleds behind us as we stomped up the hill to take another run, the exhilaration of the slide worth the climb. …

Photo by Gaspar Uhas on Unsplash

Fall 1998

He sat isolated on the front porch, having left the living room to avoid the giggles and uninhibited spirits that had entered his home. Feeling responsible for his pathetic mood, I went outside to talk to him.

He was writing; he’s always writing, scribbling his soul down in spiral notebooks, awaiting my arrival to read and dissect his very being, his metaphorical thought processes. Tonight, he was waiting for me to read his latest entry.

“After you’re done with that one, I’m going to burn that notebook. I’m going to burn all of them.” I rolled my eyes…

Photo by DEVN on Unsplash

December 1996

I don’t remember who won the Monopoly game, but I remember everything else about that night at Carlson’s apartment over winter break of my freshman year of college. Steph, Hilary, Kevin and I had joined Carlson in his bachelor pad, a small collection of high school reunion buddies enjoying the effects of too much Coca-Cola and the fatigue of late night. After the game, Kevin and Hilary left, and Steph, my ride, left shortly after that.

I had an idea of what I wanted to have happen that night, but it didn’t include the reality of that early…

Any of the stories about why we left could be true, but I gravitate toward the one about the middle-aged father threatening to drive the Jeep off a cliff. I don’t know whether he imagined his family in the vehicle with him. The little boys wouldn’t have been wearing seatbelts in 1979. The infant would have been crying in her mother’s weak arms.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Somewhere in rural Sierra Leone eight-foot-tall elephant grass brushes the sides of the Wagoneer as it stumbles over deep ruts on a snaking dirt road. Somewhere the rains have eroded the bridge over a creek, logs bound…

Liz Wasson Coleman

Liz Wasson Coleman holds a BA in Arts & Literature from Antioch University. Her writing includes memoir, lyric essay, and fiction. She lives in Seattle, USA.

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