A Flat Earth

Time and Velocity.
Abstract concepts
in a universe where
we run when we’re late
for very important dates.
But time is nothing
or everything
and speed doesn’t matter
or does it?

Pour dust on shadows
and they fade with the light
we see but can’t touch,
like the time that
doesn’t exist

or it might

and the speed that
is constant;

we are
what we are
whenever we are,
wherever we are.

one form to another.

Lover to lover.

Words are shadows
that fade with the light.
Time is lost in a vacuum of
I love you,

Words of

a flat earth.


The 2 O’Clock Club

Blazing Star
teases the spotlight,
the woeful sun.
Brighter than 12 o’clock,
softer at 4 o’clock,
sought after midnight
night after night.
Star-gazers longing,
tense at the sight.
Neon lights on the block
can’t compete
when a body
on fire
feeds desire
the feel of heat,
a look, a gaze.
To dream
of this body on earth
as it is, as it must be,
in Heaven
ablaze. A Star
risen from the rough,
a gem,
both star and diamond
From coal, from earth,
a star among us,
one of us.
We find her
at 2 o’clock.

Fluid amber waves
through glass,
a momentary pleasure,
a grain of promise,
heat and desire,
high noon in summer,
midnight in winter
by a fire,
a full moon deceit
reflected behind regimented soldiers,
Don’t look there.
Look there!
Enticing, seductive,
more, than you
are, than you deserve.
You know —
you refuse to know —
you are not as desirable
as she
but it doesn’t matter
what you see through
goldened eyes
delights, for now
a grainy specter
in the dark night,
absent at dawn, but
at 2 o’clock.


Wings of Fire


No boy with waxen wings

plummeting to the sea.

No laughing cackling child

“Look at me!”

Not I.

No more a maid

wandering well-worn paths,

bound by others’ steps,

looking backwards,

always past.

Always passed.

Reflected in

ballroom masques

eyes bright behind the


Not I.

Wings on fire,

wings of light,

flames through the darkness

noon shadows at night.

Soar to the heavens,

sparks ignite.

Two of us burning;

my wings, you … star.


with wings of fire

fade to ash.


For Who I Amn’t

Samantha snapped her laptop shut. “He wants to meet.”

“You can’t meet him!” Her sister pushed back from the kitchen table, tipping the table as she stood, causing an empty chair to scrape across the tiled floor.

“Jesus, Mary! Watch out!” Samantha put her hands on her computer to keep it from falling off the table.

“You don’t know anything about him! You met him on line!” Always the older sister, Mary pounded a fist on the table. “I forbid it.”

Samantha laughed. “Right, Mary. I’m 45 years old and you forbid it. Look at me.” She stood. “I’m ignoring your forbidding.” Placing her laptop in its case, she grabbed her leather jacket off the back of the chair.

“Sam, seriously.” Mary groaned. “Why do you do these things to me?” She walked to her sister and put her hands on Samantha’s shoulders. “You met him online. He’s virtual. He’s unreal. He’s virtually unreal.”

Shaking Mary’s hands off her shoulders, Samantha put her arms into the sleeves of her jacket. “Considering you’re the one who helped me set up my online profile, I’m kind of surprised at your reaction.”

“Well,” Mary hesitated. “I didn’t think, I wasn’t sure….”

“Oh, great.” Samantha zipped her jacket shut, getting her sweater caught in the zipper in the process. “Great vote of confidence,” she said, tugging her sweater free. “He’s real, Mary.” Samantha threw a glare in her sister’s general direction. “I’ve been talking to him for months.”

“Yeah?” Mary decided the best defense was an offense. “What does he do for a living? Huh? Or rather, what does he say he does for a living?” Mary drove her finger into Samantha’s shoulder with each syllable.

Samantha grabbed the offending digit and bent it backwards.

“Ouch!” Mary shook the pain out of her hand.

“Serves you right.” Samantha buttoned her jacket. “Don’t poke me. I know how to fight, remember?” She pulled the jacket collar close around her neck. “Mistress of Mixed Martial Arts. I can kill a man with one strike, with my eyes closed.”

“Yeah, you might need those skills if you meet this guy.”

“This guy, as you refer to him, has a name. Timothy. He’s Timothy. And he produces documentaries. Lives in LA. Is going to be in Providence interviewing some guy at Brown University for a film on tracking refugees in Africa.”

“Refugees in Africa?” Mary laughed. “Right. Sounds like a saint. Bet people thought Ted Bundy was a saint, too.”

“Listen, Mary.” Samantha held her laptop under one arm as she felt for her gloves on the table and slipped them on, finger by finger. “I’ve talked to him for over 6 months. We’ve become friends. He says he’s a producer. Why shouldn’t I believe him? He’s going to be in Providence. That’s close enough for me to meet him. So, I’m taking the train and going to meet him in Mystic for lunch. Public place. Daytime. Safe. Okay?”

“You’re taking the train? To Mystic?” Mary grabbed her iPhone and opened the calendar. “When are you going? I’m going with you.”

“Oh, my God, Mary. Will you please stop. Mystic is the halfway point between Providence and New Haven. The station is near the restaurant we chose. I will be fine!”

Samantha turned and started to walk toward the door. Her foot caught in the chair that had been moved when Mary pushed the table. She tripped, sending her laptop flying across the room and Samantha sprawling on the cold Italian marble tiles.

“Dammit, Mary! Why did you move the chair?” Samantha bent over to get on her hands and knees, feeling around for the chair to hold onto as she pulled herself up. She brushed her clothes and felt her arms and legs for sore spots. “Thank God I’m an expert at falling,” she said. “Where’s my laptop?”

Mary walked over to the sofa, picked up the laptop and placed it on the table in front of her sister. “Here you go. Had a soft landing on the sofa.”

Samantha closed her eyes and lifted her face to the ceiling. “Who am I trying to kid, Mary? I’m an uncoordinated forty-five year old woman falling in love with a virtual man.” She turned the chair around and plopped herself down. “He says he can’t find women who will ‘love him for who he is, or isn’t,’ whatever the hell that means.”

“What the hell does that mean?” Mary sat across from her sister. “’Who he is, or isn’t?’ Who is he, the Riddler?”

“He gave me the impression that he’s, well, not very attractive.” Samantha rubbed her hand back and forth over her laptop case.

“Yeah? At least he has a sense of humor about it. What kind of guy has the nerve to use a picture of George Clooney as his profile picture?”

“Yeah. He joked about that.” Samantha laughed. “He told me that people have trouble ‘seeing beyond the exterior.’”

“Well, then,” Mary patted her sister on the back. “You guys are a match made in heaven.”

Samantha laughed. “Why don’t you say what you really think?”

“Sorry, Sam.” Mary’s fingers seemed to be pounding out the beat to the 1812 Overture on the table. “But sometimes, I just have to call it the way I see it, if you’ll pardon the expression.”

“You’re certainly on a roll with the barbs.” Samantha took a deep breath. “He says he likes me because he thinks I’m funny. He says I’m ‘genuine.’” She blew at a stray hair hanging over her nose and then pushed it behind her ear. “Other women get ‘glamorous.’ I get ‘genuine.’”

“So, Ms. Genuine. Have you told him all your secrets?” Now Mary was playing the scales on an invisible piano.

“No. I haven’t told him all my secrets.”

“What are you waiting for?”

“I guess I want to see if he’ll like me for who I am, or amn’t.” Samantha wrinkled her nose and squinted. “That’s a word, right? Amn’t?”

“You’re the writer.” Mary stood, ran water into a cup and put it in the microwave. She sighed. “Fame must be a horrible burden.”

“I’m not famous.” Samantha stood, attempting once more to leave, this time hopefully without falling on her face. “I’m infamous.”

“You write porn. You make a decent living writing about indecent things.” Mary turned and smiled at Samantha. “Liked your last chapter, by the way. Never thought of using salad tongs like that.”

“I hear the smile in your voice. You and Tony have a little fun, did you?”

“I don’t know where you come up with these things. But, man, I gotta tell you. You’re good. You are very, very good.”

“Comes from having an overactive imagination and an underactive sex life.” Samantha groaned. “God, if people only knew.”

Mary stopped Samantha on her way to the door. “When are you supposed to meet him?”

“Day after tomorrow.”

“Seriously?” Mary went into protective older sister mode again. “That’s too soon!”

“Jesus, Mary. We’ve been talking to each other for months. It is definitely not too soon.”

Mary opened the door for Samantha. “Have you ever actually talked to him? You know, spoken on the phone?”

“Yeah, lots of times.”

“What does he sound like? I mean, does he sound smart? Does he sound like an ax murderer?”

“Yes, Mary. He sounds exactly like an ax murderer. And I know that because I talk to a lot of ax murderers.” Samantha walked through the door but stopped on the steps and turned to Mary. “He sounds smart. He sounds kind. He sounds, familiar somehow. Like I already know him, have known him forever. It’s eerie.”

“You mean like one of those past life regression kind of things?” Mary giggled. “Maybe you were ill fated lovers, like Lancelot and Guinevere, or Uther and Ygraine.”

“Or Bonnie and Clyde.” Samantha walked down the steps to the sidewalk.

“You sure you don’t want me to drive you home?” Mary put her hand out to feel the weather. “It’s going to rain.”

“No, Mary. I’m fine,” Samantha called back to her sister. “I won’t melt. The bus will be here in just a tick.”

Samantha could feel Mary’s eyes on her as she walked down the street to the bus stop. “I’m okay, Mary,” she said to herself. “I’m okay.”


The train arrived in Mystic uncharacteristically early, about two minutes ahead of schedule. Samantha had arranged for a cab to meet her at the station to take her the few blocks to the Inn where she would meet Timothy.

“Timothy.” She said his name out loud, liking the sound of it on one hand, but finding it rather formal on the other. Was he Timothy? Or a Tim? Timmy?

She had described herself to the taxi dispatcher, who seemed not to be worried about it.

“Yeah, lady. Not many people get off in Mystic. We’ll spot ya.”

And they had.

The old cabbie, sounding every bit the fisherman home from the sea, chatted with Samantha for the entire 2 minute ride.

“From out of town are ya?”

“Yes,” Samantha smiled. “Just here for the day.”

“For the day, are ya?”

“Yes. Just for lunch, really. Meeting a friend.”

“A friend, ya say?”

“Yes. A friend.”

“Well, we got ya on the schedule for a four o’clock pick up.”

“Yes, that should be fine.”

The cab pulled up in front of the Inn, bumping onto the sidewalk of the narrow street. Samantha opened the door and stretched her legs till her red cowboy boots touched the asphalt, searching for even footing.

“See ya at four!” The cabbie drove away with a sputter and a billow of gasoline infused smoke.

Samantha stood for a moment to get her bearings. “Shit. Should’ve had him point me in the right direction.” She turned her body to the sun, felt the warmth of it seep through her jacket, and then turned again in the opposite direction. “Buildings, away from the sun,” she said under her breath. “Aim for the shade.”

She opened her white cane with a snap of the wrist and an expertise that came from doing the movement for years. She tapped around her, feeling the sidewalk for obstacles.

“Excuse me.” It was his voice. “Samantha?” The after pause lingered.

Samantha extended her hand in the general direction of the voice. “Samantha Majors. Blind as a Bat.”

The silence was deafening, but she was used to it. She was used to having to let people get used to her. She never knew how someone was going to respond. Some would politely withdraw, afraid of her sightlessness, afraid that it might mean more work for them. Others would go overboard in their acceptance of her, hiding their fear behind zealous enabling. And sometimes, rarely, they’d see beyond her eyes.

This was what she was hoping for now.

“Surprise.” She decided to be the one to break the ice.

He laughed and took her hand. “I guess so.”

Thank God.

He pulled her close and hugged her. “Have any other secrets?” he whispered into her ear.

“Oh, one or two more. But this was the big one.”

She pulled out of his hug. “I hope you don’t mind.”

“That you have secrets?”

“No.” Putting her hands on his face, she smiled. “That I want to know what you look like. You’re one up on me.”

She slowly ran her fingers over his eyes.

“What color?”


Her hands continued tracing his face. “Nice nose.”

“Thank you.”

“A beard. Neat. Trimmed.”

“Thank you, I think.”

She ran her hands over his shoulders.

“Strong. Not too big, not too small.”

“Okay, Goldilocks.” He took her hands in his. “Any lower and you’ll know way more about me than you might want to know, at the moment.”

Samantha pulled her hands away quickly. “Okay, then!”

They laughed easily together, but then stood for a moment in an awkward silence.

“I’m sorry.” Samantha aimed her face at the ground. “I should have told you, I know. But I wanted you to get to know me, before you decided that I wasn’t…right.” She lowered her head. “I’m sorry. It’s lame. I got you here under false pretenses.”

“Believe it or not, I understand.”

Samantha couldn’t stop focusing on his voice. It was clearer in person. She knew this voice. It was refined, but casual. It was direct, strong, and yet tinged with humor, kindness.

“I feel like I know you,” she said.

“You do know me. We’ve talked for months.”

“No,” she repeated. “I feel like I know you.”

“Mr. Clooney? Your table’s ready.” A young woman called from the Inn’s open door.

The after pause lingered.

“Surprise.” He was the one to break the ice.

“You’re name’s not Timothy, is it?”

“That’s my middle name.”

“And your first name?”


“Shit.” Samantha ran a gloved hand through her hair. “You mean, you really are George Clooney?”


Samantha turned her head from side-to-side, a memory of a movement she would have made if she had sight, if she could have seen which direction she should run.

“Not to state the obvious,” her voice bordered on shrill and out of control. “But why the hell are you meeting someone online, for God’s sake?” Samantha faced him, hoping her blank stare was aimed directly into his eyes. “You’re George fuckin’ Clooney. You could have your pick of anyone. Everybody loves George Clooney.”

“Yeah. That’s the problem. Everybody loves George fuckin’ Clooney, as you so nicely put it.”

Samantha smiled. “Yeah, sorry.”

He laughed. “No, you’re right. But at this point in my life, it would be nice to find someone who wants to know me, to get beyond the exterior. And that’s hard.”

They were quiet a moment, sizing each other up.

“Wow. Who would have thought….” Samantha smiled.

“Yeah. Who would have thought?” His low laugh was incredibly sexy. “So, what about you? Why were you looking for someone online?”

Samantha placed her hands gently on his face.

“To find someone who will love me for who I am, or amn’t?”

“Is amn’t a word?” Samantha felt the smile under his words.

“It is now.”



All for the Wrong Word

a little bit of a ghost story….


“This house has great bones.” Jameson jiggled the key in the rusty lock and pushed open the heavy oak door. “Such potential.” He faked a bow and waved Maggie into the foyer.

“Leave it to you to see potential in a rundown hole-in-the-wall.” She picked up a lose floorboard with the toe of her boot and pushed it aside. “I’m not sure why you even brought me here,” she said, turning to leave.

Her eye caught the dust caked transom over the door. Dim light through ancient stained glass beckoned like distant headlights through a thick fog. “This house was someone else’s dream,” she said quietly, squinting at what seemed under the dirt to be a nautical scene, a boat sailing in a bay. She walked to the door and stared up at the transom. “A dream gone bad.”

“You’re too literal, Maggie,” he said. “Step back, feel the history of the place, the magic.”

“Magic.” Standing on her toes, she reached for the high window and wiped a thin streak across the grimy panes.

“Yes, Maggie. Magic.” He opened a door under the stairs. “Look in here.” He pulled a string, lighting the small room with a bare bulb. “Isn’t it darling!”

In the corner was a tiny triangular sink with brass faucets and spindle handles marked “Hot” and “Cold.” A toilet fit snugly into the space under the sloped ceiling beneath the stairs.

Wiping the dust from the transom off of her finger, Maggie snuck around Jameson. She caught her wavy reflection in a mirror hung with a tattered green ribbon above the sink. Gray clouds in the glass gave the impression she was surrounded by mist.

A smile slowly graced her reflection.

“It’s a charming little space, isn’t it?” Jameson turned and started for the stairs. “Come with me. There’s more.”

“In a minute.” Maggie cocked her head, trying to see into the mirror, beyond her reflection.

She closed the door to the small room. Turning the handle marked “Cold,” a burst of brown watery air spewed into the sink like a beer drinker’s guffaw. She turned on the “Hot” and the empty pipes groaned.

She sat down on the toilet seat and picked at a loose piece of wallpaper, pink roses in a vertical vine from chair rail to ceiling.

Water closet.

She heard the words clearly. The voice was pleasantly, eerily familiar.

I’ll light the candles.

Maggie looked up. “I’ll light the candles.”

Your hands are so strong.

“It’s the bread,” she said, “the kneading.”

You’re cold.

“It’s starting to snow.” She rubbed her hands together. An unseen hand covered hers, the pressure of a warm arm wrapped round her.

I won’t tarry long.

“Please, don’t leave,” she whispered. “Please.”

A triple rap on the door and Jameson called to her. “Hey, you okay in there?”

“Please, don’t leave,” she whispered again.

“Maggie?” He drummed his fingers on the door.

“Yes, Jameson,” she said. “I’ll be right there.”

From where she sat, the mirror was black, the shading of age blocking any clear image of the small room from this angle. She stood, looking for a long moment in the mirror, seeing only her smiling face.

“Maggie.” Jameson rapped on the door again.

“Yes, yes,” she said, opening the door.

“You okay?” Jameson put his hand on her cheek. “You’re as white as a ghost.”

She put her hand over his, his fingers cool on her warm face. “I’m fine. Show me upstairs,” she said, leading the way.

Jameson ran his hand over the cracked oak bannister as he walked up the stairs behind her. “This place is just dying to be brought back to life.”

Maggie stumbled, catching herself before falling up the stairs.

“My God, Maggie,” Jameson said, coming up behind her. “You sure you’re okay?”

“Yes.” She turned and sat down on the top step. “No.”

Jameson leaned into her. “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “I think it’s this house.” She put her head on her knees. “I’m a builder, not a renovator, Jameson. I can’t take someone else’s dead dream and revive it.”

“Stop being so morbid.” He pulled her up by her elbow, pushing her down the hallway and into a large room. Sunlight danced on dust motes as the sun streamed through the wavy glass in the ancient windows. “Just look at this room!”

An iron bedframe and an oak commode, the shattered pieces of its porcelain bowl scattered over the floor, were the only furnishings left behind.

We have a water closet now!

“But I like the commode,” Maggie said.

“Commode?” Jameson opened the drawer in its base “This thing could catch a mint at auction.”

It’s the twentieth century.

“I like old things.”

“Since when?” Jameson practically squealed. He slammed shut the commode drawer and stared at Maggie. “Okay, Maggie. What the hell is going on?”

Maggie walked to the commode and opened the drawer, pulling it out as far as she could. She reached in the back and felt around.

“What are you doing?”

She turned to Jameson. “I don’t know what I’m doing,” she said, pulling out a folded piece of yellowed paper. She handed it to Jameson.

“It’s a letter.”

Maggie looked out the window.

“I can barely read it,” he said, holding it close to his face. “The letters are faded, but I’ll give it a go.”

I’m sorry, Jameson read. I shan’t…. “They said things like shan’t back then?”

I’m sorry, Maggie continued, still looking out the window. I shan’t be able to return as expected. Know that you are forever in my heart.

Jameson lowered the letter.

“He never returned,” she said.

I did.


I should have written when, not as.


You should have waited.

Maggie ran from the room, down the stairs, and into the water closet. She looked at her smiling face and the hand holding a jagged shard of porcelain.

He came back.

“He did?”

I just wanted you to know.


For Whom the Bills Mowed

A little piece written in the manner of Hemmingway. Maybe.


I stood in the knee high grass, alone amidst the crickets and katydids. The lawn mower was where I had left it ages ago. I had been cutting the grass in the most perfect rows. They were enviable rows with shadowed lines that were, I believed, the talk of my neighbors. But the mower died. It was a good mower. It mowed for years. It was lighter than most and easy for me to push. It was heavy enough, though, to make clear the patterns I mowed. But now, it was dead.


God, the great controller, took away my mower, and I was to repent. I had sinned for years, taking pleasure in my well-manicured lawn. Taking pleasure in the knowledge that no other lawn was as beautiful as mine. It was important to me. The rest of my life could be in tatters, but my lawn was impeccable. Appearances were all. No one knew by looking at my lawn that I dreaded sleep. No one knew my fear of dreams, dreams of a full bottle, just beyond my reach.


I knew God to be forgiving. I also knew God made one work for forgiveness. Thus, I stood in the knee high grass alone, except for the crickets and the katydids. My task was to suffer the embarrassment of wild grass. I was to feel no longer the sin of pride.


My pride, though, was only on the surface. God knew in my heart I was humble. Why would he make me suffer? Why the embarrassment of tall grass? I thought God particularly cruel.


I had no money to speak of. I would not fix the mower or buy a new one. I had some money tucked away in the mason jar behind the refrigerator, but only enough that I might be able to pay someone a few dollars to mow once, and only once. I decided to ask around for the name of someone who might mow. I did not ask my neighbors. I did not want them rejoicing in my public repentance. Instead, I decided to walk to the bar on the corner. If I was to repent, I would repent with all my heart.


“Haven’t seen you for a while.” The bartender put a shot glass down in front of me. “Usual?”


“Surprised you remember. It’s been a long time.” Ten years, six months, eight days, into the second twelve hours.


“Thought you moved. Or died. Or something.” He reached for a bottle.


“Not dead yet.” A ray of sunlight lit the amber liquid in the bartender’s hand. “Gimme water,” I said. “Just water.”


The bartender nodded, and filled a glass.


“Wondered if that’s what happened.”


“Happens to the best of us.” Happens to the worst of us.


“I’m looking for someone to mow my grass. Know of anybody?”




“Yeah. Got a broke mower. Grass is high.”


“I mow.” An old man left his seat in the dark corner by the kitchen and walked to the bar. “My son also mows.”


The bartender raised his eyebrows. “You and Bill mow?”


“Yup. And we don’t ask for money.”


“You mow for free?”


“We like to keep busy. That’s all. Keep us outta trouble.” He smiled.


I smiled back.


The father’s name was Bill, too. I called them the Bills. We made arrangements for the Bills to mow on Thursday, two days hence.


The Bills arrived early that morning. It was supposed to be hot later in the day. They wanted to mow while it was still cool. The arrived, having walked down the street pushing two identical mowers, ancient as the father and son who pushed them. I walked through the yard with them. I described the patterns I had mowed. They nodded, started their engines, and began to mow. I stood for a moment watching them, but I was ashamed and regretted my pride. I went inside and sat at the kitchen table until the sound of the mowers ceased.


The sudden silence shot through me like the devil’s pitchfork. I dabbed sweat from my brow, stood, and went outside. The Bills stood in the middle of my lawn, grinning. “Come see!” The older Bill waved me over. I remained where I was, wondering what I had done to deserve God’s continued wrath.


So the Bills walked toward me, pushing the silent mowers. The younger Bill talked while they walked, taking great pride in describing how much fun they had mowing, how one would mow in circles and the other figure eights. They left swaths of long grass standing, marking the squares and circles, triangles and hexagons, the simple geometric patterns that now were my lawn.


One by one, my neighbors opened their doors. Across-the-street actually came out and walked to the edge of his property.


“Whatcha got going, there, Miller? Eh?”


I hung my head. I decided in that instant that there is no God. I would sleep that night, undisturbed. Dreamless.


“We mowed his yard for free!” The younger Bill seemed glad for an audience.


Across-the-street laughed. “You know, Miller, you pay some way for anything that is any good.”


The older Bill scratched his head. He seemed to be struggling to determine if this was a compliment or not.


“You shoulda got references,” said Across-the-street. “Shoulda talked to someone they mowed for before you.”


I knew he was right. I knew that I had been too caught up in my selfish pride.


I hadn’t thought to ask for whom the Bills mowed. They mowed for free.


I am Lucy.

A nod to the voice in my head that tells me to keep moving.


My name is Lucy.

It doesn’t do you justice, my dear. Women named Lucy are always being imposed upon…but Lucia, now there’s a name for an amazon… for a queen.

I don’t feel much like a queen. I feel frightened and confused and wondering what the future will bring.

Don’t you trust me?

Oh, I do, when I’m talking to you. When you’re not here, I– Well, it’s asking a great deal to expect anyone to trust her future to a– To someone who isn’t real.

But I am real. I’m here because you believe I’m here. And keep on believing…and I’ll always be real to you.


Excerpted from the script for the film “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” based on the novel by R.A. Dick.