Heathen tongue

Loneliness, sudden –
a wrecking ball or
a surgeon’s scalpel
boorish and imprecise or
maddeningly targeted –
Knocks me to my knees
crushes my bones, then
Incises my chest and
I genuflect as my soul
drips out to the ground
drop by crimson drop
evaporating like hot breath
Like a prayer on my
heathen tongue

Time was running out

She could see it all so clearly: one-room seaside cottage with weathered shingles, pine floor boards, a crude wooden bed frame with a spartan mattress covered with ancient cotton sheets and a coarse woolen blanket. A shaker table that served as her desk with a single chair next to it under the small square window with crossed panes looking out to sea. There she was, wrapped in solitude, standing by the chair, holding onto its back with both hands. Back straight, eyes gazing out into the unimaginable distance. In profile. Always in profile. A notebook on the desk, open to a half-filled page, a pen in the seam. It was all so clear. Yet no matter how close she got to the letters, she could never make out any sentences or paragraphs. The words looked scrambled, random, like they had arranged themselves of their own will but without any consideration to meaning or sense. This scene had always made her feel expectant, excited, at the threshold, but now she was losing hope. She just wasn’t sure that the words would ever fall into a story that she could tell to herself and the world. And she was afraid that time was running out.