The Mountain Trek Prompt 9

The Mountain Trek

The firefly danced around the old cottage that sat on the mountain at treeline. Richard Robertson dragged himself toward it. Pine needles and dirt stuck to his damp clothing. Overcome with heat, he longed for a bottle of cold water or any water at all. He’d lost the supplies in his backpack when he’d slid into the rushing stream. His mask dangled from his right ear. He knew he should wear it to keep the bugs out of his mouth and nose, but the afternoon heat had made it difficult to breathe through it. He swatted ineffectually at the bugs at his face. He thought it was strange for a cottage to be this far up the mountain, but he was happy to find it. Sweat dripped into his eyes and lethargy overcame him. The porridge he’d eaten that morning had long since left his stomach which growled again. He ducked as a large red bird zoomed by. He wavered on his unsteady feet and slumped at the foot of the pine tree. He fell into his last sleep mere feet from the cottage door.

Fireworks Prompt 8


After William Blake


Tiger! Tiger! Burning bright

In the forest of the night.


It’s the fireworks that we see

Flashing, crashing through the trees.


Tiger! Tiger! Burning bright

In the forest of the night.


Starting fires and ruining friends.

It’s only June, when will it end?


Tiger! Tiger! Burning bright

In the forest of the night.


Bring on the hail and pouring rain.

We don’t want fireworks ever again.


Tiger! Tiger! Burning bright

In the forest of the night.

The Season of the Last Happiness Prompt 7

The Season of the Last Happiness

We were there. We were with her. Retired, 

I didn’t have to be on the phone or email 

with anyone. I could be there for her. 

With her. Every day. All day. She didn’t 

want a lot. What she wanted most was 

for the PT to be done. It didn’t matter any more. 

And so we said, “Begone!” though 

we were nicer than it sounds 

and everyone on the team totally agreed. 

So they said their good-byes, wished 

her well, backed out of the room 

and left her in peace.  We sat together, 

we talked, we read books and newspapers. 

We did her nails every Wednesday afternoon. 

She could see the flashes of color 

on her fingertips. Meals she wanted 

we did our best to bring them all. 

And snacks, too.  Hot, black coffee 

with chocolate every night. She slept. 

Then hot tea with lemon and shortbread 

and lemon cookies, sometimes raspberry 

ones as well in the afternoon. All good.

It was a special time. Sometimes 

she knew us. Those were the best times. 

And the conversations about people 

we didn’t know, well, all we needed 

to do was agree now and then.

It was all good. Long term memory, 

you know. I wondered where she’d been 

as we sat some afternoons 

and she whispered quietly. 

What was happening?

Yes, it was a quiet, special time.

Ideal Day Prompt 6

Ideal Day


Aroma nudges my nose and I roll over, 

stretch arms and legs, reach out 

feeling muscles twitch. On my feet, 

I pour, mix and stir. Steam wafts, 

tickling my nose, warmth down my throat 

into my mid-section. I dress and pull clothes 

over my head pressing my hair to my scalp, 

encase my feet in socks and shoes. 

cool leather chair, close my eyes, 

I walk through the door into sunshine 

and head toward the bridge, 

feel the concrete sidewalk under my feet, 

nod at people I meet, words in my ears. 

Up and down in sun and shade eventually

returning home, fingertips pressing buttons. 

I revel in warm water flowing through my hair 

and over my body then the texture of a soft towel,

pull dry clothes over me. I sit in the slide into myself,

a buzz breaks my silence 

and I offer prayers for my people. 

I open the doors and cold air rushes out, 

pick items and taste the sweetness of grapes 

and pull in some sticky peanut butter. 

I close the door and open the notebook. 

My people come to life again on the page.

The sun fades into evening.

I taste what you have provided, we read

and then I slip into nothingness.


The Cabin Prompt 5

The Cabin


Her grandfather had built the cabin 

for her grandmother in 1963. 

Trees cleared from the property 

to make space for it in the wilderness

had turned into logs that made 

sturdy exterior walls. Inside 

there was a central living room 

with bedrooms and a bathroom 

from its four corners. The kitchen, 

under the loft on the west side, 

sported a wood and coal stove 

and running water. Stacks of quilts, 

stacks of wood, boxes of games 

and puzzles and pictures on the walls

showed how the cabin had been used, 

life lived and loved here. But her favorite 

thing of all was the heart 

her grandfather had carved into a log

near the front door. It was deep, 

family legend went, just like his love 

for her grandmother.

Letter to Gram from Stapleton — Aurora, Colorado Prompt 4

Letter to Gram from Stapleton — Aurora, Colorado

Dear Gram: 

It’s been awhile since I wrote. I know, you’d be happy if I wrote you a letter every day but you understand when sometimes it’s a week or more between letters. I use my letters, you know, to understand what’s been going on in my life myself as well as to share it with you. I guess it’s from all those summer nights when we shared a room. I don’t know that I appreciated you then as much as I should have. I’m sorry. It’s kind of embarrassing, my own grandmother and all. The best I can say is that I was just a kid, kind of annoying, a little bossy and one who thought she knew everything. If only …. I put Stapleton up there. That’s the name of the housing district where we live. It used to be the airport and I flew into the airport for work so often. It was in north Denver then and I used to joke that it took as long to get from home to the airport as it did from the airport to whatever hotel had been picked for our meeting. The name is controversial. I won’t go into it, but it’s going away.  The name, that is. Work. I liked what I did, Gram. I thought I helped make a difference. That’s what I needed. To make a difference. I remember what you said about books. I still read three different kinds of books each day though I kind of mix them up from what you recommended and I’ve expanded what I think of as books to nurture my soul. A few lately have dinged it. Oh, Gram, there is so much going on that’s so sad. We have an awful President. I know, you’d say that awful doesn’t tell you anything. That if I want to complain  I need to be specific. Use words that say what I want to say. He’s mean, Gram. He’s been mean to people. He isn’t trying to bring the country together. I think he’s trying to tear us apart. He says things that aren’t true. I need to stop. Thinking of him, just makes me look forward to the next election. It’s the election that’s going to make the difference, get him out of office. I hope. But where are all the younger men and women? Gram, we haven’t had a woman president yet. I don’t understand what’s wrong with our country. What is it with these old, white guys!? Well, enough of that. I remember how you didn’t gain weight. I wish I could remember your secret. Was it that you didn’t eat a lot? Portion control? That’s my failing. I love food. I love the taste of it, but I’ve been working hard to keep it off. The weight, I mean. I found  a recipe for a fake ice cream made with bananas. Always bananas and another fruit or something interesting. I love it and so does Bill.You’d like Bill, Gram. It’s funny when I think that you met David. We did get married and were married for nearly 25 years. I waited a long time for him to change when I think about it. But he didn’t and I just gave up. Bill and I have been married ten years. He’s been so good to me. We’ve got this pandemic going on now. Like the one in 1918 with the Spanish flu. Mom was born that year. I’m really glad she made it or I wouldn’t be here now. Well, Gram, I think of you so much. I’m glad you got to see pictures of Grant. Ryan came along a few years later. And they both have kids. It’s been a happy life. I know you and Mom must get together often up there and probably Aunt Lucile, too. Later, Love, Karen

She Wanted to Be a Mama Prompt 3

She Wanted to be a Mama


There’s a road down into a valley where people who want to 

make a difference move in.  The valley is flat right up to the mountains. 

There is brush and dirt. The best crops are low to it or under it. 

Mushrooms and potatoes. In the windy season, Spring, you can get lost 

in dirt storms. Houses are small and old. Most buildings are fifty

or more years old. Then there are the people. They have been here 

for generations. New ones learn why the land is dirt cheap. 


All she wanted was to be a mama and now she is 

though she can’t buy diapers ‘til the welfare check comes in.


Girls here tote babies as they read English texts 

and do math problems if they are lucky enough to have 

a mother or grandmother or even an older sister, 

not yet 20 with 2 or 3 kids of her own, to push her

to finish high school. But most often she doesn’t 

join the mamas’ classes, getting bigger every year. 

She’ll live in her own bedroom with the baby or maybe 

the father’s house if her parents have kicked her out 

to give them more space.  


All she wanted was to be a mama and now she is 

though she can’t buy diapers ‘til the welfare check comes in.


If you’ve come here to be a social worker or a teacher

who cares, these girls will pierce your heart with their lack 

of interest in a future.  What are they going to do? 

Sign up for welfare. Life is cheap here in the valley. 

They can make it. Maybe work a few shifts at McDonalds, 

but not too many. Teachers, it’s hard to make a difference here.


All she wanted was to be a mama and now she is 

though she can’t buy diapers ’til the welfare check comes in.

How to Find Contentment Prompt 2

How to Find Contentment 


Find a beach. A place where the waves 

race up on the shore and smoothe it. 

If you give them time the waves 

can do that for you, smoothe over 

the rough places of life, lull you. 

Hopefully you’ll find some clouds 

for the sky. They’ll dance over the sun 

and give you some shade during the day, 

but bring an umbrella or rent one 

if it’s that big a beach. Smaller beaches 

might be better, fewer people. 

Maybe you know of a “locals only” 

beach. Spend the day, play in the waves,

lay on your back, let the waves roll over 

you and see what’s hiding in the clouds, 

eat your lunch and drink lots of water. 

Always water. As the day goes by, 

feel the contentment flow into your body 

until even your fingernails and toenails

are content. As evening arrives, 

watch the clouds. Sometimes 

they call cloud buddies 

and will gather together to cry they are 

so happy in the sky watching you. 

If you’re truly lucky you can sit 

on the shore and watch the sun 

sink into the ocean and see 

in pinks, oranges, blues and purples 

explode over the sky. 

Tomorrow you can do it again. 

Found contentment?


20.06.27   8 a.m. MDT

The School Teacher Prompt 1

The School Teacher


The cards came mostly at Christmas 

but sometimes on her birthday 

or random other times of the year.  

At Christmas there were fat, jolly Santas 

or Currier and Ives’ prints reminiscent 

of the school where they had been with her. 

The letters told of their successes, 

frequently clips from newspapers 

called the Weekly Herald or 

The EveryDay News with a picture. 

She’d look at those, sometimes 

touch the face, maybe say, 

“he lost his hair” or “she’s as beautiful 

as her mother.” Sometimes the florist 

would deliver a Poinsettia 

or a vase of cut flowers. 

There was always news 

of their families and maybe 

a family picture. Opened on arrival, 

she read these missives, 

folded the contents back 

into the envelopes 

and rubber-banded the lot 

together with a note to herself 

on top. “Didn’t hear from Martin 

this year or Marian got a new job.”

These were their stories. 

The stories of the people 

whose lives she had helped 

to shape and how they now fit into society. 


20.06.27   7 a.m. MDT

First Timer


I’ve signed up for the half marathon because I know I could never make it for the 24-hour marathon.  This is my first time and hope it’ll be the first of many!

I’ve been writing poetry for years in a snail mail critique group for more than twenty years. Last year I also joined up with other poets to write a poem a day and post to a private Facebook group. I’ve missed a few days and am scrambling to get caught up and am almost there.  i live in Aurora, Colorado. Grandchildren are in Denver only three blocks away.

I will have some other things to juggle at the beginning of the marathon but plan to manage them so I can keep within the parameters.  Then it will total devotion the rest of the day!

This is also my first experience with WordPress. So far things seem to be going well!


Karen B. Call