through the haze

through the haze


the sun cannot rise in this haze.

it tries.

I see it tries.

but the smoke is too heavy from the hectares of burning forest

to allow a proper sunrise.


there is usually a bit of light by now.

not today.

when the smoke clears,

I am sure it will be a glorious day.

R.L. Elke

©Aug 5/17 prompt 24

the return of the sun

the return of the sun


my beach blanket smells of lake plants and sun.

I never knew I had a beach blanket

in these years of body shame

and black and white images

from a life I did not want photographed.


now I live in colour

and the whole world smells like sunshine dried clothing

and tastes like orange freezies

and sangria.


or the seductive taste of sweet strawberries

or watermelon;

the juices of both,

or either,

running down my chin in dribbles,

reminding me of you

and your sweetness.


Now I live in colour

and all I want is to feel the sun on my skin

and smell the heat of the day near water,

fill my head with reggae,

and read a library of books

from the warm sands of some local beach.


I want to live Baudelaire by sunset,

whispering his words,

French and all,

to the swooping bats


to a beautiful, receptive lover

who will then take me in his arms

and mouth

and love me to collapse under the Milky Way –

our naked, blessed bodies

glistening by starlight to show us what we are truly made of.


Now that I feel alive and loved,

I need to taste the sun so often it burns my tongue

so that my words are fire when I speak them

or your mouth ignites when I kiss you

or you burst into flames when I take you in my mouth.


I have walked too oft in the shadows these past years,

Now it is time to walk in the sun.

R. L. Elke

©Aug 5/17 prompt 23

the woman in red

the woman in red


She saw her at the other end of the room

and thought to herself

that she needed a new dress maker –

her frock was not as stylish as the woman in red.


She envied the other woman’s beautiful taffeta

and her silk shoes –

her gems studding her hair like stars.


She knew, then, beyond a shadow of a doubt,

that was why she stood alone at the table

while the woman in red filled her dance card.


She was,


looking for a new dress maker.

R. L. Elke

© Aug 5/17 prompt 22




there is no way,

in a million years,

there is enough money to fill my empty pockets.

I could eat ten thousand tables worth of feasts for the hungry

before I am sated.


seven great lakes are not enough to quench my thirst

and I walk a billion miles over broken glass to get to them before I die.


but if you ask me how long I will love you,

I tell you, truly, until the sun collides with the Earth,

boiling the seas dry.


and you can believe what I say because I never lie.

R. L. Elke

© Aug 5/17 prompt 21

cohen’s flowers

cohen’s flowers


It’s right there,

those flowers in the concrete

on corners

choking on dust and exhaust

but surviving.


They always remind me of Cohen,

from Anthem,

y’know, the line about the cracks letting light in?

Those miracle flowers growing in the city

on streets where nothing is left alive,

in body or soul.


But it’s hope

for us to harvest later.

R. L. Elke

© Aug 5/17 prompt 20

blame it on bowie

blame it on bowie


you always wanted to go into space –

maybe it was Bowie’s fault.

I never understood the appeal of the stars as a travel destination

but I know you loved it so I tried to understand.


I love the physics –

what I understand

of quasars,



and shooting stars bringing us messages from distant suns.

the science saves the rest.


I don’t want to fly or dive or die

in space where no one hears you scream.

I can’t do that.


But I know you love it,

so I try to understand.

R. L. Elke

(C)Aug 5/17  prompt 19

at the circus

at the circus


there she is, flying with the greatest of ease,

for all to see,

on the flying trapeze.


the monkeys dance for the lion tamers’ cracking whips

to keep the crowd awake.

elephants trumpet,

standing on tip-toes,

so unsteady as to shake the whole tent to the ground.




and candy floss

fill our mouths with happiness

like magic.


at the circus,

we found those bright places in our lives

where all that is golden was ours.

R. L. Elke

© Aug 5/17 prompt 18

lost and found

lost and found


I know it’s here somewhere –

my self-respect.

I left it here,

in between the six pack,

the extra large box of condoms,

and the carton of jamochaalmondfudge ice cream.


So, if you happen upon it,

toss it my way,

would ‘ya?



R. L. Elke

© Aug 5/17 prompt 17

Anne with an E

Anne with an E


I stepped off of the train,

carpet bag in hand,

to the beatific face of that glorious man!

Matthew Cuthbert of the angelic, golden halo –

or so it seemed as he sat under the blossoming cherry bough.



nearly I was passed over because all for want of a boy

to help Matthew with the chores.


nearly was I passed over.

Marilla nearly sent me back

but for Matthew, my saviour!


They came to love me,

through my mis-steps

and mistakes:

the missing brooch, as the Lady of Shallot

getting Diana drunk on cordial

instead of giving her cider for our tea party

and breaking that slate over Gilbert’s head

when he called me “Carrots.”


I became their pride and joy,

long after my Matthew passed –

Marilla said she was glad I wasn’t a boy.

I gave sons to the Great War, you know?

Jem came home –

lost and changed –

but my sweet poet Walter remains in Courcelette where he fell.

No DCM[1] could bring him back:

hero or no hero.


So I mourned,

two babies,

my first and my soldier-poet son.

I tried to be strong for the others but it wore on me…

those ghosts.


Without Gilbert,

my rock,

I would have surely succumbed to despair and melancholy.

But here we are,

lost in the reverie of memory from the dusty shelves of the library.

Kept alive in the cozy bed time reading time

or dozy summer beach time.


For that, I heartily thank thee,

kind readers, all.

R. L. Elke

© Aug 5/17 prompt 16

[1]DCM= Distinguished Conduct Medal

Adonis and Aphrodite

Adonis and Aphrodite


You are my Adonis;

rippling, marble body

perfect in its beauty.

I am hardly Aphrodite –

more like Medusa –

withering stares turning everyone to stone.


But you,

master of perfection,

your gaze shatters my stone prison –

makes me feel like that Goddess who loved Adonis and no other

without heartache for losing him

after warning him not to hunt one day.

Just one day.


Like I beg you to be careful

when you do what you do when you do what you do.

I am forever fretting that I will weep over your broken body one day, too.


That would kill me.


For the little resemblance my face holds to Hers,

I am nothing like her, at all, in immortality.

But you –

you are Adonis in every way but name

and I shall play your fool –

divine comedy –

Aphrodite in my dreams,

or in the forest,

anywhere you rest your beautiful head.

R. L. Elke

© Aug 5/17 prompt 15

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