Broken Water

He puttered away.

Her tide of tears like broken water fell,
salting the zinnias
while he stood behind her
talking to air.

Backpedaling through the corners of his muttering mouth,
he changed his story,
sputtering through earlier accusations
of trespassing,
of scaring the neighbor,
of police call threats.

She began to unravel.
Letting him know she’d look into it.
Letting him know she’d talk to the village police herself.
Letting him know she’d verify his bullshit story with the neighbor.
Her shoulders heaved.

Upstairs, her husband slept
as she defended his character
to this tottering fool who stopped by
to spread his own form of bitter
ill will.

His red golf cart puttered toward her
already tensing form.

She relished releasing earth’s scent
when she bedded her zinnias, dreaming
of their blooms.

Brenda Warren 2016

Notes: The NaPoWriMo prompt asks that we tell a story backwards, and Elizabeth provided a word list that got me started on this piece. A bit more prosy than poetic, each stanza of this piece represents a moment in time, not each line, as the NaPo prompt suggested.

This story happened to me two days ago, when I was planting some flowers at the base of a large boulder in our front yard. I was feeling extremely homesick for Montana, and know that gardening will deepen my connection with our place here in Ohio. My homesickness was abating when this little old man stopped to brighten my day. We have been here for almost a year, and we have a new neighbor across the field. The little old man backpedaled enough that I know his story is filled with holes. He absolutely did not want us to verify anything with anybody. The last thing I said to him was “Why do we have a target on our backs with you?” He started sputtering. I turned my back with my floodwaters flowing and continued to plant. He left. Such a lovely morning.


Twinkle, twinkle little jar
filled with memories and scars
let me throw you to the stars—
primordial shining bards.

Saturated galaxy milk
spin your orbit white,
translucent strands of who we are
thread their way through night.

Blood moon round and red
illuminating sacred,
stars sing while we shed skin
beneath their camera, naked.

Release my sheep from counting,
interrupting bliss.
This interim is hounding me
I want Ohio’s kiss.

Brenda Warren 2015

The prompt was stars.

Pandora’s Fires

Hot embers lift feathery sparks
that pop scarlet holes against
Pandora’s inky night.
Our shining cheeks lift with laughter,
oiled by fire’s gentle sway,
polishing summer’s reverie.

No doubt we fit together,
this close circle of faces
watching the young ones
feed flame with branches that burn
until dawn begins to brush the sky,
then wets the grass
shooting from our mother
to tickle morning’s feet.

On our way toward tomorrow,
we create another yesterday
to hold us aloft,
when lost moments
cloak their hungry pall 
over our empty nest.

Brenda Warren 2013

Visit the Sunday Whirl.

Visit the Sunday Whirl.

Process Notes: On the way to DC we spent four days in Pandora, Ohio, our home away from Montana, where we filled time around fire telling family stories until morning came close.

Falling Angel

You plaster your dreads with the skin of serpents
enmeshing a Medusa, compelling society
to look the other way. A seditious struggle
pierces flesh with iron and ink,
rendering the sacred lost
beneath its pledge.
A stigma.
A falling away.

Wingless limbs falter while
sporadic sparks of truth
flint off your soul’s tufted feathers
and fall like tread from your feet
through this nether world
appled in sin’s black veil.

Process Notes:
“Dreads” are dreadlocks. When I was in Ohio we dreaded my daughter Julie’s hair. People treated her differently. One woman actually pulled her children closer to her in a protective effort as we passed. It was disconcerting. Now I think Jules is an amazing young woman, not a falling angel, but obviously this poem contains a bit of her dreadlocked experience.

Visit The Sunday Whirl for more poems constructed around the wordle words below. I used all of the words except hinder. I had it in there as “hindering the sacred lost” – rendering made more sense.

seven years in vs. several months without

Jules readies herself for Stevon
as I damn another day’s driving
to pick up Len at Cleveland-Hopkins Airport
where Len will take the wheel, and we’ll
chatter a scattered path to Rochester
discussing house issues,
reprehensible renters,
curtains, paint, and stoves oh my—
Why did we buy this house so far away again?
It whirs hominess, family.
Trees and outbuildings mark its acre,
a summer kitchen,
an Amish shed.
Pears gild that tree, casting spells.
Its price parted clouds.
But mostly,
impulsivity blessed us both.

We will laugh as Pennsylvania blinks by
then land deep into blanketed bliss
at Henrietta’s Red Roof Inn near Rochester,
reality only a stone’s throw away.


For Stevon’s arrival in Dayton,
Jules twisted and dyed
vibrancy into a white cotton sundress.
The marvel of newly rendered dreadlocks
that buzz with life, animate her shine.
“Only 12 more hours until he gets on his plane,”
bursts forth from percolating dreams of life
in hippy-strewn Missoula
with her hairy man.
Jules’ smile ripples rings toward
tomorrow and yearning’s completion,
while I sigh and scan the clock
wondering how long her couch will
allow me to sleep before I get up
and drive yet again.


I wrote the poem the day before I left for Rochester, to pick TL up from camp. Julie was picking up her boyfriend, Stevon coincidentally on the same day Len flew in, to spend the rest of vacation with us. It was interesting to see her enthusiasm compared to mine. So I explored it here. Julie is moving back to Montana, after being out here for nearly a year.  Her boyfriend is excited, as they are moving to Missoula together.  It’s a new life for them and it’s fun to witness their blossoming together.  After I wrote the poem, I did the wordle and added all of the words to the piece, I like it better with the wordle words. I’ve never done a wordle poem that way before, it seems backwards, but Pamela Sayers did it once, and I always wanted to try it. It was a worthy pursuit.

Please visit The Sunday Whirl for more poet’s use of the wordle words.  The creativity and caliber of writing is impressive.