by Keith Hoerner

To Clara: Regarding Your Critique

You shared your writing with me. An extension of friendship, like a handshake. More like the reaching out of hands with the chance to be held – or swatted – open palmed. Sharing… emptying pockets to reveal hidden things among the embarrassment of collected lint, is a dangerous proposition. Your shadows merged with mine, achieving the density of darkness that brings on the dawn. How can I thank you? For selflessly taking my hands and guiding me to an unknown resting place within the pages of you. I spoke in an attempt to reciprocate. My words: sandpaper to your beach of memory.

One of the Seven Deadly

She holds two swords of societal success. Her career of achievement, her marriage of love realized. Nice house, nicer car. The look men look at – even her husband. Meditative dreams on summer days under a comforter of cool breezes. Still, one regret reflects the swords’ sharp edges. Cut her caesarean style – deep as you like; take out the child she cannot carry… his son. The single thing she cannot give him. Justice, she feels, is not in the cards for her. She seeks to be satiated through gluttonous eyes. Where are her maternity clothes, the infant boy she must steal?

Black and White Aren’t Colors

I paint you by numbers, capture your features one by one… from the fair Irish skin; to the coal-black hair; to the rich, ruby lips; and the fiery-, emerald-green eyes. I reach for the palette of paint and thrust my brush like a mop into a bucket and swish it around. The color washes your face with only shades of grey. The numbers on the canvas do not add up. I am left only with a monotone portrait of shadow and sadness. Betrayed, my grip clenches. I see, I know your colors. I see, I know your lack of them.

About the Author:

Keith Hoerner, lives, teaches, and pushes words around in Southern Illinois.