by Bethany Bruno

The Voice

I’ve always loved the complexity of fall.
Only one season makes me feel alive, one that allows my roots to entangle
Into Earth’s soil.
Winter, spring, and summer seasons drag on like an eternal ring of waiting.
Curtains are pulled open from my dusty windows and the feeling of love and happiness overcomes me, like flames to a burning house.
Coolness in the air, salty breeze from Matanzas Bay, and the hour of twilight that shines through thick Spanish moss.
Ancient oak trees cover my soul like a blanket on icy feet
I would spend fall nights standing outside the safety of my home,
wandering around the backyard underneath the moonlight to simply stare
Into desolate pine trees, eager to see more.
Cool breeze blows through my hair
as if someone were running long slender fingers through
then whispering everything would be all right, eventually.
I can still feel those fingers,
But the voice is gone.

Creation by Destruction

A great poet once wrote we are created by being destroyed. If this is true than my mother has been created more than once in her lifetime. In fact, mother has been created so many times by destruction that she probably holds a special spot in the honorary “created by being destroyed” club. Mother lost her father when she was sixteen because of a drunken joy ride on a scooter that led him straight into the side of a Walgreens. Could you imagine that? A drunken man riding a scooter and then suddenly turning right smack into the side of building, mother would tell people when asked what happened to her father. Some people would laugh but, others would simply say you poor thing and give my mother a hug. I don’t think she minded it much but her father’s death wasn’t the breaking point in her long career of creation by destruction. No, not by a long shot.

Mother was created by the destruction of her older brother, Bob a few years back. He died of Cancer, mother would say when asked how he died. Now, he may have had cancer but that’s certainly not how he died. On a November morning, mother was getting ready for work when her phone rang.When she picked it up to answer there on the other end was nana, screaming. Mother jumped into her car and raced the entire seven minutes it took to get to Bob’s. Mother ran inside finding her brother on the floor, covered in blood. An artery in his neck popped like a balloon and blood quickly engulfed his lungs. She tried her best to give him air, but there was nothing she could doAs mother was desperately trying to save her brother she looked into his eyes. He looked at me and he was so scared. That’s the last thing I’ll ever remember about him. He died in her arms, sitting a pool of his blood around her. If we are defined by the experience of destruction in our lives, then yes ma’am, mother is indestructible.


A fat man with broken beige shoes sits on bleacher seats in front of me and my agitated father.
He plants his round bottom down.
Wooden structure screams HELP under enormous weight.

Father watches the man stare at a Florida map nailed to a moldy wall.
He’s smiling like a mad man planning his next gruesome murder.
Lifting his massive arm that jiggles like Jello, his pointer extends towards Daytona.
“You see this? …This is where I was born”
Fat man states, eyes filled with pride.

 Father whose face has lost every glimpse of content now has eyes bulging out of sockets.
Smell of anger rises into the thick air as I wait for it…
“You see this”
Pointing as he smirks.
 “This is my ass”
Oh God, not again.
“I’m sorry, my dad has tourettes”
I lied.

The Soothing of Sleep

At the end of a long day, there is comfort in knowing you will soon be embraced by the soothing of sleep, my mother would always say, tucking me as a child.
Now, as I walk the cold landscape that surrounds my daily life,
Calmed at the thought of tearing off my thick jacket
Changing into my best pair of silky pajamas then crawling into warm, welcoming sheets.
My comforter acts as a shield, protecting me from darkness that surrounds my solitary bed.  Out in the darkness of the room, imaginary monsters and spirits wander
Searching for my innocent soul to feed upon but, they will not catch me.
I am more than eager to jump into my sanctuary of peace and run to its safety
I close my eyes, hiding from the sight of anything which can prevent me from it,
My final destination.

There is nothing evil in my room…. it’s all in my imagination.
Opening my eyes just once to face my imaginations worst ideas
Noticing a single strand of light from my window
Giving me peace and assuring there is goodness.
Closing my eyes knowing I am safe from the darkness as my heartbeat slows…
Silent Mother

Hot winds of sand and dirt blow across my hooves.
Branches of trees shake and rustle against my slender face.
Sweet taste of Papaya. Blackened tongue, covered.
My elongated neck sways left to right searching for my herd. I want to call out, but I’m mute. My voice exists, no more.
My round growing belly begins to ache with pain. Kicking from my insides.
Sleep is not a priority. All I can think of, water.
It’s time.
Herd senses pain and watch as my one destiny that I have waited for begins.
I put my head next to hers and clean her dry.
Mewing, mewing, mewing. Only sound she will make.

About the Author:

Bethany Bruno is a born and raised Florida Writer. She attended Flagler College, in St. Augustine, FL, where she earned her B.A in English.  She later attended the University of North Florida for her M.A. She has worked as a Ghost Tour Guide, Library Specialist, English Teacher, and a Park Ranger with the National Park Service. Her work has been previously published in The Flagler Review, Lunch Ticket Magazine, Paragon Press, Underwood Press, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Ripples in Space, Metafore Magazine, and Bluntly Magazine. She’s currently working on her debut novel, “From the Passenger Seat.”