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Linda C

morning rises up
like a crisp new piece
of paper
the kind you save
for special

all that potential
vibrating with want
of action
a child fed
a journey taken
a bauble bought

so different at night
smudged with worried
crumpled and tossed
while we sleep

Karen Bayly

Empty air.

I lean a little closer into the microphone.

"Hello. Hello. If there is anyone left out there, please call in. 1300 SMILEY"


A moment of panic overtakes me. Damn. Do the phones still work?

I dash out of the recording booth and into the adjoining production booth. I take a deep breath and pick up the phone receiver. The comforting sound of a dial tone greets me.

Still connected - but to who? I can see the Harbour Bridge from here, packed with cars, all moving nowhere. Actually, not moving at all.

I move closer to the window. The lunchtime crowd are in the park below, but they have been there many days now, and not only at lunchtime. They have been there at breakfast, dinner, sunrise, sunset and every time in between. Like the cars, they too are moving nowhere.

I am afraid to leave here and see what has happened to them. The others who left - my producer, my technician, the various staff who kept this place running - never came back.

I do not know whether they are dead, or merely frozen in time. What a vain hope that is! Frozen in time is as almost as bad as dead ... yet I cling to it for, unlike death, it seems to be mercifully reversible.

Deep down though I know the truth and I am terrified. There is only me here and I am possibly the only one anywhere.

A dark shape hurtles toward the window and hits it with a thud. I look out and there on the ledge is a pigeon, gasping for air, its eyes wide with fright and pain. It convulses and retches a greenish liquid, then its eyes slowly close as its life ebbs away. I can almost see its spirit float heavenward in sweet release.

I go back into my booth.

"Hello. Hello. Is there anyone left out there? Please, please call in. 1300 SMILEY"

Nothing. My heart sinks again and I slump in my chair in despair.

A breathless hush. The phone rings.

Dawn Kotzer

risking absurdity,
I start at the other side of the day and slowly make my way homeward.
Stepping into my wilderness,
I empty, air rushing to me in a breathless hush.
I become the trees with boulevard grand, green with flourish and at ease with sway.
There is no need for a streetlight
the ether of the moonless dark calls in the nighthawks and sharp-eared owls.
The benefit of Difference in play when we dispense with thinking at night,
Wisdom is welcomed.


Prompt 229
I Read In the Newspaper

Is it wilderness when we die…when we come to the end ?
I’ve wondered about it before and today I wonder once again.

When the last of life ebbs and a breathless hush enters the room
as loved ones dry their eyes, where do we go?

Where is it that our essence lives on the other side of this day?

I ask because I read in the newspaper that George died .
And all that’s left is empty air where he was George.


When you die is there a
beaming the path
to the other side of day?
One wishes for a
breathless hush
but 3 packs a day has
offered only thick empty air
for her.
Pray and risk absurdity
for your loved one's
to gasp for wilderness expanded.
Think and breathe
with calm through the night
but hold
my calloused hand,
naked from
yellow stains of nicotine
and I will lead you
to the
grand boulevard lined
with whispering trees that breathe
and float you towards a
hushing light.


Ellie, I read your poem after I posted mine and was stunned at the similarity.
So sorry for your loss-My stepmother passed yesterday and I'm challenged with the process, however expected it is...

Denise Lumiere

It was dark and beautiful.
I had just reached
The other side of day.
I was breathing and breathing
And realized air is always empty,
Nothing in it that one can see,
But life breathes it through us.
Who breathes us?
God breathes Us.
The night was quiet.
Dusk had just ended
In the breathless hush
That covered the city.
I take in the wind in the trees,
The silence
That is as big
As the Moon

Laura A Eschbaugh


They tumble softly through ice-cold air
momentary dances with limbs and leaves

They hop over one another, children at play
bright circles in myriad shades and sizes

They drift in fog around brittle rocks
lost for long moments, re-sounding in echoes

they dance jubilant in colorful costumes
tapping out tattoos, mocking giggling fits of laughter

They are somber, mournful, sonorous wails
pulling on strings attached to souls

They meander in slow spiraling dreams
weaving endless moments, fraying the edge of time

They scratch injustice, they wail for the dead
they remember being crushed, buried alive

They exist in rattling rain, crunch of desiccating leaves
rushing foam green water, silent orange under cast clouds

They are rhythms exploding from ancient volcanoes
rhymes cascading down perilous cliffs, hidden in caves, floating in rainbows

They are breathless, hush at birth
exhilarated shouts of life, deepest of shuddering cries at our end

They stay uninvited guest long after the play is over
drinking our souls, reinventing imaginations, risking absurdity

They allow us

Susan Clare

I used to slip through the darkness in my car, driving elusive and free. The grand boulevard of trees welcomed me to pass through their tunnel of entwined branches. Safely held in the womb of twilight, I was able to make it to the light of day, one more time. Looking out my bedroom window into the empty air, hearing Melissa Etheridge lament about the late September dogs, I longed for my future. We think differently at night. Risking absurdity, I set my dining table with glowing tall tapers and played soft music inviting an embrace to what may arrive someday. Hope. Wishing. With a breathless hush, I remembered the time and place; navigating my twenties through a wilderness, alone. The view was blurry through the window screen on the other side of day.


anne, interesting that we both should use the words to talk about death. sorry about your loss. we know death is a part of each of our lives and yet it still leaves a hole when it happens. george was a member of an extended family and i didn't know of his death until i read it in the newspaper.

Linda C

ellie, anne and all.... what powerful, complex, compelling word/thoughts this week. feeling such gratitude... and compassion.

Wanda Hatton

Night Watch

Walking alone on the other side of the day
Down a grand boulevard with stately trees
I sense a breathless hush surrounding me
Shadows play a game of hide and seek
A hint of danger in the empty air
Pausing, I hesitate
Do I proceed?
Or turn back?

A magical moment
Graces me with serenity
The grand trees become sentinels
Watching over me
The streetlights are lighthouses
I have nothing to fear
Beckoning me to them
I pause at each post

Risking absurdity, I bow in their direction
Their light bathes me for added protection
A light wind and the tree branches ripple and sway
I salute them and offer them a royal hand wave

All is right
We just think differently at night

Jocelyn Brown

Endurance Reward

I emerge from the numinous alpine wilderness, exhausted with a tear-streaked face. Today, optimistic college students, all, hiked up and down the West side of Pike’s Peak. Up we went along, seven miles of winding switchbacks. Then, seven miles down, skidding on our butts upon steep gravel slopes.

Risking absurdity, we drag ourselves down past the streetlights and grand boulevard of trees. I crawl to my pinewood cabin. Boots are thrown to the floor. Clunk! Clunk! Into bed, for me, near the roaring fireplace.

Almost a statue now, I lie motionless. Lightly breathing the empty air, every muscles hurts. Even muscles for breathing. "What was I thinking?"

On the edge of sleep, a breathless hush of Colorado Mountains soothes all regrets of the day. We think differently at night, on the other side of day.

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