Poetry Corner: Cat vs Cat

This is my place,
you see,
pouncing and stretching
and carefree,
the world revolving
around me,

It’s my box!


(c)2017 Michelle M. Welch

Since it’s too hot to go out and do new photography, I’m reaching into my photo archives for some poetry inspiration. I took this shot of Tam Lin and Penny a couple of years ago; a truce between them has yet to be reached.

Stories from Refuge – 66 – “She was sure they tossed her out in the trash.”

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-57, interview with J.P., recorded by Mary 80C
Refuge Year 100.10.11

You gave me a last name. A last initial, at least. I like it. Jimmy P. I went a lot of years without a last name. It’s fun to have one again. Sure, it’s not my real last name. I haven’t used that in a long time. Probably never will again. Anyway, Jimmy P. is good.

Did you give Trish a last initial, too? She never had one. Never even found out what her parents’ name was, that’s how little she was when they got rid of her. Always really mad at that, Trish was. She was sure they tossed her out in the trash. I kept trying to tell her that’s probably not what happened, most third kids were confiscated from Medical when their moms gave birth. Some of them even grew up for a few years with their moms, in hiding, until neighbors ratted them out or something. But Trish was too busy being mad and she never listened to me.

Continue reading

Stories from Refuge – 65 – “All of us probably knew what we were getting into.”

(c) Serjio74 | Dreamstime.com

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-56, dialogue between T.L. and Luke Baron, recorded by James 72A
RY 100.10.10

I was one of those third kids, the ones you pretended not to know about, the ones who weren’t supposed to exist. We hid out in that tunnel that wasn’t supposed to exist either, the one between Sec 9 and Sec 21, the one where people smuggled things they weren’t supposed to have. Stuff to sell for a lot of money, drugs maybe, weapons I guess. It must have been weapons, right? They wouldn’t have sent bots down to kill people if there weren’t weapons in the tunnel. That’s what Jimmy kept telling me, he kept saying it was kind of dangerous to hide out down there in the tunnel, and all of us probably knew what we were getting into. He wasn’t a third kid, though. He was just a runaway, didn’t like his family instead of the other way around, it’s not like they got rid of him because they couldn’t have another kid, not like the rest of us. He had a damn choice. But he kept talking big and he said whatever Slide was doing was really gonna get us in trouble and the bots would show up any day and sure enough they did. People started running and screaming and tripping over each other and the bots were clanging and firing at us and kids couldn’t get away, and the Commanders were shouting too, big loud grownup voices I didn’t recognize at first, couldn’t figure out why there were grownups in the tunnel. Jimmy found me as we were running, said the Commanders were shouting at the bots to stop, said he was sure of it, said they didn’t want to kill kids, but I said no one ever gave a shit about us so I kept running. Never saw Jimmy again. Sometimes I hope he got stomped by a bot just to shut him up but I guess I shouldn’t say that. It was a long time ago anyway, I’m not a kid anymore and no one cares if I was a third one, but it’s funny, I still keep hiding.

Continue reading

Stories from Refuge – 64 – “Instead of just shutting my door, I pulled him inside.”

(c) Radist | Dreamstime.com

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-55, dialogue between S.F. and Walter Newson, recorded by Beatrice 75C
RY 100.10.9

I knew one of the Commanders. There was some kind of incident in my section – I didn’t know what exactly, because I always locked myself up in my living unit at the first sign of trouble, I never wanted to get into any of that – but they sent two Commanders with the bots. I saw them marching down the row just before I shut my door. Then when the riot alarms stopped ringing and the all clear announcement came over the speakers, I opened the door again and saw just one of the Commanders still there. He was leaning against the wall next to my door. His helmet was off and he looked lost, confused, like he didn’t know what he was doing there. I just wanted to shut my door again, since it would be even more trouble. My neighbors kept talking about things, even though I tried not to listen to them, and if they weren’t the ones who’d just gotten arrested, they were going to open their door at any minute and see the Commander and… Well, I didn’t want to know what they’d do to him. But for some reason, instead of just shutting my door, I pulled him inside first.

He had a head injury. Someone had knocked him on the side of the head, and maybe there was a weak point where the visor attached to his helmet, because there was a big dent on his helmet and a bloody spot on his temple. I used to be a nurse in the school section. I had to treat him. Really, I wasn’t sure why, and I kept asking myself while I cleaned him up and checked him for signs of concussion. Maybe it was just some kind of reflex that made me pull him inside, like I recognized he was hurt when he was standing there next to my door and my instincts kicked in without my thinking about it. But he was there now and I had to deal with him. He didn’t seem to have any serious damage but it was like the hit to his head knocked out whatever memories he’d gotten programmed into him. He couldn’t tell me where he was supposed to be and he didn’t seem to know why he was there in the first place. He couldn’t even tell me his name. Do they even have names? He just sat there like he was waiting for me to give him an order, and he seemed upset when I didn’t. Not upset like he was going to get violent, which is what I was afraid of. Upset like he was going to cry. Big guy like that, in his body armor with his helmet, one of those big weapons still strapped over his shoulder, and he looked like he was about to cry.

Continue reading

Poetry Corner: 4th of July

Photo by Lejon A. Johnson

Fireworks at a park three miles away
Husband taking photos with a cell phone:
Useless trying to capture something ephemeral,
he says,
No way to recreate these moments,
the boom of the explosions.
The story of our politics, I wonder
trying for the same,
to recreate a story of independence,
bravery and freedom and history,
something ephemeral

(c)2017 Michelle M. Welch