I Look Down

from my window
I look down, look down
at the iniquitous world spread out below me
I look down, look down
I see foul, curst creatures, but they don’t see me

from my room
I look down, look down
into the caliginous night steeped in midnight tea
I look down, look down
I see ravenous hunger, but it doesn’t see me

from my prison
I look down, look down
at a haunting of ghosts, ghouls, and monstrous afreets
I look down, look down
I see all things vile and evil…and pray they don’t see me

©️2023 Ladybird
All rights reserved.

Image from iStock


miss youth
a sad truth
it winged away—
a small, red bird named Ruth
my erstwhile friend with feet of clay
left in pursuit of better, brighter days
but what could I expect when I transmogrified
into an old woman with no sashay
who got caught up in life’s melee—
now I sip sweet vermouth
as I decay


©Copyright 2023 Ladybird
All rights reserved.

Note: The name “Ruth” is a traditionally feminine name of Hebrew origin; it means “companion” or “friend”.

Image from Pixabay


When did I step into winter—
That I’d like to know.
The last I remember,
I was walking in the woods,
Autumn leaves, brown, red, and gold
Cushioning my way.
Azure skies above,
A brisk chill to the air,
Alive and invigorated.
Strolling fall’s path,
I recalled days gone by,
Fondly, a smile on my face.
Though I had suffered some loss
Of loved ones and missed opportunities,
The days yet stretched ahead,
Full of promise,
Things to do, races to run.

Like the nature of all springs,
Mine had been turbulent,
Full of self-inflicted storms
Interspersed with calm tides and winds.
But as spring had waned
And I became an adult—mostly—of mind,
Not just a hormone-driven body,
The storms grew farther and farther apart,
Until, somehow, without realization,
I strode tall and strong into summer.
Ah, how those days did shine
With family, friends, rewarding work.
Playtime at the beach every year,
Just the ladies and I—splashing, laughing,
Drinking margaritas, singing, more laughing,
While lounging on the deck,
Watching moonlight dance on the waves.

Autumn sneaked in there somewhere,
Easing through the door so quietly
I barely noticed its entrance.
Though my body wasn’t quite as strong,
It yet served me well.
And life went on—
Work and play uninterrupted.

When the leaves began to fall,
At last, I slowed down,
Smelled the proverbial flowers,
Worked less and played more.
I basked in my new-found freedom,
Did what I wanted, when I wanted
With few exceptions.
I brushed off aches and pains,
Explained away the ladies’ and my abandonment
Of sand and sea and margaritas—
For we were not getting old.

Then, just like autumn,
Winter arrived unannounced,
Slipped through the back door
With barely a chill—
The old goat parked his frigid ass
In the center of my life
And refused to budge.
I called him names, cursed him, denied him,
But he did not go away,
Just became more entrenched,
Chilled my blood, brittled my bones,
Dried my skin, thinned my hair,
Invited gravity to join us.
Winter waged his war
Without a single shot being fired
And captured my youth.
Did he hide it?
Did he eat it?
Where the hell did it go?

Though I had fought him tooth and nail,
At long last, I humbly shed all store-bought artifices
That no longer camouflaged what I had become.
Yes, I collapsed into winter’s embrace,
Those cold, bitter, lonely arms.
And now—
That old goat mulishly sits at my side,
Sucking me dry.
I shrink and I stoop, forget things.
No smile now, I remember times past,
Of rivers that have run dry,
And seasons that have gone by.
Gone by…
Gone by…
In the blink of Time’s eye.

©️2023 Ladybird
All rights reserved.

Image by illusion-X from Pixabay


Martin took the squirming bundle from Mrs. Kenny and balanced it atop the others in his wagon, glad this was the last house on his route since his wagon was full, overfull in fact. He would have to go easy to keep from losing any of his cargo.

“Thank you, dear,” the old woman said, ruffling his hair. “I have something else for you…hold on.” She hobbled back inside, emerging moments later holding out two cookies. “They’re chocolate chip, except there’re no chips. I ran out, and well, you know…”

Yes, Martin knew—when the town’s supply of something ran out, there would be no more of it. “I’m sure they’re fine, ma’am.”

“You take one of them home to your little brother,” she said.

“I will, ma’am. And thank you.” He slipped the cookies into his shirt pocket. “I’d best be going, getting close to dark.”

“You do that, Martin. And be careful.”

“I will, ma’am.” He settled his spear more comfortably over his narrow shoulder, turned away, and pulling his wagon, started down the sidewalk.

“See you Sunday in church!” Mrs. Kenny called.

He waved over his shoulder.

He turned off Maple Street, cutting between Mrs. Kenny and the Fillmore’s house, the last one on the block. No need to check there; everyone who had lived there was gone. And he headed for Shoat’s Pond.

Continue reading “Cargo”

Wishing Well

In the depths of the wishing well
Dwells the girl of my youthful dreams.
Barnacled lips hold in her screams.

The scummy water tastes like hell.
Stagnant with time, do not swallow
Or more regrets will surely follow.

Ebbing inside her are raw swells
That crash against her cold, closed heart,
Which years ago, misplaced its chart.

“Keep her safe,” says her hard shell.
“Leech her eyes so she cannot see
The life she had been meant to lead.”

As the darkness weaves its sad spell,
She and I bar the hurtful gates,
While wishing for a kinder fate.


©️Copyright 2023 Ladybird
All rights reserved.

Image from Morguefile


the wings are still there
propped in a dark corner
of a forgotten room
since childhood

shaggy and moth-eaten
dull gray with dust
feathers drooping
beneath Time’s weight

they whisper of a dream
where anything is possible
where I can fly
if only I believe

and possess a child’s courage
to strap on gossamer wings
constructed of innocence and faith
and leap blindly into space

©Copyright 2023 Ladybird
All rights reserved.

Image by Anja from Pixabay

May the Hottie

spring shower impregnates the warm land
night falls softly on spent seed
hot May moon rises, fantasizing
risqué goddess ripe to do the deed

her pale light plows through blades of wet grass
seeks out desirous soil
fantasizing, hot May moon rises
lifts her red skirt and begins to toil

eager earthy shafts puncture her light…
then, after a time, all sigh
hot May moon rises, fantasizing
dawn approaching, returns to the sky

twenty-nine nights and warm days pass by
scads of flowers now blanket the ground
fantasizing, hot May moon rises
jealous sister June swats her back down

—ZaniLa Rhyme

©Copyright 2023 Ladybird
All rights reserved.

Image by Shrikesh Kumar from Pixabay