This is a poem I wrote for a school assignment in eighth grade. I’m not sure what’s worse, this poem or the fact that our teacher made us all send them into a vanity press poetry contest publishing scam.


with those little spots like eyes,
and a green shoot of hair
sprouting from the top
Sitting silently on the table
bunched up with others of your kind

Waiting, waiting, waiting...
for the sugar bowl
to be dumped over your head
making you sweeter than you
already are
for someone to pick you up
and bite into you and lick
their fingertips
with delight

waiting like a strawberry should...
to only be eaten by me

Why It Always Rains When People Die

I was driving on my way to visit you when the rain started pouring.

It was that kind of rain where you can’t see anything, the wipers on your windshield can barely work under the weight of all the water drowning them.

The cars all slowed down and started inching down the highway.

I pulled over to the side of the road – I couldn’t see. I thought it would ease up in a little while.

So I sat there, in my car, with the flashers on, waiting for the rain to stop. More cars pulled over next to me. Nobody could go anywhere.

It rained and rained. I thought about you and how you always loved the rain.

You said it was weird, but whenever someone she loved died, it always rained or snowed, and it comforted you.

You believed it was their way of crying with you, a reminder that no matter how awful everything in the world might be, there is always someone with you.

They’ll cry with you when you cry, because they don’t want you to feel alone.

Man, who died? I wondered, looking through my windshield at the rain starting to flood the streets. These were tears of epic proportion.

Y. You Don’t Even Know Me

The experts say if you fight a lot with somebody that’s a good thing. Fighting means you care. If you didn’t fight with them, you’d just let them go off to ruin their lives and maybe even go off to die and it’d not even bother you.

When I’m fighting with someone, I like to throw out that famous line you used on me once.

“You don’t even know me,” I’ll say with disgust.

It’s mostly just a test to see whether or not they explode. If they go on a tirade, I’ll know they care.

“What are you fucking talking about? Of course I know you! Maybe I can’t tell you what you are thinking right now or list off 100 random facts about you off the top of my head, but Jesus Fucking Christ, I know you!

“Don’t ask me how I know you, I just fucking know you! I know you like I know how to breathe. I can’t tell you you how my lungs work or why my brain does whatever the hell it does to make my lungs work, Jesus, I can’t even tell you how or why I am even alive as a human being talking to you right now!

“Can you understand that? You are an instinct, a part of me I just can’t explain, and so sure, maybe I don’t have an advanced degree or all the koala-fications here, but how the hell can you stand there and say I don’t fucking know you?”

They’ll take a pause, and then stare at me while I just sit there silently.

Maybe they’ll sit down, and they’ll light up a cigarette.

And then they stand back up and they start right back at it again. “Why can’t you just trust that I just know you?”

There is something strangely warming about seeing someone pissed off in their defense for whether or not they know you.

It’s a good way to know whether it’s something worth fighting for.

Just to clarify, they don’t have to exactly say it all like that. But they are definitely getting bonus points if they say koala-fications.


This post is part of the flash fiction series, By the Letter.

X. X-Actor


Nobody ever says, “I want to be a janitor when I grow up.”

But you know what? If you watched that movie, y’know, that one about a guy and his professor that came out in 1997?

He gets a whole Harvard education for like $2 in late fees at the library.

It makes me think you could be a janitor in Hollywood. Y’know, til you get that big role you were dreaming of.

This post is part of the flash fiction series, By the Letter.

W. We Were On The Bus


We were on the bus. You got a nosebleed and it scared me.

I thought you were going to die.

We had to pull over and it took the bus driver 4 minutes before you were okay.

I went home and wrote a story about you, where you got shot in a parking lot and I saved you.

You moved away the next year. I think you own your own company now.

I’m glad you never got shot.

If you ever need saved, I’ve got your back.


This post is part of the flash fiction series, By the Letter.

V. Vinny

When Vinny was born, she was afraid. She didn’t know why.

As she got older, she was afraid to walk. Afraid to talk. She didn’t understand the world she was in.

It made no sense, and the disorder and chaos was too much for her.

The TV screeched, the refrigerator hummed, the traffic roared outside.

She often sat alone, staring at walls, rocking back and forth to soothe herself.

She had a box of toys her parents had set out for her. She remembered going to a kid’s house once. He had a box of toys also, and so she guessed maybe this was her mother trying to make her do something.

She looked at the toys in the box and picked them up, one by one. She put them in a line.

There, she thought. Now there is a little bit of order in this disordered world.

This post is part of the flash fiction series, By the Letter.

U. Under The Boardwalk

You should see what your old house looks like now.

They tore out all of your mom’s rose bushes.

They put in an in-ground pool and paved half the back yard.

They scrapped all the old aluminum siding and replaced it with red cedar.

You know where we used to swing on the tire swing?

The old oak tree got knocked down in a storm last winter, and they planted two new ones.

They don’t decorate as nearly as good as your parents did for Halloween. Even their Christmas decorations aren’t as nice.

Oh! And they have a dog! He’s the cutest and most friendliest dog I ever met. You were right, your house was the kind of house that just needed a dog.

I dunno, I guess you could say it’s just not same here without you.

(Would it be rude if I said I think I like it better?)

Don’t take it personally, I don’t not like you or anything. You should come visit and see it!

This post is part of the flash fiction series, By the Letter.

T. Talking About My Girl

——- T.

People always act like I can’t do anything right, like I’m gonna screw it all up. But that’s not true.

I was 16, and it was my first job at the local shop down the corner.

Old Gruff needed to ship something very rare and valuable to her new owner.

He trusted me to deliver her. I could not disappoint: she was too important to us both.

I got her home safe.

This post is part of the flash fiction series, By the Letter.