Between this stolen ship and home
a promise made (a broken vow)
was written in the rolling foam.
Between this stolen ship and home
a breach too wide to cross has grown.
I toss a ring across the bow
between this stolen ship and home:
a promise, made a broken vow.


The War was over, they said. You said, don’t slam the door. Don’t wake me if I’m dreaming. Don’t raise your voice.

Night after night I matched my breathing to your measured steps. Maybe this time you’d come back to bed.

The War is not over.


Maybe tomorrow I will be made of magic. I will strike sparks from the sky with my fingertips. I will snatch sheep from the hillside where they graze. Tomorrow I will catch your gaze: a glint of light and then gone.

But today I am a fat lizard, all sinew and scales, contemplating a stone in the sun. I spread my limbs and scrape away lichen until it looks like me, that stone.

I watch, barely twitching an eye, waiting for a cricket to bound within reach of my tongue. I watch, I wait, and I think of dragons.


On this perfect day
I watch you throw rock after rock
into a mountain stream,

Your words a constant flow, a stream
of consciousness; all day
I lean against this rock

and listen while the trees rock
the sky to sleep. Clouds stream
across the edges of the day.

What would I not give for another day, another rock, another murmuring stream?

Words, and where to put them

It looks like I haven’t been writing much, but I have. Just not here. Three months ago I finished the first draft of my novel, based on the Jade Dragon posts some of you may have read on my blog. (If you haven’t, I’d be tickled if you took a peek. The book, though, is a bazillion times better. Or it will be, if I do say so myself.)

I’ve had my mind in that space for so long that I barely know how to use words for anything else. Poems? Can’t finish one. Essays? I’ve dabbled. But now that I’ve pulled my head out of the sand – Loess is a desert world – I’ve been thinking of entering a competition or two, just to shake up my brain a bit. The trouble is finding a good one.

Have you ever entered a competition where you send in your submission only to receive, weeks or months later, a form letter saying you didn’t win? Or you have to pay for feedback on top of the entry fee? Or you receive feedback that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the story you wrote? It’s happened to me, more than once. It’s frustrating and demoralizing and makes me not want to write at all.

While I’m looking for something for me, here’s a little something for you. A place to put your words.

Yeah write is running its own super challenge this summer for creative nonfiction (with fiction to follow in the fall), and we’re bringing yeah write’s signature care and attention to each and every entry. There’s a $25 entry fee ($20 if you register by the end of the day today, June 30!) and that doesn’t just get you into the competition – it gets you 100% personalized, detailed feedback on what did and did not work in your submission, whether or not you move on to the next round. Judging is blind – this means the judges* don’t know who wrote which piece – and you don’t need a blog to participate.

Oh! And there are cash prizes for first, second and third place finishers. Right now, the first-place winner is guaranteed $100, and with every new participant, the prizes get bigger.

To sum up: you’ve got until midnight US Eastern time on June 30 to take advantage of our early-bird pricing of only $20. After that it’s still a pretty darn affordable $25 until July 6. The first round will start on the 8th and I hope to see you there.

*Full disclosure: I’m not a judge. I’m one of the people making sure the judges don’t know who you are.🙂