In her life, she has crossed many rivers.
Some she swam with sure, steady strokes;
Some she walked over on burning bridges;
Some were so shallow, she easily waded.
But fording the last one, she almost drowned,
Failed to reach the other side.

The swift, black waters dragged her down,
Filled her lungs with life’s heartaches,
Then cast her battered body back to shore;
Left her choking, gasping, gagging,
Down but not defeated.
Never defeated.

Older and wiser, she bided her time,
Waited at the river for the dire wolves to come drink,
And built a raft from their strong bones,
Made a cape from their warm, gray fur,
Then floated across upon the cold choppy surface
And stepped off safe and warm on the other side.

She fashioned a home from the raft bones,
Made a bed from the sleek fur cape,
And she abided there in the high desert
Content and happy as she grew old
Until the time came for her to leave.
For there was one more river yet to cross.

©2019 July Day

free verse

Image by ralph_rybak from Pixabay


lonely sentinels
reach up to the midnight moon
fair face their lodestone
pale, captivating goddess
who hears their nocturnal prayers

©2022 July Day

Written for Moonwashed Weekly Challange–Captivating: https://amanpan.com/2022/08/09/moonwashed-weekly-challenge-captivating-august-9-2022/

Image by Susan Cipriano from Pixabay

Early Arrival

Old House in Late Winter

I took a picture of this old, abandoned house in late winter/early spring and (finally) gave a try painting it. I saw it on a road trip, situated between one small town and another, sitting a short distance back from the highway. I was surprised to see a small clump of daffodils in bloom, for it was too early for them. I guess they thought otherwise.

©2022 July Day

Image my own watercolor painting.


sapphire wings flutter
resplendent lacy display
beauty unaware

©2022 July Day


Written for Moon-washed Weekly Challenge: https://amanpan.com/2022/08/02/moonwashed-weekly-challenge-resplendent-august-2-2022/

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Mind Moonbeams

Southern night lies hot, humid, still—
silent but for a whippoorwill
that sings from the branch of an oak,
taking me back to my childhood,
growing up surrounded by woods.
Farther afield, I hear a croak;
see mind moonbeams bounce off a stream.
And I dream, oh, I dream…I dream!
Living in memories evoked.

©2022 July Day

Nove Otto

Image by Giovanni from Pixabay

First Date

glowing fireflies emerge from twilight woods

male conga line searching for pingback mates

morse-code signals flash, reaching sisterhood

in grasses and bushes, who calmly wait

for their anxious, amorous, flushing dates

a beguiling bride blinks back a bright “yes”

her selected lover granted ingress

©2022 July Day

rhyme royal

Image by Dorothe from Pixabay

The Key

It was a small door, as far as doors go, no taller than three feet, and easy to miss. When I removed Granny’s dresses hanging in the closet, just the top of it was visible, the rest covered by three boxes stacked on top of each other. Curious as to why there was a door inside Granny’s closet—who wouldn’t be?—I twisted its knob, jiggled. Locked tight.

I put the mystery out of mind, but not completely; I would be keeping an eye out for keys as I went through Granny’s possessions.

The task of cleaning out Granny Sophie’s house after her death had fallen to me, since, as my mother had put it, “You have nothing better to do.” I had decided to stay home, hadn’t taken my mother up on her offer to accompany her on a six-week cruise the summer between my senior year of high school and beginning college. At the time, I hadn’t wanted to be away from Bradly that long, especially since we would be attending college thousands of miles apart come fall. But the main reason I had declined her offer was I couldn’t bear the thought of being cooped up in a small suite of rooms with her for six whole weeks. She was the type of woman one couldn’t take in large doses, a woman who was more concerned with money and social status than most anything else. And since she had about burned through the savings account and assets that after Daddy’s death a year ago had become solely hers (except for a fund he’d set up for my college education), she was on the lookout for a new husband. “While I still have my looks, you know,” she had said with a toss of her long, blonde mane.

Snaring a well-to-do gentleman was Mother’s sole purpose behind booking the cruise. I didn’t think she minded at all that I hadn’t gone with her. I wouldn’t be there to judge when she set her hooks in whomever she had picked to be my new father. And if the man were married, she would consider it only a minor obstacle in her path.

Less than two weeks into my mother’s cruise, Granny Sophie died, and I assumed Mother would fly back home, but I had underestimated her selfishness. “Sophie was not my mother, she was your father’s. And you know we were never close. You’re a big girl, Moira, you can handle things until I get back.” I’d had a feeling that if Granny Sophie had tons of money in the bank and an expensive home, Mother would have swum back if necessary to settle her mother-in-law’s estate. But Granny didn’t have much, just a small, going-to-seed house on the outskirts of town and barely enough money in her bank account to pay for her cremation.

I glanced at the urn holding her ashes that sat atop the dresser. Knowing Granny’s love of all things purple, I had picked it out myself—a deep royal color shot through with lightning streaks of silver. Its reflection glinted in the mirror, reminding me of the twinkle in her violet eyes.

When I was a child, I had seen that twinkle many times: when she taught me how to make faux gingerbread men using mud down by the small branch that meandered behind her house; how to cut off a piece of wild grapevine and smoke it like a cigarette; what weeds and flowers to pick in the woods across the branch, and the potions and things one could make with them. But her eyes always sparkled most when she told me about the place she had discovered when she was a child, a magical world full of fairies, dwarves, giants, and dragons you could ride.

Continue reading “The Key”

Drama Queens

sun splays
atop mountain
looks down on gloomy sea
blue waves slam against soul’s nadir
rocks weep

©2022 July Day

American cinquain

Written for Moon-washed Weekly Challenge—Dramatic: https://amanpan.com/2022/07/26/moon-washed-weekly-challenge-dramatic-july-26-2022/

Image by Thomas Whitaker from Pixabay

Does She?

Does she ever see me…like I see her?
	a cool splash of creek water
	muggy summer days

Does she ever hear my voice…like I hear hers?
	rain on a tin can
	laughter under quilts

Does she ever think of me…like I think of her?
	high in the treetops
	dusty, dirty feet

Does she ever miss me…like I miss her?
	confidences broken
	more confidences kept

Does she ever remember me…like I remember her?
	blood that binds
	forever friends

Does she ever lie in bed at night,
	thinking of times past?
Does she ever whisper my name,
	and see my young, smiling face?
Does she ever yearn to take my hand
	and return to that kinder, gentler place?

©2022 July Day

free verse

Featured image my own rough pencil sketch


Halcyons fly high
Over ocean wide
Two kingfishers of times yore
Seek a place to nest
Aeolus has blest
Near the cold, buffeted shore

“Time is growing nigh,”
Winter Solstice sighs.
“Winds I will becalm for thee.”
Lovers gather twigs
Moss, brown grass, and sprigs 
Build nest upon the still sea.

Eggs laid, end of quest
A fortnight of rest
Winds return and out fly four
Parents and fledglings
Soon, no longer seen
Aeolus frees squallish roar

©2022 July Day


Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay