Short Stories

The Music in the Forest

In an old forest there lived a faun.

He knew the names of all the trees and he spent his days wandering among them and talking to them with the music of his flute. The faun was as old as the woods and he remembered the days when the forests were immeasurable in size and filled the whole Earth, before the time when the forest creatures had fled and the humans had come.

Today, there were two humans in his forest now. The faun was following them, hopping from behind tree to tree and watching as they ran. There was a little boy in blue and an even littler girl in red. They were running and laughing and occasionally tripping and falling.

Eventually, the two children ended up rolling around on the golden leaves that littered ground. They laughed as pushed and teased each other. The faun smiled and a wicked glint lit up his eyes. He was glad to be back in the human realm.

The boy’s name was Will.

Will pinned his sister to the ground and stuck out his tongue. The girl tried to squirm away but Will older and stronger. Both children were small for their age but the girl was tiny. Dad liked to say, whenever she misbehaved, that what she lacked in size she more than made up for in temper. The girl always took this as a compliment and beamed in response.

Will stood up and helped his sister to her feet. She thanked him by punching him in the shoulder with a tiny fist.

“Ouch!” he yelled. Will had to admit that it really did hurt a little. Their constant wresling and jostling was making the little girl stronger all the time.

As he brushed leaves and dirt off of his blue coat, Will thought he saw a faun-shaped blur hide behind a tree. The forest was magical so he was not surprised. The children lived with their father in a house nearby, just down a little road. Will had always expected to find fauns and elves and gnomes hiding behind every tree but he hadn’t ever seen one yet.

His sister saw that he was staring off into space and lunged at him, tackling him to the ground. The forest floor rose up to meet his nose, struck him hard on the face, and made him see stars.

“What are you staring off into space for?” the girl said from on top of him.

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Winter Sun

Night to day,
Day to night,
Yet summer’s sun refused to rise.

For when the snows fall there comes an impostor,
A coward, behind the clouds shied.
A weak and feeble thing, unwarm, unbright,
A winter’s time unsun.


Light of Lies

Pass me by
On your way
To places
The damned may not enter,
But spread your wings
So that I may follow
Their shining light –
An empty hope, false hope,
But more than you’ve ever given.

A little light,
A small sign that ahead’s
Where better things lie,
Lie, lie, lie
And give the sign,
Persuade with ease
My heavy feet
t’Trod on forth
Toward your light.
It’s a light of lies
That guides my path,
A fool’s false fortune,
A fraud, a forged façade.

This lying hope
Is the hope that I embrace,
Until another hope
Long unhoped for
Comes on along,
Along my weary way.


Clock Tower

Tick and tock, so goes the clock,
It tocks and talks and stalks
The lively ones and mocks
The ones who try to run and balk
The walk on down the final dock.
This trip, this time, this life ends in a dive
Into a sea where sharks they flock, ‘n’
Overhead the hawks they squawk
When broken souls
They grate and knock against the rocks,
Fresh pickings are they
And stock anew from the building blocks,
From the lies and stones and double talk
That slips on past when’t the stars we gawk
And miss the outline made in chalk of
The capital stock,
The common dream,
The future promised, bored and pocked,
As dead as you, as on you
Walk your lastly walk on lastly dock.
And the clock looks on and
Tick, tick, tock,
And tock, and
Tick, and



Surprised by a touch on my face,
I look up and see that the hand is my own.

On days like this I’m not myself,
These parts that surround me are strange,
Alien and independent but
By the strings of the puppeteer
They are restrained.
With some trying effort I can pull the twine,
Direct here and there the pieces that should be mine.
But th’endevour is taxing,
The repeated episodes

Some look at the puppet,
At the strings that I pull,
And they say: (it is) “Courage!”
I think of the word when I find
My will collapsed behind locked door,
The strings untaut,
The limbs heavy and still
Though a sob now and then shakes the
Construct that I at these times inhabit.

When the body draws itself together to the floor,
Emptied of will,
Haggard and
The effort to hold the parts together
And to pull the strings
Is lessened, and some measure of comfort is gained.

But one cannot remain behind the locked door,
For “Courage!” they say,
And hiding is not.

One musn’t disappoint.


The Fire in the Waste

A place.
My winters have been longer,
My hands more callused,
My hopes more scarred.

Envision expanses of endless white snow
In a land to’ard north beyond all that you know,
A cold so cold on land so bare,
A nightmare in white
Where neither winds nor change’ll dare.

In the stillness find a lonely tree,
Its twins far away from all you’d hope t’see,
Evergreen amidst the white,
As near to shelter as you could find
In this suffocating shroud of frozen night.

In this country there is no fire,
No love, no warmth, no sweet desire,
No progress and no regress,
No comfort in the cold,
No safe embrace nor healer’s caress.

The woman is here with me.
For years we’ve grasped the tree
And together we’ve felt life’s bitter taste.
Unexpectedly she turns and says,
“Tell me the mysteries of this waste.”

I stand,
A fire ignites.

As I speak
I understand and see.
Thoughts form the words and the
Words morph the thoughts.
For the first time I see her,
I glimpse that it’s me and she.
The waste is but loneliness,
A contradistinction unto which
Love is made to gleam.
By destiny, fate, fortune, or circumstance
Brought to find one another,
To light twin sparks in parts
Unreached by snows or blights.

She does not see,
Night comes and day again,
Her heart resists.

It’s a strange phenomenon
To hope for something not understood,
To wish to light a fire across a void,
Through space,
And place in another an alien feeling.
“I understand,” she says, but she means the world,
The words I speak, not the feelings I feel.
Frustrated, I sit, and the end begins.
The nights grow long as hope grows weak.
The spark that was becomes a mote of failing light.
Time is long,
The world is cold.

Must it end as it began?
The cycles repeat for the mysteries deepen.
The fabric of the world is made of
Strands forever intertwined,
An ultimate enigma, never solved,
Each door opened reveals a myriad more,
A bewildering conundrum of secrets and riddles.
And so she asks again,
“Tell me the mysteries of this place,
The ones I know not, for the old,
The ones you’ve told before,
Those I puzzle over no more.”

I stand,
My spark I hide.

I look to the horizon,
Away from the face I’m pained to see.
The fire inside is stifled,
All but tendrils now.
I hope no more for her flame to join my own.
I speak again and sing the song–
An interruption.
These words she knows
Having conjured them on her own.
“Move on, on and on, along,
These songs I know,
In thoughts I dreamed and saw
The words that changed the thoughts.
The mind conceives conceit and
Out and through it leaps,
Onto words it clings.
The words, in turn, impress their touch,
And stir and sway the theme itself
From whence they came.”

I feel the change, and
I turn from the sky to look in her eyes.
I look,
From bleary sun
To exploding stars.



Her eyes today are smoke
And I can’t bear it,
Tinged with red
Behind the murk of the space
Between sight and feeling,
They have me reeling,
Begging, kneeling.
My wasting armor’s disconcealing
An anguish unhealing.

The smoke won’t dissipate whatever I do.