Held Hostage

42-Word Prompt: LOST or MORBID (or Both)

Lost in morbid thoughts

Sickening scenes, conflict

I can’t escape (uninvited

Conjured not by conscious

Mind) ~ Obsessed notions

Congregate in numbers

Lazy, loitering ‘mid sleep’s

Labyrinth; cesspool lips

Whisper curses I can’t

Obscure, obliterate ~

Memories hold me

Hostage, won’t pardon

Vacate sentence

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.








Invented Remembrances

My memories cannot be the sum

Of who I am; tragic and absurd if true

They’d have devoured me long ago…

No, I’m self-created recollections, more so

Fruit of imagination birthed from need

Too distasteful for mother to feed

Perilous, if from stranger’s heart I’d seek

Do they ever blur, these real

And invented remembrances?

Perhaps they have done…some instances

Thus making rich-layered reality

With added buffer, gentle courtesy

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

Eternal Heart



Bedelia sat by the window where the slipping sun shot through her prism, splashing rainbows on walls and ceiling, and mused softly: “which is eternal—love, or the heartache it holds?”

She held the Victorian watch, fingered the sterling scrollwork which resembled ocean waves, and thought of him…

He’d seen her sitting in the dark, the whispering palms and surf behind her, moon glow lighting silent silver streams that slid down her cheeks.

“What is it, Love—tell me,” he’d spoken tenderly, his matinee idol face in shadow…

Etched like scrimshaw on eternal heart, forever ago…was it true memory, or merely recurrent dream?

Closing her eyes she could feel his hand, warm and smooth against her cheek…real as fading prism rainbows.

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations,  2020 ~ All rights reserved.

Two Gulfs (6-Sentence Story)


Prompt: GULF

It had been decades since Bedelia visited the Gulf, though her soul held the sounds and scent of rippling waves gilded by sunlight.

Each year she ordered a calendar featuring beach scenes, silvered shells and bright coral, to liven up her drab kitchen.

These misted-dawn, seaside thoughts were disrupted by a knock at the door.

Peering through a slender slit in the drapery, she hardly recognized the man with gray hair and mustache…she began to tremble, heart beating rapidly out of sync.

How had he found her, and what did he want…perhaps to seek her forgiveness?

She remained still, breathless as a glass figurine, waiting for him to leave the paltry property she could claim as hers, unmarred—the gulf between her ex-husband and herself was forever-far too wide, turbid, and serpent-swirled to wade across.

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

Nothing of Value Lost


Reena’s Prompt:

“He had lost everything of value to him. There was an empty canvas on the easel, his colors and tools. What would he paint?”


He had lost everything of value

To him…there was an empty

Canvas on the easel, his colors

And tools…what would he paint?

I tell him he has only lost

His perspective, merely a

Cloud, soon to move along.

He has wealth, talent

Unstructured time to fill

As he pleases…and has he

Forgotten?  He has me.

I ask if he remembers

The day we met, when I

Was still a child.


He wipes un-shed tears

On his denim shirtsleeve

Smile tracing shyly ’round

His perfectly etched lips.

“Yes”, he says, “you thought

I was really something.”


“I knew you would save

My life,” I say.


“And now you want

To save mine, huh?

You can’t hold back

Time, Love…I’m an

Old man.”


He used to say I

Kept him young.

I tell him time, the whole

World, stopped when I

First saw him…my heart

Locked upon his eyes, the

Planes of his face

Excruciatingly handsome

And his voice became

Melody e’er repeating

Through my mind.


Ego salved, he asks

“Shall I paint you another


He knows I never tire of them

Nor tropical flowers he

Brings to life in acrylics.


“Why not try painting ‘love'”

I whisper, blush rising ‘gainst

My cheeks, forever flame.

He studies me, muses, asks

“Think you could hold a pose

Long enough for me?”

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations,  2020 ~ All rights reserved.


Running ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #226

Weekly prompt words and photos by Patrick Jennings ~


FROM Yesterday’s ghosts

Wretched failures, bridges’ ash

Fiery arrows’ zing

Locked hopeless-chest’s memories

Self-doubt which burns like acid


TO hope’s horizon

Shining land, Second Chances

Soul’s restoration

Endless seas’ song of promise

‘Neath Heaven’s beneficence

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.

Love Letter ‘Mid Corona

I’m linking to Punam’s love poem, in gratitude for her constant encouragement…Love you, sister afar♥


She thought he was dead

Or had forgotten her

Then his letter came

Began with, “did we

Read ‘Love In the

Time of Cholera’


As though interjecting

Thought midst a

Rolling conversation…

He wondered if she was well

If she’d married, had children.

Sounding shyly hopeful, he

Doubted she still had feelings

For him, said his heart had

Not emptied itself of her…

He remembered everything

About her from that last day

How trim she’d looked

In the straight lines of

Her stylish floral dress

Her dark hair which

Mimicked swaying palms

In perfumed breeze

And her eyes, full of pain

Fear, longing, disbelief

Perhaps regret having

Traveled to see him, wishful

Eyes black-lashed wells

Deep with anguish he’d

Not asked, nor

Discerned, the reason for

And how she’d trembled

Beneath tropical sun…

He acknowledged lingering

Ache that he’d let her leave

Asked if she had any desire

To write him again.

It must be a hoax, she

Thought, reading to the end

Yet she recognized his

Same bold-stroke signature

She’d clutched to her

Breast, decades ago…

How could he be alive, he’d

Been much older than she

It was too much to hope

In this panic, Corona’s

Rushing pandemic

That they might share

Second opportunity

For love’s dreams

With no possibility

Of circumventing

Barriers, quarantine.

Which would hurt more—

To ignore his request, or

Spill her heart for him

Again with pen, palsied

Hand’s anxious lines…and

Not see, touch, well-favored

Face memory ne’er discarded?

But surely Time had replaced

It with a stranger’s

Winter ghost…

Quandary quickened her pulse.

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.