Quilt #amwriting


My mother has a quilt

made by hands

gnarled yet able

for a lost brother

I barely knew.

On sick days

she’d wrap me in the quilt

tell me the blanket

was love

to keep me warm

and safe

each square of fabric

something of his

sewn together

bound by thread

like family threads

even death

can’t break.

end 4/27/2017

S. Darlington


U is for Unforgiven #AtoZchallenge #amwriting



“Having children changes you.” These were the truest words Mother ever said.

The moment I held Maria, her big eyes surveying her world, I was smitten.

The second truest thing Mother said was “no matter how well you think you know someone, you don’t.”

Maria’s relationship with her father and me was different. She kept curfew, didn’t lie, and told me everything.

Mother said, “The greatest disappointment is finding out what you thought was true, wasn’t.”

Sitting on Maria’s twin bed, reading her journal, I amassed a list of those who would be unforgiven.

I was at the top.


end 4/25/2017

S. Darlington

Carry On


You would never have guessed that I would be the one carrying your banner long after you’d gone. But I’ve always been the one to feel too much and wish too much and dream too much and miss people long after, when others have moved on their faces directed forward. I never knew your dreams, but maybe they’ll interweave with mine and carry on just the same. There will be peace when we’re done.

end 4/21/2017

S. Darlington

in dreams i walk alone–Day 16 #NaPoWriMo #amwriting

in dreams i walk alone

Mornings when climbing from bed felt literal, the day ahead, a craggy mountain. The hike did not change; it did not grow easier, but understanding crept in, a gray whiskered intruder, stalking shadows, pointing at mortality with a boney finger.

end 4/16/2017

S. Darlington

Elegy for the Dead Spirit — Day 3 #NaPoWriMo #AMWRITING

Elegy for the Dead Spirit

Every day she sang

sometimes “Oklahoma”

at the top of her lungs

in an empty house

with floorboards creaking

roof whispering with ghosts

After midnight low flute tones

murmured, a fugue as if she knew

her hopes fandangoed with futility

“Canon in D,” “Morning Has Broken”

Her heart once so big, open

she’d make you smile with hers

Laughter so real, its own music

Gone, she took the sun imprudently

mistakenly, unintentionally

The rains come like tears

Wipe away your misery

She may phoenix yet.


end 4/3/2017

S. Darlington

“I’ve Been a Bad, Bad Girl”

If thoughts are as bad as deeds, then Leah knows she’s karmically going to a really bad place.

Ever since Tony yelled viciously at the children, making Nellie cry body-racking sobs, she’s considered ways to leave him . . . or kill him.

But he’s constantly around, claiming to work from home. He doesn’t trust her. He thinks she’s going to run off with some man. What man? A bloke at the shop?

He watches her all the time, checks her mobile, even hacked into her email. He labels her best friend, Jane, a lesbo because Jane doesn’t react to his “charms.” Did he have some once? He must have. Once. Or she wouldn’t be here.

“Babe, fry me some mushrooms,” he says.

She almost says “no” because neither she nor the children like them. And, then she remembers the article warning about the deathcap mushrooms.


end 3/20/2017

S. Darlington


afraid you will be nothing

In this wordless sorrow

I cling to scorching memories

You hurt me, intentionally, unintentionally

You were a substance unknown

I retracted like a stilted flower

You loved, I think

I loved, I know

You hid in liquid substance

Me too, but only sometimes

Convenient, to numb

You threw out anger

You maimed

The next day you apologized

But it remained

A few years passed

Bitterness persisted

What do we do now

What do we do

I listen in the calling of the wind

For answers to something you sought

Afraid that you will be nothing

Even passed

If someone doesn’t hear.


end 1/21/2017

S. Darlington

In Shadows


PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Thanks to Rochelle at Friday Fictioneers for hosting. If you’d like to participate, visit here.

For more stories, visit here.

In Shadows

Marisa hates this hallway. When Mr. Santiago, her supervisor, first led her around, he gushed over the honeymoon couples who found the white arches romantic, how they craved the soft lighting he installed.

As she exchanges clean towels for soiled, she hears the familiar raised voice of a woman.

“Randy is gone,” she cries.

Mr. Santiago says the same words he always says: “Perhaps he found married life was not for him.”

“It’s our honeymoon, you idiot.”

As Marisa pushes the laundry hamper down the corridor, she averts her gaze and hums the languid native song of death and protection.


end 1/19/2017

S. Darlington

Review of You Were Here



You Were Here by Cori McCarthy


Available in Paperback January 1, 2017

Jayce’s older brother, Jake, was always a daredevil, accepting any dare and sometimes foolishly pushing to the limit. That’s how he died. Now, on the anniversary of his death, Jayce decides to visit one of his favorite places to explore, the old insane asylum. She is joined by four others, each needing to work out personal issues before embarking on the next stage of their lives.

You Were Here is probably one of the most compelling novels I have read in a while. Each character is riveting in their own way and, at times, it feels like you are watching a train wreck as emotions and people collide in a tsunami of dysfunction. Since the death of her brother, Jayce has been viewed by others as morbid, strange, and self-destructive. The progress of her life has been halted as she tries to become Jake.

Mik, Jake’s former best friend, and Natalie, Jayce’s former best friend, have secrets about Jake’s death that have been eating at them. Natalie’s is compounded by the fact that she deserted Jayce when they needed each other most.

Each character has a truth. They know how to push each other’s buttons. The intensity of emotions makes things raw yet even as they might try to shy from the wave, they are drawn to it to better understand themselves.

And before she’d learned that the worst things in life weren’t horrific accidents, but the things you did to the people you loved. Things that could make you unrecognizable to yourself.

Jayce and the others go on further adventures thanks to Jake’s map and journal of urban exploration. Each adventure enriches the story and results in understanding, both good and bad. By being on the end of fear, the characters become more themselves and open.

While You Were Here is certainly a novel of grief and its effects, of how a tragedy changes the people around it, and how each person reacts differently, it is also a novel of discovery–self-discovery–and trust and love and friendship. McCarthy writes with a great deal of insight into motivation and I found that none of the characters rang false. Even the ones that seemed like bullies were layered.

Fans of Sarah Dessen will find the same poetry of language and vision in Cori McCarthy’s writing. There were some beautifully written passages. I look forward to reading more.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

From AmazonYou Were Here

rating: butterflybutterflybutterflybutterflybutterfly (5 out of 5 butterflies)


To Write of Transformation, Day 22, OctPoWriMo

The very young dwell on love

the sadness, the angst

of loss, of betrayals,

of bitter anger,

of metaphorical worlds ending.

They write of love’s loss

feeling like death.


No longer very young,

you write of transformation

of death, real death,

of never seeing the person’s smile again

of never hearing their voice

seeing them laugh

holding their hand

hearing their wisdom

extolling their friendship.


Knowing there is no chance

of ever, forever,

with them again.


end 10/25/2016

S. Darlington