Slipping through the cracks

I forgot to mention a prose poem I had published in Doorknobs & BodyPaint’s Issue 59 (August 2010). It was fun little piece to work on.

The theme for the issue was”Hot, August Nights” and one of the guidelines for submission was to use the phrase “spew forth.”

I found an older piece that I had always liked and reworked it:


The robin sits silent in my lap, resting gentle feathers while I play two clear notes, like drops of rain on dandelions. I close my eyes, and deep within the acrid, crackling hearth smells are sage, thyme, marjoram, yarrow. Around me, roots throb under moist soil; rabbits run in rhythmic hops; bushes rustle like chimes in winter; flowers quiver, their blossoms bursting. The heartbeat of this forest is mine, an undertone of breath and wind and pulsing beats beneath the greenery.

All sound catches in my throat when I see you, and I pull the pipes away. My tongue runs like the stream across my lips.

You step closer. I run my hand through gnarled hair, watching leaves fall. With quickened breaths, I lift my pipes again, my playing fiercer. I ache to taste salty tears gleaned in the flushed hollow of your young neck.

You stop.

I wait for a scream to spew forth and shatter my delicate opus; but you step toward me, and I am lost. Like the autumn winds, I toss off your frocks in a frenzied dust devil, crawl under your skin, and search for the rhythm of your own dark woods. I feast upon the song that fuels the fire in your eyes until all that is left is an echo, and your skin falls into feathers on the wind.

Published by Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu has been making magic with food and words for more than 20 years, incorporating folklore from her Ukrainian heritage with practices that honor the Earth. She’s a writer, content developer, instructor, and mother of three teenagers. Valya is the author of MOTHER CHRISTMAS, THE SILENCE OF TREES, and the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Along with Stephen H. Segal, she is the co-author of FORKING GOOD: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of The Good Place and GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family (Quirk Books), and co-founder of the Wyrd Words storytelling laboratory. Valya earned her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry and prose have been published in anthologies and magazines that include, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Kenyon Review, Culture, Gargoyle Magazine, Gone Lawn, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium. You can find her on Twitter @valya and on @valya

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