America – A Short Story

Looking out my back door, I tried to keep my breathing steady. It had been twenty-four hours since Mamá said goodbye. She had walked me to the school door instead of just dropping me off. She had given me an extra long hug and whispered, “Hay una sorpresa para ti, in your lunchbox,” before letting me go and walking quickly down the steps so she wouldn’t be late for work.

I had entered the school and didn’t give her another thought. Until she didn’t come home for dinner. And she wasn’t in the kitchen making arroz con chorizo on Saturday morning. And now it was Saturday evening.

I walked into the living room and picked up my cell phone. I tapped the “news” icon and watched the app launch. I saw it then, a picture of the factory where she worked. Mamá was coming out of the front door, flanked by two men in dark clothing, carrying guns, and wearing bullet proof vests that had the three scariest letters in the entire English language.

I-C-E

Mamá was still wearing the gloves she used for cleaning, her hair was mussed, the curly tendrils like a crown of ivy on her head. The headline said, “The first day of school turned into a nightmare after record immigration raids.” I sat on the couch, my heart rate increasing.

“No te preocupes,” Mamá would say when I whispered my fears to her. “Tengo fe in this nation.”

Mamá might have faith in this country, but I no longer did.

The photo above was taken by Patrick for his Pic and a Word Challenge #216 – America. I’ve also incorporated other prompts from this last week: Go Dog Go Cafe’s Tuesday Writing Prompt to use the word “ice” and the number “twenty four”; and the Ragtag Daily prompt for Saturday – Nation (Thank you, Punam!), Thursday – Looking out my back door and Wednesday – Goodbye.

This story is based on a true story of an immigration raid in Mississippi that occurred on the first day of school in 2019 – so it isn’t really “fiction”, hence the title. The children, of the immigrants who were taken, were not picked up from school and had no way of knowing what happened to their parents. I can only imagine the terror of those children – losing a parent is a big fear for any child. This incident also reminded me of the way the Jewish people were rounded up by the Nazis. Is this what America has become?

©️ 2020 iido

Running the Ragged Edge – A Haiku and Running Memory

Ragged points abound

Softened by mist and lush greens

The edge, not the end

Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #215 – Point included a poem and picture of one of my favorite places in the world: Big Sur, specifically the Pacific Coast Highway which runs along cliffs that overlook the Pacific Ocean. It truly is the ragged edge of the United States or “the Western World” as the annual international marathon states.

I ran the Big Sur International Marathon in 2016. It was my “Farewell to California Race” since it was the last race I did before we moved. When we lived in CA, we visited Big Sur, Capitola, Santa Cruz and Monterrey often. That area embodies my idea of California with its contrasts of rust colored, sharp pointed cliffs, golden sands, verdant grasses and redwood forests all shaped by the deep blue waves of the Pacific Ocean. The vibe is relaxed and eclectic – the perfect get away from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley.

When I ran the BSIM, I was 1 year post-partum with my youngest. I had to defer the race from 2015 since I was having the baby then, so I was really excited for the opportunity to run this race. Despite not having lost all the baby weight and not training as well as I could have (I was still nursing then as well), I felt strong and capable. I had trained with some fantastic members from the San Jose Chapter of Moms RUN this Town who had also thrown a goodbye party for me a few weeks before. It was really a wonderful race to end one chapter of my life and begin another.

©️ 2020 iido

Infernal Hope – A Haibun

The new year begins in the darkness of winter. We try to light it up with fireworks and cheers, loud illusions of summer happiness in the frosty night air.

Yet there is no inferno that can thaw the the frozen fear of what this new year, this new decade will bring. The crackle of global warming stabbing glaciers into rising oceans while lighting never ending fires. The heated breaths of chanting voices wanting to be heard or wanting to hear heads rolling. The red faced demands of hot-under-the-collar public servants who expect a tip for doing their job.

The twelve chimes of midnight mask my reddened eyes streaming with red-hot tears and the choked sobs of my frozen throat that cannot – can not – defrost despite the promise of new beginnings. The illusion of a friendly inferno only works until you catch on fire. Still, I walk towards that new morning sun.

Winter’s cold ignites
The need for new illusions
Hope can’t wait for Spring

Hello! Happy New Year! This is my first post of 2020 and it’s a triple play! Ok, so one prompt is a missed one from last week (Sorry, Patrick! I was away and missed the deadline but I’m still on a streak!) but the rest are current. I am especially excited about the picture prompt (above) from Sadje who has taken up the “What do you see?” Challenge from Hélène who passed away last year.

Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #213 – Illusions and #214 – Inferno came together with Björn’s first dVerse haibun prompt of the year – beginnings to express my feelings about the start of this new year. Sadje’s picture was the cherry on top of this trifecta of prompts.

Beginnings are usually hopeful events however the news of the last few weeks have been anything but hopeful. This is an election year in the USA and I can already feel the tension and am bracing myself for disappointment. Why? Because people nowadays seem to thrive on fear, not hope. Maybe like in Star Wars Episode VIII, we are looking for the one person (or thing or event) to bring us hope. I think, though, that we have to look to ourselves for hope – to be the hope and even to share that with others.

©️ 2020 iido

Yearly Expanse – A Double Nonet

I look at the expanse before me

Paper squares with ordered numbers

Three hundred sixty-six days

A leap year, elections

School days, vacations

Dance, sports, band, play

Jotted down

Checked off

But

Wait

Awhile

Savor it

The drive – to, from

The conversations

The laughter and the tears

And, of course, all the yelling

One year will again go so fast.

Look at this expanse of hopefulness

A late entry for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #212 – Expanse. As 2019 draws to a close, I felt a need to describe my feelings about the upcoming year. A year seems like such a long time but the day to day living makes it go by quickly. Even these last two weeks have sped by. Every night, I’ve been asking myself, “What did I do today? Where did the hours go?”

I’m hoping to savor 2020 a little bit. The first decade of the 2000’s have brought so many changes and I feel like I need to take some time to re-evaluate what has happened, what I’m doing and where I’m going. I hope you stay with me on this next journey around the sun!

©️ iido 2019

Blurry Face – A Haiku

Paper ripped open

Delight quickly blurs your face

What season is this?

This haiku was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #211- Blur.

The weeks have gone by so fast this December! Writing and blogging has given way to shopping and “celebrating” the season. Although, I can argue that half the time it’s hard to say what exactly is being celebrated besides commercialism.

I hope this holiday season does not go by as a blur for you – that you have the time to savor the love of family and the comfort of friends. Merry Christmas to my Christian friends! Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends! Happy holidays to my friends celebrating other traditions this month! And for those who prefer this version – Happy Festivus!

©️ iido 2019

Broken Wheelhouse – A Poem

My wheelhouse is broken
I cannot move
Wallowing in stagnant waters
I am empty
Listing to the side
My hull sticking to the mud
My paint bleached by the sun
I have lost my purpose and my way
Pieces of deck have been taken
Used to make rafts
And oars
Memories of travels and adventures
Wash through my wreckage
Consoling like Mother’s tears

This poem was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #210 – Wheelhouse. I have to admit, I had to look up the definition of “wheelhouse” for this challenge. The word not only means a covered structure over a ship’s (steering) wheel that protects the person steering the ship. But it also pertains to one’s area of expertise.

My wheelhouse used to be my career, my profession but as a mother who no longer has a job outside the home, I do feel like my wheelhouse is broken. What is my area of expertise now? If it’s supposed to be mothering – every day, my kids show me I still have so much to learn about being the best mom. Writing? I will leave that part up to you!

What’s in your wheelhouse?

©️ iido 2019

Sunset Ride – A Haiku

Sunset galloping

Grace highlighted in orange

Strength rides with six legs

This haiku was written for Patrick’s Pix and a Word Challenge #209 – Orange. I loved Patrick’s photo but I loved the poem even more! Orange not having a rhyming word is a common axiom yet Patrick’s poem offers proof otherwise! So clever!

I love orange the color and orange the fruit so I had many ideas for this poem. One of my favorite jokes also includes the word “orange” (orange you glad I’m not telling it here?). Then I found this picture of my daughter horseback riding and it all came together!

©️ iido 2019