As a young child, Hazel baffled everyone around her because she did not utter a word until she was five. Instead, she devoured books. Hazel’s first word was “No”, when her father threw a chair at her mother.

Even in that moment, her mother, a dancer, was heartbreakingly elegant. Hazel watched as she dodged the chair, leaned back on her heels and sidestepped the splinters. When her mother whisked her from the floor to safety, Hazel saw tears laced in her lashes and bruises crisscrossing down her neck like butterflies, and wondered how she could be so beautiful.

The day…


Night sweeps in with its elusive embrace, painting boxed frames over the bedroom floor. Cold air drifts in carelessly through the thin gap below the windowpane.

The man leans over, crinkling the sky-blue sheets as he murmurs into Julie’s ear. His breath tickles the insides of her earlobes and a tingling sensation runs through her. “Oh, Julie, Julie, Julie.”

The words, uttered ever so softly, stir the recesses of her memory.

She lies next to this man whose name she cannot remember, letting the memories waft in like a gossamer haze, and the tingle grows into a fire.

Julie’s memory…

a short story


I first met Leah when we were both thirteen.

I spent lunch breaks sitting cross-legged on the school lawn, sketching on my notepad. One day, I looked up to see a girl perched on the edge of a bench diagonally across me. She was drawing too. The next few days, I kept seeing her at the same spot.

Sometimes I would watch her draw, utterly transfixed by the tranquil sight — her wavy dark hair spilling over her shoulders as she sketched, hands moving swiftly across the page, pencil deftly working its magic. …


Dawn drenches the patio
with soft trickles
of honey whiskey.

Dappled specks of sunlight
tango with crimson leaves
as they twirl from trees.

The woman closes her eyes
and listens to the whisper
of the breeze through
tasseled foliage.

The last traces of summer
slipped away into the dawn
like a gossamer mist,
leaving behind a quiet despair
lost in the linen weave
of last season, a time
she has no words
but only an ache for.

Suspending a paint-filled brush
in the moist morning air,
she runs a finger over
the taut blank canvas
in front of her,



I shake wisps of dust
from the pink ballet shoes
and slip them on.
It has been a decade
but they hug my feet
with only a tiny pinch,
like it was just yesterday
that I was dancing in them.

As I dance, I’m floating,
my torso a forgotten moon
crossing the parquet floor.
I’m gliding, embracing the ache
in every brushstroke of
tender half-light
melting into shadows.

Suddenly I’m that girl again,
spinning in fearless arcs,
the girl who danced
through pain’s every soliloquy,
brazenly on pointe when
rose-petaled bruises quietly bloomed. …

Michelle Muses

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable” —Mary Oliver.

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