NaPoWriMo 2018 Two Sylvias Press april 20, 2018

Ah, to write about a secret and share it. Well, I can’t think of anything I am keeping secret that I can tell about, except perhaps one that I don’t know the answer to:


Family Secret

It isn’t my secret. It might be
my father’s. Perhaps his mother knew.
Born to one surname, married under another.
What happened in the years between?

Did it change when he was small?
Perhaps he never knew at all?
Am I a Swaebe? Or am I a Pfahl?

Did she change it or did he?
Why all the mystery?

All that so many years ago.
I suppose now I’ll never know.

Carol A. Stephen (nee Swaebe)
April 20, 2018

Swaebe is pronounced with a long a, silent e’s.  Swayb.

Pfahl, as far as I know, has a silent P and h  FAWL

NaPoWriMo 2018 Two Sylvias Press April 19, 2018

In each line of a 10 line poem use two words that mean the opposite of each other. This one was tough, because of the limitation of line length and the constraint of 10 lines.  Not my best effort. Trying to catch up does not attract the best words onto the page!

Winding Down

Days I think I’m crazy, the only thing that keeps me sane
is playing crazy eights, the start, stop and start again play
as each takes turns winning everything or nothing,
bitter losses, sweet rewards.

Wide awake when I start, sometimes I nod off, asleep sitting upright,
the outer me with closed eyes, while the inner me still plots strategy.
When I go to bed on ice cold sheets, I fire up the mattress heater,
look to the clear sky for stars, or check a red-cloudy sky for snow.
Near the river, I hear the geese, far off an owl hoots once then silent.
Nature sleeps in deep shadow in the park, near the shallow end of the pond.

Carol A. Stephen
April 19, 2018



NaPoWriMo 2018 Two Sylvias Press April 18, 2018

This prompt provided a list of 15 words, at least five to be used. I have managed eight. It also suggested perhaps to write about something you feel vulnerable about or that you feel you shouldn’t write about.  I was thinking about what it’s like when you’ve been given opioids for pain

Opioid Dreams

I wake to brain fog, blurred memory, as if a fever broke
as I slept. Above the lights dazzle, reflection of the tinfoil wrapped
tight around the shade. Why am I in this place?

More aware now, I am not sure where I am. The ring
of lamplight darkens the shadows. Figures in white coats
enter and leave. Someone bellows on the other side of the light.

Shallow laughter. And pain.
I run my fingers down my belly, stop at the spot
where the pain begins.

I have sprouted shoelaces. Or is it a tattoo?
I remember a dream of gold thread,
embroidery on my bicep. The tinkle of cymbals.

Flashing coloured lights. The pinball machine.
I was trapped inside forever
climbing after the small white ball.

Dilaudid. Ileostomy. Clostridium Difficile.
Pseudo Toxic megacolon. This is the vocabulary
I am about to learn.


Carol A. Stephen
April 18, 2018


A rebuilt Terminator 2 pinball machine.jpg

NaPoWriMo 2018 Two Sylvias Press April 17, 2018

Prompt for the 17th begins with hopelessness, to end on a positive note.

Cause and Effect

Winter wanders in weeks of darkness, and I,
in a cold despair, wander too, though
my body never travels, yet my mind spends
winter aging, becomes inseparable:
one the cause, one the effect or perhaps
the other way round.

Only when the sun returns, when the wind
blows away the snow, do my thoughts return
to hopes of spring, the cycle of seasons,
warmth on my skin.

I return from thoughts of where it all ends
to focus on where it begins again.

Carol A. Stephen
April 17, 2018