Tomorrow_Is_Today1 t1_je3orv8 wrote

Jessica pulled a finger through her neatly curled ringlets as she entered her classroom. She wondered what message would await her today before clearing the blackboard.

She froze in her tracks as she read it. Oh.

“Run, beware, hide!” Words from a stranger. What to beware, when to run, where to hide? Perhaps it was a joke. But Jessica couldn’t believe that, not when she had woken up with ice in her veins and the vibrations of dread everpresent.

She took a deep breath and looked around the room. There at the back she saw him. Riley.

He looked up and grimaced weakly. He looked so different from the last time they spoke. He grew into a man, yet now pale and sickly. If only she could have seen him before he got sick.

He didn’t need to say a word for her to know what disease was killing him.

Jessica pulled at her ringlets again and winced. She was so careful. So crafted in image, a perfect paragon of femininity.

And Riley saw through it all like he’d crafted it himself. Because once upon a time, he had.

“Run, beware, hide?” Jessica said. “You know I won’t do that to you. I can’t if I want to.”

“Others do.” Riley shrugged as he looked into her eyes. The two had a way of never glancing apart. “All the time. Run, the abomination might give it to you! Beware, hide, or you’ll become one too! All until you’re alone and dying, and that’s how it is for all of us. Well. Most of us.” He raised an eyebrow, and Jessica shivered.

“I’m not leaving this time. I won’t do that again.”

“But wouldn’t you? If you had to?” Riley almost scoffed, but he didn’t need to. Jessica could see it in his eyes. “You always did what you had to for the world not to kill you like this. You know our president just about laughed at the disease? He wants us gone.

“But you aren’t dying with us. You live a lie every day, and you know it, and you don’t change. And that’s your decision. And mine was mine. Got me so far.”

“Don’t say that!” Jessica exclaimed, face suddenly hot. “It did get you far. It got you further than me. Yeah, you’re dying. But you lived! I—“

Jessica shuddered and turned away. She still hadn’t erased the board. She did so in one passionate swoop. “You lived, Riley. And I know it’s hard to believe, but I won’t leave you this time.”

She turned back.

“You’re all I have.”


Tomorrow_Is_Today1 t1_jaanaff wrote

Reply to comment by FyeNite in [OT] Poetry Corner: Fire! by OldBayJ

Great pome, Fye! Glad you joined us :D. This has excellent vivid imagery and lovely flow. A few bits of crit:

>The inferno swirls around me like a gargantuan w wall

Repeated "w" there.

>A perfect storm raging outside my mind

Defended by nothing but meagre mud grind

It may be small and it may not be much

But it's all made better with chocolate and such

I love the shift in focus here, but I feel the ending itself is a bit sudden. You spend a whole poem describing this raging inferno, and then jump to "it's all made better with chocolate and such". And that doesn't mean you can't end it that way, but I'd like a bit more along with it or perhaps just a more serious tone than the somewhat dismissive "chocolate and such".

Good words!


Tomorrow_Is_Today1 t1_ja9orir wrote

Fareeha attacked language learning with fervor. With charts, flash cards, and daily practice, she'd surely be fluent in French in no time. But after three months, she was more confused than ever. Fareeha was supposed to be chatting with ease, but she was just floundering about.

One day, she lost an hour to confusion after misreading "fright" as "freight" and had enough. Fareeha brought her notes to a s'mores night with her friend Fabian. They'd feed the fire now.

Fareeha charred a marshmallow black over the blazing papers, grinning at the flames.

Then Fabian turned to her. "How's French going?"


Tomorrow_Is_Today1 t1_j97gk0g wrote

I never liked candles at my friends’ birthday parties as a kid.
I always moved away from the table,
fearing that as they blew it out
the flame would only transfer rather than disappear
and I would find my face awake with heat.

In middle school I was still afraid,
but made myself out to be fascinated.
I centered my science projects around flame
and became comfortable using long lighters
though I still wouldn’t touch a match.

Somehow growing into adulthood it managed to flip
intrigued by fire
yet now avoiding water
High school nightmares followed middle school trauma
drowning as much a fear as revealing my own body
so I hide myself in layers,
count the places clothing covers
and in my anxiety and exhaustion
barely manage to shower.

I should not be weak to water.
It didn’t have to be this way.
So underneath all of this fear
underneath the thought spirals that suffocate
I nurture burning rage, declaring
it’s you who made me this way.

It might not really be, but who cares?
At least my childhood wouldn’t have been so trapped
at least my memories wouldn’t be a trap
that I fall into, time and time again
replaying your comments
replaying your movements
replaying what I had no control over
forced to experience
forced to do
and each family member I turned to for help
wouldn’t meet my eye.

So I hope you suffocate here,
as I flip this match between my fingers.
What happens to me next, I hardly care
but I can’t wait to watch your home be erased
to hear the wind howling over scorched earth
and say, quietly,
you did this to yourself.


Tomorrow_Is_Today1 t1_j7s1jkm wrote

When he called the Crimson Tide, he didn't know if there would be a response. It was late at night, not that that mattered much to villains and heroes. If they were lucky, it might mean no spectators.

As he wiped blood and tears from his cheek and donned his elegant mask, the young Tiger made a silent wish for luck that night. Somehow the scales had to balance. He'd fought too hard to give in softly.

"Meet me in the grove of ghosts, at the boulder that reflects the light of the moon. This all ends here."

That was all he'd said in the call. Now he prowled between trees barely visible against the night sky, face quivering and thoughts dangerously silent. This all ends.

The details of their battle mattered little, for the location and time ensured no spectators. The Crimson Tide waited for him, as she always did. He had never fought a battle alone, and quickly found himself in the air and trapped within the long ribbons of her cloak, slowly tightening around his neck. He could still speak, if he wanted to. He said nothing.

"Someone hurt youuu," the Crimson Tide echoed.

"If you're going to kill me just do it."

Her face was hidden, but she drew closer. "No."

A tear squirmed its way down his cheek, squirming hopelessly as the ribbons bit into his skin.

Then she let go, and he dropped to the ground. He became aware of her figure towering over him, crimson cloak shining softly in the moonlight.

"Hurt them back." She extended a hand - a real, human hand, coated in glove but no cloth tendrils. "Join us."

The Tiger looked up. He took the hand.


Tomorrow_Is_Today1 t1_j74qwm6 wrote

Conventional logic from childhood does not allow for such joy and meaning in a class like this;
I suppose it’s good, then, we’ve set to abandon the old rules.
For admiration and gratitude make up a flood of love,
and love is not romantic nor shameful
but the natural response when our lives are changed so.

Eagerness feeds our tired brain,
writing in bed not because we have to
but because we want to.
She said the other day that ravenousness for learning is part of health.
I wonder how I did not think it myself.
Must be the same way I hadn’t thought about
how grief is a flood of love persevering
even as I have felt it every time I put on one of those dresses
that still smells like perfume
and see in my features
someone else standing there, smiling.

And when has respect not been rare?
When have we not breathed a sigh of relief at a learning environment that spells out safety,
discovered it in our thoughts every time the ground beneath us began to shake
our lip tremble, insecure?

Of course it is natural for us to feel so elated!
The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest
in all the details of daily life.
So it’s no wonder
we walk from class with a cloud of dragonflies lifting our feet
Our notebook and our heart
filled up a little bit more.


Tomorrow_Is_Today1 t1_j6nt9ub wrote

Charlie stood behind the stepstool at the bathroom sink, rubbing the paint off of their fingers. They’d have to see if little Sam was ready to stop painting so they could clean up the kitchen. They’d gotten much better at cleaning the past couple months. Having a five-year-old around will do that, they supposed.

Charlie reached for the soap bar. It would have to be replaced soon, it was getting thin.

Very thin.

Before they knew it, Charlie dug their fingernail into the edge of the bar. They tore off a strip and rolled it between their hands into a ball. Okay. We can stop now. We can rinse our hands. And leave the rest of the soap. Their hands stumbled, fidgeting, and rolled another. And another. Until the soap bar was replaced with a neat little pile of balls in the dish.

Charlie sighed. The compulsions were getting harder to fight.

Back out in the kitchen, Sam announced she was bored of finger painting and marched off to wash her hands after Charlie.

Charlie set up the stick figures, sunsets, and mountains to dry and set to work cleaning up the paint. As they scrubbed at the table, thoughts popped up unwanted. You’re not a good parent. You’re not even a real one. You got Sam because no one else would take care of her.

Charlie frowned and scraped harder at a particular bit of dried paint. It’s not enough that you love her, or you’re trying. When has trying ever been enough? You can’t even wash your hands right.

“Blech,” Sam said. Charlie walked to the bathroom and saw her spit out one of the balls of soap.

“These are bad peas, they taste gross.”

“Oh honey, you’re not supposed to eat those. That’s soap.”

“Ooooooh. Why’s it look like peas?”

“I–” Charlie flushed. “When the soap bar gets thin I roll it into little balls.”

“Ooo, can I try?” Sam jumped up and down on her stepstool. “I wanna make soap peas!”

“Well–there’s another thin soap bar in the bathroom in my room. I’ll grab an extra stepstool and we can go there.”

“Yay!” Sam marched into Charlie’s bedroom, clapping her wet hands with each step. She popped up onto the stepstool when Charlie set it down, and smiled into the mirror.

Charlie took the bar of soap. “You see how the edge comes to a little point?”

Sam nodded.

“If you stick your fingernail in, you can tear off a piece. Then you just roll it between your hands like this.”

Sam followed the instructions closely, staring hard at the soap like it would boost her fine motor skills. She opened her hands. “A soap pea!!”

Charlie smiled.

“Again! I wanna do more!”

With paint stains and wrinkled fingers, Sam and Charlie rolled the rest of the bar into peas, Sam humming and shouting “Ta-da!” after each one. Charlie looked up into the mirror, their head above Sam’s. And their thoughts didn’t say a word.


Tomorrow_Is_Today1 t1_j6bpdvr wrote

Love that attitude! I feel similarly but about particular aspects rather than story quality overall. I focus especially on emotion and on proper, respectful inclusion of groups that don't often get highlighted in media (or when they do, it's highly offensive).


Tomorrow_Is_Today1 t1_j60pzr8 wrote

Great poem, atcroft! I really like the approach you took where it's grounded in physical imagery while still getting across a clear message.

I have a hard time finding something to crit. I guess something I'd like a bit more of is details on the flying or the leap. From the perspective of the physical world you've set, is it jumping and catching hold of something ("Above me the goal"), or is it more of just straight up flying and the goal is up in the sky?

I really like the rhythm of this piece. It flows together well without sounding monotonous. With the flow as consistent as it mostly was, I did notice the lines "Can I sacrifice worry in time to fly / Before they pull me down?" were a bit longer than the ones before them, and while it didn't stick out a ton it's definitely noticeable.

Good words!


Tomorrow_Is_Today1 t1_j60ok3u wrote

Awesome poem, moinatx! It has such a nice flow to it and I love how you tied together the beginning and ending.

Both the sounds and the story flow nicely from start to finish, so the bits of crit I have are particular lines. For "Going under hoping", I was a bit confused at first until I thought maybe it was "Going under" as in sinking and the "hoping" comes after. If that's correct, I wonder if maybe putting a comma after "Going under" could make that clearer.

There was also a typo in "Drowing, I grow gills."

Good words!


Tomorrow_Is_Today1 t1_j5wfm8q wrote

I see you when I close my eyes
and underneath the covers
Your face and voice as I perceive
follow me into my dreams.

Sometimes we sit atop a cloud
and stare up at the stars
and find more people close to us
and talk about our deepest thoughts.

More often, though, it’s in the settings
where I know you best.
We sit together in your classroom
and you see my hidden pieces unfold.

Those dreams are the scariest
because I want them to be real
But I’m too scared to sacrifice the relationship we have
in wanting to share something more.

Maybe time will make me brave.
Maybe I’ll say the words I so want to say.
But for now, I open my eyes
until the image fades.


Tomorrow_Is_Today1 t1_j5ct6ct wrote

“You should just leave.”

Charlie looked over at aer partner. “Just leave?”

“Yeah.” Alessia crossed her legs, skirt folding against the black sofa. “I mean, you keep stuff here at my place anyway.”

“So she doesn’t get to it.”

Alessia raised her left eyebrow, the way she usually did when Charlie was missing something obvious. “You keep a go bag packed at all times if you have to get away suddenly, and it has all your documents and legal stuff.”

“Yeah, for emergencies.”

“You can just leave. You can stay with me. You’re an adult now, she doesn’t hold guardianship over you.”

Charlie looked at aer hands. “I can just leave.”

Alessia nodded in Charlie’s peripheral vision.

“Just like that. Never have to see my sister again. No more family. No more…any of it.”

Charlie looked up at Alessia. “There’s nothing we’re forgetting?”

“How could there be?”

Charlie blinked. Ae smiled. “It can’t really be that easy.”

“I’d hardly call it easy. More like you’ve been prepared for years, and you finally have the chance.”

Charlie jumped up. Ae laughed. Once, twice. Then ae couldn’t stop. Ae grabbed Alessia and they twirled around the room, socks stumbling on teal rug.

Ae froze. “I have to get my stuff.”


“Can you come with me? I’m.” Charlie swallowed. “I’m scared.”

Alessia pulled Charlie close, the pair enveloped in soft smells of almonds and roses. “I’ll be there the whole way,” she promised. “Wherever you need.”

Charlie gasped a breath, cherishing the denial-driven distance ae had from aer emotions. The floodgate would open eventually. But not yet. Act quickly, and it won’t interfere.

“Let’s go.”


Alessia’s little blue car rumbled through suburbia, and Charlie felt every bump. Don’t think. It’s easier if you don’t think. Or fear. Charlie held an imaginary knot in aer hands, untangling aer anxiety layer by layer. It never ended. But at least ae was breathing.

Charlie stared out aer window at the maroon house as they rolled up. Maroon might be a nice color, if it weren’t for this and blood.

“Do you want me to go in with you?” Alessia asked.


Charlie didn’t realize ae’d responded so quickly until ae heard aer own voice. “No,” ae repeated softer. “You don’t need to go in there. I’ll go in alone and find things to grab. We can always come back anyway.” No we can’t.

“Okay,” Alessia said, and reached for Charlie’s hand. Hers felt warm and soft, and Charlie was in danger of losing grasp on aer numbness. “I’ll be right here whenever you need.”

Charlie smiled weakly at aer partner. Then to the car door, open and close. And up the driveway ae went.

No car outside. Charlie clicked in the garage combination, and found it empty too. She won’t be home. Thank God. Even still, Charlie held aer breath as ae walked through the house, like aer sister could pop out from behind any corner, like ae was trespassing in a space not meant for aer.

Room by room Charlie dug aer nails deeper into aer palms. Ae blinked and returned to a breathing rhythm every few moments. It was so easy to lose it here. In the kitchen where ae saw a younger version of aerself crouched behind a cabinet in terror. In the living room where ae cried alone after they lost their parents, where Samantha hurled her blame so often. In the bathroom where she busted in insisting Charlie not shower and pulling aer out before the suds rinsed away. Replay, replay, replay.

Charlie was surprised how few things ae even wanted to take. So much connecting aer to this place, so little worth keeping. Ae grabbed aer go bag and a few outfits and books from aer room, then stood in the doorway. This felt so anticlimactic, and still there was a pang of sorrow for leaving. The house itself never hurt Charlie, but ae never wanted to see it again.

As Charlie carried the bag out and closed the garage door, Alessia looked up. Her smile shone brightly, and all of a sudden the bag weighed nothing.

It was really over.


Lying in bed, Charlie untied aer imaginary knot of anxiety and found a recorder inside. Ae turned it over in aer hands, marveling at its horrid memories. Ae would never stop it pressing replay. But it would never hit record again.