Adapted to War

Adapted to War by J. Rylee D.

I search for you at the bottom of the bottle,
Only to be faced with my darkest regrets.
Every remaining stain that I crave to forget.

We were too young and immature.
A plague for which there was no cure.

But oh, it was exhilarating.

Shockwaves of chaos rippled in our wake.
Vowing to never surrender.
Not until we break.

Is it crazy to say that I’d do it all once more?
A sick little reminder,
Of how our love adapted to war.

I have a tendency of being blinded,
By believing everyone is good.
Especially when it comes to beautiful faces and pretty words.

But what happens when the lights dim all around you,
And all the masks are removed?
And the pretty words are now laced with the ugly truth?

Sometimes the lights must go out,
For the blind to see.
And unfortunately for me,
The truth is much more blinding.

Shockwaves of chaos rippled in our wake.
Vowing to never surrender.
Not until we break.

I know it’s crazy to say that I’d do it all once more.
As a sick little reminder,
Of how our love adapted to war.

Yeah that’s what happens,
When the heart gets pushed too far.

Of you, I thought I was sure.
Hoping we could be the cure.
But turns out, our love just adapted to war.

<strong>J. Rylee D.</strong>
J. Rylee D.

I’m just a 26-year-old girl who spends her life daydreaming. I have always been an avid reader and writer, but recently decided to publish my poetry and a book on a public platform.

I like to portray honest and raw vulnerability in my work because life isn’t always pretty. I want to inspire people to fight for their happiness and to tell their truths, because they deserve to be heard and know that they are believed, and that they matter!

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here. 

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After the Storm at Night

After the Storm at Night by Daniel Fitzgerald

Her eyes opened
like a revealing moon
in a fractured sky,
becoming brighter
in its awakening.

Staying in Touch by Daniel Fitzgerald

Our hands glance
around the table,
then, as if by accident,
reach for the same glass.
The rest of us laugh
at the coincidence
while our fingers linger
with each other,
remembering other coincidences,
other accidents,
other times our hands reached
for touching.

<strong>Dan Fitzerald</strong>
Dan Fitzerald

Dan lives quietly in Pontiac, Illinois, tending to home and garden. His poems have been published in The Writer’s Journal, PKA Advocate, Nomad’s Choir, and many others. 
His work is also included in several anthologies, both in print and online. 

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here. 

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Inspector 13

Inspector 13 by LB Sedlacek

Ransom E. Olds created the assembly line in 1901 to keep up with the demand for horseless carriages. His invention enabled his factory to go from producing 425 cars in 1901 to 2500 cars in 1902. Henry Ford is presumed to be the inventor of the assembly line. Ford improved upon Olds’ process by installing conveyor belts. This shortened the time to manufacture a Model T from a day and a half to ninety minutes.

Baylee Elliott looked up at the clock, whistled for a moment, sighed and chewed fast on her gum and chewed some more. Her gum was flavorless, the sugar and sweet grape flavoring absorbed by her jawing and saliva. She’d popped it in right after the last break. There were two fifteen minute breaks a day, a half hour for lunch. Most of her coworkers used their breaks for smoking or the bathroom. She didn’t smoke, had tried it once, stopped when her grandmother shriveled up from one too many sun baths and skin cancer. She had worked on the assembly line, too. Baylee had taken her place as Inspector No. 13, right in the middle.

Inspector No. 13 was responsible for inspecting unfinished metal articles of furniture for defects in metal or poor work. Anything unacceptable was marked with a crayon or chalk and returned for repairs or scraped. She also had to feel the welds and look for burrs and if she found any, remove them with a file or emery paper. Baylee inspected hospital beds. They were only halfway assembled when they reached her. Sometimes she got overtime at the end of the line, inspecting assembled beds in their entirety.

She had never been called to the front of the line or to the Supervisor’s office except when they handed out paychecks, or there was a problem with the time clock or some general thing, but she was walking there now her feet moving slowly in front of her, she stepped slow and evenly almost tip toeing. A couple of her friends from the front end of the line looked up and smiled, it was a grim smile they gave her. She figured they were thinking she was in trouble or getting the axe or some other such bad luck.
She smiled back, her smile had been plastered on her face since she’d received the note marked #13.

“Baylee. Thanks for coming down. Have a seat.”

She continued giving out the same smile, sat and smiled some more. “Thank you, Mr. Barry.”
Mr. Barry was tall, thin, had a greasy swatch of black hair along the backside of his head, the rest of it bald. He was pale, as pale as she was, both of them pale from working days inside the windowless factories, in the shadows, human ghosts.

“It’s close to break time so I’ll get right to it Baylee. Your work here is good; I want you to know that. We don’t have a problem with it. We just need to reschedule you for a few days. Have you work nights.”

“Nights? Mr. Barry, I don’t know if I can do that, see I take care of my Momma at night, during the day we have a nurse with her, but–.”
“It’s just for a few days, Baylee. It’s about your adjacent.”
“15?”
“No.”
“14?”
“Yes.”
“Oh.”
“We’ll move 14 to nights, too. For a few days. And then you should be able to get back to your regular slot.”
“I guess so.”
“There’s been some discrepancies in his work. You just have to tell us what you see. Simple, right?”

Baylee nodded. Pulled back on her ponytail, brushed the hair from her eyes.

Going to nights wasn’t as hard as she’d thought it’d be. There were some perks, too. Mr. Barry said she could keep anything she found that didn’t involve Inspector 14, and as long as it wasn’t cash or jewelry. She didn’t know what she was going to do with golf clubs, or contraband software because she didn’t play golf and she didn’t own a computer but she’d found them strapped up inside the bed frames, some strapped up to the underside of the mattresses or inside the mattresses. There was clothing, too. Silk scarves, t-shirts, socks, any number of cheaply made overseas goods.

She hadn’t known 14 long. He was short, shorter than she was, was tan or spent the better part of his weekends in the sun or a tanning booth, his hair was blonde, almost white, his face a ruddy red from sunburns or tanning booth burns. He was young, too, younger than she was by almost a decade. She guessed he was in his early twenties. Not married. At least there was no ring, no white line where a ring should be. He was always smacking on some gum and drinking soda. She didn’t know how he dodged the bathroom with only two fifteen minute breaks a shift. He was local, and he spoke with a southern accent. He’d moved back here from somewhere else, was living with his Mother. His Mother had worked here but was retired, that’s why he’d hired him, Mr. Barry had told her.

“Baylee. Come on in. Shut the door.”
Baylee wiped her hands on her smock. Pulled tight on her ponytail.
“Have a seat.”
“Uh, I don’t–.”
“I know you’ve been out on the floor. It’s okay. Don’t worry about getting the seat dirty.”
Baylee nodded and sat. The chair was dark wood with a light veneer finish. A polished plastic cushion was attached to the seat and the back.
“Have you made any progress?” Mr. Barry poured himself a cup of water. Offered her a cup, too.

She smiled, took the cup with both hands, taking a long draw of the cold water.

“With 14? No. I mean I ain’t. Scuse me. I haven’t seen him doing anything but his job. He isn’t that fast, but he don’t get behind. I know you’ve heard that story bout him. Bout the time he was working the night shift on the front desk at the Blue Ridge Motor Court and got caught smoking weed on the job. Cursed that woman out, the manager. Told her she deserved all the names everybody called her behind her back. That was years ago. I think he’s been straight since he moved back.” She took another sip of water. “Is that what you wanted to know?”

Mr. Barry shook his head. “Just keep looking, Baylee. I know you found some stuff. Golf clubs. Software. Keep looking. It can’t be drugs. You’d smell that on him, but it’s something.”
She tried bringing coffee to 14, he would just take it, nod, gulp it down, grin as if she was trying to get a date out of him and she wasn’t. Even if it wasn’t on her watch, her assigned watch from Mr. Barry, he was way too young for her and she hated his sideburns, too long almost to his chin’s edge and the soul patch. It was all too much. The nights were getting to her; she wasn’t sleeping, and she wanted to tell Mr. Barry to shove his third shift and go somewhere else but jobs were scarce so she stayed and spied and looked for nothing and took home bootleg that Mr. Barry didn’t want or didn’t tell her to give to him for the higher ups who’d paid to have them snuck in in the first place.

It was five weeks in and she had upped her coffee ante to five cups a day instead of two when she found something. It didn’t seem like much to her, but maybe it would be enough to get whatever Mr. Barry wanted to get on Inspector 14 so she could get back to the days move around in the daylight again.

The idea was clever and simple. The best ones always were. She knew someone had said that, or she had read it somewhere. Inside the sides of the frame, the long sides that connected to the bedposts or the square headboards, that’s where it was from a staffing shortage at the plant up the street and they’d moved some inspecting to her plant, to Baylee’s line.

At first, she didn’t know what it was. It didn’t look like anything to her, maybe a child’s drawing or a secret map, or some kind of foreign language smut, but that wasn’t it at all. It was pictures. Expensive photos. Stolen art.

She didn’t know what they were worth or where they were coming from or how 14 was involved and she debated warning him or at least his Mother but she didn’t know her either and sometimes trying to do a good deed would backfire at the very least costing her her job if Mr. Barry found out and he always seemed to find out, had his finger on the pulse of everything in the factory and that was even before there were cameras, computers and security punch codes.

She ratted out 14 on a Monday night, early about 6 am an hour before her shift ended without a break. She was looking forward to sleep. Maybe eating something, a biscuit or an egg sandwich, she hadn’t decided.

“You did good work, Baylee. You’re a loyal employee. You’ve worked hard.”
“Thanks, Mr. Barry. Does this mean I can go back to days now? I’m tired of this night shift.”

Mr. Barry stared straight ahead and sighed. He scratched his chin. Baylee looked out through the Plexiglas to the floor below. A couple of policemen were escorting Inspector 14 out of the building. He never looked up, never looked at her once and while she was watching him hunching over and ducking and trying to hide his face from the others and being dragged out of the building, she realized that she didn’t even know his name, didn’t even know his last name, didn’t know a thing about him except what Mr. Barry had told her and what little she knew of 14’s Mom.

“Yes, Baylee about that. You won’t have to be on the night shift anymore.”
“Oh, that’s great, Mr. Barry. I’m so glad, I–.”
“Wait a minute. Wait a minute. This is the part I hate.”
Baylee sat up straight, tensed her shoulders, bit her lips. “Mr. Barry?”

“Baylee, I’m sorry. I don’t have a choice in this. They handed it down from the top. It was inevitable anyway. I mean, you did the company a favor finding out about the art theft ring 14 was running, but it’s just that–.”

“Just what?” Baylee’s face was flushed, sweat pouring from her forehead, her hands balled into fists. She had never interrupted Mr. Barry at any other time.
“Your work fell behind on the night shift. Up until then–.”
“But I was doing what you asked, and I–.”

“I’m sorry, Baylee. That’s just how it is. I’m sorry. You’ll get severance pay. And three more months on your health insurance. I’ll be glad to write you a letter of recommendation anywhere you want to go. This didn’t come from me. I did what I could. You know how it is with manufacturing jobs. Not one of us is safe anymore.”

Baylee nodded and smiled thinly, but it was still a genuine smile. “You’ve always been good to me, Mr. Barry, so I believe you. I’ll walk out of here without any trouble, and I’ll be calling you sometime about that recommendation. You’ll take my call?”
“Of course.”

Baylee stood, held out her hand, shook Mr. Barry’s hand, light at first and then harder with a couple of squeezes as if she was throttling his neck. She made it to the parking lot before the first tears fell, and she sat in the front seat of her Pontiac in the parking lot an extra fifteen minutes after her shift would’ve normally ended. She wiped her eyes, started up the car and drove home.

It wasn’t until she was sitting under the carport with the car turned off, sunrise almost in full swing, that she opened her smock and pulled it out. She didn’t know who had made it, where it came from or what she could sell it for. She just knew it was worth a lot.

~The End

<strong>L.B. Sedlacek</strong>
L.B. Sedlacek

L.B. Sedlacek has had poetry and fiction appear in different journals and zines.  Her first short story collection came out on Leap Day 2020 entitled “Four Thieves of Vinegar” published by Alien Buddha Press. 

Her latest poetry books are “Simultaneous Submissions” (Cyberwit), “The Adventures of Stick People on Cars” (Alien Buddha Press), “The Architect of French Fries” (Presa Press) and “Words and Bones” (Finishing Line Press.)  She is a former Poetry Editor for “ESC! Magazine” and co-hosted the podcast “Coffee House to Go.” 

LB also enjoys swimming, reading, and playing ukulele.  

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here. 

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Racism

Racism by Ali Ashhar

All are born equal,
Yet some are deluded to be manipulated by hate,
Not spurred by difference in ethnicity,
Nevertheless, by deviation in ethics,
Ethics that made him perceive ghastly,
This racism pervading, deep below, doesn’t know any impunity.

This malevolence not only compromise of colour,
Someday it’s for religion,
Someday it’s linguistical,
Someday it’s for ethnicity,
Someday it’s for minorities.

Vexation traversing around needs to be eradicated,
Our humane aura ought to be elevated,
Human devoid of being humane is merely an animal,
Who needs to remember Almighty’s favour upon,
To perceive no difference stancing colour, ethnicity, or religion,
To didacticize how beautiful every creation of the creator is,
Who created them the same way he created you.

<strong>Ali Ashhar</strong>
Ali Ashhar

A 21-year-old from India currently pursuing a Masters in English Literature.As an introvert, writing gave my emotions the voice which was lying dormant since long.

I started writing at 18, primarily some motivational poems after finding myself encompassed by adversities.I pen my emotions on motivation, social issues, nature, love and family. Besides, I am also a nature lover and football aficionado.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here. 

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Meant for More

Meant for More by Rachita Praharaj

Falling into the void of nothingness,
Find it within you,
The hope you seek in the world,
Bind it to yourself,
Live in the shattered shards of you,
For there is a reflection of you,
In each of them,
Reflecting all that you are yet to be,
Learn that being broken isn't the same as being nothing at all,
Take all of it with you,
As you get lost in yourself,
Only to find you,
You might stumble for the road is new,
Hold your dreams
That comes with a new dawn,
Follow your emotions,
They'll lead you to the shore,
It has always been within you,
For you are meant for more.
<strong>Rachita Praharaj</strong>
Rachita Praharaj

I am Rachita, a student of Commerce, from India. To me writing is a way of expressing the emotions I feel too much, be it anger, sadness, elation, etc. It is not an escape to me, cause I feel writing has always been my only reality. I’m always lost in the trance of words, for with them I am my best self.

Through poetry I portray my vulnerable self, the one that I had kept locked up all these years.

I am a patient person, in love with tea, silence and beaches, but I am always excited for new things. 

You can find me on Instagram @the_closet_lines 

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here. 

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Love Letters to Decay

Love Letters to Decay by Ryan Drewes

take me away
to that space and that place
the one amongst the trees
the one for you and me
tell me you’ll stay
for just another day
and maybe one more
just so we can play
as the days pass us by
the more I wonder when
so I’ll keep writing you these words
that keep bleeding from this pen
my muse and my love
where are you on this day
as time slowly kills
leaving these love letters to decay

<strong>Ryan Drewes</strong>
Ryan Drewes

 When did all this madness begin? Well, I guess you could say when I was born, but I believe something cosmically intervened in 2012. 

I’ve always had the ability to express myself through words rather than voice, however it took a breakup in the winter of 2016 to really push me beyond any limits I had faced before. Rather than ignore my feelings this time around, I chose a different path. Latching on to other people’s words and thoughts as a source for inspiration, I would slowly begin the self-healing process.
 
I turned to journaling as a way out of my head and into the present. Staring at these words would clarify the things I had constantly ruminated about. I then joined a small intimate writing workshop, where the walls finally broke down. My heart bled out years of hurt and pain into anything and everything that would soak it all in. Eventually I began combining my words with the photos I had been taking, and the path I had been aimlessly wandering down for years was finally beginning to make some sense. Not only were others healing me, but I was healing myself.

The process of self love and healing isn’t an easy one. There’s an uncomfortable void you sit in. One you feel you’ll never get out of. You go through a lot of days where you just want to give up. You want to fall back on old habits and old ways. You question is any of this worth it? As time passes by though, I’m believing it is. On some of my darkest days, it was other people’s words that helped guide me towards brighter lights. I can only hope, in time, that some of my own words will be able to do the same.

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You Deserve

A vase of daisies to illustrate the poem: You Deserve

You Deserve to Love Yourself First by Kelsey Rojas

You took root inside me,
planted yourself sweetly by the daisies.
Watered your roses every day-
checked to make sure they grew.

With a garden, so beautiful,
roses growing up through my throat-
blooming out of my eyes.
All I could see was you.

It wasn’t for months,
until I started to feel my daisies dying.
Drowning from the blood drawn by your roses- thorns lacerating my throat.

You rooted yourself inside me,
disguised so sweetly.
Flowers with the promise of love-
instead all I feel is the pain.

You’re gone now.
Your garden has finally died,
no more roses, no more you.

I never thought I’d try again,
to build a garden.
I settled for the barren wasteland,
you left behind.

Until I met him.
With his green thumb and hazel eyes,
restoring my world with light-
giving me life.

He took my hand and placed seeds
meant for daisies, and he smiled-
the kind of smile that could make wildflowers grow in hell

“Don’t you want to plant your sunflowers?” I cried.
“Why are you giving me daisies?
I thought you loved me?”

I’ll never forget what he said,
I carry it every day,
every time I look at our kitchen table
filled with a beautiful bouquet.

“You need to plant this daisy in your heart
before I can give you sunflowers, you deserve to love yourself first.”

Seasons of You by Kelsey Rojas

We met in the winter time
In a silly romcom type cliche
Smiles in a crowded room
And blushes beneath icy breathes.

those wintery months weren’t always that way- indecision kept us frozen.
But we forgave the other for our vices,
and decided to live in the bliss of our ignorance.

We fell in love, in the spring,
through a haze of smoke and ash.
Endless moments of laughter
in rooms I can’t remember.

We suffered a long distance in the summer, barely saw the other.
Memories being made, but mostly with other people- in sunshine we hardly shared.

In autumn we weren’t what we were,
But I tried to ignore it and play pretend.
As fall began to freeze,
we spoke less and less.

He broke my heart in autumn,
his feelings changed faster than the leaves
It was the week before Halloween-no wonder he never committed to our plans.

It wasn’t until another spring came around- when my heart had healed
and the flowers bloomed again,
that I met you.

Someone brand new.
And when you smile into the sun-I see the evergreen trees amongst the hazel
I see my perennial love.

<strong>Kelsey Rojas</strong>
Kelsey Rojas

Kelsey Rojas is currently living in Charlotte, North Carolina. She works by day in online commerce and by night dreams of living in a small cottage by the sea with her boyfriend of 6 years writing poetry and prose.

She fills her poetry with wildflowers, sunlight, the difficulty of healing and the inevitability of pain. Writing has always been the great love of her life; a passion that began as a way to heal has become her greatest aspiration. 

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here. 

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Depression Is

Depression Is by K. Exum

Depression is that loud neighbor that you wish you didn’t live beside

Depression is feeling like you’re having the best time of your life

And then you start thinking about the old times

Then you start to sigh

You look in the mirror and start to think why

Why is this my life

Then you lie down and start to cry

Until your eyes can’t take any more

Then you fall into a deep sleep

When you wake up you feel a little ease

But when that feeling comes back you start to feel incomplete

Every day it’s the same old thing

Trying to explain this to your parents is like speaking to a brick wall

This is not something everyone goes through like when a baby learns to crawl

Before they walk

This is something that appears after several mistakes and several traumatic experiences

That people told you to just get over

So you try to brush it off your shoulder

But it goes off your shoulder and into your skin and travels to your mind

Then it replays in your mind over and over until you look in the mirror and ask

Why is this my life

Why did I have to mess up

Why did that have to happen to me

But some times you wish it was as easy as talking to yourself

Other days you wish someone was around to help

When depression is in your head and you start to grab at a weapon

Then it’s all too late

You lay up with the pills, or that knife, or that gun, or that rope

You just hope

That somehow times will get better

But would it really

Thinking it would get better, does that make me silly

Depression is the loud neighbor you wish you didn’t live beside

Depression is inside me

<strong>K. Exum</strong>
K. Exum

K. Exum is a young author, poet, and blogger from Maryland. Who loves to write all the time. When his pen is off the paper he loves to spend time getting his photos taken.

For more follow his blog Instagram @Piecesofkblog

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here. 

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Outbound for Sea

Outbound for Sea by Michael Kmetz

The North African sun, still and glaring from a cloudless sky, beat down mercilessly on the little launch and its occupants. The puny engine struggled against a gentle current as it lazily cut its way through the anchorage at Suez.

Just a week earlier I was sitting in a Tampa office building interviewing for this job, which was starting to feel like a dream. But there I was, flung to the other side of the world with my shipping documents and a little duffle bag, preparing to sign aboard my first ship.

The days before arriving in Egypt were a flurry of activity, seeing doctors for inoculations and a series of thorough physicals. So much was done in a short span of time that it all seemed like a great blur, actions which had taken place in a cloud traveling at light speed. The SS Gulf Trader was returning from East Africa in ballast and was anchored somewhere just outside the canal awaiting formation of the northbound convoy to the Mediterranean Sea. She had completed discharging cargo in Sudan and was scheduled to be at a lay berth Texas in a week or so, where she would be cleaned before loading wheat for Bangladesh.

My eyes struggled to find her in the anchorage, dotted with vessels of all different types and sizes from all over the world. The tonnage amassed in this relatively small area was impressive, a tangible example of mankind’s capabilities and intelligence when determined to transform ideas into living machines.

We slipped quietly in between these sleeping giants, as if to not awaken them. In contrast to my awe and interest in this strange place, the two other onsigners with me were lost in deep conversation, to the point where it seemed they were not aware of anything around them. Both were engineering officers, engaged in dull small talk of company policies and the negative effects it had on their machinery. Occasionally they would open up a spot in the conversation, letting me in on what they meant by certain criticisms and jokes, though I understood none of it. As their dialogue rolled on, so did my scanning of the anchorage for my new home. My thoughts began to swirl around a central theme of nervous fear – imagining all the different ways one could get in trouble as a green officer on their first ship. Very few of these imagined scenarios (if any) were plausible, but convincing myself of this fact at the time was nearly impossible. Drifting in and out of this self created and untenable debate with my own imagination and cursing the flesh broiling sun, I was barely able to summon up the will to be there.

As the launch slowed and its engine quieted, my attention focused on a ship perhaps half a mile ahead of us, at rest near some containerships in a less populated section of the anchorage. Contrary to the glorified paintings in museums of proud vessels pressing doggedly through the high seas, the ship before me was simply unremarkable. Her blocky white house looked almost too big, perched atop a rusting red hull behind four neatly stowed pedestal cranes. Atop the raised fo’c’s’le deck, a puny foremast with a sunbaked anchor ball wearily announced her status. The closer we got, the more apparent her flaws became. Aside from the bridge, every deck was dotted with portholes weeping rust like sad old eyes. Topping her off was a red, white and blue stack from which a thin trail of smoke gently streamed. Despite her sad appearance, she was very much alive and waiting.

We made our approach down her starboard side and slowed to allow the seaman on watch to lower the accommodation ladder to the water’s edge. As we slid gently along her beam, her four 25-ton cranes cast intermittent shadows upon the little boat, allowing me to examine her a little more clearly.

As a “handy size” bulk carrier, she was considered small and thus versatile enough to transit any waters or canals in the world. At that moment, and from up close, she looked to me like a floating titan.

After some jockeying by the launch captain, we were positioned alongside and ready to transfer personnel and belongings across. Glancing up, I was greeted by strange faces staring down at me from the main deck and bridge wing. My knees felt weak. Grabbing the rails, my adventure began one step at a time until my boots struck the hard steel of her deck. Looking towards the stern I could see the winches of the aft mooring station, which would be my main area of responsibility during arrivals and departures, waiting silently for our first of many future encounters. Looking forward, the Number 4 crane was already released from her cradle and hoisting our luggage aboard.

Heading to the Master’s office to sign on, a huge grin spread across my face, thinking about where I was and where this journey would take me in the coming months. The realization that I was now well outside the city limits of my comfort zone raced like thunder across the great plains. My heart raced! The thrill of adventure renewed a spirit the likes of which I had never known existed within me – and I felt at that moment like pieces of myself missing since birth had been reunited.

<strong>Michael Kmetz</strong>
Michael Kmetz

Born and raised in Shelton, Connecticut and educated at Sacred Heart University and SUNY Maritime College. I satisfy my wanderlust sailing around the world in the Merchant Marine.

When I’m not working, I still enjoy traveling (the urge to explore never ends with me) photography, reading and writing about my experiences, travels and thoughts. 

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here. 

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The Blanket

The Blanket by Muskan Sharma

Tired of sleepless nights, I went in search for a blanket which would bring sweet sleep to my swollen eyes. The market was painted with the beautiful colours of the fluffy fabrics. Folded in rings, some hanging from projecting beams, some laid in dusty piles, others were unravelled for the customers, while my eyes glided to the brightest shop of the market.

It relieved me to see the radiance of the rugs because it is the infinite darkness of my shabby blanket that haunts my nights. The shopkeeper displayed exactly the blanket I wanted, the brightest, thinnest and yet the warmest.

Nothing but the cage of my own fears tricked me into buying that rug without even giving me a chance to demonstrate if it could shove away the evils I was afraid of. Inevitably the night came, and it left me to conquer the darkness.

As a routine, I switched on all the lights and used my brand new blanket to insulate my body from the cold. My brain exploded with fear and disappointment to encounter darkness again. Helpless and anxious, I began walking to and fro on my bedroom floor, pondering and in the quest for the reason of this engraved fear. The banal cycle of day and night, my daily routine, the people I meet, my workplace and every trifling transaction I make were all vividly displayed in front of my eyes.

We pretend to be tigers, free and wild in the jungle of life but are beaten and filthy, trapped in human viles. Polished faces and branded clothes are lavish veils to obscure guilt and remorse.

The next day, when I met people, I knew their fears. I could penetrate through the sparkle in their eyes and could see the filth beneath it. If this is how we live, then my fear was nothing but just another expense of life.

Now, I sleep in peace with my lights off, cuddling in my blanket, knowing that at least the darkness underneath it is much more honest than the darkness outside.

<strong>Muskan Sharma</strong>
Muskan Sharma

I am Muskan, from India, an undergrad student majoring in literature. I am an avid reader and a writer. I write poems, short stories, articles and also wish to be a novelist in the future.

I feel strongly for the things around and do not shy away from voicing my opinions. Apart from literature, my interests lie in music, drawing and calligraphy.

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