Leaving Letters

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pens and Pencils.”

She was too special to text, to email, to send a selfie.

This had to be from the heart, and would likely be a ‘novel’ experience; he chuckled to himself, being a writer…

There were people about, but he was able to focus.

He even bought a special fancy pen and stationery at the bookstore, just for the occasion; the ink was distinctive, seductively dark, he thought; the yellowed ivory look of the paper gave it just the right look of antiquity, and she would immediately, upon seeing it was his writing, be duly impressed.

The coffee shop, however, was full of college students, much like he’d been not very long ago; loud, boisterous, sure of themselves and their world-changing ideas.

He smiled.

How his world had shrunk, so suddenly, so magically, down to two, and if he had his way, down to one: to her.

This letter, to her. His heart, to her. All that he would be, to her.

He left the coffee shop behind, its murmured ‘walla’ of earnest conversations became meaningless, like the prayers of rabble in the church courtyard to the consecrated priests within.


Somehow, he found a quiet spot, on a hill where few joggers and dog walkers, parents, and couples out for a romantic walk bothered to venture.

It wasn’t complete solace, but it was the best he would do, and while he burned with the passionate prose he’d composed in his mind, the day was fleeting;  soon the night would come, and she’d be home, the element of his elegant surprise lost.


He filled the paper by the light of the westering sun, laboring, reading, reading again, a small mound of pricey parchment in a pyramid of circles on his left, the envelope waiting patiently, resting on blades of grass on his right.

There. It was done. Well and truly done. If he were a girl, (pardon, a woman) who received such a letter, he would surely swoon. Cyrano at his best was a hack compared to this.


Romantically cryptic, he did not write his full name, just his initials, on the envelope, and he placed it with trembling hand in the mailbox, as if in offering to a god smiling benevolently, condescendingly, upon such a meager, but heartfelt offering.

He left in a high state of anticipatory bliss.


His phone rang at eleven that night.

He’d been pacing, waiting, slowly going out of his mind, but he let it ring four times before he answered it, lest she think him desperate.

“Hello.” His voice came out steadier than he’d hoped for; that was good.

“Is this some kind of joke?” she said.

“Joke? You think I’m joking? You read everything I feel about you, and you think I’m joking? What’s wrong with you?”

Taken aback, her tone softened. “How you feel about me…? But …there’s nothing on this paper.”

“How could that be?”

“I don’t know, but it’s blank; there was a blank envelope too, but I figured with all that, it was probably you, playing a prank on me.”


He rifled through his desk, found the pen, hastily scratched the word ‘pen’ on a sticky note, and told her,

“There’s nothing wrong with the pen I had, nothing wrong with the paper.”

They proceeded to talk about what could have happened, and as they talked, he walked through the house, but when he returned to his desk, the word ‘pen’ was gone from the sticky note.

“I’ll call you back…” he said, and hung up.

He took the cartridge out, but there was ink.

He shook the box, and a booklet fell out, splattering on the desk like an blot:

‘Jim’s Novelty Shop: fancy pen with disappearing ink.

Fool your friends…’

Little Queen

Little Queen, Little Queen

What can I give?

“Give me your heart,

that I might live.”

Little Queen, Little Queen

What shall I say?

“Tell me you love me,

every day.”

Little Queen, Little Queen

how shall I prove?

“If I come to sit by you,

don’t you move.”

Little Queen, Little Queen

Here is my heart

Long may I love you

Until I depart

“I love you too, daddy.

Now that it’s plain,

Won’t you come play with me

Out in the rain?”

© Alfred W. Smith Jr.

By a Seaport Village

In a cluster of tourist trap


by the Bay

on small,



the store


the chimes

caught my


Weatherbeaten metals

Delicate shells

Wood and stones

Colors and animals

Glass, plain and stained

harmonies blending

in the

evening breeze


the stars,


the sea,

to join the



of the



© Alfred W. Smith Jr.

Throne Room

I died in this chair.


only to see the

growing shadows

of dusk

once more,

the rusted mailbox


with letters

from my


a portrait

done over



I leave

no footprints,

no tears

to stir

my ashes




on the

creaking floor.

© Alfred W. Smith Jr.

Coming of Age

Of which age do I come?

On which day?

I don’t understand this,

for it seems to me that


are always

coming of age.

There are only

new times

new similarities


old changes

mixing with variation.



of maybes,

this life

I lead.

Coming of age

is holding aloft your

first born son


burying your father,

doing both with a hearty laugh

and tears of joy.


it seems to me,

are always

coming of age.

Every day he does not


he comes of age


© Alfred W. Smith Jr.

Broken Peaces

Peace of mind

Peace of heart

Peace of spirit

Peace of soul

Peace of stable relationships

Peace of His promises

Peace of the Blood covering

Peace of the New Covenant

Peace in the home

Peace of enough

Peace of community

Peace with God

Peace with Man

Peace that passes all understanding




And in His


He will put the

broken peaces



restore me.


© Alfred W. Smith Jr.


The madness stirs.

I feel it in the pit of my belly, I see it by the light of my mind

its eyes are open, fully focused on its target.

Like a snake on a branch, it incrementally inches, painstakingly progresses

My mind strikes out in fear, but it is not vanquished

My soul screams, but its approach is relentless

My heart quails in terror, but its eyes are merciless


it wraps me in its writhing,

cold coils



the heart

And for the first and last time

I lose myself



© Alfred W. Smith Jr.

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