Fifty-Five Words


She bent down to get a closer look.  She walked the spring awaiting this very morning.  First just a trilling.  Then two in harmony.  Finally, sticks shaping a gentle cup to hold the delicate bundles.  Days of sitting.

Her fingers caressed the broken shell.  The dried feathered frame curled on the cement.

Another spring wasted.


It winked at her.  Deep in the cobalt night three eyes, just her’s and Sirius’.

Every August she climbs the rise when birds begin their dawning canticle, reminding her of his soft brown eyes, clouded by the years, saying good-bye through her tears.

And here she rests, fancying him playing with the angels in Elysium.


She thought it might burst.  She once heard of a man’s that did, poor soul.  It wasn’t right for so much joy to cause such harm.  She refused to take a breath just to stay alive.   She would not bend to such science.

What good is being alive without feeling his smile filling her heart?

Author’s Note:

In between appointments today, I had a little time for me. That always means time for writing at a coffee shop, hopefully, with Leroy, my husband, who writes, too.

As I was walking down the hall afterschool yesterday, Jenny, one of the fifth-grade teachers was posting another 55 Word Story written by one of her students. She glanced at me and said, “Still waiting.”  Again, I promised one was forthcoming. One day soon.

Waking up this morning, I decided today would be that day.

Because I didn’t get exact directions from her, I searched the Internet to find the rules. According to Wikipedia, “The origin of 55 Fiction can be traced to a short story writing contest organized by New Times, an independent alternative weekly in San Luis Obispo, California, in 1987.” Of course, there are now many sites claiming the title and I could take my choice. I followed the rule that the piece would be exactly 55 words. I do not count the title in the word count.

After reading these to my husband, we decided that they might be too sophisticated for fifth grade students. However, I know that Jenny wants her class to read what I write as a writer. I really do not write young adult work, but do want to share with them my voice. I’m excited to see their reaction.

I’ll let you know what happens.

P.S. I love to post what Leroy writes when we share time together.  He decided I should present a 55 Word Story that is more age appropriate for the 5th graders. This is Leroy’s story:


by Leroy Leonard

Sometimes in the morning Leroy walks a mile or so up a hill, above a swimming pool and a firehouse; in his hand, a wooden flute.  Then, in one breath, Leroy floats out, over the sleeping world toward a glow where the sun will shortly rise.  Afterward he ambles sleepily home feeling a little loopy.

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