The Witches’ Sabbath


Outside, it was sweltering.  The cotton pollen was swept away by the northwesterly winds so fast and so hard that it looked like a snowstorm.  Like manna from heaven it fell.  It was the first of July, the first day of my internship at the University of New Mexico Medical Center.  No more than five minutes had elapsed since I walked through the doors of UNM, when my beeper went off.  The number displayed on the beeper was the emergency room.  Five minutes into my internship and I already had an admission.  I looked about the emergency department.  Every bed in the emergency room was taken.  Occupying four or five gurneys, their legs over the sides of the bed, were asthmatics, huffing on their snakes of misting albuterol tubes for precious air.  Asking a nurse if she’d seen Ira Silverstein, my third-year resident, she pointed toward the trauma beds where the more medically mangled patients were parked upon their gurneys, like sailors washed overboard who had found a lifeboat to cling to.  A covey of doctors and nurses, respiratory technicians and medical students, gathered round the gurney in the bay.  I edged my way in. “Anyone seen Silverstein?” I shouted above the hubbub that surrounded the gurney where a patient was lying on her left side, breathing out of one of the nebulizers that snaked about the bed.  The doctor standing next to her head looked up at me.  It was Ira Silverstein.  One of those permanently dour people you encounter, Silverstein more properly should have been a mortician.  Continue reading “The Witches’ Sabbath”

What makes Earth warm

Frosty window

Cotton-like snow piled steadily on the windowsill as five-year-old Piper leaned on the frame, her face squished by the pressure between her cheeks and the chilly glass. The cold targeted her nose and cheeks, reddening them notably in contrast to her milky complexion, yet Piper refused to leave her looking-window.

“Piper dear, your mother will arrive soon; why don’t you come read a book while you wait?” her plump, sweet preschool teacher asked her affectionately.

“No thank you,” Piper assured.

Despite the seemingly confident answer, Piper found the wait truly dreary. Her eyes darted between the grandfather clock inside the preschool and the smiling snowman outside. She timed her mother without knowing her whereabouts, thinking “please be here in the next five minutes; I think I can bear five more minutes!” Yet Piper’s mother was especially late tonight, and Piper—cozily sitting by the fireplace—unknowingly fell to the irresistible temptation of sleep. Continue reading “What makes Earth warm”

What the deaf man heard


Remorselessness gushed from an obituary in Fort Worth’s city newspaper and dumbfounded the conversation for the Saturday morning breakfast crowd at our downtown family restaurant, Burger & Shake. Marvin Williams was a victim of vehicular homicide. The suspect (identity withheld) was still at large.  The dark highway where his life ended was the daily pre-dawn journey from his trailer on the outskirts of Weatherford, Texas. He was going to breakfast.  I was a collegian when I heard the grim tale and twelve when I met him, just beginning my family business career—washing dishes. Marvin strutted through the city streets wearing his wide brimmed Stetson complimented by western-cut clothes and boots with the gumption of a Texas rancher.  He was stone deaf but displayed lip reading expertise which impressed all that met him as he conversed in mechanical intonation.  I liked him. Continue reading “What the deaf man heard”



My goodness me, what a mess,

It’ll surely drive mum insane!

A thousand Legos, dolls in excess,

How much junk can a child’s room contain?


It’s time for the medicine, out with the Hoover!

After all, it’s better than mum becoming a boozer.


What matter of pride it is to clear the floor,

Dolls arranged, Legos in the box,

No dust, nor chaos beyond this door,

Not even smelly socks!


Aw mum, just wait a minute or two,

Before basking in your post-cleaning bliss,

You can leave it up to your trusted crew,

To recreate that familiar abyss.


By Hilkka Wiesner


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A twisted tango


(The following is an excerpt from a longer work.)

Chapter 1

Bohaban proudly grinned at his little project. He could see that his toy was breaking. He had seen that for years but he couldn’t let it break to soon.  Even the thought of toying with his prey gave him a tingle in his libido.   Of course, he slowly had to work his way up.  They become addicted to the pain he causes. They can’t help but do his bidding. They know how powerful he is, and they are driven by the fear he crests. He drains the light from his victims, and the more he drains, the more he can become them. And once all of what is good is consumed, the light cannot prevail.


Pandora had fought longer than he thought she would. He was rather enjoying this challenge. Hope is such an amusing form of deceit. Give them hope and watch them fall. He kept silent in the ears of Pandora for a few minutes.

“Let’s give her some hope then watch her fall. You cannot win this battle my dear… Continue reading “A twisted tango”

The darkness within

Golden Gate Bridge

For my junior year of college, I transferred to a university in the Bay Area of California. I shared a dormitory room with a fellow junior and premed, Dan Neighbors, neither tall nor imposing, who was built with the speed and grace of a mountain lion, his muscles taught in flexing tension.  Given his long blond locks, his blue eyes, his graceful body, he looked rather like a languid southern California surfer, who one would find hanging back, just waiting for that perfect curl.  Not even the steel-rim glasses he always wore took away that beachcomber look.  But in reality, Dan had grown up in the slums of east LA. His feet never once touched a surfboard and rarely did he make it to the Coast where the Pacific waters churned.  A full head shorter than Dan, possessing a rough spud for a face, no one could possibly mistake me for him.  With his appearance, he caught more than a few coed’s glances, and even, dare I say, the gaze of even some male undergraduates.  Despite the disparities, we got on well.  Slaving away during the school week, we memorized organic chemistry formulas inking them in on blank index cards; contemplated the world according to the laws of physics; and strove to understand the abstruse canon of calculus.  But at least one weekend night we set aside the pens and pencils, the index cards, and the spiral bound notebooks and went out together, unless he had a date.  Those nights were set aside for movies or frat parties.  We became as close as two brothers, except in one remarkable respect.  Continue reading “The darkness within”

Beggar’s lice


Your words are like crumbs on my path.

Scraps, scattered to blaze a journey, a passage home.

I gobble them hungrily, like the black-capped chickadee

darting, pivoting, hanging upside down to feed:

a balancing act on  Queen Anne’s lace and  beggar’s lice.


My days, nights are consumed with caches of your words

I’ve stored in dead bark, leaves, and clusters of conifer needles-

a 4G data plan-till my 28 day memory fades.

The words putrefy in morning light on that 29th day…

like manna, words were never meant to be hoarded,

kept prisoner in the brain…like cankers and galls on oak trees. Continue reading “Beggar’s lice”

Just like Granny—redemption

Hospital corridor

My granny always said the one thing she hated about getting old was there was no road map. She told me to make a map and get out of this forsaken place, or I’d end up like her.

As long as I remember I wanted to be a doctor, to help people, to make a difference. Who wouldn’t want that? They told us at University a doctor is part of a team. I stood looking at the square building, the sirens, people rushing in. I could make a difference in people’s lives, sometimes sad, but often for the better.

The electric doors whooshed open as I neared the entrance of the ED, but it wasn’t for me. The fast clicking of trolley wheels behind me only meant one thing. Two paramedics rushed past me, the blood on their green uniforms like large patches of death. A young nurse ran past me listening to the frantic conversation of the paramedic, “BP falling; large knife wound to the abdomen, heart rate weak.” Continue reading “Just like Granny—redemption”

Boys love guns


Al called me into his office one morning in May. We had not talked since John’s meeting and I wondered if it had anything to do with what transpired then. The worst thing that might happen was he’d ball me out for suggesting improvements to how he managed Bunga West and fire me. My father would call my move “usurping the chain of command,” which he once explained to me was a way to ruin your career, get transferred to some hellhole, and lose all your friends. As it happened, I differed from my old man in certain ways, most importantly, probably, by disrespecting figures of authority. That’s why I quit college and ran away with a rock band a few years ago to find myself and fucked up royally. He had warned me beforehand, and when I came home, said, “That’s the way it goes, Joe,” slapping me in the back and laughing. He’s a tough guy, but has a tender spot for those who distinguish themselves with colossal flops. Continue reading “Boys love guns”

Perspectives on snow


It has been snowing for good many hours,

Get your shovel ready for the routine task,

After a great deal of sweat and an empty pocket flask,

We’ve finally shown the sky our mighty powers.


The yard is cleared, the mountains have been moved,

Our rest is now beyond behooved.


Get your sleds, friends, grab your gliders,

It’s time to head for the sacred white hills!

Never has such a nuisance stirred up so much joy, nor chills.

Hurry up, don’t be the last, in this chore there are no outsiders.


Thinking it was over, we completed our deed,

Yet the heavens’ offerings seems ample; back to our shovels we must proceed.

Snowmen, snow angels, there are no limits defined,

What great fun the kind nature has for all of us designed!


By Hilkka Wiesner


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