Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sunday, December 13, 2009

OSI prompt #94

Spider Webs

my mother­-in-law
and I disagree on what
stays in the closet

Julie Eger
(sorry I missed a few prompts!)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

OSI Prompt #91 Migration

Double Day Dictionary 1975: migration: to migrate, to move from one place to another.

youth takes the wheel
reckless urging at crossroad
heaven is ready

Julie Eger

Saturday, November 14, 2009

OSI Prompt #90: Reincarnation


In among the cliffs
along the edge
of the stamp sand
left from mining copper
he cuts and stacks wood
motivated by whiskey
and the need for things
to be
in long

Julie Eger

Sunday, November 8, 2009

OSI Prompt # 89 - Departed


A woman down the street
is disturbed by the descansos
left at the side of the road –
a cross marking the spot
where a young boy passed.
She says she will remove it
if it is still there in the spring
when she comes home 
from wintering in New Orleans.
She does not want to be reminded
of the departed, of how he left.
“Once you’re gone, you’re gone,
so what does it matter?”

J. Eger

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fast Young Boy

When he blew the stop sign
he launched himself
toward heaven
in a turquoise Chevy Cavalier.
It only took five seconds.

Julie Eger

for OSI prompt #88: Shift in Time

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One Single Impression

10/25/09 OSI prompt:
this post itself is a little 'elusive' but if you would click on the following link for Julie on Basho's Road to see my contribution for this prompt, and then leave any comments on this page, it would be greatly appreciated!

Julie on Basho's Road


Clinton Morgan

You might deduce my grandfather
was of German descent.
and he wanted me to be
a scholar, but I chose instead
bricks and mortar,
fitting them so, in long straight lines –
in columns of red and gray.
On my dying day, my last thought
was of how there is something right
about every religion,
but not every religion is right
and bickering and fighting
are useless, and how I laid down my gun
a long time ago,
long before Gentry turned
and I bent and that single brick
took me from this earth, and my thoughts
turned to Eva Grund,
my childhood crush, and how
I meant to write her a letter,
but never did.

Julie Eger

photo by Julie Eger

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Jindy never told Francie when Mama was going to make fried chicken. If she didn’t say anything, then all the cracklings in the pan would be hers. When the chicken was brown and crisp, she would take the spatula and press it against the bottom of the skillet and scrape the cracklings out of the grease, and when they were cool enough, she’d pour them into her mouth.

That summer was different from other summers even though the garden was the same. All its blooming and growing meant a good harvest along with back breaking work. Sometimes Jindy’d stand in the middle of a row with both hands pressed into her back, her hands making a V and she would bend backwards and listen to all the bones popping and feel the muscles stretch so much they hurt. But with the sun beating down, she’d set her jaw and finish the row no matter if she was weeding, hoeing, or picking. One day she thought about how many times she’d gone over those rows. Probably she’d been at each row at least 7 or 8 times. She multiplied that in her head, and then doubled it for the extra rows outside the fence and added some for when she’d be picking off bugs, and figured she’d been up and down those rows near to a thousand times already that summer.

But that was the first summer she’d spent without father coming home after work. It was easy to remember how it started. They had got up for school, and a man in a tractor came and plowed back the snow as Mama peered out the window, and when the driveway was clear they put on their coats and went to wait for the bus, and when they came home their father was already there, waiting for them outside the house. He told them to get in the backseat of the car while he got in front, gripping tight to the wheel as though he had somewhere to go, and Jindy watched his face in the mirror as he told them he loved them, but he couldn’t stay where they lived, in the new house he’d built. And then he told them to get out of the backseat and go in the house by their mother, and they did.

The way they’d lived life had been thrown off schedule what with nothing to mark time the way scheduled work did. Father had always come home from the factory at 4:30 and they’d eat supper at 5 o’clock. She liked how every Tuesday they’d had tuna fish casserole, and every Wednesday, Mama had served pizza along with a shot of Black Label beer for everyone. Jindy longed for a family that sat down to eat meals at 5 o’clock, eat them off Mama’s pretty Melmac plates, when Mama was happy and father was happy and Daryl smiled all the time and there was enough good food to eat. Mama would scold Francie for eating her mashed potatoes with her fingers. Jindy had realized that summer it was only just pretend and if anything was real at all, it was the pretty Melmac plates.

But that was all done now because father had taken all the money. They ate whatever was in season, what they could grow in the garden, along with eggs from the chickens. Lots of eggs. Lord knows how many times Mama gave thanks for those chickens. Only the old ones went into the fry pan, the oldest in the stew pot. And they had popcorn. It had been awhile since they’d had any bread, but they had popcorn, which last fall they had shelled by hand until their fingers bled.

Sometimes Mr. Kirby would bring a snapping turtle. He would nail it to the light pole by the thick part of its tail and Daryl would wave a stick in front of it until the turtle tried to grab it with that pointy hook tooth at the top of its mouth. And then Mama would lop off its head with an old machete she had just for that purpose. The turtle would dangle headless with its legs all jerking and moving while the blood drained out and pooled on the ground, sometimes still jerking at the end of the day even if Mama had cut its head off in the morning. Once Jindy looked in the pan after Mama had cut it all up into cook-size pieces and some of the pieces were still moving.

Summer was near to end when Mr. Kirby came with another turtle, unusual for the time of year, as most of them came in the Spring. Jindy stood next to Mama, standing with her back to the pole. She could never watch Mama swing. She stared at the grass waiting for the sound that would let her know it was over, and Mama would hand her the machete and she would go wash off the blood in the driveway, pulling the garden hose as far from the house as it would go. After a time she looked up. Mama was standing with her arms hanging down. She handed Jindy the machete.

“Aren’t you going to…”

“That turtle’s a she, and she’s crying. A tear just rolled down her cheek.”

Jindy looked at her Mama shaking, and then she looked at the turtle, and those sad eyes connected with hers. Sure enough, there rolled another tear, plopping in the sand below. Jindy felt like something had reached all the way in from some deep dark far-away place and took hold of her heart and squeezed it dry. Mama took a breath. She pulled the nail out of the pole and hanging on to the tail of the turtle she walked across the road with it swinging upside down, swinging far out from her body so it couldn’t snap at her. With her strong arms she set the turtle down, pointed it toward the water and walked away without looking back. Mama came past Jindy. “Go on and get your pole.”

Jindy knew what that meant. If a fish decided to bite your hook and take your bait, well that was a whole lot different than lopping something’s head off when it didn’t want its head lopped off. Sometimes there was only so much a good woman could do.

Julie Eger

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Henry Hinkman

soup photo by Julie Eger

When I was sixteen I dreamed
of spending the rest of my life
with a blonde blue-eyed girl
whose lips were red,
whose father was rich
whose reputation would lead me
to lobster and melted butter
we would wipe with napkins
spun from white linen.

Today, I am cutting wood on the back acres
of a plot of land I earned myself,
while the smell of good soup
lingers along this beaten path
that leads to a patchwork shack
filled with a good broad woman,
fat and lovely and quick to smile
as she hands me my spoon and fills my bowl.

Julie Eger 2009


ring photo by Julie Eger

There is always that one, the one who conforms, bends, or complies. But now I see, all that stuff about stepping on toes is bullshit. I pour the coffee and the cup is too full. It puddles around the base, burns my fingers and I shake it off. If I could I would use those fingers to drag the image from my mind, and throw it on the table, throw it down for a good long look. If I could I would use a knife, one not so sharp, to cut away the pieces that don’t fit. Cut away the color of those clothes, all bright and cheery. Cut away the tag on that bag that labels such a thing more worthy, better than. Cut away the shine of the diamond ring on that finger, cut off the finger, hack it to the bone. How dare she be prettier, smarter, available. It is that availability that pierces me most.

Side note: Yes, I’m still wondering where this came from and what triggered it. If and when I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

Julie Eger 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009




Fear was the factoring cause, ever since that dry socket took six months to heal. The taste of rot and infection so close to the brain. Lower right side of his face still numb five years later. Didn’t hurt, if that’s what you’re thinking, just odd feeling. His tongue kept going back to the empty spot, like a man looking for his dog and couldn’t find it, couldn’t believe it was gone. Kept going to that spot. Jake was afraid of losing his teeth, one by one, hoping when it happened it wouldn’t turn into something he’d heard them talking about at the coffee shop.


But the idea of that dry socket went deep. It curled up inside his head, and woke him sometimes like a night mare scratching at him. They kept telling him:

“You’re going to need a dentist someday.”

A tooth would start to throb a little, a signal it might be getting ready to let go. He had a bottle of Oil of Cloves. A dab on a Q-tip was usually enough to trick him into thinking it didn’t hurt. Sometimes he’d use whiskey, either from the bottle next to his bed, or maybe Wheels would pour him enough, on a good night, down at Billy’s. He did things to keep himself busy. Cut wood, stack it. Drive to town, get a late breakfast, maybe lunch at Crazy Lou’s.

It was during one of those busy times, out in the back pasture when he went to fix a broken section of fence, when no one was around, he got the truck stuck. Now, this was a good truck, old, but reliable. It smelled of oil rags, grease. Crunched up pop cans and Tastee Crème bakery bags rattled around under the gas pedal. The radio could pull in WDUX from any corner of the county. He studied the mud and put boards under the back tires, but they kept spitting out as Waylon sang over his shoulder in the background.

Jake scratched his head and gave a sigh. His top left tooth started to throb. If only he had someone who could pull. He rubbed his jaw, and started the long walk to town.

Julie Eger

Monday, August 17, 2009

Burying Things

photo by Julie Eger


She was born to bury things. She hauled away the dead. Birds fell out of nests, lying hard and stiff on the ground with bugs crawling on their opaque eyes. Calves were born dead, dragged to the middle of the field, gone the next day, not a hint of hair or bone remained. The cat left dead mice, or at least parts of them by the back door, entrails teeming with sugar ants. Grandma poured bleach on them, and even so, she had to bury the guts in the driveway.

The summer she was seven she followed her brother as he entered the edge of the woods with his new BB gun. He had already shot holes in the burn barrel, the garden gate, the box elder tree, and at last left a hole in the corner of the kitchen window. Mama was furious.

“Take that out to the woods!”

And he did.

Ellen followed behind, and saw it all. Saw him kneel, cock, pull the butt of the gun into his shoulder. He leaned his head sideways. She heard the pop. She looked where the barrel pointed. A blue bird tumbled to the ground. Her brother’s fist shot into the air.


He ran to the bird, and his body went rigid. His back shook and she heard him sob. He threw the gun into the black berry patch and ran, swiping at his eyes with his sleeve.

“No, oh no.”

When he was gone Ellen slipped from behind the oak tree that had hidden her from his view and she walked to where the bird lay, limp in the sand. A fly landed on it. She touched the feathers with her toe. The bird rolled over and she saw the BB in its eye.

That was the first time she became aware of death, its reality, her own mortality, even though death was always all around her. This was departure of spirit, a whisper given to the wind. There was pain in her chest as she opened the ground.

~Julie Eger

Sunday, August 9, 2009

To Do

The bridge is broken
between the old and the young.
The hooligans are coming in
and using all the money.
It appears the church has some
growing to do.

Julie Eger


(after a weekend with Dawn up at the cabin)

She needs
something to peel,
a label off a bottle,
the skin off an onion,
pounds off her body,
clothes, too.
Layers of things building up.
Layers of things.

Julie Eger 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


the back of his hand wasn’t soft
the color of the bruise was yellow
the time for leaving had left

by Julie Eger 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Lost in Translation

The check didn’t come
so I rifled through the junk drawer
and under the couch
in search of quarters.
And under the floor mats
in the car.
And in my jewelry box,
pockets of coats
hanging in the closet.
You never know.
When I walked to the garage
my shoe came untied
and then my shoe string broke.
Then I noticed the truck
was out of gas on my way to town.
An old lady decided to park
in the yellow space by the curb
and I almost rear-ended her.
When I finally got to the bank
I was fifth in line which left me
nothing but time to think
about how to pay my dues.
And then, driving back through town
I saw the American flag on the ground
in front of an old house for sale
across from the flower shop
where we bought those flowers
for your mother. The flag
was stuck in the mud and ice
and when I went to make it right
I slipped and fell and a man walking by
shouted at me for desecrating the American flag.

Julie Eger 2009

How I Would Paint Confusion

A man holds a remote control to his ear
punching the buttons on the microwave
as he attempts to make his call.

--Julie Eger 2008

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Drive By

photo by J. Eger

I never look
to see if you’re in the yard
when I drive past your house.
I never close my eyes
and pretend your fingers
are tracing the curves of my body
when I hear Percy Sledge singing
“When a Man Loves a Woman”
on the radio.
I don’t dream of you at night.
I don’t pretend
to hold your hand…
see your face, hear you
whisper in my ear.
It isn’t you. It can’t be.

~~ Julie Eger

Thursday, May 21, 2009

WOW! Contest

flowers in winter photo by Julie Eger

I entered this contest. Check out the results for my "Mama's Wish Comes True" entry in the Women on Writing website link below! Have fun browsing the site.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day

painting by Elizabeth R. Graham

When I was six-years-old the neighbor's dog bit me in the leg while I was wandering the ditch searching for some pretty pink flowers. This is what I remember:

There is a way a mother holds a child in pain, gripping them, bouncing their face against the crook of her neck, while she runs for the medicine kit filled with band-aids, merthiolate, and antiseptic creams. Headed toward soothing. I was held in place on the edge of the bathtub by mother’s severity. Her fingers tapped over me, here, there, flicking away uncertainty, everything would be okay once the cream was dabbed and the band aid smoothed on.

Excerpt from: Sand in My Shoes - The World Was Full of It

Julie Eger

Sunday, April 5, 2009

One Single Impression prompt 58: listening

photo by Julie Eger

This one is just for fun!

Bedtime Stories

Ester barely heard Papa say:

And then all the pretty Golden Doodles
would soon be fast asleep...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

One Single Impression prompt 57: Smoke

On Fire

photo by J. C. Eger

This has more to do with fire and things that might not want to be saved than it does with smoke, but... it had the word smoke in it, so I offer it up to the One Single Impression prompt anyway.

Our sirens screaming in the night,
Hang on, we’re on our way!

But I can no longer see
through smoke and glassy eyes.
There is a heat here you don’t understand.

We are flinging things from your second story.
Your past is safe upon the dewy grass.

But my beams are broken
My doors swelled shut –
Leave me, leave me, leave me, go…

No, we are glad to put out your fire.

You should have let me burn.

~ Julie Eger

Sunday, March 22, 2009

one single impression prompt 56: equals

when I attempted this prompt I saw the word 'equal' instead of 'equals' and decided to leave it as I saw it.

four quarters
equal one dollar
or one full moon

photos by Julie Eger

~~J. Eger

Slaughter In the Heartland

photo by Julie Eger

Trent drives around in a fancy car
Dreaming dreams that he’ll go far.

He spills cappuccino on his pin-striped suit
as he scrapes manure from off his boots.

Meets the realtor at the edge of town
with plans to slaughter more than a cow.

Unlike a doctor who vows to do no harm,
they’re going to dissect the family farm.

––Julie Eger 2006