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Friday Prompt: The Moss of His Skin

First, con­sider the fol­low­ing poem by Anne Sex­ton.

The Moss of His Skin

Young girls in old Ara­bia were often buried alive next to their dead fathers, appar­ently as sac­ri­fice to the god­desses of the tribes…

–Harold Fel­der­man, “Chil­dren of the Desert,+ Psy­cho­analy­sis and Psy­cho­an­a­lytic Review, Fall 1958.

It was only impor­tant
to smile and hold still 
to lie down beside him 
and to rest awhile, 
to be folded up together 
as if we were silk, 
to sink from the eyes of mother
and not to talk. 
The black room took us
like a cave or a mouth 
or an indoor belly. 
I held my breath 
and daddy was there, 
his thumbs, his fat skull, 
his teeth, his hair grow­ing
like a field or a shawl. 
I lay by the moss 
of his skin until 
it grew strange. My sis­ters
will never know that I fall 
out of myself and pre­tend
that Allah will not see 
how I hold my daddy 
like an old stone tree. 

from Jes­sica Helfand’s “Anne Sexton’s Scrap­book”

Now, using at least ten (but as many as you can) words (good ones, not “the,” “of,” “an,” etc.) from this poem, write a piece [flash fic­tion] about a daddy and daugh­ter doing some­thing you wouldn’t expect a daddy and daugh­ter to do.

<500 wds.


From Randall Brown

Nicely done, Annemarie. I espe­cially like the moss col­ored shadow and that end­ing with “It’s like she’s still around.” I won­der if that might make a cool title, that final line, and end with “…over tea.” Just a thought, maybe a silly one. I enjoyed read­ing this!

I worked to this prompt once before (prompted by you, then). The result­ing story was pub­lished in FRiGG: “On the Road to Kirkuk.” 

From Annemarie Bogart

Thanks Randall…It was fun to write as well 🙂

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