Poem by laurie howland Photo by Alex Walter

He follows him like a lost puppy dog
Which he is
His master
His best friend
Grateful to greet him every morning 
But then you see the loss in his eyes 
When his master departs for the day
Sad, almost depressed
It is the loneliness he feels
When the door closes
And his best friend is gone
His tail stops wagging
Head bows down
He releases a soft whimper
His mood shifted
But at the end of the day
Before you even see the truck pull up
You know his master is returning 
By the yelp he releases
Of pure happiness
His tail wags wildly
And he begs to go out
To run to greet his master
His best friend
His mood shifted

A Hot Buttered Mess

by laurie howland

 A hot buttered mess
That is how one could describe her
She is always late
and always a mess
Her hair
Her clothes
Her room being the worst
Even her book bag
Filled with old wrappers
A stray sock
How does a stray sock get in there?
I don’t know she says
Is that a crumbled cookie in a bag from Christmas?

A hot buttered mess
No matter how many times I yell
Get frustrated
or try to help
She remains in a state of chaos
Is that dirty underwear on your floor?
I don’t know she says
How do you not know if it is dirty or clean?

A hot buttered mess
She is running late again
Stumbling down the stairs with brush in one hand
and mismatched socks in the other
What have you been doing for the last hour?
I don’t know she says
Is that deodorant in your pocket?

A hot buttered mess
She is flinging papers all over the table
She is on the verge of a breakdown
I can’t find my math homework she cries
When did you see last it I ask?
I don’t knows she says
Can I help you look?

A hot buttered mess
Items are pulled from her book bag
Papers crumbled, torn, scraps and even straw wrappers appear
Nothing equates to her homework 
If you were more organized you wouldn’t lose things 
I know she says

A hot buttered mess

The Glass Cracked

by laurie howland

The glass cracked
Under the pressure 
From the stress
Compromising her structural integrity
It spread like a spider web
Fanning out into all aspects of her life
It was like veins with blood pulsing through it
Taking the pain to all parts of her heart
Impacting her soul

She doesn’t recall when the crack first appeared
Though she had felt it for a long time
She had gotten good at ignoring it
Denying its existence
Till it became too obvious
Years of suffering, loneliness and sadness
The sheer emotional breakage was too much 
And the glass cracked

She knew it was going to shatter
Her hopes
Her dreams
Her heart
Leaving her exposed
For the glass had been her fortress
And now she lay bare
Unprotected from the elements
The judgement
The pain
The heartache

But she knew she wouldn’t replace the glass
Repair or try to mend the cracks
No, they were her scars
Wounds from her struggles
The glass cracked
Forcing her to face the truth
Come to terms with her story
Allowing her heart to heal
Her soul to strengthen’
With no need for armor
Or guards

The glass cracked
And set her free

The Power of Silence

by laurie howland

They say silence can be deafening
But what does that mean
That in its quietness it brings an intensity
Like dynamite blasting through a hillside
Or the scream of a woman in labor
Or a child crying out of loneliness
Yes, silence can be deafening
For in its lack of a shrill, a screech or a whisper
It conveys a weight unlike anything else
Yet, silence can be golden
When the heaviness of its message
Conveys something deeper
Then a hug, a smile or any words could
Silence is golden
When it brings peace into 
Your heart, your mind and your soul
And it allows you to simply enjoy
The moment and bask in its purity
Silence can bring a loneliness
That isn’t always sad or uneasy
But like the warmth of a blanket on a cold night
Silence can be more powerful 
than any words ever spoken
A profound reticence
For it elicits at times 
The deepest and rawest of emotions
A quietude that stills the heart
A hush that brings a gentle breeze to the soul
Oh, the power of silence
Use it wisely