Prose – “Where There’s Fire”



Where There’s Fire // by Jennifer Patino


The room could be burning and I’d
hardly notice. I’m glued to shocking
news and a murky vision view
clouding how I want to feel.

It’s raining advice and soon everyone’s
voice blends together. The caring chorus
becomes a repetitive tornado. A cyclone
that picks me up then tosses me among
thorns or jagged rock. After electrical
storms, I am covered in bruises. Beaten.

I smell smoke but I’m so used to skin
singeing that it mixes with my own
smoldering offering. It is a sacred
fragrance. The smell of medicine.
The mouth watering hunger for the
end of suffering that at times can
feel so close. Can fire destroy fire?

By the looks of things, I may find out.



Prose – “Self Care”


Photo by Me



Self Care // by Jennifer Patino


I take extra time putting lotion
on my hands. I feel the dry
patches, the cracks, the very
bones beneath as they vibrate
upon applied pressure. Gentle.
Soothing. Tiring.

I add extra to put on my face.
I hold this face in my less
than capable hands. I inhale
the scent of the lotion. It smells
of a snowy morning and I
start to cry. My tears taste
of bitter nostalgia.

I look myself in the eye in
the mirror and sob,
I’m sorry. I don’t have
anything to say to you
that will make you feel better.
But you’re doing your best,
do you hear me? You’re doing
the best that you can.



Flash Fiction- “Snow Angel”

“Snow Angel” // by Jennifer Patino


The grass was wet and the steps were slippery, yet the fear of falling wasn’t with me. All I could think of were rats and the story my mother told us when we were younger about the boy in school who died from rabies.

My breath came out in fog wisps as I made my way to the barn. The last snow fall had melted away and that saddened me because I loved the snow so much. The moonlight shined down on the trees in the dark and made dripping icicles look like crystals.

I liked to be outside at night, especially in the winter, but the cold was so unbearable that my little bench under my favorite tree was not a place I could sit for too long. The barn (although most likely filled with diseased rats) was my best bet. I’d sit in there until just before the sun came up and read or write and think about things, usually things I didn’t quite understand.

I reached the barn and opened the door. I was careful to do it slowly so that I wouldn’t wake up my Aunt and Uncle. Our horse, Bessie, whinnied softly but she knew it was me so she didn’t fuss too much. I climbed up the ladder to the loft and hung my lantern up on a hook embedded in the low ceiling. At first I listened for the rats because they scared me so much. I couldn’t hear their scratching so I soon put them out of my mind.

I settled back in the hay and imagined the stars were painted on the ceiling. I missed my mother. She always took care of my sister and I no matter how hard it was. She loved winter too so whenever it came I would think of her. It wasn’t that my Aunt and Uncle were mean or anything. I just missed my mother.

I felt myself start to cry and before I knew it, I had sobbed myself to sleep. I dreamt of her then. Her and my sister and I.

I was very small and my red boots seemed huge on my feet. We were running through the snow and she was laughing. Her knit cap was a flash of color against the white. She gathered up a snow ball and threw it at me. I giggled as more flew at me and I struggled to make my own weapons of retaliation. Then there we were, lying on our backs doing jumping jacks and creating marvelous snow angels that God Himself would even have admired. Then we just laid there and talked for hours.

“Do you think real angels in Heaven make snow angels, Mama?” my sister’s small voice echoed.

“Of course, dear, ” she said. “It’s winter all the time in Heaven. And you can guarantee that the real angels see our snow angels and love them very much right now.”

Then she was in the hospital and angels were talked of again.

“Snow angels, Jessie,” Her voice was croaky. “Whenever you need me, make a snow angel and I will be there…”

I awoke instantly and gasped when I didn’t realize where I was at. The dream and the memory of my mother was still fresh in my mind. The oil in my lamp had died out but the light from outside shone on me through the tiny barn window. I couldn’t believe it was morning and that I had fallen asleep.

I climbed down and stepped into the dawn and noticed the snow gently falling. The ground was covered in ivory. The icicles on the trees were back. I felt a tear forming in my eye as the smell of my mother entered my heart but I brushed it aside. My mother sent me more snow. I knew it. There was no doubt in my mind.

I walked a few steps into an open clearing and laid down upon the white, cold dust. I made a snow angel all the while closing my eyes and telling my mother over and over again that I loved her. And when I was finished, I opened my eyes and saw her smiling face in the sky.

My mother was a snow angel and winter was all the time in Heaven if that’s the way you wanted it to be. And then I knew I would always be okay. Today and every day.

Written: July 4, 2005