Too-Close Crimson Trees…Fear

“A word and photo prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  Use the prompts separately or together.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Word Prompt Fear”

Sammi Cox, author/photo


I still see, feel it as a grove of too-close

Dark crimson trees, their airless heat singeing,

Imprisoning me…blood’s black-red fear

Of this stranger, my mother, who openly

Despised me; controlled me with consuming

Fright that taught me much.

Striving to be “unseen and not heard”,

I learned to take breaths oh-so-shallow;

To move without apparent motion, static as

Wallpaper; to weep without wails; clench my

Jaw against unbidden words which would be

Deemed impertinent—no matter their

Innocence, ignorance, or truth.

To be afraid of one who gave you life—

All day, each day, and every night—short-circuits

Brain’s wiring, melts insulators, so that nothing

In the world is perceived as safe, trustworthy.

Mental-emotional abuse, neglect of nurture

Burn unseen scars…with long-term ramifications. 

They leave a child stunted—no sense of true identity,

Self-confidence.  The ability to learn is compromised,

Followed by swelling fear of responsibility:

How could I concentrate to excel in school;

Learn social skills to be accepted by peers;

Or ever drive a car; maintain employment to

Support myself; choose a stable, loving spouse;

Or even imagine having children myself?

The fear, and its accompanying hurt never left me. 

To a significant degree, I yet live in the too-close,

Suffocating red trees…unable to walk out.

I still feel the full-body-quaking terrors:

Sometimes when wind blows through branches,

I hear her shark-teeth-tearing words—barbed

Voice that stings like hailstorm on bare skin.

Sometimes she echoes in the thunder…death did

Not muffle her…she returns some nights, in dreams.

Faith is my comfort—but it doesn’t erase,

Eradicate cruel ghost of my mother.


The red leaves glow in September, God’s

Reminder that He selected that season

For my birth; intended it to be

Bright-beautiful celebration of promise.

And for that reason, His creative love unique,

He surrounds me daily with His song*

That while autumn leaves fall, I will not;

I’ll overcome winter’s sleep, be resurrected

To see glorious Cherry Blossoms in spring;

Hear wind chimes dance in summer trees…

My heritage assured, God’s precious daughter,

I’ll gleam like a field of forget-me-knots, sapphire’d.

©Jael Sook, 2017 All rights reserved.

New American Standard Bible
*You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.  Psalm 32:7

Psalm 31:20
You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.

Psalm 9:9
The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble;

Psalm 91:1
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 119:114
You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word.

Psalm 121:7
The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.

Advertisements which may appear on this blog are not endorsed by the author.