NoHoldsBarredPoetryWritingChallenge Day 27: Debacle of the ‘leftover’ mac and cheese

overhead shot of a plate of mac and cheese

The morning after Thanksgiving I wake up craving leftover mac and cheese—only, we didn’t eat the traditional feast this year. Sure, there was turkey, but we chose corn chowder over mac, casserole over stuffing, yams baked rather than candied. But I have all the ingredients—the milk, the cheese, the elbows. No one has to know it’s not actually leftovers— only, the milk is low, so I add vegetable broth, and I’m all out of cheddar cheese, so the ricotta, pepper jack, and parmesan will have to do. The noodles are…the jumbo size. Did I bother to read the box? The cheese sauce looks way too soupy. I’ll add two beaten eggs and bake it in the oven at three hundred and fifty degrees for thirty minutes. It’ll taste…


Well, at least I didn’t experiment on Thanksgiving.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

NoHoldsBarredPoetryWritingChallenge Day 25: What if?

If I died tonight, murdered in the 
false security of my own home,
what would be your final memory of me?

The phone calls you ignored?
The text messages left unanswered?

Will you remember all the times you
thought me hysterical, accused 
me of nagging, overreacting?

You could have been my savior 
from twenty miles away. 

Instead you are the 
accomplice, the accessory,
worse than the killer himself.

And the guilt will ride you 
like a camel's hump 

as you lie in bed and stare 
at my picture until 
your eyes become heavy 

and it seeps into your dreams, 
that one haunting question:

What if I had only done something? 

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

NoHoldsBarredPoetryWritingChallenge Day 21: Dear, so-called friends

woman wearing tank top touching glass panel
If you don't like me, tell me.
Don't give me a false sense of
security, fly me out to paradise
just to send me to hell battered 
and bruised. Sever this friendship
before you sever my spine. Your 
smile is like the Cheshire Cat. 
You disappear while the grin
remains, haunting me as I lie

Was it worth it to humiliate
me, to record my final breaths,
turn my naked body into a
spectacle for digital eyes?
You hate me—I know that. But
judgment knocks on your door
and counts the nights you
have remaining. 

You can't go on lying.
God brings what is done in
darkness to light, and when 
that day comes, your sins
will be exposed, and you, 
as in the parable of the rich 
man, will gaze up from eternal
fire, where there will be weeping 
and gnashing of teeth, and 
scream for my Lazarus, for mercy, 
and I, shinning like the sun in 
the kingdom of the One who 
saved me from your betrayal, 
will look down upon your 
anguish and torment and 
repeat the words of my Father:

Depart from me, 
workers of iniquity.
I never knew you.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

The story of Shanquilla Robinson is truly a heartbreaking one. There are too many stories of young women murdered by “friends” who secretly hated them. I hurt for her family. I pray they find peace and justice.

NoHoldsBarredPoetryWritingChallenge Day 20: Winter wet dream

Dear, rose, fill this blue Christmas
with violets. Love is stagnant in
this winter storm. Frigid air clings
to my bones. My teeth chatter like
an audience in a crowded auditorium
waiting for the show to begin.
Show me love. Tease me, caress me,
please me. Spread my legs and let
spring bloom before the ice sets.
Aren't you cold? Yes, numb to your
touch, but inside I'm burning up.
Come inside me—I'm burning up.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

NoHoldsBarredPoetryWritingChallenge Day 18: Millennial Snow White

woman lying in brown grass mirror edited photo
I don't know when I stopped
living and started existing.

The coffee keeps me up. 
A sandwich for lunch, 
a bowl of noodles for dinner—
just enough sustenance to 
keep me existing until
tomorrow, when I replay
the same days as I have
for the last six months.
Present but not here,
hearing but not listening,
visible but simply a ghost. 

One day I will meet a prince,
who, with a kiss, will wake 
me from this cycle of 
dreaming and bring life into 
my purpose for being, again.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons