#BlaPoWriMo: 90th Birthday Revisited

Not quite a century,
but a lifetime of memories.
Just turned 90,
but living like he’s 60.
A daughter, a son,
four grandchildren,
and two great-grand heirs,
all responsible for every one
of his gray hairs.
What makes a birthday
memorable when you’ve
celebrated eighty-nine?
Thanking God 
for the blessing of time.
Time to spend with cherished 
loved ones and friends,
never worrying
about when it will end.
Because a life like this 
is one that will last,
in our hearts, in our minds,
in reminiscing the past.
So many happy returns, CM dear, 
cheers to another fulfilling year.
Make a wish,
blow out the candles.
Hey, pop the cork— 
you’re old enough—
and enjoy this birthday
celebration from all of us.

© 2019-2023 Nortina Simmons

Originally written for my Granddaddy’s 90th birthday. He’ll be 94 next month. Do you think if I change a couple words (“a great-grand heir” became “two great-grand heirs” in 2021) and send it to him again, he’ll remember?

Continue reading “#BlaPoWriMo: 90th Birthday Revisited”

Bloganuary Day 8

I’m going to tell you a story. And it’s going to sound fantastical to you, something out of a storybook. But it’s the truth. I promise you it’s the God’s honest truth. And when I’m finished telling you this story, you may do one of three things. You may disregard me as completely insane. You may say I have the world’s largest imagination and I was only dreaming. Or you may choose to believe me. Whatever happens after I finish telling you this story, it will be up to you how it concludes…

Welcome to Bloganuary Day 8 and the first Sunday Morning Tea post of the new year (although it is now Sunday afternoon and I am currently drinking coffee…)

For the uninitiated, Sunday Morning Tea is my virtual writing salon, where we talk about our writing goals and projects while sipping on a hot cuppa tea…or coffee!

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NoHoldsBarredPoetryWritingChallenge Day 10: Daughter’s lament

The scent of wet paint 
and cigarette ash pulls 
me from my nightmare.
I call into the darkness,
Dad, are you there?
How I have missed you.
I've been so lonely.
Sit on the foot of my bed.
Let's write a new story.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

NoHoldsBarredPoetryWritingChallenge Day 7: Happy Birthday, Mama

Many happy returns
to the woman who bore me,
lent me her face,
her freckles, her nose,
the hair I turned gray,
the old torn up robe.

You pushed me 
from your womb, 
seven pounds and early,
but to you I'm still baby
even though I'm now thirty.

Sweetest birthday wishes,
Mother, who knows best.
Your warm hugs and kisses
have made me feel blessed.

© 2022 Nortina Simmons

Birthdays after 21 suck…

man with party hat celebrating birthday alone

Today my baby cousin—whom I call my son because I dreamt of his birth before my cousin even announced that she was pregnant—is turning one, and though he more than likely won’t remember this birthday, I have one piece of advice for the little guy: Enjoy these while you’re young because once you get to be my age, birthdays pretty much suck.

Continue reading “Birthdays after 21 suck…”


Maya took a deep breath, opened the door, and with a giant, dramatic first step, entered the bookstore as the bell chimed overhead.

She saw no one at first but was greeted by the smell of freshly brewed coffee drifting from the back of the store and wafting among the bookcases. The woman she’d come to meet was likely back there. But, suddenly feeling weighed down at the ankles by cement blocks, she stayed up front and browsed the books in the window display instead.

This was harder than she thought. It was easier when she was screaming at her mom and calling her a liar. It was easier when she spent the two-hour flight from Houston to Tampa, the five-hour layover, and then the additional two hours to her final destination believing that she would finally get the answer to the question she’d been asking since she was old enough to recognize her reflection in the mirror, that the missing pieces of her life’s story would finally be found, and her puzzle made whole. But then she stood in front of that door and reality set in. What if this wasn’t the life she was meant to have?

You didn’t come all this way just to turn back now, she tried to encourage herself, but as her heart fluttered in her chest, she thought about the last words her mom texted her as she boarded the plane.

“Remember, I am your mother, and nothing you learn from this trip will change that.”

In a way, she was right. Sheila Adams, life-long resident of Houston, Texas, would always be her mom, as she had been for the last seventeen and a half years. But Maya couldn’t ignore the betrayal she felt at not being told the truth. To take the DNA test, along with everyone else at the family reunion, and discover that her roots are not grounded in Texas—like her mom’s, cousins’, uncles’, and aunts’—but were transplanted over 1,000 miles away from North Carolina.

Continue reading “Foundling”

#1MinFiction: Stuck in the Drain

Jesse told Robert not to touch the kitchen light switch. Not until she could figure out which one controlled the garbage disposal. Not until she could snatch her fist out of the drain after she stupidly shoved it down there trying to catch a chicken bone. Crazy kids couldn’t just throw it away. When had they ever seen her wash a paper plate?


For a new flash fiction challenge: Monday’s One-Minute Fictionwrite a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. This week’s prompt hints at a lesson to be learned: Don’t touch. Click the link to join in!

#1MinFiction: Long Lost Love

She didn’t burn all the letters. I  found pieces of one, along with a sepia photograph behind the fireplace—the son Grandpa never knew he had. I rush back to the bedroom to show him before his final breath, but Grandma stops me. She needs no reminding of his first wife, who died in Germany before the end of the Great War.


For a new flash fiction challenge: Monday’s One-Minute Fiction — write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. This week’s prompt was a photo. Click the link to join in!

No Holds Barred Poetry Writing Challenge: Day 30

She still can’t open her eyes.
I cradle her pink, oval
face in my calloused, Black hands.
Paint chips still on my jeans—
finishing a job when I got the call.
Mother extends a blessing hand from the bed,
pink band around her wrist.
Her scratchy voice says Rosa.
The little body cupped in my wide arms wiggles.
Her nose scrunches. Her lips quiver.
She opens her mouth and releases a shrill scream.
My first reaction to the birth of
my precious baby girl—
Her breath stinks.

© 2015 Nortina Simmons

And I am done with my poetry writing challenge! Yes, I have successfully written a new and original poem every day for 30 days (though I never quite confirmed that 30 days would be the goal).