“Let us make a house,” she flicked open the inkwell of Aegean Blue. “A small house covered in fog for our days of mourning the catastrophes to come.”

Tenuous and pale, a cottage appeared beneath her pen. A small house with thatch for roof and a shuttered door.

“Give us a fire, luv,” he said, and she drew a chimney puffing smoke.

“Now,” she said, dipping her pen, “let us speckle the ground with flat dry stones so we do not trample the primroses triumphant there after the plague of snow.”

A breeze murmured through the open window. He held the parchment still and her hands leapt across it.

A pond appeared, plumped with frogs and cherubs and Neptune there awaiting the robins’ wings.

“Give us a spot of tea too, luv.” He brushed a strand of hair from off her brow.

She drew two stumps beside a fallen tree. Two branches, curved and cozy, offered up their arms.

“Let us set our teacups here.” She drew two teacups nestled in the dead tree’s limbs.

“And a bite of sweets, darlin’,” he said.

And beside their cups a plate of fruit and ginger snaps sprang up.

“Ah,” she sighed. “And now the scent of orange and ginger will anoint our every deed.”

And “Yes, luv,” he agreed.

East Village in the 80s

Here in the city
Where images converge
With sounds and words
And what jumps out is music…
A million musicians
Hands outstretched,
Fingers twitching
Keeping time with their lullabies
Hey gotta quarter
Fifteen cents
Loose joints
Loose joints
Make it a dime.

Elizabeth Bruce’s collection, “Universally Adored & Other One Dollar Stories,” is forthcoming in 2024 from Vine Leaves Press. Her debut novel, And Silent Left the Place, won Washington Writers’ Publishing House’s Fiction Prize, with ForeWord Magazine and Texas Institute of Letters’ distinctions. She’s published in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Korea, Israel, Sweden, Romania, Malawi, Yemen, and The Philippines. Her book, CentroNía’s Theatrical Journey Playbook: Introducing Science to Early Learners through Guided Pretend Play, won/placed in four contests. A DC-based “Tex-pat,” she’s received DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, HumanitiesDC, and McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation fellowships, and studied with Richard Bausch, the late Lee K. Abbott, Janet Peery, John McNally, and Liam Callanan. “Blueprint” was first published by EgoPHobia.