GloPoWriMo #19 The Floor is Lava

Miniature from ‘Hours of Catherine of Cleves’
c.1440, illustrated manuscript by Master of Catherine of Cleves (active c.1435–1460)

Whenever my children laugh at

The Floor is Lava

I shudder

thinking of my own childhood–

the rubbish and refuse,

teetering on a Hellmouth,

perched to fall

in the place the bad people descend.

The lava basement

awaiting the kids who didn’t

obey their parents,

repent their sins,

do their chores,


Preacher said

sin was more serious than we realized.

And at eight, I wondered at the lake’s size,

the length of the day of darkness

where the unrighteous were consigned.

But it wasn’t burning flesh,

festering worms,

gnashing teeth

that bothered me.

I held hot plates and didn’t blink.

And when Karie pierced my ears

with a needle in her basement,

I felt nothing on my iceless lobes.

No, it was the charred soul,

the idea that eternal suffering

is due a ten-year-old,

one who didn’t close her mouth

when she ate,

or wouldn’t pledge allegiance

to the right deity,

which was a matter of fate.

I should have learned sooner that

fallacious thinking is a mistake.

©2023 | K. Hartless

GloPoWriMo #19: One common feature of childhood is the monsters. The ones under the bed or in the closet; the odd local monsters that other kids swear roam the creek at night, or that parents say wait to steal away naughty children that don’t go to bed on time. Now, cast your mind back to your own childhood and write a poem about something that scared you – or was used to scare you – and which still haunts you (if only a little bit) today.


    • Thank you, David. I wish it weren’t so, but it is absolutely real. The floor was lava for so long. I am trying to raise more open-minded and educated children. We’ll see how it goes. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Tom. 💜 I think being censored so much as a child, and trying to censor myself has made me appreciate all the little freedoms. When I was able to overcome those antiquated mentalities, I had so much curiosity about everything, including my own body. A self-liberation of sorts.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Colleen. I think it was a gradual breaking down of hypocrisies and censored thinking. Occasionally, I think it creeps back in. When I catch myself thinking in terms of “bad” and “good.” But, I am doing my best to raise two children with much wider views of spirituality, religion and existence in general.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I was actually raised Southern Baptist, which was pretty hardcore. I had to learn to love myself and accept myself on many levels. I remember the censorship was pretty high. Thanks for connecting with my piece.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s