Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black


short stories and poetry

Book Review: Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell, poetry by Stephanie Parent

Stephanie Parent proves her love of fairy tales and verse with her magical poetry collection, Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell. She cleverly uses the imagery of classic fairy tales, some well known like Little Red Riding Hood, others more obscure, to craft compelling poetry of loss and longing, frustration and fear, but also of hope.

Fairytales, Stephanie Parent explains, tell us we have a forest within us, where the wild things prowl to the beat of our wild hearts.

“…to wait is a sort of witchcraft.”

Some of the poetry is obviously personal, while others touch the pulse of universal femininity. In one poem she felt “…cursed to make beauty with your words when you wanted so much to be beautiful in your body…” In her Red Riding Hood adaptation, she explores the idea of a victim “asking for it,” (implying molestation, assault, and/or rape, but any unwelcomed attention) by clothing choices and chosen paths.

Here’s a question she raises: “Can I still be a heroine when I’ve been stupid and selfish, ugly and foolish, the witch and the princess, the light and the dark?” Through these stories, she lives to tell how she found the heroine within herself. 

This collection calls to lovers of the fairytale and of beautiful language.


Charli Mills challenged everyone to use “remote” to create a 99 word story by the 6th.

Mine is below.

Bereft on a Beach

told in 99 words by Kerry E.B. Black

I walk along a lonely shore. Without even the screeches of gulls for company, I count a half-hearted breeze my only companion. Overcast skies meld into the steely sea, and the sense of the monochromatic drips with tears – mine and the clouds’ – to inhospitable gray sand. Waves slap and hiss, strikes from inner turmoil manifested. 

I step over the transparent blob of a beached jellyfish. Within its carcass pulses malignancy. Dull driftwood ornaments the shattered black shells crunching underfoot. Values of darkness manifest along the shore, speckled reflections of my own failure. 

I squint, searching for an understanding soul.

Remembering sweetness

Charli Mills shares a darling story of a little cherub and her own changing life this week for the Carrot Ranch 99 word challenge.

I’ve written my response below. What do you think? I hope you’ll tag me if you participate so I can read your 99 word story, too.

Cherry Wine

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

I sip cherry wine from a crystal goblet. 

Within its red swirls a summer spent on a picnic blanket at the edge of Lady’s Lake, dandelion fluff caught in our hair. Birds sang of hardships to come, but we didn’t heed, tangled in each other, legs entwined, hearts beating the same romance. Ants collected scraps as we tasted sweetness in each other. When summer storms threatened, we’d roll until the blanket enveloped us, its red and white checks deepening to burgundy and grey as rain soaked through. Nothing dulled our love. We lived on cherry wine and each other.

July 99 Word Story for

Charli Mills’s latest 99 word challenge presented the word “float.” This is my response. What do you think?

Should Not Float

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Mrs. Tigerio’s fifth grade science class sat cross-legged along the parking lot curb. All seven kids tracked something overhead.

“I really thought the evidence would prove she was too heavy.” Tom blinked, owl-like.

His best friend stroked his chin, searching in vain for the beginnings of beard stubble. “Seemed that way.”

Chrissie shaded her eyes with her hand. “Guess our computations were wrong.”

“Mercury’s denser,” Tom mused. “Who’d’ve thought?”

Everyone nodded. 

“So on Mars, we’d weigh least.”

Another chorus of silent nodding.

Chrissie worried. “How’re we getting her down?”

“She’ll reacclimate to earth’s gravitational pull,” Tom’s brow furrowed. “Eventually.”

Another 99 Word Story!

The newest challenge issued by Charli Mills at is “write a 99 word story ‘for a day.'” My little brain took a protagonist through a memory. Please let me know if you’ve participated so I can cheer you on, and as always, I enjoy hearing your thoughts on my attempt.

Without further ado:

Marching on the Twenty-fifth

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

She pulled the box from beneath her childhood bed and blew dust from its top. Bound with a chocolate heart’s red ribbon, the box held a maiden’s treasures. Poetic offerings from her only high school beau. A green pinkie ring – his favorite color. Her prom photo – They’d missed most of the dance, but their youthful smiles didn’t mind. A tiny brass rose and dolphin bookends. A dried corsage, its decayed perfume more vibrant than its crumbling flowers. An envelope of ticket stubs decorated with a floating dinosaur. No longer Romeo’s Juliette, she replaced the lid and slid it back.

Swarming Story for Carrot Ranch

This week’s prompt at is Swarm. My 99 word story is a summer swarm.

Twinkling Swarm

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Fireflies glinted, sparkled, bright gold fairy lights, illuminating summer and beckoning. “Come frolic!” 

Jenny’s children answered their call, with pastel nets and jars with holes in the lids. They ran to the flashes, anticipated the glowing bugs’ next move. With giggles and mad dashes through the mint and rosy scented air, they amassed a small swarm. 

“Time for cocoa and cookies.” Jenny shepherded her brood to the door where they released their luminous captives. The children applauded the impromptu display. 

“They’re better than fireworks!” her little boy enthused.

“Prettier than Rapunzel’s floating lanterns!” her little girl exclaimed.

Jenny agreed.

My friend Charli Mills at has issued a new challenge. She calls for freedom. The very word tastes sweet on my tongue, yet today I’m a bit mired and less hopeful than I prefer. Thus today’s take on the prompt isn’t cheerful. However, I hope you’ll still enjoy these 99 words, and as ever, please let me know if you participate. I’d love to read what you’ve come up with, too!

Memorial in the Marble

Charli and the good folk at have a new 99 word weekly challenge posted. “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story behind a memorial. Is it a structure, plaque, or something else? What does it seek to remind those who view it? Go where the prompt leads. Submit by 4 June.”

This is where the prompt led me.

Memorial in the Marble

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Brom chose the marble for its fine lines and smooth surface, so like her admired skin, cool and pale with fine, blue veins. He ran a hand along its surface and recalled her reaction to his touch. Her shiver of anticipation. His surge of longing when she whispered his name.

His eyes misted. He swiped away emotion with calloused hands, determined. 

Fellow artists advised against this project. Don’t mix personal with professional.

Michelangelo saw the angel in the stone. Brom sought the memorial in the marble.

With meticulous care, he marked and carved her beloved name onto the tombstone.

Carrot Ranch 99 Word Tale about Mom.

Magic Momma

A true story written in 99 words

by Kerry E.B. Black

As a pre-teen, I curled into myself, buried my hurts and withdrew from society, but my mother never gave up on me. She interpreted my silence and saw through sullen acts. She read to me from her experiences and invented activities to draw me out of my shell of solitude. 

With a young Solomon’s insight, she imparted wisdom in gentle parables. Her touch atop my head soothed. Her embrace protected. With patience she forged armor to insulate oversensitive me. She weaved magic as a cloak and studded it with stars. 

Through her, I lived. Because of her, I thrive.

*If you participate in the challenge, please let me know. I enjoy reading interpretations of the prompts.

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