Dr. Hurley’s Digest, Vol. II, Issue 41

It’s nearing the Christmas season (sorry, Dr. H is a Catholic, so he’s very secular about all this), so we featured some Christmas shopping lists from (of a sort), as well as great poetry from a new Snake-Oiler, and photos from a relative newbie.

Monday – Poetry

Wednesday – Photography

Friday – Fiction

We’ll have something little for you on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, then editors EEJ and DLR will be taking a break until the new year, when we will open with some great photography from Ellen Jantzen. Stay tuned, and merry Christmas!

Shopping List

I want a bathrobe, deep and furry, an Abominable Snowman robe that wraps around me firmly, plucking me out of life’s snowdrifts, a geisha-wrapping robe, that snuggles me so I can barely move, taking tiny mincing steps that do not splash my coffee, cuffs sliding over my hands to make them delicate, almost invisible, collar brushing my neck softly like a cat’s plumed tail. I want a bathrobe that forgives cheesecake and Girl Scout cookies and the extra helping of lasagna, that flatters me poetically, that dusts the floor ahead of me with suitable obeisance, that feels honored to wrap my middle-aged body. I want a bathrobe that all the other clothes envy because I love it so much, washing it all by itself with the soap that comes in a bottle–not the box detergent with its look of cat litter gone wrong–drying it gently and hanging it on a hanger in between wearings, behind me in the mirror, so I can see it, always, even when I am putting on lipstick and clothes that do not love me—see it waiting to hold me, see it wishing that I was wearing it as much as I wish I was.

* * * * *

Lydia Ondrusek is a long-married mother of two who describes herself as busy writing her way out of a paper bag. Her fiction and poetry have been published in venues that include GUD, Apex Magazine, Flash Fiction Online, and Deep South Magazine. Her middle grade story series King of the Marshmallows is epubbed by Echelon Books. You can find her online at lydiaondrusek.com, at thelittlefluffycat.com, and far too often on Twitter, where she is known as @littlefluffycat.

Her other contributions to Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.

The Bride Gets Ready for the Christmas Party

She looks in the mirror, pensive,
counts the scars;
the railroad ripple of stomach staples,
the long-term illnesses of others,
the remains of various gouges “just to check”,
the funerals.
The ruching of that therapeutic throat-slitting.
The tattoos of her losses.

The toxic residue of teen years is old paint on her cheeks;
there are frustrations old and new on her forehead.

If you begin the removal
of all the things
that don’t measure up,
she thinks,
begin the removal
of all the things
not perfect enough,
all that is left
is the soul–
the perfectible soul.
And even that
will not, cannot,
be perfect here.

While you’re wearing skin, she thinks,
every little thing leaves its mark.
That road map is you, honey.
Anyone worth knowing knows that.

She covers the scars society demands she hide,
and goes to celebrate
hope —
her mouth rouged, just for a moment,
perfect red.

* * * * *

Lydia Ondrusek’s other posts at Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.


Untiring, massive, adamant, the two –
hardness of steel machines belied by silk —
adrift in time, like dinosaurs, step through
into a world unready for their ilk.
A world so small, its voices hum like bees,
take wing like butterflies, their colors bright;
reproach the ancient lizards, walking trees.
Insist that all is dance now, no more fight.
Though once they ruled the earth, their names are lost–
their faded pictures blurring soon to dust.
Their roars wind down, a by-blow of the cost.
The fight has changed us all, as fighting must.
So in the forest clearing’s green array
the boxer bows his head, and steals  away.

* * * * *

Lydia Ondrusek’s other posts at Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.

Sonnet: Reflections on Imprisonment

We wake walking in darkness, craving light.
Alone within the silence, first we call,
then fearing our own weakness, choose to fight;
decide we cannot fly, hope not to fall.
We are the progeny of mirrored halls,
reflections in a lifetime’s worth of eyes–
our years are spent to recognize ourselves;
retrace our stitches, and pick out the lies.
Imprisoned fast by all the things we are,
and all the many things we cannot be,
our minds somehow fix on the distance far;
our hearts soar linnet-high above us, free.
We build our cages, frightened of our wings–
and yet, shut tight inside, a bird still sings.

by Lydia Ondrusek

* * * * *

This is part of a series of featured entries in our first-ever poetry contest.
Stay tuned for more and get ready to vote for your favorite!

Irish Balderdash: Knockmealdown (Co. Waterford)


nockmealdown,  sure, a fine little town. Once and beforetimes, aaages before, a miscreant elf lad knocked on the door of the head of the leprechauns in that small town; said the elves would all leave if  he  knocked the elf down. The leprechaun swore if he couldn’t, his folk would do likewise the same, but the bet made him choke. They  brawled like great warriors a glorious day, but when the smoke cleared, the elf had held sway.

And that’s why of all of the towns in the green land of Éire, Knockmealdown’s the lone with no  leprechaun near.

by Lydia Ondrusek

Dr. Hurley’s Digest, Week 19

  • This week was a SCORCHER at Dr. Hurley HQ and also on the blog itself!  What fantastic content!  But before we get to that, a couple of Announcements!

Announcement № 01: 100 Word Story Winners!

It’s woefully overdue, but Congratulations to the winners of our 100 word story contest!

Readers’ Choice:

Editors’ Choices:

Each of you will be receiving a beautiful hand-letterpressed print of Dr. Hurley’s anti-tedium manifesto, suitable for framing and feeling proud of yourself!

Announcement № 02: Another Contest!

As you may know, the Dr. Hurley crew is bundling off to Ireland to dig up some more information about Dr. Hurley’s roots, his spa, and his eventual departure for America (by way of the Orient, we’re learning).  While in Ireland, we’ve always been greatly amused by the names of places we come across.  Some funny, some over-long, some downright bizarre, they all set our imaginations going.

What we want from you: A 100 word fictional etymology or brief history of an Irish place with an odd or otherwise interesting name.  Suggested names are below, but feel free to pull out an atlas of Ireland and find your own!  Also, we’ve put the Anglicized names here, but feel free to use the actual Irish names, if you like!

Winners will be chosen again, and you will be receiving a stunning prize as well!  (Guess what!)  And remember, linguistic/historical research will not be rewarded as much as imagination!

Deadline: NOON on Saturday, July 23, but earlier would be better.

Irish place names, to get you started:

    • Belgooly
    • Carrickfergus
    • Bloody Foreland
    • Derrynasaggart
    • Knockmealdown
    • Ballybunnion
    • Mullaghareirk
    • Dingle
    • Knockboy
    • Ballinskellig
    • Aughty
    • Slieve
    • Coolgreen
    • Rascalstreet
    • Turnaspidogy
    • Ringarogy Island
    • Glandore

And now, here’s what you missed this week:



100 Words: Flood Damage


ays, weeks, filling sandbags – always just a little bit ahead of the water.  That’s all that matters, I told my wife. It’s enough.

The water’s coming for me, she’d say. When we weren’t checking the levee or feeding the livestock she’d stand at a window watching the current. Nights I’d wake up to find her standing there.

Then came the night it was me there; watching her run across the yard, dive into the moonlit water and come up shining, gown clinging. With a flip of her tail, she was gone.

The next morning the water was too.

by Lydia Ondrusek