Mitre (four rewrites from previous version)

As mentioned in last week’s Marianne, the original Mitre‘s been through some rewrites. I wrote the original Mitre sometime in the mid-1970s and have never been happy with it. The current version is four rewrites since the last time I offered it.

Part of my challenge with this piece is genre? It’s not fantasy. Literature, maybe?

Do a three-way compare and let me know what you think.


Mitre stood on the thick, granite steps leading from home to ocean, her flannel nightshirt flapping in the moist, fall breeze, her wrinkled hands clenching the cold, iron railing. “Let me go, Maria.”

Maria pried Mitre’s fingers up one by one. “Mother, stop it.”

Mitre snapped forward and bit her daughter’s hands.

Maria screamed, “Ben.”

Mitre bit harder. Maria let go.

Mitre hurried to the bottom step. “Everyone dies, Daughter. Your father died, your brother died. Now it’s my turn.”

Maria blocked Mitre’s path. “Ben!”

“Let me die while I know what I’m doing and who I am, not when I’m drooling on myself and hurt myself not knowing how it happened. Don’t you think I worry about waking up and wondering why I’m in a hospital bed with a nurse looking down at me?”

Ben came to the top of the steps. “What?”

“I could use your help here.”

“I could use your help here, too, Son-in-Law. How about you earn some of that inheritance you’re hoping for and get your wife away from me.”


“Oh, shut up.”

Mitre’s eyes lost focus. She smiled. Her grip loosened on the railing.

Maria took her unresisting hand. “Mother?”

Mitre pointed. “Water?”

Ben came down the stairs. “We can’t keep going like this, Maria.”

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