Atlatl [15 Words or Less]

Hello, and welcome! This is 15 Words or Less Poems, a low-pressure way to wake up your poetry brain (guidelines here), and I’m very glad you’re here. If you tried to visit last week, or did visit in the brief window that the post was live, I apologize! My technology world came crashing down last Thursday, and it was a mess. So, I’m reposting the image this week, as your comments may or may not have survived:>/

On the plus side, that same day, I got a lovely email from Lauren McBride, a frequent 15 Words or Less contributor. She had received my October issue of A Writer Can Be…, my e‑letter for children’s writers [subscribe by clicking on the Writer Can Be… box in the right sidebar], in which I compared a writing career to playing a game of Columns. She wrote:

“You are a chain reaction for me. I was directed to your blog by Gayle Jacobson-Huset from Stories for Children to improve my poetry and it has. There is no judgment nor rejection at 15 WOL, only encouragement and the freedom to experiment with words. I think that has allowed me to grow as a poet as much as anything else. And happily I just got my first acceptance at Asimov’s.

As you know, several pictures you have posted have led to publications for me, one of which was nominated for the Dwarf Stars Award (short Sci-fi poetry). I did not win, but was pleased to be nominated.

Here’s the picture and my poem (feel free to skip this):

Behind the Glass [15 words or less]

March 13, 2014 Laura


For in that Sleep, What Nightmares …

While comatose to travel space,          
lease someone check my pulse, my face  
and if you see a silent scream
while I lie trapped within a dream,
then wake me from this hell replayed.   
on’t keep me stasis-held, afraid!     

This poem first appeared in Illumen, Summer 2017.”



That email made my day. Thank you, Lauren, for encouragement on the day I really needed it! And congratulations! I love seeing what writers do with the small poems that begin here on the blog!

Now, on to (or back to) the regular 15 Words or Less. This past summer, my husband Randy and I did GreenFit, a program offered through our former parks system (need to see if anyone offers it on this side of town). Each week, we did something outside: canoeing, standup paddleboarding, archery, and, for example, “ancient projectiles.” Those turned out to be atlatls. Here’s Randy using an atlatl to throw a spear kinda thing. (We were very technical about it all, as you can tell!)

Photo: Laura P. Salas

This image makes me think of several things:

  1. throwing tennis ball for a dog (not for Jackie, though–he never cared to fetch, really)
  2. how hard life as a caveman was
  3. how lucky I am to have a husband who will do things I want to do, even if he’s not wild about them

And here’s my first draft. 


It’s your turn! Have fun and stick to 15 WORDS OR LESS! (Title doesn’t count toward word count.)







22 Responses

  1. I just realized my Thursday was missing something–didn’t get 15 WOL in my email. Randy’s stance brought my hunting hound to mind.

    Backyard Hunter

    ears alert
    tail erect
    nose tastes the breeze

    hound dog charges

    squirrel chitters from above

    1. Ah yes Buffy. ‘Tis the season; I can hear the barking and feel the chase.

  2. Good to see your site back up, Laura. Your poem made me laugh and you’ve taught me a new word.


    1. Lauren, it’s comforting to know someone else had to look up the word! Great Acrostic!

    2. Thank you, Laura. I only just saw that you mentioned me above. Thank you so much for making Thursdays special all these years. As I said in my email to you, no judgment, nor rejection here, only encouraging comments and freedom to experiment with words and that is why15 WOL it is so special to me.

      1. Thanks, Lauren–and thank you to EVERYONE who makes this such a positive community, including you:>)

  3. What a cute poem Laura, and congratulations to Lauren on her success. This week’s pic sent me to Safari to listen to the pronunciation of atlatl. There were a few different ones. As we recently moved to the Atlanta area, I chose the one in which Atlanta was used as an example. lol

    This or That

    Golly gee
    woe is me
    yet to be.

    1. Love this tongue twister on common problem when we learn words from reading.

      And thank you for noticing Laura’s lovely inclusion of me in today’s post. I posted my poem last Thursday so I skipped straight to the poems today and had missed it.

  4. poem By Jessica Bigi

    I am not
    R O B I N H O O D
    An aero a bow
    boomerang shaped handle
    R O B I N H O O D
    Not I — Not I

    1. I like the reversal (sort of) of the language in your first and last lines, Jessica!

  5. Glad to see your site is up and running. Lauren’s story is very inspiring, and her poem is fantastic. That backpack doll is so creepy. I’m pretty impressed you got your husband to go Atlatl throwing, and your Wooly Mammoth poem was hysterical. I’m not much of a hunter either which was also the theme for my poem.

    Hunters Remorse

    Pupils dilate,
    Pulse quickens,
    Atlatl steady…
    Eyes meet,
    Souls greet,
    Tonight I eat…

  6. Love your picture and poem. I’m impressed you got your husband out to throw an Atlatl. Lauren’s success was very inspirational, and that backpack doll is so creepy. Your Wooly Mammoth poem is hysterical. I’m not much of a hunter either, and that was the inspiration for my poem.

    Hunters Remorse

    Pupils dilate
    Pulse quickens
    Atlatl steady…
    Eyes meet,
    Souls greet…
    Tonight I eat…

    1. Hahahaha–love that, Jean! Yeah, we had fun with the atlatl, archery, and all sorts of cool stuff. Stand-up paddleboarding was my favorite, though. I love your surprise ending!

    2. Thank you, Jean. I am glad you liked my poem. I thought the doll looked creepy too. I loved your poem. Eyes meet, Souls greet are my favorite lines and then spaghetti made me laugh.

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