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Fiction refers to literature created from the imagination. Traditionally, that includes novels, short stories, fables, myths, legends, fairy tales, plays, etc. The ever-widening scope of fiction in today's world may include comic books, cartoons, anime, video games, radio and television shows, it could be genre fiction, literary fiction or realism.  But regardless of its form of conveyance, fiction is a device that immerses us in experiences that we may not otherwise discover; takes us places we may never go, introduces us to people we may never have met. It can be inspiring, captivating, and even frightening. In the end, it exposes us to a life not our own. It can help us to see ourselves and our world in a new light.

We invite you to join us as we embark on a journey of fiction created by these talented authors. We applaud all of our contributors and encourage everyone to continue to follow their artistic and literary dreams. For those whose works we’ve selected, we hope this is just the beginning of an illustrious career in the arts.


One Precious Day

by Paul K. McWilliams

“We love those who know the worst of us and don’t turn their faces away.”
                                                                                                                     -Walker Percy

                                                                   

Mike Hanlon, an old childhood friend of mine, had cultivated the pot, not for kicks or profit, but expressly for relief.  He was a poor and suffering soul growing a simple weed, an illegal weed that, when smoked, mercifully spared him the fantastic headaches and the terror of epileptic seizures. Light leaking around the clock from the two cloaked windows of the spare bedroom of his rented home is what likely brought the cops. The bust ushered a cascade of compounding misfortune upon Mike, leaving him broke, homeless, and alone.

Michael and I first became friends when we were eight years old. Our families had summer shacks at Minot Beach, then a minor but no less beautiful summer retreat and resort about twenty miles southeast of Boston. Michael was one of six children, third from the oldest.  He had three brothers, one older and two younger, and two sisters, one older and one younger. I remember Michael then as always smiling and laughing, all boy with a real talent for harmless mischief. He was smart, witty, and a genuine joy to be around. I can still see him swimming like an otter, playful and at ease at any depth.  I’d watch and marvel at his swimming prowess. It took till I was nearly a teen before I’d swim in water over my head.
 
By the latter part of...

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To Humor a Lunatic

by Nitin Mishra

The lunatic was not a lunatic previously in his youthful days. He used to be a young, handsome student with a very genial nature and an ever-charming smile always hung on his oval plump face. His eyebrows were so perfectly aligned over his twin eyes that sometimes his friends complained that he always did something to his eyebrows every time he left his home.

They said, “He has some sort of fascination for his eyebrows man… get it…?”

But he always denied it. “Nay, I swear to God I don’t touch my eyebrows on purpose as to speak…they were just born like that, you see.”

“Nope, nope and nope…we don’t believe that crap…” they always remarked. With full conviction, they always shattered him,

“You do something to them with all definitiveness… y’ do something to them….”

The young man kept denying all these accusations. But he was helpless and felt appalled and dismayed. Often he locked himself into his solitary bathroom with an old hanging mirror. He kept staring and staring into those eyebrows of his with the fullest of his concentration. When he was locked inside that bathroom, he could not stop staring at them. He knew those eyebrows were accountable for all those ugly jokes all his friends constantly threw at him. It was such a trivial matter he could not even tell his parents or his principal at school. He felt tortured all the time, even when he was alone.

...

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Autumn Winds

by Patrick Curran

My eyes closed, moments from sleep, I hear a voice. I hold my breath for a moment, my heart racing in protest.

“Bill, is that you?”

Other noises follow. I’m as still as the bed beneath me.

At last I realise it’s from the TV downstairs. I feel pinned to the bed. The thought of getting up beyond me, sleep inches away.

Oh Bill. Why did you have to leave? I forget sometimes you know.


My sleep is broken through the night. Fragments of images and faces from my dreams fade quickly becoming lost in a clump of dust, dull and knotted inside. The thoughts jagged and confused. I return to sleep. The fragments I search for in my dreams make more sense. Sometimes I clamber up into waking thoughts only to slip and slide back into confusion. When awake my first thoughts are a struggle to remember how I got here or where I’m to go.


I stop to catch my breath. The people brush past me.

Let them hurry.

I forgot to bring change for the trolley. I walk slowly willing my fingers not to uncurl their grip, dreading the bag falling to the shop floor.

I arrive at the checkout. Lines of queues in front of me, which one to join? I choose the line I think will move quickest. There’s a little boy tugging at the empty trolleys.

“Hi, “he says looking up at me. His parents are busy unpacking onto...

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Resolve

by Brigitte Whiting

One spring afternoon, you watched the neighbor kids playing with a spotted puppy. They had company so maybe it was theirs. If they brought the dog into your yard, you’d shoo them off.

You certainly didn’t want to raise a puppy. Or a dog to run your life. To break your heart.

The visitors left. The kids disappeared into their house. The dog waited outside their garage door.

Who leaves a dog outdoors?

That evening, you heard it whining, scratching at your front door. One night. What could possibly go wrong?

You let her in, all sopping tongue, wagging tail.


Bio: Brigitte Whiting has published in Village Square and Literary Yard online journals. She lives in Maine. She has completed the Nonfiction and 3-Year Fiction MFAs at WVU, enjoys facilitating a variety of courses at WVU, and is a member of several writers’ groups.

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Safe

by Brian Hunt

Everyone wore a mask now, but why they did was no longer a question. Those who asked either disappeared or, after a suitable period of re-education, joined their faceless colleagues. The masks kept us free not just from airborne threats to health but from the complexities of signalling and receiving emotion. A rational and productive society could not risk being derailed by wasteful and confusing emotions!

Everyone knew that a smile or frown was too easily misinterpreted and could cause emotional conflict. 'Is that person attracted to me or not?' or 'Should I be here or not?' or 'Have I done something wrong?' Such difficult questions could bring painful answers and did not have a place within a harmonious society. It was so much better to be safe.

A masked and safe society, free from messy emotional confusions made life so much simpler. There was no need to smile at anyone, and the mask hid any disapproving looks that might be made in an emotionally unguarded moment. We had been taught to ‘Guard your emotions lest they betray you'.  And people were reassured by the grey mask on faces as they could not show hostility and thus all was harmony.

The government had issued everyone grey masks. Each contained an electronic chip that was monitored via a nationwide network. If a mask were removed for more than the ten minutes allowed for meals or bathing, the authorities were automatically notified to take appropriate action. The chip held...

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Eagles’ Run

by Sandra Niedzialek

Sarah Jensen works at the county morgue. It’s the only job available, her probation officer tells her. She’s a lousy thief, it seems. Gah, she hates scrubbing stainless steel. She’s the only one in the morgue because her shift is from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. As she sprays more disinfectant on the table, she thinks of the man that arrived as a DOA this morning. The gossip queens think he was in an adulterous affair, and the husband shot him. She’s curious about what he looks like. She turns towards the rows of drawers and knows precisely which one he is laid to rest in. Should she dare look? Sarah is known for lacking impulse control, so naturally she goes right for the drawers. She listens for anyone approaching, but it’s eerily quiet. She opens the drawer, and peeks under the sheet to see his face. He’s handsome with dark hair, a slight shadow of a beard, and she bets he probably has beautiful eyes too. He looks like he is sleeping instead of dead. She tells herself, "I will never find a man like him. I’m woefully plain and skinny." A man like him dates exclusively gorgeous women. Sarah stares at the man, wishing he was still alive, when she feels someone behind her. She jumps like she has 50,000 volts of electricity going through her.

“Sarah, what are you doing?” he yells too loudly. She’s sure her face must be on fire. Mr. Pellan, her...

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How Horrible the Moon

by Brian Hunt

How horrible the moon. How horrible the pale light it cast upon my grave as it called me to my duty.

In a few short hours I would leave the comfort of my grave to walk among the living. I scared most of them, but now after over 100 years, this routine had ceased to be amusing and was now just a chore. ‘There must be more to death than this,’ I thought, and frankly, I was tired of scaring people. I just wanted to be a friend, I wanted my existence in death to be a redemption from being grumpy old Mr. Clarkson, the grocer, the man who never returned children’s footballs and who hid from carol singers.  I wanted to be a jolly happy, although departed, soul who made the living world a happier place.

It’s difficult being a ghost, you know. As a soul in limbo there’s no one who represents you and helps you. Those in heaven have God and his offices, even if they did move in mysterious ways, while those in hell these days were generally too busy being roasted or watching endless repeats of Mary Poppins. Satan had a warped sense of humour and sometimes changed the meaning of hell when he and his demons wanted new amusements.

But, help or none, I was determined to change. Tonight was going to be the first night of the rest of my death. I climbed out of my grave, rearranged a couple of...

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The Woman in the Mirror

by Miriam Manglani

Jack pulled the comforter over his head and clamped his hands over his ears, but it did
little to block out his parents’ screaming. If it got any worse, he would hide in his closet.

“I told you I wanted shrimp for dinner,” Amit, Jack’s father, scowled and leaned his fat
belly against the back of the kitchen chair while he swung his almost empty beer bottle in his
right hand.

“Yes, but they...they didn’t have any at the supermarket.”

“Are you kidding me, Lucy? They never run out of shrimp. I almost gagged eating the
slop you made for me tonight. It was absolutely disgusting.” Amit’s spat on the plate.

“You love fried chicken. You raved about it last time I cooked it. Was it overdone this
time?” Lucy said in a small voice digging her long nails into the palms of her hands.

“It just tasted like ass.”

“Well, I’ll use a different recipe next time. Let me go check on Jack.”

“Hey! I’m not done talking to you! Do you know what it’s like to come home from a hard
day at work...to...to...to chicken sitting in a puddle of oil?”

“No, Amit. But I do know what it’s like to work all day and take care of an eight-year-
old.”

“Now I know what you’re getting at you little witch. You think I do nothing for our son.
You know that’s not true. I take him to all his baseball games and play catch with...

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To the Moon

by Brigitte Whiting

"How terrible the moon," Mr. Abrams said each time there was a full moon. "There's sadness with beauty."

At first, when the future Mrs. Abrams met him, she thought it was odd. When he was young, he'd wanted to ride on the back of his older brother's motorcycle on a moonlit night, but his parents forbade it. His brother crashed later that night and died.

She loved everything about the moon, particularly when it was full and casting its long shadows through the pines.

Their first child, their only daughter, was born on the night of a full moon. She was sunshine and light in their lives. Their twin boys arrived on a stormy rainy night, foreshadowing how fearless and adventuresome they became.

Each month or so, even when their children were small, the Abrams toasted the full moon. During the winter, they stood together peering through the picture window facing the eastern sky, each holding a cup of hot tea. "To how terrible the moon," he said, "and how wonderful," and they laughed and clicked their cups together, the pottery sending out a faint ring.

Warm weather evenings were different. They brought goblets filled with diet sodas out to their deck and leaned on the railing, gazing up to the sky, and toasting the moon. Afterwards, they sat in their lounge chairs watching the stars above them. Mrs. Abrams listened to the soft murmurs of insects still busy in the trees and wildflowers. She was sure she...

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Eight Ball

by Maggie Mevel

Morgan smiled at the barista taking her cappuccino order. The coffee a small indulgence to celebrate a fantastic day. Two job offers. The gods were smiling on her, finally. She set her purse on the counter, and a rack of keychains beside the cash register tinkled at the movement. The glossy black of the eight-ball keychain caught her eye. She recalled a bratty cousin at a family reunion, sticking a full-sized one in her face telling her to ask it questions. He’d chased her around until she’d relented, then laughed and teased her for the rest of the afternoon.

She ran a finger over the smooth surface, and goosebumps spilled up her arm.

“That will be $4.50 for the coffee.” The barista interrupted her thoughts.

Morgan grabbed the eight ball. “Let’s add that.”

She wandered down the street, sipping the creamy treat and spinning the eight ball on her finger, pondering the pros and cons of her job options. A car horn honked, and she glanced up to see the front of the local lottery shop.

“I wonder.” She grinned and shook the eight ball.

Yes.

Morgan scoffed but crossed the street, entered the shop and purchased a $2 instant win ticket. She used her thumbnail to scratch off the card, tiny curls of dark grey falling on the countertop. $50 winner.

She laughed at the coincidence, retrieved her surprise winnings, and resumed her walk home, twirling the keychain with job selection on her mind.

The VP of...

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Dashing Past

by Paul K. McWilliams

He recalls an old mill pond. He sees with ease the boy he was, a child smoking while watching the small red and white bobber he has cast out to the edge of the lily pads, hoping mostly for a bass or a pickerel while expecting a perch, or more likely still, a sunfish.  

The pond, a favored place to fish as well as play hockey in winter, remains vivid to the man, grown from the boy. The boy absorbed and retained the details of the place, while now, the reflecting man wonders and yearns: had life been still enough, had there been more time, had there been room for more than one damn thing after another? Had there been time, then perhaps stories would have been told to the boy about the old mill pond and so much more.

The man sees it all again, the pond as well as the hell-bent rush of life. He sees anew the granite boulders, big as cars that shoulder up, hump-like, here and there around the old mill pond. He sees a wall of cut granite that fronts the coming water, high enough to have once powered a grist mill upstream and a sawmill downstream. On the upper east bank of the pond he can still see, in his mind’s eye, a large home and an even larger barn. They are both so utterly well crafted, so absolutely beautiful, they lasted long after the milling, long after the lumbering, ...

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Coulda

by Paul K. McWilliams

Jim Keohane drops his razor into the basin of hot soapy water as his body slumps suddenly with the news coming over the radio.  Bobby Kennedy was fatally shot at the Ambassador Hotel just after midnight in Los Angeles, just after 3 AM, Eastern Standard Time. Alone, no one hears as Jim begins with a moan and ends with a howl, “Jesus Christ, not again.” It’s the first week of June and it promises to be better than 90 degrees in Boston today. It’ll be a little cooler amid the summer shacks of Minot Beach where Jim is living alone, separate from his wife and seven daughters.

Jim Keohane raises his head back atop his shoulders, arms braced straight, hands gripping the small, suspended basin, and in the mirror he can see old man Slater, rod in hand, off to fish the coming tide. That quick, Jim towels the shaving soap from his face and calls from the window, “Ray, have you heard?”  

Old man Slater gives a silent slouch and a nod. He’s heard. “Jimmy, I got grub enough for two. Let’s hike on up to the hunting grounds. Bound to be returning Stripers.”

“Give me two secs, Ray, I’ll be right with you.” Jim jumps into his stained fishing pants, a plain white tee shirt, and slips on his old top-sider sneakers. All motion, he grabs two beers from the fridge, his smokes from the table, then snatches up his ever-ready fishing gear, heads out...

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A Day to Remember

by Brigitte Whiting

Annie had dreamed of her wedding day since she was six years old and received a bride doll. She'd even planned and revised how the day would unfold a hundred times. Her mother had read the notes and lamented how she didn't remember her own wedding. Annie vowed she'd never repeat that mistake. Then, when her mother died while she was a teenager, she became even more detailed with her plans. The day needed to be perfect.

She stood now, dressed in the white lacy gown she'd designed and sewn herself, and waiting with her father behind the closed doors to enter the church, afraid she'd forgotten something.

"You've got five minutes," Dad whispered. "In case you change your mind."

She shook her head. She'd never do that. She pictured walking down the aisle, all eyes on her, and tripping because she was so clumsy. "One second." She released his arm, and dashed back to the dressing room, slipped out of her tight pink silk sandals, and pulled on scuffed running shoes. No one would see them.

"Ready?" Dad asked.

"One second." She opened a door just a pinch. Sigurd, her groom-to-be, the most surprising man she'd ever met, stood holding the reins of a great white steed, a silver and gold coat of arms embroidered on the black blanket draped over its back. No, no, no, he couldn't have taken her literally when she'd mentioned wanting to leave her wedding in a glistening coach that would carry...

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Thanksgiving Thought

by Dub Wright

Oily rags covered her toes and loose leather straps ran around her heels. A hint of blood seemed to darken each step she took through the falling Thanksgiving snow.

“Hav ye ah pence, kind sir?”

A single coin flew through the cold air, and a rag-covered hand suddenly fetched it from the mist. Not far from where she stood a streetlight was illumined by the flame of a streetlamp lighter.

“Beg yer pardon, mum,” a tiny voice cried beneath her. “Hav ye a penny for me sister and me soup this day?”

Hilda found the single penny in the bottom of her ragged bag.  “Here, lad,” she said, “Feed ye sister.”


BIO: Dub Wright is a North Carolina novelist and short story writer. He has authored over fifty works of fiction and has contributed to regional journals and publications. He is a graduate of William Jewell College and Southern Polytechnic University. Dub previously worked in the communications industry. You can find him on Amazon.

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SkippyGraycoat

by Peter Mancusi

Skippy Graycoat woke up early to the chirping of birds. It had been a long night for the young squirrel. He spent hours fixing up his new apartment, a fancy little hollow inside of an old, maple tree, and he was happy to finally have some privacy. No more annoying parents to lecture him about survival in the forest. He stretched out his arms and legs, then peeked his head outside for a breath of fresh, autumn air.

 

“Well, time for breakfast,” he mumbled to himself. He noticed all the other residents of the Maple Grove Complex gathering acorns and getting ready for winter. “Bunch of fools,” he went on, “working so hard when they don’t have to.” He chuckled then ran towards the bottom of the tree. When he reached the ground, he headed straight to his secret food spot: a large, white house at the edge of the forest.

 

You see, even though Skippy’s parents warned him not to rely on humans for food, he always ignored them. When they showed him and his siblings how to gather and store acorns, he never paid attention. In his mind, he’d always have his secret food spot to count on, but on that particular morning, he was in for a rude awakening…

 

“What the heck!” he shouted when he climbed the fence and noticed all the bird feeders in the backyard of the house were gone. Even the bowls...

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A Pot Full of Beans

by Brigitte Whiting

Clara Beth didn't remember that she'd promised to fill the cast iron bean pot for the Smithville Annual Bean Hole Bean Pot supper until late Friday afternoon when she received the call that the bean hole was prepared, the embers hot and ready. "Almost ready," she lied. What else could she do. Losing face would have the townspeople ribbing her about her memory for as long as she lived.

She'd do what she'd done last year and the year before.

"Stanley," she called into the house. No answer. He was probably in his workshop. She walked down the stairs to the garage. "Stanley."

"What's the hurry?" He'd stepped out of the shop so quickly he still held a Philips screwdriver in his gloved hands.

"Run to the store and buy canned pork and beans."

"Again?"

"Next year, I promise."

One thing about Stanley, he was a good sport, and in ten minutes, he'd gotten his wallet, put on his old camouflage jacket and hat, and backed their Jeep Waggoner out the garage and down the driveway.

She stood watching him go and he was down the street and around the block before she thought to tell him how many cans, and more importantly, what brands to get. Well, all she could do was get started with peeling and slicing onions, and dicing and frying bacon.

She fielded three phone calls from the fire pit crew asking her how much longer, found the cast iron pot tucked on a...

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How You Can Go Wrong

by Lisa Benwitz

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Angelina scoffed at Sam, her husband of sixty years. “You’re not leaving. You won’t last a day without me.”

“I can’t deal with you anymore,” he said as he walked out the door. As if she’d been the one to disappoint, to betray.

Angelina’s sagging flesh dimpled with shivers as she followed Sam into the icy morning in nothing more than her Laura Ashley slippers and flowered housecoat. She winced as it took him three tries to heft their ancient Samsonite onto their brand-spanking-new 2000 Buick’s maroon leather seat.

She bore silent, frozen witness as he slid into the driver’s seat and fiddled with the mirrors, which always drove her crazy. She hadn’t driven since the ‘70s, leaving Sam the sole driver of the car. How much adjusting could the damn mirrors possibly need? She waited for him to glance her way; but, as usual, he focused so firmly on his own agenda that he never looked up to see what was right in front of him.

As the car’s wheels squelched down the slushy driveway, a surge of panic broiled in Angelina’s guts. Run after him, her instincts screamed. Beg him to stay. As her instincts had never done her a lick of good, she ignored them.

A sudden swirl of wind buffeted the hem of her housecoat, chilling her in places she’d never felt cold before. The shock of it jolted Angelina to her senses. Here she stood practically naked, and...

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The Piano

by Nitin Mishra

The old grand piano sat in lonely corner of the room. Dust covered the piano body, and insects crept in through the keys. For the house’s inhabitants, the grand piano was merely a dead wooden sound-making device mechanically operated. No one ever tried to infuse life into the piano by at least hitting keys intentionally. It stood at that same corner for years and years, just like an item of broken old furniture, completely discarded and forgotten.

Many times, the owners tried getting rid of the piano. They even established contact with the local piano storekeepers, asking them to purchase the piano at a price the piano store could never find a customer to pay. But they still insisted on selling the piano, claiming it was the most elegant piano in the entire world with a superb tone, texture, and quality. The owners contacted many such piano movers and piano stores who might buy the piano at the price they asked for. But unfortunately, no one accepted the offer.

“Those cheap bastards…,” was the simple comment of the piano owners.

A middle-aged man of around forty-four worked as a butler to the couples who owned the house. Although he was hired as a butler, later his duties expanded far and wide-ranging to include a gardener, janitor, and even massage guy. He needed money so he could never resist whatever the couple demanded. His name was Frank, and he had a son. His wife, whom he’s adored much, was...

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Makers and Takers

by Kim Bundy

Jake dropped the baby off at daycare early that morning and replaced three water heaters by lunch. There were two HVAC systems left to service, so he wolfed down a sandwich as he drove between jobs. When he got back to the shop that afternoon, his boss called him into his office.  

“Take a seat. “ The fluorescent ceiling lights made everything in the room a weird shade of green. Mr. Huffman closed the door and dropped into a rolling black leather chair behind his desk that had nothing on it except a paper calendar. He bent over the calendar, fiddled with the chewed tip of a ballpoint pen, and cleared his throat.

“Jake, we’re going have to let you go. I hate this, because you do good work, but when the paper mill shut down, we lost lots of business.”

Jake’s face burned, so he looked down at the empty lunch pail still in his hands. His fingernails were caked with black dirt he had scraped off one of the HVAC units that afternoon. A clock on the paneled wall ticked loudly.

“Mr. Huffman, I really need this job.” He glanced up at his boss, who was looking at the pen. This was shameful stuff, a man losing a job, and they both knew it.

“I know. But you’ll find something, you’ll do the right thing for Ashley and the baby.”

His throat thick, Jake walked out of the office...

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The “Ely Kay”

by Paul K. McWilliams

It’s my boat yard, and I don’t much care for the look of her. It’s a point of pride. You should be able to take a level to a boat up on lumber. Every day with her list, she stares me down. She looks guilty and sad with such a lean. Been so since December, ever since her skipper, Dan Parker, perished and her mate, Tommy O, turned to drinking. She’ll keep after me till things are right, till she’s afloat and put to fishing again. She’ll not wither into a heap. But, hell, it’s not my place to get the kid out of the gin-mills.

Best anyone can figure, a swell pitched Dan from the stern when he was bent over the side cutting fouled gear, figuring then that his “Ely Kay” gave him a fatal knock as she bobbed dumb. Tommy O was in the engine space warming himself.  Sometime after, Tommy came out and found no one, only Dan’s knife plunged into the stern board. So, it is now, and there’s been enough sadness.  It’s time to do as the “Ely Kay” has long pleaded.

Happy hour comes early in the joints favored by the fisherman. It’s not much past noon and the Satuit Grill is jammed with a boisterous lot. As I bump my way to the bar, I can see Tommy O, his hat askew, jostled, spilling his whiskey. Despite the crowd, he’s alone. I place both my hands on his drinking arm...

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What We Long For

by Cyril Dabydeen

Creating an imaginary garden
                            with real toads in it.
                                    --Marianne Moore


Frogs circle the yellow-and-black snake in the trout stream by instinct, no less. Mr. Yorick, tall, but roundish, the owner of the fish farm, watches us here in Dwyer Hill in the Ottawa Valley. Sure, he wants to sell his farm, the whole “damn operation”, for two million dollars!

Could we be buyers? "No one really knows how many fish I have here. The Income Tax people can never tell, dammit!” A bloated expression rivets his face. “We’re just...visitors,” I say in reply.

“From America...real visitors?”

Er, no.

I cast a sideways glance across the stretch of farm, but the frogs and the snake in the stream preoccupy us, not how many rainbow trout the kids will catch. And oh, the headline blaring out: Attack of the Bullfrogs! Imagine frogs in all of eastern Ontario charging into the goldenrods across swampy ground. Earlier I overheard a man bemoaning that all the critters are now coming out on the road. A sick face he made.  Turtles, blue heron, beavers, grasshoppers, rabbits, a fox–all coming out. Christ! Mr. Yorick with a malign glare again asks where I’ve come from. Not where we’re heading, see.

Tell him about frogs going berserk, and the landscape’s now changing due to climate change. Really that?

The kids laugh.  

Yeah, the...

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Emerson

by Paul K. McWilliams

He hurts, body, mind, and soul. Death has made its introduction and he has given it a knowing nod. At this moment he’s in a hospice unit. The head of his bed is elevated and he’s in the consoling company of his dog, Emerson. The dog proved quickly to be polite and calm company, such that a special grant was extended, allowing the man’s precious pet to see him through. Like many such creatures, Emerson is, and has long been, a consistent and intuitive conduit of unreserved love for which the man has been ever grateful. Emerson is an all-black, curly-haired, miniature labradoodle and he knows of no other means than that of love and affection. These co-joined souls, this man and dog, they have been daily companions for better than ten years.

Presently, the man’s right hand is giving absent-minded caress to Emerson. The man is gazing out the light-filled window, looking upon a resplendent maple tree in its autumn glory. After a deep breath followed by a sincere sigh, the man reports to his now alert dog these whispered words, “The only way to have a friend is to be one. Ralph Waldo may have said it, but you, you my dear little Emerson, you live it.” It’s obvious to the man, it’s apparent in his dog’s extra careful manner; he can see the dog knows; he can see his loving friend senses both life and death are at hand.

The man now settles his head...

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Blunt Trauma

by Paul K. McWilliams

To all, excepting only Annie, Charles W. Durgin fell while fishing and drowned.  It has been nearly ten years since she struck him with his own club, the club he affectionately called “the priest.” Nightmares still waken her upright and screaming. Not the stifled screams into his calloused hands reeking of fish. Rather, it is Annie exclaiming in retort, “But he was raping me.”

Was it murder, manslaughter, self-defense, negligence, or perhaps merely an accident? Within the mind of Annie Brown, it was all of these. Annie has long since settled much of her conscience by her knowing that Charlie Durgin lost his life because he was drunk, careless, and savage. This knowing is how Annie has kept the killing down deep enough to cope, day by day, with her once and sudden act.

Long ago, this brutal event drove Annie from her most cherished place, Strawberry Point. Despite the savagery that occurred, her beloved sanctuary still beckons her. Strawberry Point is a brief, pristine peninsula extending northeasterly from Minot Beach, Massachusetts. Woodlands of oak and cedar skirt saltmarsh and tidal creeks along its west side, while monumental granite cliffs plunge into cold and moody depths along the east. Going there had once been a frequent kindness she did for herself.

Now, compelled and seeking restoration, Annie has returned to Strawberry Point.  As she stands staring at the very spot where she left him unconscious for time and tide, she recalls what she once so often...

Read more: Blunt Trauma

 


 

Man in the Mirror

by Nitin Mishra

It may have been the sultriest day of the decade, who knows, maybe two or even three decades and the excessive humidity had invited swarms of insects. In such a sweltering afternoon people were destined to stay indoors, and if anyone ventured out, the insects would certainly torment them. It was truly a suffocating afternoon and seemed so heavy. The only sign of life was the constant, relentless grumbling of a young man.

“Let me out…. Let me out,” he demanded in his cry-like tone and kept banging on the door that stood like an iron gate between him and the outside world. A pause for some minutes and then again the same banging with the same rhythm would persist and linger. It was very irritating to listen and re-listen to the same banging noise.

“For God's sake get me out of this damn hole…I will die here, or I will shoot myself,” the prisoner shouted at the top of his lungs, as if he owned a gun capable of killing a human. The constant repetition of the same cry reverberated again and again throughout the vicinity. But it seemed, no one cared to care and observe the man in such distress and panic. Why would anyone care when everyone and everything was enduring such an abominable heat, everyone was trying to find their rescue, but the torrid heat kept pouring on them incessantly. Anyway, they all knew who was making the noise and why he...

Read more: Man in the Mirror

 


 

The Impostor

by Mick Clark

I was amazed by how many people were stuffed inside my uncle Henry’s corpse.

My aunt clung to me for the first time in her life, bird-bone brittle and ashen pale, while the mourners breathed crowds of ghosts into the icy morning air.

The coffin swayed on eight unsteady legs, like Sleipnir as a newborn foal. Instead of the usual six pallbearers, four sufficed, for in life my uncle was not the tallest of men and was never overweight.

My aunt, noticing that one of the pallbearer’s shoelaces had come undone, nodded to draw my attention to it and we laughed freakishly at the slapstick possibilities. A few mourners turned to finger-wag the outburst, but looked away thistle-faced when they saw the offenders.

The pallbearers paused at the church doors, waiting for God to let us in. When the doors finally swung open, The Lord provided the frozen congregation with some limp candlelight and gas heaters set on low.

The procession slithered inside like a drunken snake. Organ music wheezed. The vicar slapped cold crematorium ash from his cassock as we followed him and the coffin down the weary stone aisle. The light through the stained glass windows made my aunt’s face look cracked.

My mother, already up front, mantra-mouthed the eulogy I’d helped her write. She’d hated her husband’s brother for most of her life, but when my aunt refused to listen to his cancer talk, he’d turned to her and...

Read more: The Impostor

 


 

21 Days of Lockdown

by Donna Abraham Tijo

Day 1:
When Coronavirus Comes Calling
A five-year-old declares, 'I wish to always have my favourite pancake in my world.'

Day 2:
An E-mail of Hope
He sent the e-mail to the school reserving seats for his daughter for the fall session. It’s in the new city they are relocating to. On the checklist, he ticks off School. House on Rent and Work Permit had been marked complete two weeks ago.

On the laptop screen, the ticker of the News channel scrolls, screaming in capital letters, ‘RESTRICTIONS ON INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL. COUNTRY IN LOCKDOWN.’

Day 3:
An Apology
A minister in Germany commits suicide.

A prime minister apologizes. A genocide had gone amok under his leadership once and yet he rose oblivious to regret. I write and rewrite the previous sentence because I desperately want to blame the abstract noun, genocide. Why is it an abstract noun, anyway, when there are tangible bodies that give it a name? And what about a pogrom? The homeless from which can be touched and tossed with bamboo canes in shelters and hospitals to this day. Aren’t those the qualities of a concrete noun?

Well, the premier had expressed no guilt for turning away towards another spotlight then. And now, a virus has taken both over.

Suddenly, I think about the minister in Germany who felt deeply worried about his country before his final step and then I feel the severity of what we have in our hands, the virus obviously.

Day...

Read more: 21 Days of Lockdown

 


 

-=> Click Here for More Fiction <=-

To Humor a Lunatic

by

Nitin Mishra

The lunatic was not a lunatic previously in his youthful days. He used to be a young, handsome student with a very genial nature and an ever-charming smile always hung on his oval plump face. His eyebrows were so perfectly aligned over his twin eyes that sometimes his...

Read more: To Humor a Lunatic

 

 

 

Autumn Winds

by

Patrick Curran

My eyes closed, moments from sleep, I hear a voice. I hold my breath for a moment, my heart racing in protest.

“Bill, is that you?”

Other noises follow. I’m as still as the bed beneath me.

At last I realise it’s from the TV downstairs. I feel...

Read more: Autumn Winds

 

 

 

Resolve

by

Brigitte Whiting

One spring afternoon, you watched the neighbor kids playing with a spotted puppy. They had company so maybe it was theirs. If they brought the dog into your yard, you’d shoo them off.

You certainly didn’t want to raise a puppy. Or a dog to run your...

Read more: Resolve

 

 

 

Safe

by

Brian Hunt

Everyone wore a mask now, but why they did was no longer a question. Those who asked either disappeared or, after a suitable period of re-education, joined their faceless colleagues. The masks kept us free not just from airborne threats to health but from the complexities of signalling...

Read more: Safe

 

 

 

Eagles’ Run

by

Sandra Niedzialek

Sarah Jensen works at the county morgue. It’s the only job available, her probation officer tells her. She’s a lousy thief, it seems. Gah, she hates scrubbing stainless steel. She’s the only one in the morgue because her shift is from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. As she...

Read more: Eagles’ Run

 

 

 

How Horrible the Moon

by

Brian Hunt

How horrible the moon. How horrible the pale light it cast upon my grave as it called me to my duty.

In a few short hours I would leave the comfort of my grave to walk among the living. I scared most of them, but now after over...

Read more: How Horrible the Moon

 

 

 

The Woman in the Mirror

by

Miriam Manglani

Jack pulled the comforter over his head and clamped his hands over his ears, but it did
little to block out his parents’ screaming. If it got any worse, he would hide in his closet.

“I told you I wanted shrimp for dinner,” Amit, Jack’s father, scowled and...

Read more: The Woman in the Mirror

 

 

 

To the Moon

by

Brigitte Whiting

"How terrible the moon," Mr. Abrams said each time there was a full moon. "There's sadness with beauty."

At first, when the future Mrs. Abrams met him, she thought it was odd. When he was young, he'd wanted to ride on the back of his older brother's motorcycle...

Read more: To the Moon

 

 

 

One Precious Day

by

Paul K. McWilliams

“We love those who know the worst of us and don’t turn their faces away.”
                                                                                                                     -Walker Percy

                                                                   

Mike Hanlon, an old childhood friend of mine, had cultivated the pot, not for kicks or profit, but expressly for relief.  He was a poor and suffering soul growing...

Read more: One Precious Day

 

 

 

SkippyGraycoat

by

Peter Mancusi

Skippy Graycoat woke up early to the chirping of birds. It had been a long night for the young squirrel. He spent hours fixing up his new apartment, a fancy little hollow inside of an old, maple tree, and he was happy to finally have some privacy. No...

Read more: SkippyGraycoat

 

 

 

A Pot Full of Beans

by

Brigitte Whiting

Clara Beth didn't remember that she'd promised to fill the cast iron bean pot for the Smithville Annual Bean Hole Bean Pot supper until late Friday afternoon when she received the call that the bean hole was prepared, the embers hot and ready. "Almost ready," she lied. What...

Read more: A Pot Full of Beans

 

 

 

How You Can Go Wrong

by

Lisa Benwitz

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Angelina scoffed at Sam, her husband of sixty years. “You’re not leaving. You won’t last a day without me.”

“I can’t deal with you anymore,” he said as he walked out the door. As if she’d been the one to disappoint, to betray.

Angelina’s sagging...

Read more: How You Can Go Wrong

 

 

 

The Piano

by

Nitin Mishra

The old grand piano sat in lonely corner of the room. Dust covered the piano body, and insects crept in through the keys. For the house’s inhabitants, the grand piano was merely a dead wooden sound-making device mechanically operated. No one ever tried to infuse life into the...

Read more: The Piano

 

 

 

Makers and Takers

by

Kim Bundy

Jake dropped the baby off at daycare early that morning and replaced three water heaters by lunch. There were two HVAC systems left to service, so he wolfed down a sandwich as he drove between jobs. When he got back to the shop that afternoon, his boss called...

Read more: Makers and Takers

 

 

 

The “Ely Kay”

by

Paul K. McWilliams

It’s my boat yard, and I don’t much care for the look of her. It’s a point of pride. You should be able to take a level to a boat up on lumber. Every day with her list, she stares me down. She looks guilty and sad with...

Read more: The “Ely Kay”

 

 

 

What We Long For

by

Cyril Dabydeen

Creating an imaginary garden
                            with real toads in it.
                                    --Marianne Moore


Frogs circle the yellow-and-black snake in the trout stream by instinct, no less. Mr. Yorick, tall, but roundish, ...

Read more: What We Long For

 

 

 

Emerson

by

Paul K. McWilliams

He hurts, body, mind, and soul. Death has made its introduction and he has given it a knowing nod. At this moment he’s in a hospice unit. The head of his bed is elevated and he’s in the consoling company of his dog, Emerson. The dog proved quickly...

Read more: Emerson

 

 

 

Blunt Trauma

by

Paul K. McWilliams

To all, excepting only Annie, Charles W. Durgin fell while fishing and drowned.  It has been nearly ten years since she struck him with his own club, the club he affectionately called “the priest.” Nightmares still waken her upright and screaming. Not the stifled screams into his calloused...

Read more: Blunt Trauma

 

 

 

Man in the Mirror

by

Nitin Mishra

It may have been the sultriest day of the decade, who knows, maybe two or even three decades and the excessive humidity had invited swarms of insects. In such a sweltering afternoon people were destined to stay indoors, and if anyone ventured out, the insects would certainly torment...

Read more: Man in the Mirror

 

 

 

The Impostor

by

Mick Clark

I was amazed by how many people were stuffed inside my uncle Henry’s corpse.

My aunt clung to me for the first time in her life, bird-bone brittle and ashen pale, while the mourners breathed crowds of ghosts into the icy morning air.

The coffin swayed...

Read more: The Impostor

 

 

 

21 Days of Lockdown

by

Donna Abraham Tijo

Day 1:
When Coronavirus Comes Calling
A five-year-old declares, 'I wish to always have my favourite pancake in my world.'

Day 2:
An E-mail of Hope
He sent the e-mail to the school reserving seats for his daughter for the fall session. It’s in the new city they...

Read more: 21 Days of Lockdown

 

 

 

Sugar Daddy Dreams

by

Enza Vynn-Cara

Burnt toast, avocado, honey, two poached eggs laced with turmeric and garlic, and a new vitamin concoction that makes my stomach churn, and still, I guzzle half of it down with gusto, as if it’s our first Godfather Cocktail at Carlo’s Bar.

Why, you ask?

Because...

Read more: Sugar Daddy Dreams

 

 

 

The Visitor

by

Brigitte Whiting

Madeleine saw the visitor in her Sunday school class, a man her age, maybe fortyish —she considered herself a youthful fifty —with a deep dimple in the middle of his chin. He wore no wedding ring. He introduced himself as having just moved to Cannington, and was the...

Read more: The Visitor

 

 

 

Chickens

by

Brigitte Whiting

First, there was dust everywhere, but now, far worse, there were chickens everywhere. They were pecking through the yard, leaving puffs of dust. They were roosting in the pine trees. And they clucked from morning to night. The five roosters vied for which was loudest and shrillest. Amanda...

Read more: Chickens

 

 

 

Desiree

by

Joe Cappello

I buried him in the backyard one night after a rainstorm. The soil I removed from the hole was thick and sticky and clung stubbornly to the surface of my shovel.

I connected the hose to the backyard spigot and used it to clean off the shovel. Then...

Read more: Desiree

 

 

 

Milkweed and Monarchs

by

Brigitte Whiting

Each fall, Maine’s monarch butterflies migrate two thousand miles to spend the winter in Mexico. Then the following February, the butterflies begin their trek north. It will take three to five generations—the adult monarchs laying eggs, the caterpillars growing, forming themselves into chrysalises and metamorphizing, and new butterflies...

Read more: Milkweed and Monarchs

 

 

 

Bibliosmia

by

Penny Camp

My love for reading started early. I traveled the world and rode dragons, fought knights, stormed castles, stole treasure with pirates and rescued kidnapped princesses. I floated down rivers in the deepest regions of unexplored lands. I climbed trees and mountains and flew on clouds.

Mom read to...

Read more: Bibliosmia

 

 

 

To Thwart a Wild Turkey Hen

by

Brigitte Whiting

A flock of wild turkeys has wandered in and out of my yard for years. I have a raised deck so my birdfeeders stand ten feet off the ground and the turkeys graze under them. They are timid birds, and typically when I step out onto the deck, ...

Read more: To Thwart a Wild Turkey Hen

 

 

 

The Style of No Style

by

Frank Richards

I must be the Charlie Brown of writers because I’ve never been able to figure out what “style” is all about. What does that word, ‘style,’ mean? I’ve always had a problem with it. If there were such a thing as “styleblindness,” a disease like colorblindness, I’d be...

Read more: The Style of No Style

 

 

 

Corona Clean

by

Fran Schumer

The Corona virus presents new challenges. Stuck at home, and with more of us sleeping, eating and working here, and a dirtier house, I was finally going to have to figure out how to use my new vacuum cleaner. Ordered a year ago, it mostly sat in its...

Read more: Corona Clean

 

 

 

Occasional Neighbors

by

Brigitte Whiting

I understand a little bit about wild turkeys. They're on a constant hunt for food, drifting through the neighborhood scrounging what they can. But I don't know how it happens that a few will either be left behind by the flock or leave it. This past fall, I'd...

Read more: Occasional Neighbors

 

 

 

Enjoy the Ride

by

Penny Camp

Get up early. You can’t ride all day if you sleep in. Braid your hair tight — you don’t want it flapping in the wind. Make sure you don’t wear the undies with the seams down the back because after a long day of riding they will make...

Read more: Enjoy the Ride

 

 

 

Cocoa and Biscuits

by

Penny Camp

Saturday mornings were special occasions at our house when we were growing up. My friends begged to spend the night so they could be part of the Saturday morning ritual.

Mom would take out her green plastic bowl and splash in a little water, a little cocoa powder, ...

Read more: Cocoa and Biscuits

 

 

 

Livin’ the Dream

by

Holly Miller

When I was a child, my mom and Aunt Leona would pack us six kids into our blue Chevy Belair and drive to a local mobile home dealer (they were known as trailers back then). We would walk through the new homes, just for something to do. How...

Read more: Livin’ the Dream

 

 

 

Fall in Maine

by

Brigitte Whiting

Autumn is falling in Maine, harder this year than I remember over the last few falls. We've had two nights of close to freezing temperatures, not enough to ice over the birdfeeders or kill any of my plants yet, but cold enough to turn the furnace on. My...

Read more: Fall in Maine

 

 

 

Best Laid Plans

by

Penny Devlin

Every year shortly before spring, the Gurney’s Seed & Nursery Co. catalog shows up on my doorstep. The cover is plastered with a WARNING label in big black letters informing me that if I don’t order now, this will be my last catalog. It also has coupons: $100...

Read more: Best Laid Plans

 

 

 

One January Morning

by

Brigitte Whiting

Mornings, I like to have a Kindle eBook open on the dining room table so I can read and look out into the backyard to see what might be happening. 

I live in a raised ranch with an attached two-car garage. My deck, which is off the kitchen...

Read more: One January Morning

 

 

 

The Ruins and the Writing Technique of Negative Space

by

Sarah Yasin

A book club I’m part of recently discussed The Ruinsby Scott Smith. It’s not a book I would have finished reading based on the first 50 pages, but sticking with it afforded me insight into what a narrative voice can do. The story is about a group...

Read more: The Ruins and the Writing Technique of Negative Space

 

 

 

A River of Words

by

Penny Devlin

Go to work every day. Do your job. Do it well. Always learning, getting better every day. Soaking in the letters that become words, that lead to success.

Meetings, instructions, to-do lists, directions — the words start to drown like a river of brown muddy water rushing through...

Read more: A River of Words

 

 

 

Canada, Marty, and The Exorcist

by

Jen Lowry

On our homeschool adventure today, we dreamed aloud of the places we would travel to if we could. My kids and I agree: Ireland and Scotland are our top two places to visit. We played music from Spotify and sang aloud to the merry tunes of the Irish.

...

Read more: Canada, Marty, and The Exorcist

 

 

 

Monarch Butterflies

by

Brigitte Whiting

I had no idea what milkweed looked like because I'd never seen it, but I'd always wanted it to grow in my yard so I could see the monarch butterflies.


For the longest time, I've hoped the patch of wonderfully fragrant plants with pale purple flowers growing...

Read more: Monarch Butterflies

 

 

 

A Monarch Chrysalis

by

Brigitte Whiting

The monarch caterpillar couldn't decide where to turn itself into a chrysalis. He wandered across my front stoop so many times I was afraid I'd step on it so I stopped using the front door. One time, he'd be crawling up a post of the front railing. Another...

Read more: A Monarch Chrysalis

 

 

 

Truth

by

Angela Hess

I am twisted, bent, and deformed on every side. Everyone trying to use me to serve their own purposes, to justify their own beliefs and actions. Their eyes constantly sliding away from my pure, unaltered form, too brilliant and painful to behold without their chosen filters to dim...

Read more: Truth

 

 

 

The Goldfinch

by

Brigitte Whiting

On a Monday afternoon, I carried a bucket of water outdoors to refill the birdbath. A male goldfinch jumped down from the bath’s rim, and hopped away as quickly as he could to creep beneath a nearby spruce branch. I thought how odd he was...

Read more: The Goldfinch

 

 

 

Of Heroes and Holiness

by

Angela Hess

What does a hero look like?

 

George Bailey is a hero.

 

George Bailey dreamed of traveling the world.

 

George Bailey gave up his dreams to care for his family and community.

 

Rudy left his family...

Read more: Of Heroes and Holiness

 

 

 

My Desk

by

Luann Lewis

Another rejection letter and I feel like a loser. Yeah, I know, I’m not trying to make a living doing this. I even claim to be “writing for myself.” Butwe all want validation and, let’s face it, us writers want readers. So here I sit, ...

Read more: My Desk

 

 

 

My Mobile Space

by

Janet Harvey

 

In June, I will expect to find my special place in Townsville, Queensland. Last year it was in Darwin, Northern Territory, and today my place is in Hobart, Tasmania.

 

 

We live in a truck, a 2004 Isuzu 350NPR turbo automatic...

Read more: My Mobile Space

 

 

 

A Red Squirrel's Narrative

by

Brigitte Whiting

This past summer and fall upturned me. The birdfeeder, usually so generous, abdicated her job, and I had to scrounge for food during the long wet season. My mother told me it was unusual to have such a rainy August and October. She would know. I was born...

Read more: A Red Squirrel's Narrative

 

 

 

Talk-Back, Dear Lia, on FnF

by

Joy Manné

This essay is part of a Talk-Back series – I owe that title to Karen. A Talk-Back is my response to a chapter in a WVU textbook, my communication with its author.

This Talk-Back is a response to the exercise in Lia Purpura’s chapter, ‘On Miniatures,’ (Flas...

Read more: Talk-Back, Dear Lia, on FnF

 

 

 

Reunion

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

“Why the F--- Do I want to see a F—ing alligator jump up to eat a F—ing chicken hanging on a clothesline?”

 

The last time I hung out with my Uncle Dan is when I dragged him to Gatorland to do something touristic. ...

Read more: Reunion

 

 

 

Lynn’s Tree

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

Lynn’s maple tree
was always the last to emerge
from winter’s sleep,
when it burst into leaf,
the...

Read more: Lynn’s Tree

 

 

 

The Moods of McCorquodale

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

Our very first visitor was a cat.
Corkie came for a day, adopted us.
He soon had his...

Read more: The Moods of McCorquodale

 

 

 

Haunted House

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

a grey woodsy coloured house
stands abandoned
in the midst of a haunted wood,
its windows are broken,
...

Read more: Haunted House

 

 

 

ARS Poetica

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I paint with words

I see
the pink tinge of fluffy white clouds
at sunset

I see
my...

Read more: ARS Poetica

 

 

 

Lake Katherine

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

turquoise water of the lake
stretches for miles,
as far as the eye can see

two spruces wave
...

Read more: Lake Katherine

 

 

 

The Scream That Is Also a Song

by

Enza Vynn-Cara

Free verse on the page that
is my tongue; raw flesh,
smooth and thin, dipped
in blood-tinted ink—

...

Read more: The Scream That Is Also a Song

 

 

 

Déjà Vu

by

Enza Vynn-Cara

She went into the woods to find
the wolf that haunted her

She went to the brook to...

Read more: Déjà Vu

 

 

 

Be Leery Of What Falls From Above

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

My forest dances on the wind, swirling above the green and brown copsewood. Above, branches split, held up...

Read more: Be Leery Of What Falls From Above

 

 

 

Neighborhood Walk Meditation

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

Vultures gather on the old man’s neighbor’s barn,
‘decorated with ravens and barren trees.
A small cottontail stirs...

Read more: Neighborhood Walk Meditation

 

 

 

Dream Metaphor

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I shiver in the darkened room,
stretch, try to pull the covers higher,
suddenly I am floating near...

Read more: Dream Metaphor

 

 

 

A Whitmanesque Inventory: Spring

by

Phebe Beiser

So glad it rained last night. Now, late morning, sun shines,
an unexpectedly warm early March. What a...

Read more: A Whitmanesque Inventory: Spring

 

 

 

Solitary

by

Malkeet Kaur

For eons now, the very core of my being
has become inaccessible.

Solitary.

Once it used to be...

Read more: Solitary

 

 

 

The Blanket Hugs Me

by

Louise E. Sawyer

I’m grateful that I have a daybed
downstairs where I can rest during the day
with my Guinea...

Read more: The Blanket Hugs Me

 

 

 

On Love and Dreams

by

Miriam Manglani

1.
Love is a beast and angel and dream on fire.

2.
Your soul wakes in your dreams.

...

Read more: On Love and Dreams

 

 

 

The Writer’s Breastplate

by

Louise E. Sawyer

…apologies to St. Patrick


Creative Spirit with me,
Creative Spirit before me,
Creative Spirit behind me,
Creative Spirit...

Read more: The Writer’s Breastplate

 

 

 

The Sweater

by

Malkeet Kaur

As I rummage through the clothes,
I spot it, the well-worn white sweater
that now had aging spots...

Read more: The Sweater

 

 

 

The Holly Tree

by

Nolo Segundo

We have a large holly tree
in our backyard—
is it foolish to say
you love a tree?

...

Read more: The Holly Tree

 

 

 

waiting on an email

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

rain beats against the metal awning.
winds whipped up against two storms
racing each other over the Mississippi
...

Read more: waiting on an email

 

 

 

Looking for Weeds

by

Louise E. Sawyer

Pushing my walker with the purple
pet carrier propped up on the seat,
I walk down the driveway.
...

Read more: Looking for Weeds

 

 

 

Ocean Mood

by

Malkeet Kaur

The roaring, crashing surf summon us.
Soft and damp ecru sand lies beneath our bare soles.
The sun-baked...

Read more: Ocean Mood

 

 

 

The Beetle in the Sink

by

Miriam Manglani

There is a beetle in the sink.  
A big fat one,
shiny and black
with sharp needle...

Read more: The Beetle in the Sink

 

 

 

Four Cats – Four Friends

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I
the painting of four cats
hangs on my living room wall


II
you can see
Glory Barrie...

Read more: Four Cats – Four Friends

 

 

 

On Eating an Orange and Seeing God

by

Nolo Segundo

I miss the big navels, the big navels when they are not in season,
but almost any orange...

Read more: On Eating an Orange and Seeing God

 

 

 

Summer – A Pantoum

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I sit on my deck and enjoy summer sun.
Zephyrs caress my cheeks with soft kisses.
Bombay cat...

Read more: Summer – A Pantoum

 

 

 

Your Broken Heart

by

Miriam Manglani

I found your heart’s hinge —
I knew it could open!
Inside, I saw all of its broken...

Read more: Your Broken Heart

 

 

 

Who Is Margaret?

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I find the small black and white picture in a box
of old letters untouched for twenty years.
...

Read more: Who Is Margaret?

 

 

 

Made Whole by Others

by

Miriam Manglani

Some people fill deep holes in us
the space that’s left when our loved ones leave
they plug...

Read more: Made Whole by Others

 

 

 

Autumn Villanelle

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

leaves don orange, crimson and yellow gowns
as they prepare for Cinderella’s autumn ball,
soon the leaves will...

Read more: Autumn Villanelle

 

 

 

Sunny Day Epiphany

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

Umberto, my Golden Retriever is sad,
Sparkie and Sal, his companions, have died

I wanted to adopt a...

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Ocean City

by

Nolo Segundo

I saw it then as my own little Shangri-la,
for I was very small and knew nothing
of...

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All The Dead I Know

by

Nolo Segundo

Let’s start with Eric—a nerdy-looking kid before
nerds were invented, and only 18 when he crashed
his funny...

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The Dinosaur Will Get a Makeover

by

Miriam Manglani

She talks of makeovers with friends,
using contour sticks and beauty blenders,
making “Tiktoks” with dance moves
called...

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A New Day Begins

by

Bob Hembree

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Angst

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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The Fly on the Wall

by

Bob Hembree

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Glancing Vulnerably

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Fowl Squabbling

by

Bob Hembree

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A Mid-Photo's Daydream

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Solar Reflection

by

Bob Hembree

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Being Held Up

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Reflections

by

Paula Parker

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Jack

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

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Hollister

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Evelyn

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

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Curiosity

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Rebecca

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

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Hazel

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Working Hands

by

Paula Parker

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Maya

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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The Birds in the Flower

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Pst... Hey

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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The World in Her Hands

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Oak

by

Craig Gettman

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Flower

by

Craig Gettman

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Berries

by

Craig Gettman

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Winding Road

by

Craig Gettman

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Sunset - April 2020

by

Craig Gettman

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