Your grandpa died, says the note my dad left for me. It was yesterday, and tomorrow, we’ll go there, to Iowa. But when I see him after he comes from work, he is not worn and lost like a son. He is gray and cool and still. Like a couch.
Robert Hoekman Jr thinks you die when you stop wanting. He writes and writes and writes. He lives on a farm in Virginia and refuses to be put into a box. See more at rhjr.net.
Visions of this moment always included bereaved loved ones wringing hands and forcing fake smiles to accompany their glistening, sad eyes. Instead, encounters consist only of brief interactions with complete strangers, overly tired and often forgetting to smile as they robotically work to complete their third 12-hour shift this week.
.Randal A. Burd Jr. is a married father of two and an educator who works with the disadvantaged in rural Missouri. He holds a master’s degree in English Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri. Randal is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Sparks of Calliope magazine. His latest collection of poems, Memoirs of a Witness Tree, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in Summer 2020.
The eyewitnesses were children. Two. An eight-year-old boy and his ten-year-old sister.
They heard and saw more than they could comprehend.
Why was daddy so angry? Why did they have to call this new woman “mommy?”
They missed their grandmother. Why did “mommy” get to decide who they could love?
Bob Thurber is the author of “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel” and two collections of stories. A celebrated master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in 60 anthologies, received dozens of awards, and been used in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts where, though legally blind, he continues to write every day. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
When we found a body under the conservatory, my husband and I disagreed on what to do.
We should call the police (me).
No, definitely not (him).
We inherited the house from his parents. His dad, actually, who’s living in a care home.
Now I know why we don’t visit.
Laura Besley writes short fiction in the precious moments that her children are asleep. Her fiction has appeared online, in print and in various anthologies. She tweets at @laurabesley.
The wasp finds itself trapped inside a water glass held up against a window. It repeatedly slams itself against the window, rebounding off the water glass. Spent, it finally surrenders.
I slide paper between window and water glass, and free the wasp outside.
Surrender is not always what it seems.
Ellen Hansen is a writer and fiddle player living in Helvetia, Oregon. She recently retired from leading international tours. Her story “Surrender” just received first place in the 2019 Oregon Writers Colony 50 word story contest.
Frank hated the idea, but a mother in his support group said it had been helpful.
So he set it up in Jessica’s old room and attempted to steel himself.
When they discovered Frank’s emaciated body, his frozen smile was still fixed on the flickering hologram of his daughter dancing.
Ran Walker is the award-winning author of seventeen books. He teaches at Hampton University in Virginia.
I didn’t cry
coming into this world,
in your womb!
crucible of life.
I nudged softly,
you felt me
under your bump—
Where else does plurality
dwell so harmoniously?
Like distinct chromosomes
in mothers’ wombs!
Mandira Pattnaik writes in India. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Times of India, Eclectica Magazine, Lunate Fiction, Microfiction Monday, Fiftywordstories, Paragraph Planet, FewerThan500 and (Mac) ro (mic).
Calamity. The world will never be the same.
I wipe sweat from my forehead. I have to tell everyone, but how will they take it?
Too late. The black eye of a camera glares at me, ready to listen. I clear my throat and square my shoulders.
“My fellow Americans…”
Luke Swanson is a fledgling author from Oklahoma City. He has a novel and a handful of short stories featured in anthologies from Limitless Publishing.
Under the stars, Iowa poets dance
from stanza to stanza, barnyard to barnyard
all across the state
Have you not noticed them?
Let’s celebrate with the poets of Iowa
and sip herbal tea together in cornfields
as we share our secrets in verse
by the light of the harvest moon
Roberta Beach Jacobson admits to being one of these poets.
Someone once told me a hot shower is like a mother’s womb.
Perhaps because you feel safe being vulnerable.
I wonder if I ever cried in my mother’s womb.
I like crying in the shower. It’s the solidarity I get knowing that something else can pour as much as me.
Joshua Benitez believes the best time for a shower is at night.