She loved the beach.
Yesterday I found sand in my shoes.
Today, flecks of seaweed clinging to my clothes.
Now the scent of her coconut tanning lotion traces the air.
I haven’t gone to the beach in the year since she drowned.
I wonder what she’s trying to tell me.
Mary lives on the coast in the south-east of Ireland, where the sea has a habit of seeping into her writing.
I don’t know why the starry sky
I cannot see how the river carves its way all the way to the ocean
I can only dream where songbirds go to die
I don’t know why
or how, left to its own
a salmon spawning upstream
swims hundreds of miles—home.
Todd is an amateur writer and poet. He met the love of his life in a college writing class. Since then, the two have spent their lives together.
This beach, with its smooth stones and jagged waves, was always your favourite, wasn’t it, Mum?
That’s why I’m standing here with you now, one last time, a small tin in my hand that I can’t bring myself to tip. But I know I’ll have no choice in the end.
Laura Besley squeezes writing into the beginning and end of her day, when her young son is sleeping. She has been published in several anthologies and online. She had recently moved back to the UK after ten years abroad.
Kit hopscotches her age over the trash in the parking lot where her friend was last seen more than a month ago.
The happy little jingle is distant at first. An ice-cream truck.
A rusted white van with tinted windows.
Cecilia Dockins lives in Tennessee and spends most of her time wrangling words and parrots. She is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. Her fiction has appeared in Sanitarium Magazine, HWA Poetry Showcase Volume I and III, and various anthologies. For more about Cecilia, check out her website at ceciliadockins.com
He comes to the jam most Sunday nights,
This gentle, unassuming man, carrying his
Note for note, played or sung, pitch perfect and
resonating with feeling.
But it is the hugs he gives so generously and effortlessly,
full of kindness, that seem like music
and feel like love.
Ellen lives in Maine and plays at the jam.
Lune, a savage brute, smothers Sola under his tremendous weight. Everything goes black.
Determined to keep her midday throne, Sola overcomes and bites her aggressor, drawing blood. He concedes, retreating in agony.
Victorious, Sola screams her own praises with fiery breath, reasserting her position as supreme ruler of the skies.
Pontius Paiva’s interest in the phenomena of celestial bodies could only be eclipsed by his desire to make up stories about them. Find out more at pontiuspaiva.com
Daddy was waiting. I saw the TV flickering. I held my breath. I’d already removed my shoes. If I slipped past the doorway I could crawl upstairs undetected. Once in bed he couldn’t do anything. No matter how loud he screamed I’d squeeze shut my eyes and fake dead-to-the-world sleep.
Over the years Bob Thurber’s work has received a long list of awards and prizes. His most recent book is a collection of brief stories titled “Nothing But Trouble.” His first novel, “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel,” was recently rereleased. Visit BobThurber.net.
One spring morning
A strong wind arose
Waking the old trees
Their young leaves shimmied
Like tiny gymnasts stretching
Practicing handstands and cartwheels
While nearby other giants
Stood somber as if caught
By some old trauma
Some unspeakable shame
That had broken
Their mighty spirit
So many long years ago
Matthew lives and grows in Maine.
American Ballet Theatre. Lele auditions tomorrow. Toes blood-raw, shiny cut runs the length of her shin.
Jeté, changement, développé… Feet soaking in tepid water, eyes closed, mentally rehearsing: balance, hold, reach, stretch, point.
Lele wraps her stress fractured arch, traces the stinging laceration—she cut herself so they would see.
Z. Shuff has an M.D. and an M.F.A. She lives, works, and writes in beautiful West Virginia with her husband, their two kids, their dog, and their cat.
A myriad of dots fill the screen. He clicks on one to expand it, then scrolls through as many as he can. In each image he sees only himself. He is the same but subtly different, as each universe is unique.
Somewhere, in at least one, he must be happy.
Tracy Fells lives in West Sussex, England. She has won awards for both fiction and drama. Her short fiction has been widely published in magazines, online, and in anthologies. She is the 2017 Regional Winner (Canada and Europe) for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and has been shortlisted for the Fish, Brighton, and Willesden Herald Prizes. She tweets as @theliterarypig.