Mind your Ps and Qs at meals. Say grace, toast the cook, push potatoes and peas onto a fork. Never let your elbows feel the linen cloth. Smile. When Father’s hand brushes Aunt Kitty’s, lingering a moment too long, look at Mother and say, “Pass the butter, please.” Be polite.
Christina Dalcher wrote this story.
Soft red hair, pink cheeks, and tiny fingers. From the moment I saw her, I was in love.
Home from the hospital. She’s all mine.
Mr. Wonder crooned Isn’t She Lovely? on the radio.
Admiring her and sobbing softly; the true weight of motherhood hit.
She is lovely, and terrifying.
Susan is a Curriculum Developer at a mortgage company. She is widowed with two grown daughters and two stepsons, and four awesome grandchildren: two boys and two girls.
Ran into school carefree and excited to learn. Exited school; discovered Papi was gone.
They watched us. They knew where he would be. Once he drove around the corner from my school, they took him into custody.
I was so happy to go into school that I didn’t wave goodbye.
Shawnta S. Barnes is a literacy coach in Indianapolis Public Schools, an adjunct instructor at IUPUI School of Education and a 2016-2017 Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellow. Links to her publications can be found at educatorbarnes.com/publications.
Uncle Clifford dealt scrap.
Valentino in overalls, his hair slicked with axle grease. Boot polish moustachioed, ladies swooned.
“Yaargh!” he bellowed, swaggering to the pub.
One night, he disturbed burglars.
At his wake, I slicked soot beneath his innocent nose.
“Yaargh,” I whispered.
Mourners tutted, scandalized.
But only the men.
Margaret McGoverne has recently published her first novella, while being distracted by short stories, flash fiction and her blog about all things writing.
I am middle aged when you mention
that as a child at Christmastime
you were chased around your neighborhood
by big blond boys shouting
I’ve known you all my life,
yet you are distant land,
and few years remain for me to touch that soil.
Jennifer usually writes poetry, occasionally writes short fiction. See more at her website.
The day before my sixth birthday I sat on mother’s knee and stared into her crystal ball. She’d flinched at shadows that screamed and slammed doors, clutched my arm so hard her nails broke the skin. Among whirling smoke she saw broken skies, suffering, the End…
I only saw you.
Guy was once declared dead by a fortune-telling fish he found in a Christmas cracker. This is his eighteenth 50-word story.
Heading south through the ruins, I startle three deer. Their barks echo through the concrete canyons as they run.
I see ever more plants breaking through the tarmac; a green infection. I pause to watch the sunrise. The morning light has a golden quality.
Manhattan has never looked so lovely.
Bill lives in Aberdeen Scotland. He is considered a pioneer in the art of slacking off by many, but he can’t be bothered seeking accreditation.
A stagnant line, clinking milk bottles and morning gossip murmur. The delivery truck arrives late.
“The price has gone up!”
The murmur rises; no complaint, only frustration. With the decade-long war, people are used to this.
The old man puts down his empty bottle and walks away, never to return.
Mehdi spent many long hours of his childhood standing in queues for groceries and other necessary items during the Iran-Iraq war.
to close the distance
and reach out
and accepting you,
just as you are.
I hold on
and tell you
to leave without me,
Munira Sayyid recently realized her passion for writing. She urges you to try as well.
It was her first blind date.
“Sit at the table near the window,” he’d said. “Wear yellow.”
Now, at the table near the window, she waited. Their eyes met briefly as he passed. She anticipated the cold rush of air, but the door never opened. She still felt the chill.
Susan Gale Wickes wrote this story. She rarely window shops and never wears yellow.