I smash Mother’s clay flowerpot with a basketball. It splits into multiple pieces.
Dad sifts through the pieces.
“Some things can’t be replaced,” he murmurs.
I wish he’d hate me. Or hit me. Yell.
I glue piece after piece. Fill the pot with the lilacs Mother had planned.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, CaféLit, and Ariel Chart, among others.
Each morning Jenny places a glass of chilled water on a small table beside a large reclining chair. She never sits in his chair but sometimes, when passing, tenderly touches it. Sometimes she takes a sip of water from his glass. In the silence shared, she often thinks of him.
John Young is an old chap, grappling with themes of limits, longings, and finitude. He likes spooky stuff, and lives in St. Andrews, Scotland, an ancient town with an ancient university, home of golf, and home also – allegedly – of many ghosts. (He has not met any yet.)
Today, I kissed some poppy seeds.
Scattered them across my garden. Watered them in.
Gently sprinkled grey ash over them.
One summer, a drunk, who should never have been driving, killed my five-year-old daughter. My only child.
In July, the soil where she lies will be awash with blood-red flowers.
Hugh Cartwright is a scientist living and writing on the Canadian west coast.
“I think the cutie has her mother’s eyes,” remarked one passerby while the new family was out eating breakfast.
The couple knowingly smiled at one another: their child was adopted. It had only been six months, but despite not necessarily having their likeness, she already resembled them more and more.
Jonathan H. Smith lives and works in Phoenix, Arizona.
I get mad at him
I blame him
Sometimes I can barely tolerate him
Then, I have to remember
He has dementia
He can’t always help what he says or does.
When he’s rude, annoying, overbearing
I have to remind myself
To have patience.
He has dementia.
What’s my excuse?
Edna Deeter is an American freelance writer. She is currently living with her husband who is suffering from dementia.
When the doctor returns with the information the man remembers how his wet hair turned to ice the night he jumped from his bath and ran across the unfurrowed field, water dripping down his hairless legs, his feet pounding the frozen potato dirt, where no summer fingers now ever dig.
John Riley’s fiction and poetry have appeared in Metazen, The Dead Mule, Smokelong Quarterly, Connotation Press, and many other places online and in print. He lives in North Carolina.
His tortoiseshell glasses lie on a table by his armchair, where his coffee used to steam. He’d put them on to narrate The Twits, demystify long division and, later, to share the cryptic crossword. Alone here now, I tame the unwieldy broadsheet and ink-shape solutions, just as Grandpa shaped me.
Michelle Christophorou’s short fiction has won and been placed in competitions, including the latest Strands International Flash Fiction Competition, and the Retreat West Fire-themed flash competition, for which she received a ‘Best of the Net’ nomination 2019. In another life, Michelle practised law in the City of London. Follow her at @MAChristophorou.
Jeffrey searched the florist shop for a unique plant for Mom. Once he spotted the leafy hosta, he asked the clerk to wrap it up with a floral birthday card. He opted to deliver it himself.
Jeffrey died in 2017, but his birthday greeting to his mother continues each spring.
Roberta Beach Jacobson lives in Iowa and can be found on Twitter at @beach_haiku.
So many times I have made the bed. The corners are tucked in tight, the creases smoothed out. Are the folds crooked?
My shadow slides over dark wood panelling as I circle the room. Its movement surprises me; I flinch.
His presence looms large: his raised arm, his clenched fist.
Zoey Rowan is a copywriter, content writer, and translator living in Berlin. When she isn’t writing short stories she can be found trying out new recipes or biking around her city.
Two Adirondack chairs with flecks of white peeling paint, side by side, slightly cockeyed under the hedgerow’s green shadow. They hold no bodies today, just a little morning rain and thoughts of what could have been. It’s a quiet meditation, a memorial of sorts, to the fleeting perfection of pairs.
Thad DeVassie’s work has appeared in numerous journals including New York Quarterly, Poetry East, West Branch, Barely South, Unbroken, PANK, Lunate and Spelk. His chapbook, THIS SIDE OF UTOPIA, is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press. A lifelong Ohioan, he writes from the outskirts of Columbus.