It’s celebratory and devoid of any guidance on how hard it’s going to be. Life anew. They beam, hand you a baby. Everyone back slaps you. Hugs. Gifts. They never tell you how it will feel to find her on the bedroom floor with a needle jammed in her arm.
Hayden Kamide lives in New York. Probably not the hip part you’re thinking about, but the other part. He believes in the importance of kindness, yet recognizes his own hypocrisy, especially when he sometimes swears at people who cut him off in traffic. But, when it happens, he does feel bad about it… later. Much, much later.
A baby boy sleeps, tummy side up, arms and legs open in vulnerability and confidence. A mother puts a hand to his chest, feeling the rise and fall, listens to his ragged breathing. On the floor beside the crib, she lays on her side, curled inward, fear coiling around her.
Cheryl Somers Aubin’s work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and online journals. She has an MA/Writing from Johns Hopkins University and is the author of The Survivor Tree: Inspired by a True Story. Cheryl teaches memoir writing and is featured speaker at book festivals and writing conferences.
“The easiest thing
In the world to be is young.”
That’s what Grandpa said.
When my sons treat me
Like I treated my father,
It will break my heart.
Twelve-year-olds close doors
And lock themselves in for good.
Baby pictures, walls,
A dream you don’t remember.
You’re just passing through.
Robb Lanum is a failed screenwriter in Los Angeles. His longer, epic works have appeared on 101words.org, and he was a winner of the Summer 2020 Los Angeles Public Library Short Story Contest.
Momma hasn’t come home.
I ask Grandma, When? She says, Any day now.
But Momma sent a text I wasn’t supposed to see. Need break. It’s all too much.
The sun cuts the leaves into drops of time. I spin in the driveway, singing:
Any day any day any day.
L.L. Wohlwend’s work has appeared in Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online, Modern Haiku, and other places.
I watch father through a panel of glass.
I long to remove my mask and give him a hug, but the nursing home will not allow it.
Perhaps tomorrow, I tell myself.
For him, you have all the time in the world.
Marjan Sierhuis loves reading 50-word stories.
He lies in the bubbly bath water, face protruding enough to comfortably breathe.
I gently pour water over the soapy hair on his forehead, the bit that didn’t quite make the dive.
He doesn’t flinch.
He smiles at me and I at him.
Today, my baby is a six-year-old fish.
Deirdre is a stay-at-home mom to three young children. She has a degree in English and a Masters in Counselling Psychology.
The paper cranes are folded from receipts for doctors, buses and climate magazines, from my five year old’s drawings of our family, prescriptions for her meds, sweet wrappers and cigarette packets, and hang now to be counted, over her hospital bed, one more for every day since she didn’t die.
Rosaleen Lynch, an Irish community worker and writer in the East End of London, pursues stories whether conversational, literary or performed and believes in the power of words to make the world a better place.
The crack of bat on ball rings in Danny’s ears. He sprints toward first base but doesn’t watch the ball soar over the fence. His teammates yell; evidence enough for him.
As he rounds third base, he glances at the space in the bleachers where his father used to sit.
Stephen Pisani is an MFA candidate in fiction at Adelphi University. He spends his spare time working at a golf course, where he watches people chase a little ball around a big patch of grass.
First night back, I ditch duffel and boots and fall asleep on the floor by his bed.
A click in the dark wakes me. Beside me he sits, Nerf gun in hand.
“What’s up?” I ask.
“Keeping you safe,” he says. Tilts his head at the darkness under the bed.
Graham Robert Scott’s stories have appeared in Pulp Literature, Nature, Barrelhouse, and others.
My son has a plot—his own little piece of real estate. The grass is sparse, so I tend it: raking topsoil, spreading seed, pouring water. New sprouts emerge, filling the aching gaps.
I remove the weeds, pretending he’s on vacation.
But my heart screams his name and I cry.
Tawnia is an elementary teacher in Ontario who recently started writing. She is revising her first novel, a YA sci-fi, and hopes to start querying agents soon. She recently told a Red Chair story via Zoom for the Graham Norton Show. You can find her on Twitter @TawniaCourage.