At night, her mother put her to bed by telling her stories of cotton candy clouds and a winged unicorn named Percival. She dreamed she was flying on Percival, occasionally trotting along various rainbows. Heaven couldn’t be that far away, she figured. She could sense her father waving to her.
Ran Walker is the author of 21 books, the most recent of which is CAN I KICK IT?: Sneaker Microfiction and Poetry. He lives in Virginia with his wife and daughter.
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.
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.
Another day of wonder with my toddler.
I can only do so many unique voices and only one at a time. That’s why Mr. Elephant and Mr. Rabbit sound alike. She’s not pleased. I take her notes and will be better prepared for tomorrow’s encore.
I should’ve minored in theater.
Christina Marie Diamond is a storyteller residing in Hong Kong with her spouse and daughter. When she’s not being creative, the Brooklyn, NY native and her family are busy traveling around Asia.
I love blankets. I love their softness, their variety—their moods ranging from pastels to prints. I love my camo comforter most, big enough to cocoon me completely, my body hidden, protected from the cold, the open air, my parents’ voices swelling in the den… Nothing can reach me here.
Natalie Schriefer received her MFA from Southern Connecticut State University. She works as a freelance writer and editor. See more at natalieschriefer.com.
I have Dad’s nose, long and hawkish.
I also lose my temper over small noises, criticize people’s musical choices.
I feel shame and power.
I also try not to use the word “I,” Dad’s favorite.
Surely a nose isn’t a harbinger. I also have Mother’s eyes.
I block all mirrors.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, 50 Word Stories, (mac)ro (mic), and Ariel Chart.
Darkness engulfs me.
Bitterness and loneliness play freeze tag
Throughout a sleepless night.
At dawn, the pitter-patter of little feet.
Her tiny arms envelop me.
Warmth flows from her pressed cheek to mine.
“Good morning, Mommy.”
Her words linger like a melody,
As sunrise ignites hope for the new day.
Carrie Backer enjoys writing in her very little spare time. She has self-published a couple of kids books and hopes to write more soon.
“He’s such a beautiful boy,” they all say.
“How could two people who look like you have such a good-looking kid,” they joke.
“He’s going to break a few girls’ hearts,” they suggest.
“You are so lucky,” they add.
Yes we are. Autistic. He’s going to teach us a lot.
Richard Baigent always wanted to be a freelance writer, but isn’t yet.
Every day after school, we go to the park.
Every day, the man on the bench admires the acers in the Japanese gardens.
Every day, he smiles and asks my daughter how she is.
But today he isn’t here. She whispers that maybe this is his first day in Heaven.
Henry appreciates nature, and spending time in the park admiring the trees seems like a pretty good way to use your time.
The young father presses his hands flat against the window. Although the mask covers half his face, the baby knows him. New game. Laughing, she reaches for the father’s hands, cool glass between them.
She lifts her arms, “Up.” Old game.
The father’s learned the new rules: he turns away.
Miriam N. Kotzin teaches creative writing and literature at Drexel University. Her collection of short fiction, Country Music (Spuyten Duyvil Press 2017), joins a novel, The Real Deal (Brick House Press 2012), and a collection of flash fiction, Just Desserts (Star Cloud Press 2010). She is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Debris Field (David Robert Books 2017).