First winter after Mother leaves, sister Nancy and I shovel snow, hands weighed down. Flakes fly, whirling seductresses. We clear faster. Flakes cover clearness. Nature takes. Gives people wanderlust, reveals darkness beneath starched smiles. We try to make everything perfect. Keep clearing. We trip. Keep trying. Keep tripping. Don’t surrender.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His work is forthcoming or has been published in journals such as 50 Word Stories, Silent Auctions, City. River. Tree., and Ariel Chart.
My father-in-law-to-be mowed our yard with his tractor, transforming the tangle into a park.
My son sobbed, He killed my favorite blackberry bush.
“But there are more,” I argued. “Look, they’re all over.” He wouldn’t face where I pointed.
I wish I’d said, “It’s painful to lose what you love.”
Lois Rosen’s poetry books are Pigeons (Traprock Books 2004) and Nice and Loud (Tebot Bach 2015). She has taught ESL in Oregon, New York, Ecuador, Colombia, Japan, and Costa Rica. Lois founded the Peregrine Poets of Salem, Oregon, and leads the Trillium Writers and the Institute for Continued Learning Writing Group at Willamette University. She won Willamette Writers’ 2016 Kay Snow First Prize in Fiction.
Santa’s drinking Dad’s wine.
Head held back, he guzzles, laughing like a honking goose. Reminds me of Dad.
Mother claims Santa loves me.
I lose hints of faith.
Four years later, Santa’s hurling wine bottles. Mother and I dart among fusillades.
She doesn’t say Santa loves me.
Love’s a myth.
Mir-Yashar is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. A recipient of two Honorable Mentions from Glimmer Train, his story, “Strangers,” was nominated for The Best Small Fictions. Mir-Yashar’s work is forthcoming or has been published in journals such as Maudlin House, The Drabble, Door Is A Jar, and Ariel Chart.
Shayna was standing as still as a statue, small fists clenched, glaring up at Abraham Lincoln. After almost a minute, she took a deep breath, marched boldly up, and slapped that huge bronze boot. Then she stated, with great satisfaction, “He’s not real.”
So we went to feed the ducks.
Katharine Valentino retired from drudgery in 2015 and now stays busy as the owner of Setting Forth—on a Literary Itinerary and as co-lead and website administrator of Plastic Up-Cycling.
Sani and I stood in a hotel parking lot once and watched two children who were standing silently, holding each other’s hands and looking at the ground, while their parents fought.
That night we promised each other we’d always talk gently.
Those were hopeful days, before we knew the world.
Owen Yager is a senior at Carleton College. His work has recently appeared or is upcoming in multiple publications, including Flash Fiction Magazine.
Eventually the man who’d been our son-in-law remarried.
Regrettably his new wife didn’t want us in her life.
She connived and ultimately influenced her husband to keep our grandchildren from us.
Despite this extreme cruelty and betrayal, grandma remains no less “grand.”
Defined by her enduring love, she waits patiently.
Bob Thurber is the author of “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel” and two collections of stories. A celebrated master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in 60 anthologies, received dozens of awards, and been used in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts where, though legally blind, he continues to write every day. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
Do you ever aspire
To set the world on fire
To unearth a magic potion
To dare and spring into action
To save all the children
Protect them from villains
But I know I can’t
So I’ll do what I can
To protect two
Mary has written poetry from the age of ten. She enjoys writing poems and short stories of human interest.
“The rules,” the nanny said. “No running. No shouting. No sweets. Clean your room. Stay neat and tidy.”
Tommy stopped listening because it all meant one thing: no fun. He nodded, while planning the biggest, loudest sugar-fueled bedroom mud fight of all time.
It was time she learned his rules.
GB breaks at least half of Nanny’s rules every day.
Santa’s moved with the times and now receives millions of emails from the world’s children. He’s overjoyed to find the Christmas Spirit still thriving in some hearts:
“Please deliver my brand new smartphone to my best friend, Lucy, whose own phone is so yesterday.
“Thanks, Jenny (age 7)”
John B. Sinclair is a much-travelled Scot who has now returned to Scotland, where he enjoys freelance writing on a variety of subjects.
I saved my little sister’s life.
She had a bad case
of deadly Arphidarfilus.
She sought a second opinion.
Mom was busy in the kitchen.
Dad was, as always, on the road.
I prescribed gumdrops.
(Gumdrops is the only cure.)
Half a century later
she says I’m still her hero.
Ron. Lavalette has been widely published in both print and pixel forms. His first chapbook is now available from Finishing Line Press, and a reasonable sample of his work can be found at EGGS OVER TOKYO.