He had so many abilities to bestow, my dad. He could tie shoes, tell time, build tables, fix carburetors, throw, catch, hit. But for all his superhuman powers, he contained almost nothing else, and he withheld most of it.
And stoicism, I’ve since learned, is far less heroic than advertised.
Robert Hoekman Jr. is a writer and editor, and part of the Litmus Collective. His nonfiction work has been featured by Fast Company, WIRED, Huckberry, and many others.
Exposed to light, the misunderstood memories skitter away like startled insects. Slowly, I clear more rocks from the landscape of my childhood.
When I find the courage to pull weeds, I might replace them with roses: Their beauty comes with thorns. Or perhaps cacti, which can survive neglect, even abuse.
Kim Favors worked as a newspaper journalist. She grows her literary garden on California’s Central Coast.
No one knows why color disappeared. Leaves browned. Flowers faded. Clothing looked washed-out. Even blood turned beige.
My son’s never seen a sunset, only gray skies.
The last green shoot attracted longer lines than the Mona Lisa. When I took my son to see it, he scrunched his nose. “Gross.”
Hannah Whiteoak is a freelance writer and poet from Sheffield, UK. Follow her at @hannahwhiteoak.
Never forget mascara; it’s very useful for opening up sleep-deprived eyes.
Not too heavy, mind. You don’t want someone looking too closely, or they might drown in your sorrow. And thick eyeliner acts as a distraction. Wear it smudgy so people can’t see when you’ve been crying.
Apply red lipstick.
CR Smith is a student of Fine Art. She splits her time between art and writing. Her work has appeared both on online and in print.
Find her on Twitter and at crsmith2016.wordpress.com.
He watched her leave; quietly, impassively, resolutely.
She closed the car door and sighed.
She glanced over her shoulder, then glided into the traffic.
She didn’t look back.
He watched the car disappear round the corner, retreated inside, and gently pulled the door.
This is the way the world ends.
Joan is an educator in Australia.
He has no control as he falls deeper into the unknown abyss. Its essence finds him, surrounds him, and becomes him until he can scarcely breathe.
The deeper he falls the dimmer his past, but as desperation dies away it’s replaced with something far more stomach-churning yet wonderful… called love.
Connell is known, in some parts, for writing a reasonably eclectic mix of stories.
At my lowest moment, I verbally ripped into an ex, intent on slicing him to visceral gore. Even though he probably wished someone would firebomb the bar rather than listen to another word of venom—
He instinctively leaned over and lit my cigarette.
I stormed away, shaking. Listening for footsteps.
Suzanne Mattaboni has published in Seventeen, Newsday, guideposts.com, Child, and “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” She is the author of the middle grade novel TACO GIRL.
A bow in hand,
she breathes to life
four magical strings.
A canvas of sound
paints my life
in fairytale colours
of distant dreams.
Her body swings, the strings sing,
tears release my joy,
smiles in refrain.
The music pulses
within my veins.
have touched me
Patrick listened to his grandfather, father, and daughter play the violin, with great delight.
Go on now,
purse your lips
to the only addiction
you’ve ever had.
The ashes of what was;
better than our
last breakfast shared
Let it rain and
ruin your white flag
while on grass-stained knees
I cry and beg
to gods who are either deaf or dead.
From the Midwest, Kacy Cunningham currently lives in San Francisco, where she is an MFA student in fiction at SF State.
A lonely ache lives in your chest, shoving things out of the way to make room. It’s hard to breathe now. It grows. Gains teeth.
Soon, it begins to gnaw away at your heart. It is fortunate it chose that, for it is the thing you will miss the least.
Anna Piaia is a lover of both words and history. She lives in Philadelphia, where both are plentiful. You can see her ramblings at annadelphia.com.