In our third hour,
Father left us
to the nurses
while Mother slept.
At home, he played
then fixed it
to the stairwell –
wood on wood,
lacquer on varnish,
Now Mother aligns
the tuning pegs,
wipes away dust,
but every string
is brittle and
Mark Farley was raised in Zimbabwe where he survived two dog maulings, a swarm of killer bees, and being run over by a horse.
Another Raksha Bandhan. He had always wished for a kid sister, who would tie him a rakhi.
“Mom, why can’t I have a sis?” he queries.
The mother gives him a blank expression. She has just undergone her third abortion.
“Can’t afford daughters,” her husband, a rickshaw puller, would say.
Vijai Pant is a school teacher in India. In his free time he lets his creative juices flow in the form of stories and poems.
She speaks to her grown son as he feigns interest. His eyes glaze over; his liquid, anxious movements announce his hurry to leave. His visits are perfunctory.
I know he left long ago.
I journal missed conversations; when I’m gone, he’ll read.
I hope he’ll discontinue ignoring those still here.
Jaye is a visual artist. She has written poetry for years and is trying her hand at micro and flash fiction.
An afternoon ritual: park bench, birdseed.
Wistful glances at spirited youngsters and peacock-proud parents swapping milestone stories, recipes, gossip.
She used to bring her kids here to zipline, chase ducks, and pick pungent, sticky-stemmed dandelion posies.
Her life carried in her satchel, she disappears into twilight to join other Invisibles.
Melanie Cranenburgh wrote this story.
“I should’ve had more daughters,” said Melinda’s mother, pouring lemonade poolside. “You never tell me anything.”
Melinda inhaled slowly. “My novel got an… award.”
“With how much money?”
“No money. A certificate.”
The mother smirked, shielding her eyes from the sun. “How sad is that.”
Melinda lowered her hat brim.
Shoshauna Shy’s flash has been published by 100 Word Story, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Fiction Southeast, and other online journals.
A bright pink moulting boa constricts her long and scrawny neck. His battered trilby sports bedraggled pheasant’s plumage.
Perfectly matched, they strut the High Street, clucking falsetto greetings at flocks of old biddies.
At dusk, they return to roost in the nest from which no chick was born to fly.
Karen Tucker has been reading since pre-school and a writer from an early age. She is delighted, so many years later, to have two published full-length novels and five short collections of short stories for sale, mostly on Amazon UK and Amazon USA. She lives in Tunbridge Wells with her partner, and has no children or animals, but a growing collection of interesting friends. Her website is karentucker.me.uk.
It was only after Mrs. Fennelly’s prize-winning butter sculpture “A Day in the Life of My Family” had melted that the clean-up crew at the Iowa State Fair discovered the likenesses of her four family members were the direct result of her having actually used each of her family members.
Ran Walker is the author of sixteen books. He currently teaches creative writing at Hampton University. He can be reached at ranwalker.com.
Mama decided the family tree needed pruning. Sturdy branches could stay; twigs had to go.
I was flimsy. Always had been. God knows I tried to branch out.
She looked at me… a long, hard stare.
I turned away, but I could still hear the rustling of those graceful limbs.
Susan Gale Wickes is from Indiana and has never been removed from her family tree.
(For Trey, with everlasting love)
The last time the boy slept at grandma’s house he told her that portraits of her face had been painted on the inside of his eyelids, so that’s what he got to look at every night while he waited to fall asleep. He pinched finger to thumb. “Brush this big.”
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, despite severe vision loss, he continues to write every day. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
They sit me down. Father’s words are broken and confusing. Mother’s tears are silent, but they shimmer with fear and anger, tracing her flushed cheeks as they fall.
The woman at the door remains stoic, but her eyes are sympathetic. Her lips whisper: my son, how I have missed you!
Lancelot is a retired U.S. Navy Submarine Chief and a creative writer at heart who fears rejection, and therefore keeps his stories locked away in his mind.