I have always
gone my own way.
I’ve often been told,
“You are so much
like your mother.”
What would I
if she had lived?
Would I be
My deepest loss
is that I’ll never
know for certain.
Casey Laine looks and sounds so much like her mother that a stranger once approached her at a restaurant and asked if she were Lesa’s daughter. She is both Lesa’s daughter, and perhaps, in a way, part of Lesa’s legacy, having inherited not only her looks, mannerisms, and inflection, but also her interest in books, houseplants, and philosophical reflection. This poem is dedicated to her memory, with utmost love.
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.
Grandpa picks her up from ballet, lets her sit in the front seat. He has brought three tangerines wrapped in a paper towel (two for her). They eat them in the car. Later, she will forget to remove the peels from the cupholder; even now, his car smells like tangerines.
Julia Jorgensen is a junior at Stanford University studying Symbolic Systems and Creative Writing. She loves short stories, theater, and tangerines; she has definitely eaten at least eight in one sitting before.
Puddles and poo everywhere.
Mom had no business getting a puppy. Now she’s gone, and the vet says her tiny guardian’s kidneys are packing up.
Princess is only three years old. Did she have some heavenly contract to fulfill? Is she released from responsibility, to fade back into the ether?
Kimberly Parish Davis directs Madville Publishing, and across genres. Her work can be found in various literary journals, both online and off, including The Helix, Flare: The Flagler Review, époque press, Jerry Jazz Musician, and Flar. See more at kpdavis.com.
Mrs Kaminski hugs the purple, sequinned cushion she’s just had to buy back from the charity shop. Her interfering bus driver daughter had donated it.
She spots the 52 on its way down North Road.
In the middle of the zebra crossing she lies down, cushion positioned under her head.
Tricia is a high priestess of micro-fiction.
Nick feels shame buying TV dinners. Stroganoff. Salisbury steak.
Others buy steaks, corn. Things that connote family. Families who move about, laughing, sharing secrets, brushing past Nick.
He picks up a steak, marvels at its robustness. Drops in the cart.
Nick imagines a wife smiling across a table.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Literally Stories, 101 Words, (mac)ro (mic), and Ariel Chart.
The ends of the umbrella flap irregularly in the wind like an injured bird. Stones jab my ribs and spine as the Atlantic splashes between my thighs. Mom’s been gone two years, yet I am here, on her favorite beach, surrounded by people who will never mean anything to me.
Alyssa Minaker lives in North Africa with her husband.
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).
I was six when my father left. I remember his hands, large and coarse, letting go of mine to hurl a battered suitcase into his rusting, coughing car.
Now his hands seem small and frail, shaking with fear for his next long journey.
I cannot bring myself to clasp them.
Charlie Swailes writes short and very short stories when not teaching English or looking after her two small boys.
Officially he turns twenty next birthday.
“Not old enough to buy champagne”
Carefully removing his fading birth certificate from a plastic envelope he read:
“DOB: February 29, 1940”
Mom waited until after midnight because “He was special.”
He was her only child; she was right.
Eighty years ago.
John B. Sinclair is a much-travelled Scot who has now returned to Scotland, where he enjoys freelance writing on a variety of subjects.