We hike to a great height and camp. At daybreak, we find the summit overhead has risen steeply since we started.
Will this continue if we go on? we wonder.
However, the summit shines beside a sky deep and blue. Let it grow, we think, and set out towards it.
Norbert Kovacs lives and writes in Hartford, Connecticut. He has published stories in Westview, Thin Air, Headway, Corvus Review, and The Write Launch. See more at norbertkovacs.net.
Can boogeymen and fluffernutters, scraped knees and coloring books, times tables and video games, homework assignments and roller coasters, algebra problems and iPhones, fumbled kisses and glimmers of the man to be matter if they all lead to a momentary miscalculation of speed and distance on a bicycle at night?
Robert Markovich spent a lifetime in what is charitably referred to as service journalism, writing and editing stories about everything from cars to toilets, most recently at Consumer Reports. He is happily and gratefully retired.
A wide beam of sunlight slashed into the room. The window wasn’t where it should be and the doorway had been moved, and every piece of furniture had been transformed by age or substituted with an antique. Nothing was recognizable. Dust floated in the light. He breathed in the smell.
Bob Thurber is the author of six books. Regarded as a master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in Esquire and other magazines, been anthologized 60 times, received a long list of awards, and been utilized in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
Paying for company isn’t new to Alfred.
His father shoehorned him into a high position in the family business, and Alfred was keen to splash his cash about town. He dated, he married, he dated some more.
These days company is in the form of a television, programs carefully chosen.
Laura Besley writes short fiction in the precious moments that her children are asleep. Her fiction has appeared online, as well as in print and in various anthologies. Her flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, was published in March 2020. She tweets at @laurabesley.
We are folding laundry together when my husband holds up a piece of cloth. “What’s this?” he says.
“Just a rag,” I say.
He puts on a little squeaky voice, pretending to be the rag. “I used to be something!” he protests.
“We all did,” I reply.
We fall silent.
Cheryl Caesar lived in Paris, Tuscany and Sligo for 25 years; she earned her doctorate in comparative literature at the Sorbonne and taught literature and phonetics. She now teaches writing at Michigan State University. Last year she published over a hundred poems in the U.S., Germany, India, Bangladesh, Yemen and Zimbabwe, and won third prize in the Singapore Poetry Contest for her poem on global warming. Her chapbook Flatman: Poems of Protest in the Trump Era is now available from Amazon and Goodreads. See more at caesarc.msu.domains.
I smash Mother’s clay flowerpot with a basketball. It splits into multiple pieces.
Dad sifts through the pieces.
“Some things can’t be replaced,” he murmurs.
I wish he’d hate me. Or hit me. Yell.
I glue piece after piece. Fill the pot with the lilacs Mother had planned.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, CaféLit, and Ariel Chart, among others.
When the doctor returns with the information the man remembers how his wet hair turned to ice the night he jumped from his bath and ran across the unfurrowed field, water dripping down his hairless legs, his feet pounding the frozen potato dirt, where no summer fingers now ever dig.
John Riley’s fiction and poetry have appeared in Metazen, The Dead Mule, Smokelong Quarterly, Connotation Press, and many other places online and in print. He lives in North Carolina.
Forty dollars. That’s it. All day walkin’ hot alleys. Ain’t nobody want the last corn and watermelon I got here. My feet are burning, my hands are sore from leading this pony.
Now, pony, just one more alley. I’m gonna find you some water.
Watermelon, watermelon, red to the rind.
Ann Bracken has authored two poetry collections, No Barking in the Hallways: Poems from the Classroom and The Altar of Innocence, serves as a contributing editor for Little Patuxent Review, and co-facilitates Wilde Readings Poetry Series in Columbia, MD. Her poetry, essays, and interviews have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals. Ann’s advocacy work centers around arts-based interventions for mental health and prison reform. See more at annbrackenauthor.com.
You upload your post-protest selfie from a much nicer bathroom than your own, and while your other friends are commenting on your bloody, angry welts, I’m noticing the two toothbrushes in the cup, and wondering whose expensive towels you’re bleeding on and what heartbreak you’re setting yourself up for now.
Stephanie King is a past winner the Quarterly West Novella Prize and the Lilith Short Fiction Prize, with stories also appearing in Loch Raven Review, Lumen, Entropy, and Every Day Fiction. You can find her online at stephanieking.net or @stephstephking on Twitter.
They carved out my soul and threw it in the dumpster out back, and now I feel better. There are festering knots buried deep within a soul; now they’re in there rotting with the mice and rubbish. There is no jagged scar anymore, only smoothness. Smooth smooth smooth—smoothness forever.
Ben is a high school junior who writes stories on the side. His work has previously appeared in 365 Tomorrows.