Scent of mown grass. Faint jingle of Brody’s tags, and the pull of his leash in her palm.
Down the street, Milo and Sasha splashing in the pool, and little Ben crying, “Wait for me!”
Then the honeysuckle sweetness hedging the Jones’ yard. She’d hardly noticed before her vision dimmed.
Jennifer L Freed mostly writes poems, but likes 50-word stories. Her website is jfreed.weebly.com.
They scheduled routine check-ups, but the doctors were gone. They were tended by interns.
They sent children back to school. Half the teachers were gone.
So it went: at police stations, town halls, colleges, labs—everywhere, those with the most experience to pass on were either sick, or already gone.
Jennifer L. Freed mostly writes poems, which have appeared in various journals and anthologies. Her website is jfreed.weebly.com
Brittney is young, healthy, so she’s not worried. She and her friends gather in each other’s apartments, sharing beer and restlessness, missing Real Life.
Then Brittney’s neighbor—the retired kindergarten teacher she buys groceries for—tests positive.
Finally the headline sinks in: Brittney and all her friends could be carriers.
Jennifer L Freed mostly writes poems, which have appeared in various journals and anthologies. Her website is jfreed.weebly.com
A year later, we give thanks—
that it was then, not now,
that we could be there
in the hospital with him, for days,
that so many friends could come and go,
give last goodbyes, lean close,
and not once did any of us worry
about sharing the same air.
Jennifer L Freed mostly writes poems, which have appeared in various
journals and anthologies. See more on her website: jfreed.weebly.com.
My grandmother’s china—
the set I used to save
for holidays: fine
rims of gold, delicate
patterns of green—I use it
don’t worry about chips, don’t
delay its offerings.
These days I need
porcelain teacups, warm
against my palms. My brother
the fine china.
Jennifer L Freed mostly writes poems, which have appeared in various journals and anthologies. See more on her website, jfreed.weebly.com.
______to see whether the cancer
has also leapt to his brain,
my husband drives wintery roads,
bringing one of our daughters
to a birthday party. The dog
wags at the door, eager
for his walk, and the plow
leaves another ridge of icy snow
at the end of our driveway.
Jennifer L Freed mostly writes poems, which have appeared in various journals and anthologies. See more at her website, jfreed.weebly.com.
You say they’re a beautiful sky blue—
that may slow your tumors.
You take the sky
into your body
with your morning tea.
I imagine you
in today’s snow, making angels
as we did when small—
____ice-crusted fringe of tree-tops,
____glint of winter sun, the dazzling
Jennifer L. Freed mostly writes poems, which have appeared in various journals and anthologies. The above was originally published in The Worcester Review (at 57 words), but someone inspired her to see if she could trim it and send it here. The above-mentioned pills worked for about ten months. See more at jfreed.weebly.com.
I would rather look at the sky than at a screen. I would rather walk than drive. I would rather drive tree-lined roads than highways. I would rather be alone than at a party. I would rather meet someone one-on-one than try to tell in 50 words who I am.
Jennifer L. Freed was recently irritated by a form that asked too many such questions. She mostly writes poems, sometimes writes short fiction, and always wishes she had more time to write anything at all.
when my daughter finally left
that I’d be free
could go back
to my old self.
Nobody told me
my breasts would ache
for her hunger,
or that her heat, her scent,
her fierce little grip
would hold me
even after I’d given her away.
Jennifer L. Freed likes inventing characters but doesn’t have enough time to write. The narrator of this story did not exist until a prompt (“Write something on the theme of independence”) brought her to life.
I dreamed we were still in my kitchen, laughing
at the dog, who kept trotting to the door, then not
going out, lest he miss a single scrap
of whatever we might offer.
When I woke, the dog comforted me.
It was you inside the door, poised
to go through.
Jennifer L Freed has a friend whose tumors keep outrunning the chemo. Her website is jfreed.weebly.com.