She has to have her cigarettes. Buys them with the baby food money. Buys a six-pack, too. She lights up; first drag is always the best. She drops it in the sand, crushes it. She chugs the beer, staggers, falls into the moonlit surf.
She gave the baby up today.
poetry, prose, and photographs have appeared in Melancholy Hyperbole
, When Women Waken
, and Blotterature
. She travels the scenic route between St. Pete, Florida and the Off Campus Writers Workshop (OCWW) in Winnetka, Illinois. When she’s not writing, she’s listening, picking up slices of life or shells on a beach.
it’s been three days since your funeral
a white-crown sparrow pecks incessantly at the patio door,
wings fluttering madly to remain airborne, feet flailing the air
i blow a kiss, smile through fresh currents of briny dew and wave just as madly until,
satisfied, you fly away
one last time
Craig W. Steele lives in the lake-effect snow belt of northwestern Pennsylvania where, by day, he’s a university biology professor. He enjoys writing both short fiction and poetry and dreams of becoming a widely-read unknown writer.
Winds gust and panes quake as rain pounds the glass and creeps in through a cracked seal. It pools on the sill beside me, taking—of all forms—that of a heart.
That’s right, I remember. There’s such a thing as “the heart of the storm.”
But it’s always cold.
EO hopes that the next Goliath storm bound for the northeast gets lazy and simply opts to send a postcard instead.
He knew, often before she did, what was needed. His casual remark midweek, her nodded assent. Saturday morning: lunches packed, headed toward the rising sun and the smell of salt.
Now, when she stands alone by the edge of the sea, she thanks him even though he is not there.
Ellen Sinclair is from Belfast, Maine. She is a retired teacher, counselor, widow, mother, and grandmother, a lover of words and the sea.
Ran into school carefree and excited to learn. Exited school; discovered Papi was gone.
They watched us. They knew where he would be. Once he drove around the corner from my school, they took him into custody.
I was so happy to go into school that I didn’t wave goodbye.
Shawnta S. Barnes is a literacy coach in Indianapolis Public Schools, an adjunct instructor at IUPUI School of Education and a 2016-2017 Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellow. Links to her publications can be found at educatorbarnes.com/publications.
Uncle Clifford dealt scrap.
Valentino in overalls, his hair slicked with axle grease. Boot polish moustachioed, ladies swooned.
“Yaargh!” he bellowed, swaggering to the pub.
One night, he disturbed burglars.
At his wake, I slicked soot beneath his innocent nose.
“Yaargh,” I whispered.
Mourners tutted, scandalized.
But only the men.
Margaret McGoverne has recently published her first novella, while being distracted by short stories, flash fiction and her blog about all things writing.
We had so many wonderful plans for the future, and now he and they are gone.
People say, “Move on. The past is gone; you have your future.”
My future was supposed to be with him.
The future is in one second.
The future is now.
I am scared.
Susan is a Curriculum Developer at a mortgage company. She is widowed with two grown daughters and two stepsons, and four awesome grandchildren, two boys and two girls.
The first time you cheated on me, you cried over the phone.
“We have to talk,” you said.
We walked in bruised silence through the park, then sat and stared over the hill.
“I don’t understand,” I said at last.
“Let me explain,” you told me. “We’re not a couple.”
David still doesn’t get it completely.
They took her by ambulance. The neighbor called and told me. Cleaning out her house was the closest I came to “Goodbye.”
A pack of Marlboros, half-smoked. A jug of milk. Dishes she didn’t wash. Her fridge had a note: Give Terri her book back.
I don’t know a Terri.
Jennifer Courtney has been published online at Postcard Poems and Prose
, Page & Spine
, Black Heart Magazine
, and elsewhere. She has found her way into several print anthologies.
The combat medic raced toward the bombed-out Opel as tracers ripped overheard.
Lower limb fractured. Gunshot to shoulder. Both cat-Cs.
His distal pulse was good. Four hours to evac.
She looked back, gave a thumbs up.
Then a mortar round engulfed them.
Again, a warbling voice cried out, “man down!”
Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist and Iraq War veteran whose literary work has appeared in The Grief Diaries, The Roaring Muse, Prairie Winds, Blue Collar Review and other publications. He orders off the secret menu.