Visions of this moment always included bereaved loved ones wringing hands and forcing fake smiles to accompany their glistening, sad eyes. Instead, encounters consist only of brief interactions with complete strangers, overly tired and often forgetting to smile as they robotically work to complete their third 12-hour shift this week.
.Randal A. Burd Jr. is a married father of two and an educator who works with the disadvantaged in rural Missouri. He holds a master’s degree in English Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri. Randal is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Sparks of Calliope magazine. His latest collection of poems, Memoirs of a Witness Tree, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in Summer 2020.
Sitting upon my luggage by the front door, noises of their lovemaking and giggling wash over me through the walls.
Smiling, I stand, heft my belongings, and leave, closing the door gently behind me.
My paraplegic brother will be happy now with a woman to love.
I am finally free.
Nora is a writer from Iraq. She enjoys writing novels, flash fiction, and poetry. In her spare time, she likes to take short walks or spend time looking through articles and documentaries.
“Attention. We are genetic perfection. We abandoned our defectives upon this planet long ago. You are their ancestors. Children. We should’ve emptied the planet before we left. We apologize for allowing you to love for so long. We’re going to correct this. All of you, go to your loved ones.”
Ryan Joshua Ouimet wrote this story.