A baby boy sleeps, tummy side up, arms and legs open in vulnerability and confidence. A mother puts a hand to his chest, feeling the rise and fall, listens to his ragged breathing. On the floor beside the crib, she lays on her side, curled inward, fear coiling around her.
Cheryl Somers Aubin’s work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and online journals. She has an MA/Writing from Johns Hopkins University and is the author of The Survivor Tree: Inspired by a True Story. Cheryl teaches memoir writing and is featured speaker at book festivals and writing conferences.
Poverty’s chasing me. Getting closer all the time.
Bills due. Check spent. Emergency funds gone. Fridge’s close to empty.
Then something breaks. Again.
Doing without becomes second nature. Rolled coins, coupons, and the dollar store become tricks of the trade. Keeping poorness at bay. And I make it… this month.
Alyce Clark is adjusting to sheltering in place, practicing social distancing when shopping for essentials… and truly missing her grandmother.
How about a sandwich? Her words were casual enough, but her voice made me feel she was more in need of company than food.
Only twelve, but too serious, sad, and worried.
I told her, Soon you’ll blossom into a fine young lady. Obviously she wanted much quicker than soon.
Jim Freeze is seventy-two years old, retired and widowed. He was happily married for fifty-four years and has two grown sons. He began writing in early 2012 to have something to do. His short stories have been featured in several publications including Brilliant Flash Fiction, Calliope Magazine, The Original Writer, and Literally Stories.
“Tell me,” she pleads for seemingly the umpteenth time.
“What?” I pretend not to know.
“Tell me!” Her voice begins to shake.
I could rebel. Tease. Start a fight. Suggest a doctor. Prescribe a Prozac. Instead, I acquiesce and recite the magic words: “Everything will be all right.”
Frank Solomon retired from the University of Kentucky after 30 years of writing utilitarian stories for a cybernetic audience. Now he attempts to entertain an audience that lives and breathes.
I was lying in bed when the phone rang. Sleepily, I picked up the receiver to answer it, and realized something was wrong.
I put the tube of hand cream down on my bedside table, put my glasses on, and picked up the real phone, instead.
It was nothing important.
Anne Lever is recently retired and is a mature student at ChristChurch University in Canterbury.