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.
You cry in a voice that is not your own, act like dead weight, call me horrible names. But sometimes you look me in the eye and smile. Sometimes you remember. I brush your beautiful hair and think, That’s alright my love, I’m also not who I used to be.
Julian Dores lives in Brussels, Belgium. He enjoys writing fiction and taking candid photographs of everyday life on the street. You can read more of his work on his website.
It’s all new, each day of your life. New mornings, new challenges.
New enemies, new regrets. New reasons to leave.
New people in town, and the journeys you’ve never made.
There’s only one thing that never changes: the desire to become someone else without the strength to make it happen.
Russell Hemmell is an alien from Mintaka snuggled into a (consenting) human host. Recent fiction on Aurealis, Flame Tree Press, The Grievous Angel, and elsewhere. See more at earthianhivemind.net.
I crept under the front porch, swiped cobwebs, crawled over broken bricks and debris, sat cross-legged, bent, chewing on my braids. Jabbed at tears on my hot cheeks with grimy hands, ignoring the scurrying and slithering around me.
Above me, Mom and Dad were showing off my new baby brother.
MaryJane Nordgren is a retired family practice physician living in the foothills of the Oregon Coastal Range. Founder of Writers in the Grove, MJ enjoys laughing with and learning from fellow authors every Monday morning. Her novel NANDRIA’S WAR will be coming out soon.
The Balloonman presents the poodle, smiles and begins another. The child lifts it overhead; refracted color splashes his face.
Autumn engulfs the horizon—the carnival sags. The Balloonman squints as summer burns itself out.
The swan completed, he bows to one last girl, sighs, and turns toward evening and home.
Melody Leming-Wilson lives and teaches in Portland, Oregon. She writes mostly poetry, but is afraid the 50 word story might get in the way of that.
An office drudge’s gloom always characterized James’s daily commutes.
Today, he smiled as he slid into City Station’s unisex washroom. Jaimie emerged, boarded the train and bypassed his regular stop.
At line’s end, she gazed across the sun-dappled street at New Beginnings’ help-wanted sign. Perfect place to restart my life.
Alan Kemister is a retired scientist experimenting with more fictitious writing. Get the gory details at alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com.
We used to talk for hours about films and art, but now you just deliver monologues about your boring job, your arthritic toe, and the awful weather.
I’m shocked by how quickly you changed closeness into carefully manipulated distance.
Now you’ve unfriended me. I only wish I’d got there first.
Juliet is an adult education tutor, crafter, and conservation volunteer based in Edinburgh, UK. She blogs at craftygreenpoet.blogspot.com and tweets at @craftygreenpoet.
There was something I wanted. The glow of home, or the bittersweet ache of fulfillment. Something not tangible.
The restaurant was crowded; too loud, too bright. I sat by the window, watching flurries dance around the white glowing orbs of streetlights.
A man stood to leave.
“Take me with you.”
Erica Schaef worked as an Operating Room nurse for ten years before becoming a stay-at-home parent. She lives in rural Tennessee with her family.
He killed fifty people in cold blood. Shock. Outrage. Mourning. Tears. Calls for gun control legislation. Seven days of commentary. Change the subject.
He killed twenty-six people in cold blood. Outrage. Analysis. Gun control! Three days of commentary. Change the subject.
He killed nine people. Not again! Change the channel.
Israela Margalit wrote this story. See more at israelamargalit.com.
Cheryl sits on her porch, waiting. She knows that when she sees the first lightning bug, glowing as it rises from the grass, summer will have truly arrived.
Her paranoid neighbor says they won’t come anymore—climate change.
Cheryl isn’t a believer. She shivers in the cold August night, waiting.
Candace Kubinec posts her stories at storydribbles.wordpress.com and her poetry at rhymeswithbug.com.