I love blankets. I love their softness, their variety—their moods ranging from pastels to prints. I love my camo comforter most, big enough to cocoon me completely, my body hidden, protected from the cold, the open air, my parents’ voices swelling in the den… Nothing can reach me here.
Natalie Schriefer received her MFA from Southern Connecticut State University. She works as a freelance writer and editor. See more at natalieschriefer.com.
“Your box of sunshine is here,” the cheerful delivery man said after ringing the bell.
I watched him skip down the steps, ever mindful of social distancing.
Since the pandemic, almost everything suddenly became available for home delivery.
My delivery of friends and family is still on back order.
Susan Gale Wickes is from Indiana. She looks forward to a return to normalcy.
“If you don’t break me out, I’ll do it myself,” the text said. Two infections in her nursing home; more to come.
I used to be a light sleeper. Now I can’t remember how I used to manage without the rhythmic, labored sounds of her apnea machine lulling me comatose.
Jane Danforth is a student who suddenly has a lot of time on her hands. She is a senior attending Zoom University.
Nick’s hometown is missing. Where are silent evening streets, where he cruised in his Subaru and listened to oldies?
Cars roar, faces consumed by exhaust.
Where are the small shops, sizzling with pizza and cigarettes? Easily walkable blocks?
Skyscrapers rise, proud monsters.
Nick wanders, denying, not ready to bury home.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His stories are forthcoming or have been published in Café Lit, Mad Swirl, and Ariel Chart, among others.
Under the stars, Iowa poets dance
from stanza to stanza, barnyard to barnyard
all across the state
Have you not noticed them?
Let’s celebrate with the poets of Iowa
and sip herbal tea together in cornfields
as we share our secrets in verse
by the light of the harvest moon
Roberta Beach Jacobson admits to being one of these poets.
Her palate was broader than her father’s. On her thirteenth birthday she ate the entire cake. But she’d still not spoken. Too much sky up here?
I led her to the nearest cave and she clattered inside with a thunderous, visceral bellow. I feared it was the sound of hope.
Tamsin and Mark Farley decided to write sequels to each other’s most recent 50-word stories. This is a sequel to Fostering the Minotaur’s Daughter.
It’s the woods and the painted barnstar that hangs upon my neighbor’s house; the nightly vigils that loiter in the windows and the blue Dodge Dart eaten by rust that Mr. Thomas refuses to get rid of.
Placing newly built concrete gods in the rearview, I wonder… where’s home now?
E.O.’s pretty sure that Starbucks is evil. Stores keep spontaneously appearing where trees, herbs, and game used to be, even though their coffee isn’t very good. What type of obscure witchery is this…?
He swallowed me whole each evening, coughing me up the next day in time for school. He consumed my childhood and my parents’ relationship. Comfort came from the belly rumble of the boiler, the hot breath of the stove. Eventually he spat me out – a hairball tumbling in the wind.
Mark Farley writes novels, flash fiction and the occasional poem.
He hears the wood thrush now
just at the edges of hearing, watches the trickling stream
from his front porch, and recalls
running from the bottom of this hollow
to its very crown—
—with his son on his hip.
And there, looking out
there was nothing—
Matthew now lives and writes in Maine. He always relaxes, just a little, when driving north on I-95 and crosses the Piscataqua River Bridge. There he is greeted by a large sign, white lettering on a blue background: WELCOME TO MAINE – The Way Life Should Be.
I should leave.
The shouting, screaming, hitting…
I hate it! He plasters on a fake smile to fool everyone into believing in this facade, but he’s a monster.
What’s that? Is that the door?
“Honey I’m home!”
Oh, he’s calm. Arms slip around my waist. Strong arms, kind arms. “I missed you.” A kind voice.
I should stay.
Hope Chow is an aspiring author who was born and raised in America. She writes to paint a more lucid picture of life through the eyes of many others.