Can boogeymen and fluffernutters, scraped knees and coloring books, times tables and video games, homework assignments and roller coasters, algebra problems and iPhones, fumbled kisses and glimmers of the man to be matter if they all lead to a momentary miscalculation of speed and distance on a bicycle at night?
Robert Markovich spent a lifetime in what is charitably referred to as service journalism, writing and editing stories about everything from cars to toilets, most recently at Consumer Reports. He is happily and gratefully retired.
Familiar kitchen sounds,
the blender’s roar and faucet’s trickle,
ground me here.
Illusory clouds of coffee
sting my nose,
an inescapable reminder
that summer is going fast
that vacation is nearly over.
I swallow hard,
and try to remember
how to not feel like a visitor
in my childhood home.
Maria is about to go back to college. She loves being home, but every once in a while, she’s overwhelmed by the understanding that things are changing.
Paying for company isn’t new to Alfred.
His father shoehorned him into a high position in the family business, and Alfred was keen to splash his cash about town. He dated, he married, he dated some more.
These days company is in the form of a television, programs carefully chosen.
Laura Besley writes short fiction in the precious moments that her children are asleep. Her fiction has appeared online, as well as in print and in various anthologies. Her flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, was published in March 2020. She tweets at @laurabesley.
Frank used to hold shells to his ear so that he could hear the sea. But there are no shells here.
He’s not sure why Mom likes this place. There’s no beach. No swimming. No nothing.
If Mom keeps smiling though, Frank thinks he won’t really mind about the shells.
Ben lives in Dallas where he is viewed with tolerant amusement by his wife and two small boys. He has just started writing micro fiction and hopes to get better at it.
Who stole my youth?
When I hired a detective, he discovered the truth. “They were in it together, these two,” he said, passing me their photos.
Father Time showed no remorse, his face kind and gentle.
Mother Nature was unrepentant. “Honestly, darling,” she said when questioned, “what did you expect?”
Kate Fellowes has published six mysteries, most recently A Menacing Brew. Her short stories have appeared in many publications, from Woman’s World to Crimestalker Casebook. Working in a public library, every day is a busman’s holiday for her. She blogs at katefellowes.wordpress.com.
Jeffrey searched the florist shop for a unique plant for Mom. Once he spotted the leafy hosta, he asked the clerk to wrap it up with a floral birthday card. He opted to deliver it himself.
Jeffrey died in 2017, but his birthday greeting to his mother continues each spring.
Roberta Beach Jacobson lives in Iowa and can be found on Twitter at @beach_haiku.
Grieve and mourn here and now,
while their deaths tick ever closer,
though still some years away.
Take a week or two.
Use vacation time or sick leave.
Do this right and you may begin
to love them both a little better
while it matters most.
George J. Searles teaches English and Latin at Mohawk Valley Community College. Widely published, he is a former Carnegie Foundation New York State “Professor of the Year.”
Who knows how many days left?
Why organize the underwear drawer
or enter dank closets?
Maybe To Do means:
sit next to the cat,
find a book,
listen to traffic’s absence
fill the vase…
If I’m not here tomorrow,
whether I’ve got color-coordinated blouses
hanging in empty spaces.
Laurie Kuntz is an award-winning poet and film producer. She taught creative writing and poetry in Japan, Thailand and the Philippines. Many of her poetic themes are a result of her working with Southeast Asian refugees for over a decade after the Vietnam War years. She has published one poetry collection (Somewhere in the Telling, Mellen Press) and two chapbooks (Simple Gestures, Texas Review Press and Women at the Onsen, Blue Light Press), as well as an ESL reader (The New Arrival, Books 1 & 2, Prentice Hall Publishers). Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her chapbook, Simple Gestures, won the Texas Review Poetry Chapbook Contest. She was editor in chief of Blue Muse Magazine and a guest editor of Hunger Mountain Magazine. She has produced documentaries on the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Law, and currently is producing a documentary on the peace process and reintegration of guerrilla soldiers in Colombia. She is the executive producer of an Emmy winning short narrative film, Posthumous. Recently retired, she lives in an endless summer state of mind. See more on her website.
My grandpa talks about the good ol’ days, a time when kids chewed dirt and roller skated. I decide to try both.
The dirt tastes funny. The skating sores my back.
Grandpa humps over. I expect a scold but receive a pat on the shoulder. Welcome to the club, scout.
Eric Persaud is an Indo-Guyanese American living in New York City. His other works of fiction can be found in Flash Fiction Magazine and 101 words.
The first blossom
On my winter squash
Lacking a male,
She will fade,
And her fruit will fail.
Still, she opens in beauty
Under the sun
And offers her grace
To the day.
So too may we all;
And that is quite enough.
Casey Laine comes from a long line of talkative women. She works as Fantasy Editor at Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, and publishes an annual anthology of fiction and poetry for her writing group, Writers Assembled. In her spare time, she chases butterflies with her camera. Find her at Facebook, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, and Amazon.