I smash Mother’s clay flowerpot with a basketball. It splits into multiple pieces.
Dad sifts through the pieces.
“Some things can’t be replaced,” he murmurs.
I wish he’d hate me. Or hit me. Yell.
I glue piece after piece. Fill the pot with the lilacs Mother had planned.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, CaféLit, and Ariel Chart, among others.
Each morning Jenny places a glass of chilled water on a small table beside a large reclining chair. She never sits in his chair but sometimes, when passing, tenderly touches it. Sometimes she takes a sip of water from his glass. In the silence shared, she often thinks of him.
John Young is an old chap, grappling with themes of limits, longings, and finitude. He likes spooky stuff, and lives in St. Andrews, Scotland, an ancient town with an ancient university, home of golf, and home also – allegedly – of many ghosts. (He has not met any yet.)
Today, I kissed some poppy seeds.
Scattered them across my garden. Watered them in.
Gently sprinkled grey ash over them.
One summer, a drunk, who should never have been driving, killed my five-year-old daughter. My only child.
In July, the soil where she lies will be awash with blood-red flowers.
Hugh Cartwright is a scientist living and writing on the Canadian west coast.
Hands, rough from years of hard labour; hands, morphed to the shapes of their tools; hands, discarded, unwanted, idle; hands, now tornadoes of boredom and rage and frustration; hands, locked together with bracelets of steel; hands that would’ve toiled until the life drained out of them, if they’d been allowed.
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 @laurabesley.
The surgeon cracked open the cocoon that was your ribcage and held your heart in his hands. He cradled it cautiously, cupping his palms as if encircling a fluttering moth. I cannot remember what he told me after—only the sound of his voice breaking when he said your name.
Jennifer Stitt is a PhD candidate in US intellectual history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her writing has appeared in Aeon, Aura Literary Arts Magazine, Chronically Lit, Essay Daily, Guernica, On Being, Public Seminar, and other places. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and is currently working on a book about the history of solitude.
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.
Two Adirondack chairs with flecks of white peeling paint, side by side, slightly cockeyed under the hedgerow’s green shadow. They hold no bodies today, just a little morning rain and thoughts of what could have been. It’s a quiet meditation, a memorial of sorts, to the fleeting perfection of pairs.
Thad DeVassie’s work has appeared in numerous journals including New York Quarterly, Poetry East, West Branch, Barely South, Unbroken, PANK, Lunate and Spelk. His chapbook, THIS SIDE OF UTOPIA, is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press. A lifelong Ohioan, he writes from the outskirts of Columbus.
Pockets emptied, Tim purchased the red blend. He twisted off the cap and chugged while exiting the store. The familiar heartburn, boiled cherries and artificial oak, warmed him.
Invisible to others, a shoulder bumped him. The bottle fell, his outstretched hands useless. He watched his comfort stain the concrete sidewalk.
Melanie Maggard is a flash fiction and short story writer living in Seattle.
A year later, we give thanks—
that it was then, not now,
that we could be there
in the hospital with him, for days,
that so many friends could come and go,
give last goodbyes, lean close,
and not once did any of us worry
about sharing the same air.
Jennifer L Freed mostly writes poems, which have appeared in various
journals and anthologies. See more on her website: jfreed.weebly.com.
Weeping for his dead father,
Aunt Lizzie held him at the doorway
to the kitchen,
______________and would not let go.
Later, she spooned bacon grease over sizzling eggs.
Cooled their coffee and milk while he sat on her lap,
cup to saucer, saucer to cup, a sip,
______________and a giggle.
Matthew Eichenlaub is most fortunate to be living in southern Maine with a pickup truck, health insurance, and a new right hip. Thank you to the Essence of all that is.