On Grandma’s swaying porch, feet planted firmly on the top step, I feel her smile, hear her laugh, see her wrinkled eyes. Screen door swings on rusty hinges and I smell her famous peach cobbler.
“Well, come on,” mother says and I walk in, past the reverend with the urn.
A-Jae is a storytelling wordsmith who writes literary fiction and creative nonfiction, both the truth and otherwise. She is currently working on her first novel and an MFA at SF State. Find out more about her at ajaewoodberry.com.
“Do you see it?” asks my father, pointing up at the night sky. “The little one under the Big Dipper. That star appeared right after your mother died.”
I smell alcohol on his breath. This is not the time to discuss physics or astronomy.
“I see it,” I tell him.
G. Allen Wilbanks is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and has published over 60 short stories in Deep Magic, Daily Science Fiction, The Talisman, and other venues. He has published two short story collections and the novel When Darkness Comes. For more information, visit gallenwilbanks.com.
When I was 62,
I ordered a pizza to go.
“Ready in fifteen minutes,” the teenaged server mumbled.
Returning to pay, I remembered I forgot
To request the reduced price for elders.
“Is it too late to ask for the senior discount?”
“I already gave it to you,” he said.
Miriam Stein is a social worker, writer, and the author of Make Your Voice Matter With Lawmakers: No Experience Necessary. See more at makeyourvoicematter.com.
Way back when, I’d lure the dog up into the indent on the empty side of the bed, where he’d arch his back along the comforter’s fold, sigh, slump, and twitch through sheep meadow dreams. His heart beat through my skin. I’d imagine him gone, you know, in self-preparation, pointlessly.
A Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, J.P. Grasser is a PhD candidate at the University of Utah, where he edits Quarterly West.
Frigid weather was not a factor when we were young. We welcomed the challenge. It was raw, but so were we. The jostle of crowded streets and hiss of the library’s radiators frustrated the arctic air during Christmas season in the big city.
The bundles of memory warm us now.
Eddie Roth writes from St. Louis.
Wisps of sandalwood fill my nostrils.
Dan told me the smoke would unlock my chakras and balance my soul. I sat across from him. We hummed and chanted, inhaled and exhaled. Apparently I wasn’t loud enough.
I lick my fingers and press them hard against the ember, dousing his memory.
Koji A Dae is an American writer living in Bulgaria with her husband and two children.
I remember your eyes shimmering like constellations the night we fell in love.
They say when we look at stars, space is so immense that we’re seeing light broadcasted from bygone histories. And even after death, our lives go on, conserved by light, traveling perpetually across the soundless, glittering darkness.
Kiki Gonglewski is a senior at Albuquerque Academy. She was a finalist in the 2017 state-wide “NM Girls Make Movies” screenplay contest, has won national recognition in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and has been published in the 2018 edition of Navigating The Maze, an international teen poetry anthology. Her six great loves in life are art, movies, Kurt Vonnegut books, astronomy, writing, and Korean barbecue.
A middle-aged man and woman sit in movie theater seats with broken hinges. Distortions of an animated film flicker in the reflection of their eyes, accompanied by the laughter of children ringing in their ears.
The woman clutches a tattered teddy bear to her chest. The man squeezes her hand.
Taylor Stuckey is an English major at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. She started dabbling in writing short fiction less than a year ago, and hasn’t stopped since. This is her first published sotry.
Late in life, she traded piano for painting. It was so refreshing. She’d only ever played keys when she’d had a husband to join onstage.
They’d joke about it when he appeared to her. She tried painting him in his present form, but she could never get the eyes right.
Lucas Kwong is a professor of English at New York City College of Technology. When he isn’t grading papers, he’s making music with his garage rock band THE BROTHER K MELEE, or writing for his band’s official microfiction Twitter account, THE NOT OK MELEE (@notokmelee).
Mothballs, mother’s coats zippered away in clothing bags above a field of gloves, fingers outstretched as if in bloom. Dad’s fedoras molded into the shape of his skull, various moods for each day, all nestled sleepily above the rooms where we slept, seasoned to perfection with the dust of forgetfulness.
Jim Doss lives with his wife and three children in Sykesville, Maryland, and earns his living as a software engineer. He has previously published two books of poems: Learning to Talk Again, and What Remains. In partnership with Werner Schmitt, he also published a book of German translations entitled The Last Gold of Expired Stars: The Complete Poems of Georg Trakl 1908 – 1914. In his spare time, he is an editor for the Loch Raven Review.