Greetings from July 2020. I’m watching a stickleback build his nest: his hustling, bustling busyness, his lips tug-kissing at leaves, his eyes turned blue and throat bright red with love. I really hope that, by the time this finds you—whenever, wherever you are—you can still watch stickleback too.
Michelle Christophorou’s short fiction has won and been placed in competitions, including the latest Strands International Flash Fiction Competition, and the Retreat West Fire-themed flash competition, for which she received a ‘Best of the Net’ nomination 2019. In another life, Michelle practised law in the City of London. Tweets @MAChristophorou
“We get birds passing through,” my cousin said. “Some do sing.”
Standing in the vast wheat field he’d inherited, our eyes on the treeless plain, I said, “Mom told me grandma heard birds here, singing, ‘See how pretty I am.'”
We left mom’s ashes where those song birds still sing.
Janine writes from Portland, Oregon. This month she is thinking of her mom, and all of the aunts whose ashes have come home, back to the farm.
I confront curiosity’s curse daily. Shrubs rustle and I sense faraway beasts. At midnight, I hear the wolves’ distant howls. I wonder what it’s like to be—not live—with the wild. But I resist temptations to go and see. Nature knows I’ve settled here; its citizens acknowledge my space.
Cristina Marie Pagan is a Hispanic writer from North Carolina. Her poetry has appeared in Glimpse and the Mystic Blue Review. She’s also the former cover artist of Seshat Literary Magazine.
I rowed the boat whose motion made me feel like a god
seated on a water-throne.
I steered fate with a pair of rods,
in an animistic temple
where beauty is worshiped
and though we exchanged few words,
was between my eyes
Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in multiple venues including Down in the Dirt, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Impspired Magazine, The Opiate, Mad Swirl, Leaves of Ink, The Poetry Village, A New Ulster, Adelaide Literary Magazine, The Ink Pantry, the Pennsylvania Literary Journal, the Penwood Review, and Crossways.
The first spring storm weeps my larger family
back to life.
My silent siblings smile
and stretch branches in the wind;
I hug every trunk hello.
Grandmother Sky pats my head
with loving, watery fingers.
All my raindrop cousins
want to play tag;
I am It
a thousand times over.
Maria is coping with the current crisis by planting sprouting vegetables, taking silly pictures of her cats, and binge-watching The Chosen.
Cardinals chirping, red-winged blackbirds trilling from the woods.
Percussionist woodpecker beats a syncopated rhythm from behind a leafless oak.
Cackling spring peepers, hidden in vernal ponds, improvise a backup chorus.
High above, hawk screeches a solo.
Self-isolating on my deck, I’m grateful for nature’s elusive musicians
creating a comforting concert.
Carol Anne Harvey finds comfort in music, writing, reading, and talking with family and friends during her solitary confinement in Massachusetts.
Two hyperactive squirrels chitter-chattered as they scampered around a picnic table.
“I’m disappointed,” one remarked. “Our old homeplace is not at all like I remember it from when we were kits.”
“I agree,” the other replied. “It seemed to be so much taller before it lost its leaves and bark.”
John H. Dromey’s short fiction has been published in Mystery Weekly Magazine and over one-hundred-fifty other venues.
Maple is flirting with me.
I glimpse her at windows as she ducks out of sight, catching only a swirl of scarlet skirts. She leaves little crimson-wrapped gifts outside my door.
I love her. I wish I knew that she loved me… but Miss Sugar Maple never says a word.
Maria speaks for the trees and, of course, those who love them.
The Stars fade gently into a glowing horizon as the Sun arrives in the East.
Some remain still glistening to complement the radiant canvas of colour and light.
This visual spectacular provides a challenge to every artist’s palette
as they strive to capture the new dawn before it vanishes forever
John B. Sinclair is a much-travelled Scot who has now returned to Scotland, where he enjoys freelance writing on a variety of subjects.
The cat walks away, padding across the floor, its rough tongue sanding the red around its chops. Behind it, the pigeon lies in a carpet of feathers, waiting for the cleaning lady to sweep her lifeless body into the big blue dustbin. In a nest, two eggs wait for warmth.
Rhema Suresh lives in Kerala, India. After being a student her entire life, she is currently on a break. She holds a master’s degree in English from the University of Hyderabad.