As usual, Joe was prepared: food and water, map and compass, rain gear and tent, flashlight, matches. He left a note with his name, date, time, and route.
He set out, hiking the yard’s unvarying relief. Around, around.
His wife, pouring herself more wine, hoped he’d get lost this time.
Iain Young thinks the best part of a hike is the end, when he sees his car in the parking lot.
A loon’s call echoes across the amber lake. Her mate’s wail reassures her.
Above, a rested comrade takes point. The spent goose banks away, catching the slipstream.
Hardwoods preen, sashay their brightest orange, gamboge, and crimson. The old ones yawn, smiling at the adolescents, who dream tonight’s dance never ends.
Matthew lives in Maine.
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…?
Mother Moon placed her howling baby into the calm water, a bath to sooth the tantrum.
Baby kicked with rage. The water rose up. Toy cities, filled with people, were buffeted about.
Small cars floated as roads became rivers, until the child wore itself out, falling asleep amid the ruins.
Candace Kubinec wrote this story with thoughts for Texas.
Editor: To support recovery from Hurricane Harvey, please consider donating through the Red Cross or another organization.
I don’t know why the starry sky
I cannot see how the river carves its way all the way to the ocean
I can only dream where songbirds go to die
I don’t know why
or how, left to its own
a salmon spawning upstream
swims hundreds of miles—home.
Todd is an amateur writer and poet. He met the love of his life in a college writing class. Since then, the two have spent their lives together.
The forest struck them dumb with awe: its flowery smell, the endless shades of green; the deafening cacophony of sounds: croaking, hissing, humming. A splash of startling red amidst the leaves.
Unimaginable that such an enchanted place once spanned across the Earth.
Humbled, they stepped out of the rainforest simulator.
Rachael is an English teacher in Scotland.
Night-veiled raven swoops down
settling on a field of stubbled snow
red river birch standing guard along the edge.
The colors of winter envelop the world
stark and soft, like a broken heart
stunning and everyday, like losing love
magical and hard, like brown leaves
skittering across a frozen pond.
Jackie Ascrizzi lives in Montville, Maine, mock orange and peony wafting through the windows.
It’s freezing, the air crisp. The moon… she rises slowly, her blue light washing over me, calling me.
I take out my guitar. I begin with arpeggios. Simple, I know… but soon, faint waves of violet, then teal, then orange dance in the sky.
Her hue warms, as does mine.
Joey realizes that the violin or piano may be the traditional choice of instruments in these circumstances but he can’t play those. If he tried, her ears would bleed and she would run away. Of course, she might do that anyway. Either way, you can visit him at joeytoey.com
Heading south through the ruins, I startle three deer. Their barks echo through the concrete canyons as they run.
I see ever more plants breaking through the tarmac; a green infection. I pause to watch the sunrise. The morning light has a golden quality.
Manhattan has never looked so lovely.
Bill lives in Aberdeen Scotland. He is considered a pioneer in the art of slacking off by many, but he can’t be bothered seeking accreditation.
Location: empowering laguna
Where you can see the world.
A beauty resembling
a beach of the past.
Powerful pops pulsate past the timberline.
Banjos sound on a stranger’s radio.
In their tent, light above shakes,
With the slowly
Stilling momentum borne from
Love, that vibrant lightness,
Those lavender fingers.
J. of Newark is a custodian at his local library and writes fiction for fun.