Bobbing – I think of apples. Ups and downs.
Behaviour – Mine, yours – neither commendable.
Bitter – Adjective. I am ___. You made me ___.
Brazen – Wasn’t she?
Bayonet – Wounding instrument. Cold steel engulfing flesh.
Baby – Would you have left if it had happened? (See Barren)
Boomerang – I won’t go back.
Bruised – Imperfect, fragile, healing.
Jo Withers writes short fiction from her home in South Australia. Recent work appears in Ellipsis Zine, Milk Candy Review and Reflex Fiction. Jo’s work was also recently chosen for inclusion in Best Microfiction 2020.
The young father presses his hands flat against the window. Although the mask covers half his face, the baby knows him. New game. Laughing, she reaches for the father’s hands, cool glass between them.
She lifts her arms, “Up.” Old game.
The father’s learned the new rules: he turns away.
Miriam N. Kotzin teaches creative writing and literature at Drexel University. Her collection of short fiction, Country Music (Spuyten Duyvil Press 2017), joins a novel, The Real Deal (Brick House Press 2012), and a collection of flash fiction, Just Desserts (Star Cloud Press 2010). She is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Debris Field (David Robert Books 2017).
I was six when my father left. I remember his hands, large and coarse, letting go of mine to hurl a battered suitcase into his rusting, coughing car.
Now his hands seem small and frail, shaking with fear for his next long journey.
I cannot bring myself to clasp them.
Charlie Swailes writes short and very short stories when not teaching English or looking after her two small boys.
I know this may be a shock, coming from me. But I regret it.
No, not loving you. LORD knows, that’s the best thing I’ll ever do.
The mistake was letting you fall for me—when I knew you’d be the only one to live with the consequences.
V. C. Slade is a writer and amateur adult in California. She can be found at vcslade.com.
To be sitting all alone,
collapsing in on myself,
and teasing at
a candle’s pale flame,
watching it tenderly
lick away the whorl
of my fingerprint.
left behind is
pink and raised
not a burn,
but something softer.
exploding stars know less pain.
Tina Privitera-Reynolds is a young, emerging writer, so be patient. She has had poems published on SpillWords with more publications upcoming. As a beginner in the daunting world of online publication, she is happy to receive any feedback (especially criticism) and helpful tips and tricks. Her biggest goal is to improve.
In a tree
And scrape a knee
To find myself bleeding
All over the place
But somehow the next amazing day
It heals completely
I look back at the big deal I made
Wishing that mistakes could go away
Like the one I made
Just the other day
Lillian, an 11-year-old-kid, really wishes that life could be perfect where no one made any mistakes.
My grandfather was odd, shell-shocked. I loved sitting on his knee, sniffing and staring as he managed to chew mints and puff a pipe in the same breath. He never spoke of the “Great War” but I wear a Poppy in honour because it is easier than remembering my son.
Dedicated to education and being a father, E. F. S. Byrne has finally found more time to devote to his writing and is currently working on everything from very short flash stories to full-length novels. Samples and links to over thirty published stories can be read at efsbyrne.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter at @efsbyrne
One afternoon together, after 412 days apart. If only we could stretch these hours to days, weeks even, maybe then we’d relax enough to find the right words to talk about my war at home, his war away.
Instead we part, saying a stilted goodbye, before he boards the train.
Laura Besley writes short fiction in the precious moments that her children are asleep. Her debut flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, will be published in 2020 by Dahlia Books. She tweets at @laurabesley.
First winter after Mother leaves, sister Nancy and I shovel snow, hands weighed down. Flakes fly, whirling seductresses. We clear faster. Flakes cover clearness. Nature takes. Gives people wanderlust, reveals darkness beneath starched smiles. We try to make everything perfect. Keep clearing. We trip. Keep trying. Keep tripping. Don’t surrender.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His work is forthcoming or has been published in journals such as 50 Word Stories, Silent Auctions, City. River. Tree., and Ariel Chart.
The stockings were hung with melancholy.
There had been three stockings in the decorations box. Mr. and Mrs. Jones hung up two. They dropped the third into the trash, almost sickened.
Mrs. Jones turned on the radio. Elvis Presley was crooning, “I’ll have a blue, blue, blue Christmas… without you.”
Tylor James is a twenty-five year old writer living in New Richmond, WI. He writes dark fiction and has had stories, poems, and essays published in such anthology books as ACCURSED: A Horror Anthology, Emerging American Horror Writers: Midwest Region, Emerging Wisconsin Writers: An Anthology of Non-Fiction, and Willow River Writers Anthology. Tylor is prolific, having written forty-five short stories and one novel in the year 2019 alone.