My father-in-law-to-be mowed our yard with his tractor, transforming the tangle into a park.
My son sobbed, He killed my favorite blackberry bush.
“But there are more,” I argued. “Look, they’re all over.” He wouldn’t face where I pointed.
I wish I’d said, “It’s painful to lose what you love.”
Lois Rosen’s poetry books are Pigeons (Traprock Books 2004) and Nice and Loud (Tebot Bach 2015). She has taught ESL in Oregon, New York, Ecuador, Colombia, Japan, and Costa Rica. Lois founded the Peregrine Poets of Salem, Oregon, and leads the Trillium Writers and the Institute for Continued Learning Writing Group at Willamette University. She won Willamette Writers’ 2016 Kay Snow First Prize in Fiction.
Rough and sharp, her voice is filled with demons. She hides beneath her tongue, a monster dancing before you. Angry and alert, her life is emergency. She rails and hurls insults – of course it’s all your fault.
You hold on tight and pray you’ll make it through her teenage years.
Eliza Mimski, a retired teacher, lives and writes in San Francisco, California. See more at elizamimski.wordpress.com.
Sometimes we treat ourselves to Starbucks coffee, sitting outside to people watch.
“You’re so inspiring, Mom, teaching me to fend for myself. My kids are driving me bananas! Growing up, you made it all look so easy.”
“It will get better,” she insists, smiling knowingly like the perfect Indian princess.
Lisa Miller wrote this story.
At the park, my daughter whines. Too hot, icky sunscreen, more juice. “Four-year-olds,” I say.
“Not mine,” another mom says, her face smug. “We parent like gravity.”
Her daughter screams, dangling by one foot off the monkey bars. “You’re fine!” the mom yells.
Never-whining girl faceplants into the woodchips.
Hadley Leggett is a writer and stay-at-home mom in Seattle, WA. When she’s not chasing after children, she’s working on the second draft of her first novel.
I don’t know what possessed me to do it.
I was tired, feverish, losing my voice. That night, I’d had the audacity to ask for help with the boys at bedtime.
His words stung; I was very angry.
But I was smiling as I swished his toothbrush in the toilet.
Michelle is an award-winning author and poet. She is a contributor in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Spirit of Canada, and was a quarter finalist in the 2017 ScreenCraft Short Screenplay contest. Her writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail (one of Canada’s National newspapers) and a number of local magazines and newspapers including The Briar Crier, Total Sports, Voice of the Farmer, Arts Talk and Focus 50 Plus. Her short story “Lightning Strikers” (also featured on Commuter Lit) was made into a series in the Focus 50 + Newspaper because fans asked for more! In 2018, Michelle won the Ontario Writers Conference Story Starter Contest in two categories. You can find her online at commuterlit.com, fiftywordstories.com, femininecollective.com, michelledinnick.com, and @MichelleDinnick.
Priestess in my untidy temple, I wait alone upon my adorable Oracle.
She bestows her gifts freely, but not easily. Her words, strewn casually, discarded carelessly, I gather and scrutinize, turning them over in my mind, looking for truths, profound and ineffable.
“Do you know what an elephant says?”
John D. Payne grew up in the American Midwest, watching the lightning flash outside his window and imagining himself as everything from a leaf in the wind to the god of thunder. Today, he lives with his wife and family in the shadow of the Organ Mountains in New Mexico, where he imagines that with enough concentration he might be able to rustle up a little cloud cover for some shade. For updates, new fiction, and exclusive content, visit patreon.com/johndpayne.
The monster under my bed whispers to me in the dark. Says I’m small, scared, so easy to pull down and rip apart and chew up until I’m nothing but two knuckle bones hanging from a string.
I listen, frozen, until I scream, run.
Mom sighs, says: “Ignore your brother.”
Catherine Ann Fox lives in Indiana with her husband, and enjoys writing all sorts of weird things. Logically, she knows there’s nothing under her bed but boxes, but one can never be too careful, can they?
The first day that I drove my new son and his exhausted mom home from the hospital, the freeway was thick with fast cars maneuvering around mega pick-ups with large tires and 40-ton semis, all in a mad dash to get somewhere.
How will I ever protect him?
Michael Borne lives in Texas, where large pick-up trucks seem to proliferate.
It’s morning. Early. You stir next to me. Tiny hairs on the back of your neck, patches of fine white silk. Undisturbed by your rustle.
You say I make you anxious. My hovering.
I inch closer. And feel your heat.
Inhaling, I can taste you.
And I wait.
Melissa lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband, Ken, dog Scout, and kitty, Mickey. She is an avid reader, writer, runner, and amateur actress.
“You have got to stop enabling him,” they told me. “He has to hit bottom.”
When he fell through, they said, “It wasn’t your fault.”
This must be what they mean by “The longest distance is between the head and the heart.”
A mother isn’t supposed to outlive her child.
Traci Mullins wrote this story.