February 9th, her birthday: deep in Winter’s bitter swell. Sledging with friends, then home to Mum’s hot chocolate and hugs.
Now grandchildren tiptoe to her door with homemade cake, footsteps wary over unforgiving frost. She pulls them indoors, warms small hands in hers.
Over seventy birthdays, she’s never felt cold.
Jo Withers writes short fiction from her home in South Australia where February is anything but cold.
The Balloonman presents the poodle, smiles and begins another. The child lifts it overhead; refracted color splashes his face.
Autumn engulfs the horizon—the carnival sags. The Balloonman squints as summer burns itself out.
The swan completed, he bows to one last girl, sighs, and turns toward evening and home.
Melody Leming-Wilson lives and teaches in Portland, Oregon. She writes mostly poetry, but is afraid the 50 word story might get in the way of that.
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.
It was the color of fall, when the gilded sun rises warmly in the southeast corner of the sky. It was the time of beautiful death, when all the trees catch fire, awaiting the spiteful winter chill to put them out.
I didn’t always hate the fall. Not before her.
Andrew is an unpublished fiction writer in the Washington area. In his spare time he enjoys pens, pads, word processors and pudding.
She seduces me each September—
warm summer kisses
tasting of frost and smoke;
her voluptuous dance,
flamboyant raiment discarded
piece by piece,
revealing more and more of bewitching nakedness.
But it always ends the same—icy tears each December.
Still, I know I
Tony Jasnowski teaches English at Bellevue University. Can there be any doubt which season is his favorite?
Surprised by chill after weeks of scorchers, she holds her bag of groceries to her chest, purchases for a solitary meal.
Two girls skip by, flaunting autumn exuberance, ignoring homework, ignoring regimen and rigor. She alone grieves sweaty embraces, August smells, dreams expired as moderate temperatures and cooler heads return.
Nancy Ludmerer lives in New York City with her husband Malcolm and cat Sandy, named after the storm he fled (right into Nancy’s arms) and Sandy Koufax. Her story “First Night” appears in Best Small Fictions 2016.
Fields of vivid yellow; enthusiastic sunflowers tell me stories of love, life, and laughter as I lay amongst them.
Imposing, tall, stretching, kissing the sun.
I rearrange them in their vases. Together we look out the kitchen window, sighing.
They’re wilting now, but I count the days ’til next year.
Michael is currently writing bios for up-and-coming artists in the U.K.
At first, she felt free. She’d bask in the summer evening radiance, watching the kaleidoscope of stars filling the night sky with their regular patterns. Like lights from faraway friends, watching over her.
But in winter, the pavement was cold. Clouds blocked out the stars. Friends seemed very far away.
Jo Withers hopes that everyone has friends nearby. You can follow Jo on Twitter.
Cheryl sits on her porch, waiting. She knows that when she sees the first lightning bug, glowing as it rises from the grass, summer will have truly arrived.
Her paranoid neighbor says they won’t come anymore—climate change.
Cheryl isn’t a believer. She shivers in the cold August night, waiting.
Candace Kubinec posts her stories at storydribbles.wordpress.com and her poetry at rhymeswithbug.com.
He flits between branches, his jaunty, upturned tail bobbing. I’ve seen him before, but never this close, and never singing fit to burst his tiny heart.
His head twitches left and right. Perhaps he’s just scared, but I need to believe it’s because he’s caught a sideways glimpse of spring.
Tamsin can’t sing or flit, but she’s definitely on the lookout for the end of winter.