Grieve and mourn here and now,
while their deaths tick ever closer,
though still some years away.
Take a week or two.
Use vacation time or sick leave.
Do this right and you may begin
to love them both a little better
while it matters most.
George J. Searles teaches English and Latin at Mohawk Valley Community College. Widely published, he is a former Carnegie Foundation New York State “Professor of the Year.”
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.
He comes home late, breezes through and reminds me of that song. He smiles; this is how it’s done. How he’s always done it.
You are my trophy, that smile says. You are my possession.
I try to remember the day but I cannot. Time is endless. Back, forward. Now.
M. Blackmars is a writer in New England.
Giggly, smiling, innocent seductress peering out from the pages of school yearbooks. One foot on the hockey field, one in the library. The world spread out before her.
Years, babies, miscarriages, surgeries, illnesses, and life. My Mom. All grown up.
If only I had known the girl of the giggles.
Eileen Mardres is a retired teacher / social worker and sometimes writer of manuals and English test questions. She is now writing her way through her senior years with micro-fiction, poetry, and memoirs of life adventures.
We didn’t live there anymore. Hadn’t for a decade.
And yet, as flames licked at the windows and devoured the roof, as smoke belched into the twilight sky, I stood on the hose-wet lawn suffocating, asphyxiating on the fumes of my childhood while firefighters tried—failed—to stop its burning.
Angela Teagardner has been selling books for twenty years – not her own though, not yet. A bookseller for pay and a writer for passion, she’s been writing stories and poetry since middle school. She currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, daughter, and two extremely cranky cats.
Another day starts. You wake weary and late. Whip on a dress suit, hairspray, lippy, and name tag. No time for brushing your teeth. No matter. You never smile at the office anyway.
Clutching a tepid coffee, you’re out the door and running, racing towards the end of your life.
GB Burgess works from home now and smiles every day.
On what I didn’t know would be our last vacation, I wanted drinking and dancing; you, museums and cathedrals.
I craved fun and abandon, a pretense there was still joy between us.
But you embraced the passage of time, beheld the mold and the rot, unflinching, preparing to let go.
Maura Yzmore is a writer and science professor based in the American Midwest. See more on her website and follow her on Twitter at @MauraYzmore
As an adventurous toddler, I was a little unsteady. Dad held my hand, guided me, protected me from falling.
Fifty years later, he’s a little unsteady. I hold his hand, guide him, protect him from falling.
He smiles at me, a grown woman to others, but always his little girl.
Lisa Chambers is a Texas girl who always enjoys a good story.
We used to talk for hours about films and art, but now you just deliver monologues about your boring job, your arthritic toe, and the awful weather.
I’m shocked by how quickly you changed closeness into carefully manipulated distance.
Now you’ve unfriended me. I only wish I’d got there first.
Juliet is an adult education tutor, crafter, and conservation volunteer based in Edinburgh, UK. She blogs at craftygreenpoet.blogspot.com and tweets at @craftygreenpoet.
The baker cuts chunks from the amoeba dough. It’s sticky in his hands, protesting against separation onto the kneading board.
From the display of loaves, shiny like glazed pots, I choose the largest and the assistant swaddles it in tissue. I carry the loaf like a babe in my arms.
Gail Aldwin’s debut novel, The String Games, has been long-listed in The People’s Book Prize. If you’d like to support her to reach the next level, you can vote using this link. Voting is open until 15 October 2019.