Transplant

By John Grey

two poets
are spreading
pieces of paper

across a
coffee house table

swapping poems

carefully
seriously

like donating
body parts to each other

and hoping
they will take


“(I write because) it’s getting too painful not to.” – the writer

Picnic on a Precipice

By Susmita

The orderlies are spreading out blankets and sandwiches. The sun’s shining, and bees are buzzing in the yellow flowers on the sanitarium’s grounds. I’m the only sane one here. I had to feign madness to avoid going to prison for murdering Stan. But in the blazing summer sun, the orderlies’ identities seem to flicker off and on, and half the time, they strongly resemble people I’ve known. One of them looks a lot like Stan. Is it Stan, back to haunt me? I’ll get the last laugh. I’ve gotten hold of the janitor’s pocket knife. I’ll wait near the river.

––––––––––
“I write because I have to! I love storytelling, and playing with the English language.” – the writer

The Diplomat’s Husband

By John Adams

The first mishap was outside the Martian embassy in Paris. “Oopsy-daisy,” Mr. Burblegurblex said, smashing an errant limousine door into the consul general’s Mercedes with his seventh arm. “Lucky my wife’s the ambassador!”

Guinevere, his Earth escort, grimaced. “No bother, sir. Nothing some polish won’t fix.”

That afternoon, while sightseeing, another mishap. “Oopsy-daisy,” Mr. Burblegurblex said, splattering chocolate ganache across Whistler’s Mother.

Guinevere swallowed. “No bother, sir. The Louvre has sponges.”

Later, in Guinevere’s office, a final mishap. “Oopsy-daisy,” Mr. Burblegurblex said, making slapdash love to Guinevere’s ficus.

Guinevere’s jaw clenched. “No bother, sir. Another cigarette?”

Sometimes, Guinevere despised diplomacy.

––––––––––
John “writes stories about teenage detectives, pelican-people, robo-butlers, cursed cowboys, and bear nuns to amuse himself – and hopefully others, too.”

Lost

By John L. Malone

I met him on a winding path beneath the bridge
leading to the zoo. I had lost my girl. He had lost
the plot though I didn’t know it then.
We talked briefly beside the banisters as a blue
Kayak passed us by. Before his accomplishments —
his CV baggy with published poems — I was lost
for words. “Take care,” I remember him saying.
“He’s always had his head in the clouds,”
a fellow poet once said of him. Perhaps that’s why
a week later he climbed to the roof of a big city hotel
and stepped off.

––––––––––
“Perhaps that’s why we write : to exorcise our ghosts.” – the writer

Choose

By Chris Cooper

It starts with picking crayons, cartoons,
interests, and curiosities.
Choosing playmates and hobbies,
eventually a trade and vocation.
And then the choices aren’t so easy, resulting in consequences,
trauma, bliss, or both.
You’ll choose a partner or lose one, maybe.
You might make a decision that sends you to an early grave
or somewhere very much alive, halfway across the world.
You’ll grow complacent or incomplete,
nostalgic or hopeful;
you’ll die alone or with a loved one.
And it’s of uttermost importance,
making choices,
because it’s a series of choosing
that dictates the quality and quantity of life,
so choose.

––––––––––
“Writing, for me, is one of the most enjoyable existential distractions.” – the writer

Listen to the Hum

By John L. Malone

O
for the ears
of Gilberto Medina,
the 69 year old foreman
of the laundry room
at the Hotel Pierre
who could detect a problem with a machine
by a slight variation
in its hum;
if I could have listened to the hum
of my relationships
like that
I might still have been with my ex,
avoided an eight year trainwreck
moved further along in my profession
become a better poet
but as it is
what can you do?
I’ve always had a tin ear.

––––––––––
“I read about Gilberto in a recent New Yorker and it inspired this piece about listening.” – the writer

Now That It’s Winter

By Dianne Moritz

Nothing is the same now that it is winter.
We wear our woolen coats, weak defense
against the cold indifference, grow frail.
Promises can’t lure us from games of solitaire.
After years spent busy as ants, we seek
laziness like Aesop’s grasshoppers, warming
ourselves with tea and memories of sunlit
summer days, splashing in the surf, building
sand-castles, sipping lemonade. Wrapped
in towels, we resembled hermit crabs,
questioned where ice disappeared, what
made rain and clouds and babies.

Nothing is the same now that it is winter.
So, we sit in armchairs, waiting for the snow to melt …

––––––––––
“I write to come to terms with aging.” – the writer

Damage Assessment

By James Rumpel

I awake with a jolt. The peaceful meadow of my dreams replaced with fear and trepidation. I’ve made a huge mistake. I’d lost focus and forgotten to take the necessary precautions.

I honestly believe they think they are being helpful. But even if their goal is benevolent. it doesn’t diminish the havoc they always wreak.

I can’t keep my hands from shaking as I grab and move the mouse, rousing the computer from its slumber. I want to run but I know that would only delay the inevitable.

My heart sinks when the horrific message appears: “Update has been downloaded.”

––––––––––
James Rumpel is a retired high school math teacher who enjoys spending his free time trying to change some of the many odd ideas in his head into stories.

The God, the Baby and the Lichtenberg Figure

By Keely O’Shaughnessy

The electricity once shared with her husband has long since faded, yet she aches. Unsure if it’s the coldness of their bed or her empty womb, she creeps outside. The thrum of the storm promising something new.

In the fields, she finds his silhouette etched on the towering corn, Mjölnir held aloft. Surrendering herself, tributaries of purple perforate the sky. The anvil cloud above them swells.

She steadies her nerve and the lightning crackles. Lichtenberg figures plume across her skin. Body humming, she kneels in the dust and waits until he grants her rain heavy enough to nourish new life.

––––––––––
Keely O’Shaughnessy is compelled to write. When not writing, she likes discussing David Bowie with her cat. She’s Managing Editor at Flash Fiction Magazine.