Flow

By Fiona H. Evans

In the days of bursting ripeness,
my breasts aching,
wondering how it might feel
to be swollen with child,
I yearn to surrender solitude
and drown in love,
devoted and selfless.

Then waking normal again
in the calm after the storm,
I’m relieved to be
slim and whole and vibrant,
my dreams of motherhood
and hormonal regrets
all washed away
in a red torrent of
wasted blood.

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“I write to make sense of my feelings, and I hope to help others do so, too.” – the poet

It’s Only Teenage Wasteland

By T.L. Tomljanovic

Eleanor reads the invitation again. She hasn’t seen Tom since high school. Spinning her wedding band around her finger, she checks yes to the RSVP, underlining it twice, heart thudding in her chest.

The ceremony is brief. At the reception, Eleanor’s husband taps his smartwatch with a look. She swallows a sigh and scans the crowd. Tom sees her first; their eyes lock. Pulled together by a hundred what-ifs, they embrace goodbye. The years melt away to when they were teenagers before she chose someone else, and everything was possible. They hold tight for several seconds longer than they should.

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“As a kid if I was in the middle of a good book, I would fake being sick to stay home from school and finish it. I aspire to write stories that compel readers to finish them.” – the writer

Dear Me

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By Anonymous

(Originally published 12.22.16)

You will fall in love with words and writing, and in the process, you’ll hear this a lot: “Don’t write like a victim.”

Don’t listen! Don’t let anyone else tell you how to express your truth.

Someday soon you will come to realize that things will happen that are outside of your control, and some of those things will be painful. Yet, somehow you will make it through, I promise.

I’ve written this because I love you so much, and I don’t want you to ever forget that.

Love,

Your future self

Grave Aches and Cramps

By Dianne Moritz

I do not like this getting older,
With pain in back, and, neck and shoulder.

There’s arthritis in my knees.
I’m losing short term memories.

Things cardiac are out of whack.
I am a hypochondriac.

I do not like this getting older,
My bones are brittler. I’m inches littler.

What good is being wise as Zeus,
When looking like Old Mother Goose??!!

Like Dylan Thomas, I will rage,
And not go gently into old age.

Still … I laugh, I love, I live.
Aging sure beats the alternative!

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“Sometimes I write just for fun, but still dream of collecting my drabble in a book.” – the poet

How It Should Be

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By Anonymous

(Originally published on 10.5.2015)

Have you noticed how I linger now when we embrace?
How I press my face into your blouse and inhale,
fight the urge to take a chunk of your flesh between my teeth,
let it dissolve on my tongue?

Because you are where I
should be.

You are what I
should be, and

We is how it
should be.

When I leave,
[perhaps you notice this, too]
I don’t look back—
Won’t.
I set my jaw, pocket my fists, and march,
eyes always forward.

Is that what you do, too?

Submerged

By Josephine Rudolf

Another rejection, another sleepless night, another dagger in my heart. I stumble and fall; I don’t feel anything.
My vision ripped from me I plunge into darkness; I don’t feel scared.
I whimper, screaming inaudible; I feel numb.
Something appears in the pit of my stomach; it crawls up my throat; I feel a sensation.
As I begin to taste it, I beg my throat to keep it; I feel a tingle.
The words burning into my tongue, I cry out for you; I feel fear.
I know you won’t come; now I feel everything.

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“I write so I can breathe.” – the writer

The Fear in These Times

By Kate Mahony

My seat on the bus faces the back. A man with red and green facial tattoos, wearing a black singlet and no mask stands up. He speaks loudly as if in conversation with someone on a non-existent phone. He bends down behind a young woman in the seat in front of him. Ear buds in, she’s unaware.

He coughs over her shoulder — deliberately, dramatically — into his sleeve, near his elbow. Then he does it again, phlegm rattling. He stands up and begins to move towards the front door. No one speaks. People look away. All is quiet on the bus.

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“I write to make sense of life and sometimes my own reaction to life.” – the writer

TenderPulse.com

By James Van Pelt

Dating apps abound for everyone. FarmersD connects farmers. Bristlr for bearded men and those who love them. Sizzl joins bacon fans.

I meet her where we agreed on the app, at Cliff Notes, a bar overlooking the bay. She reads the room with predator eyes before sitting, before facing me, and I tremble.

Whose fetish do we serve?

Can she love and not devour me? That is my question.

Am I attractive as a sentient being, or a warm meal? That is hers. Can she resist?

Vampires exist, and I’m afraid, but I touch her hand and we order wine.

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“I write because I love how language works, and how the best writing somehow manages to be greater than the sum of its parts.” – the writer

The Drive

By J. Iner Souster

In a box there sits a letter from an old friend; a few words that say: I am fine, but you are not and will never be again. You need me to be gone.

That day: the last day, we went for a nice drive and laughed like maniacs. You were always good at that. Laughing is what made us close, but then life happened, and your laughter turned into sobs and tears. It wasn’t funny anymore.

On this page, the only thing that remains is the word I, which holds an unbreakable promise.

To my love, I am sorry.

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“I write to keep the wolves at bay.” – the writer

Notes from Underwater

By Alan Altany

The human mind
in perennial discontent
never fully appeased,
agitated with intensity,
perpetually stretching
itself beyond recognition
for the divine-designing
Mind of God; restless
too of heart, pained by
the sensuous world’s
fast-fading beauty
tempered with ambiguity
at every memory’s turning
towards the mysteriously
magnetic still point
pointing due north
through a crucible
of sublime melancholy
and exaltation, the crux
of soul and heart rising.

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The poet is a college professor of religious studies.