Phantom spirit, ‘neath shroud of green
tangled ivy, wrapped in strangle-hold
around your form unseen.
What lurks hidden until the light
of fading day is by the earth consumed
to welcome spectres of the night?
Can your dark visage be so vile
that you should cower like some clandestine soul
condemned to haunt this vault with artful guile?
Furtive form, reveal yourself so
eyes might see the nature of your being,
or skulk forever with them that passed below.
By Erika Gotfredson
He painted the French doors black—the dark ingress stark against the white trim that extends throughout the home, covering the other doors, our doors, binding us.
It was Mom’s idea.
“To accentuate,” she’d said: the black-trimmed panes framing the shelves of memorabilia from his beloved alma mater and photos from when we were younger, easier; the cracked blinds; the computer whose echoes signaled taxes paid or civilizations destroyed.
And the desk chair whose leather always looked worn, whose wheels left indentations below.
“To ward off,” I’d thought.
He replaced that chair three times while I lived there.
Erika Gotfredson is studying at Wake Forest University in the fall in pursuit of an MA in English.
By Alarie Tennille
It feels like sticking
your right foot into your left shoe
or grabbing the wrong coat
from a rack, one that looks like yours,
but doesn’t reach across your shoulders.
Something’s off. Did you leave your head
in a dream? You shuffle
toward the bathroom, nervous
about what you’ll see in the mirror.
By Mike Jackson
“Just want to let you know kid, in case you were wondering, that last cake, the chocolate éclair, it’s got my name on it. Touch it and I’ll have your fingers off!”
“Mum, mum, Aunt Sally’s dog just said he’s gong to bite me. He says the chocolate éclair’s his.”
“Don’t be silly dear, little Henry can’t talk, he’s a dog. Now play nicely with him, there’s a darling. And don’t feed him any of your cake, Aunt Sally has got him on a strict diet.”
“Well kid, it’s up to you. What’s it going to be, cake or fingers?”
Bio: Mike Jackson is a retired primary school headteacher living in the UK. He now has time to enjoy writing – mainly flash fiction and short stories.
By Ron. Lavalette
He hears on the news that they’ve discovered a new shade of green.
He can’t remember, later, whether the newscaster said “discovered” or “invented,” but he wonders how such a thing is possible, and what such a color would be called.
Maybe it’s puked-up-broccoli-or-split-pea-soup green or first-shoots-of-early-tomato-plant green.
Maybe it’s last-gasp-of-the-tamarack-in-autumn green, or green-only-a-dying-parrot-can-see green.
He looks around him to see if he can spot it.
He hopes it’s black-rock-that-only-turns-green-in-the-early-April-rain green because, newly discovered or not, that’s always been his favorite.
Missing your tiny hands
looking for safety and protection
Trying to find meaning in this life.
Your eyes will never gaze
into the loving
that would beam out of mine
shielding you from strife.
Your smell will never
linger in my clothes
your voice will never chime
My heart aches
as all that remains
is this rhyme.
I lost you before I saw you
I was happy for each day
I knew that I never would
so goodbye is all I got to say.
“Did you cut your hair, Nikolas?”
“Well, I don’t like it.”
The teapot was lifted daintily, and poured in a similar fashion so as to not spill a drop.
“Hopefully this new man replacing you will know a thing or two about appearances.”
The china cup was handed over, and he brought it to his lips.
“This is bitter Nikolas. You messed this up, too.”
“No, sir. It is a different brew, made especially for you.”
A second sip entered between his pursed lips.
“What is in it, then?”
“Rat poison, sir.”