By Patsy Collins
He staggered forward, through shifting sand. Reaching the building he’d seen from the last ridge, he barely had strength to knock on the weathered boards. His dry lips couldn’t form the word.
“Water?” a voice asked. He nodded.
“Still, or sparkling? Would you like ice and a twist of lemon?”
A mirage. Just a mirage.
We spend our days playing in the closet.
In our imagination it is a spaceship, a doorway to other worlds, a portal that can travel through time. In the darkness we act out our fantasies, constructing the characters of our narrative. We play with the treasures that surround us – costumes in boxes, paperwork on shelves, trinkets that remind us of our parents.
We play all day in the closet, waiting for the door to be unlocked once more.
By Jemma Morriss
Fred Soaper’s my fourth stop on Thursdays. At 94, having outlived “bloody everyone,” he sits alone in a greasy-armed chair, peering at the silent telly and sucking Werthers’ Originals. I wash up the Weetabix-encrusted bowl, count out pills and nuke his dinner while he boasts of wartime heroics and passes unfiltered comment on my tits and arse.
Today, while the macaroni cheese was in the microwave, I had a snoop around his bedroom. And you know what? It’s true about the wartime heroics. I just took a bit of cash though. You don’t think I’d sink that low do you?
By Julie Hockridge
Being with you is like riding a bike
I’ll never forget how to make you laugh
I’ll never lose the instinct to lean into you
I’ll never shake the reflex to say I love you when I mean goodbye
But I don’t want to ride a bike anymore
I want to learn to drive
And never look back
By Kelvin M. Knight
There was a time when he understood his thoughts, no matter how abstract, logical or emotional they were. He would savor these insights on how to be happy before filing them away in his mind for the rainiest day.
When the filing cabinet of his mind became a closet, he couldn’t recall. A closet overflowing with disassociations: this candle with no wick, that orange bone, these sharp feathers. Time danced as he sifted through them.
So much paraphernalia, until the grass grew indoors, taller than him. Swaying, he clamored for a lawnmower that no one could find.
By J. Hardy Carroll
This is not the New York our father spoke of. Many things he told us have proven to be true, but he was wrong about the city itself. He attributed his success here to hard work and what I will call moral authority, that feeling that he would not be denied.
I have brought both to my work here, but it has not helped. It is a cold place, uncaring. How can one man make an impression when there are thousands standing behind him, waiting to take his place?
Even the boldest action will not pierce the indifference.
By Jack Belck
There be for me
a dreadful complication
In my sad life sentence
you are neither
verb nor noun
but only punctuation