Penelope

By Robina Rader

Penelope was here again yesterday;
we had a lovely time –
Penelope and Penelope.

We reminisced about our childhood,
school days, and old friends
who never knew we were us.

There was another Penelope;
she disappeared after our husband died.
Poor Penelope. She was crushed.

We had to let her go, but
Penelope and I miss her sometimes;
we were thinking of her yesterday.

Now there are noises in the hall;
it’s time to go to lunch.
We shall pull myself together
and try to remember we must be I
for now.

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“I write to express facets of personality not easy to articulate in other ways.” – the writer

Disappearing is Harder Than You’d Think

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By Anonymous

First, you must shed the detritus of your life. The car will be the last worldly belonging to go: Donate it. Toss your phone in the river. Photo albums, love letters, diaries: burn them. Cash out your bank account, stuff the cash into your couch cushions. Drag the couch to the curb, put a FREE sign on it. Flush the pills. Tie your wedding ring to a helium balloon, wait for a gust, and let go. Don’t watch. Swallow the hurt.

Now, walk away and don’t stop until you’re gone.

Heart Strings

By Arinda duPont

Pull the reins a little on my heart strings.
Wind my love song back into key.

A little strain is not a bad thing.
A loose cord won’t play the melody.

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“I write for the same reason people smoke cigarettes. It’s not because it’s healthy. It might be because I think it looks cool. Mostly it’s because it’s cathartic, like exhaling with full lungs.” – the writer

The People-Watcher

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By Tara

I’m what they call a “people-watcher.”
Certainly, an ironic statement, because I’m actually blind.
Contrary to expectations, however, I still see things dear to me.
Everywhere I go, I’ll see expressions, emotions, and the ambiance of the environment
Surrounding me like a wool blanket: the auspicious warmth of smiles and bubbly giggles.
and indeed, it’s a fleeting recollection; a beautiful moment.
(Oh, how it feels like home …)
Often times, I’ll sit on my lonely wheelchair on what seems like the edge of the world,
admiring the comfort and joy from a gentle distance.

         
Tara M. Pattilachan is a student journalist and poet based in Tampa, Florida. Her work has received accolades from organizations such as PTA Reflections, Scholastic Arts and Writing, and has been published in newspapers such as the Huffington Post. She writes with the intention of leaving the audience with a strong visual scene with her words.

a word means its past and more

By Zeyneb Kaya

we burden words as we speak them,
with the weight of a million more
they carry like stones in every curve of their pockets
and they feel heavy in the strings of my throat

that’s why I whisper them, so they shout into the
sky and echo a million more
this word is not mine. I have only placed
a single pebble of my own

but I feel afraid. of
words. they deceive.
I bleed and bruise, invisible scars of unsaid
please, I ask him, be gentle, careful.
these Words are powerful.

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Zeyneb Kaya is a student who sees writing as a way to challenge our views and share new perspectives and stories.

Lifelike

By Jim Latham

“Let’s try a puzzle.” Langley’s counselor tipped a box. Brightly colored pieces flooded the tabletop. Langley smoked. Puzzle pieces had smooth edges and joined up. Not lifelike. Not like Langley’s life, anyway.

But. His counselor looked so hopeful. So earnest.

Langley dropped his butt into the stale coffee at the bottom of his Styrofoam cup. What the hell. It’d get him out of talking. One by one, he turned the pieces facedown. The pieces would take ages to fit together, and the picture would be drab and barren with cracks all through it.

Not lifelike, but getting closer. Like Langley.

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“I write because things go sideways if I don’t. Plus it’s fun.” – the writer

Darkness

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By G. Allen Wilbanks

“Why are you afraid of the dark? Darkness is the natural state of everything. It’s the light that’s unnatural. When God said, ‘Let there be light,’ he was imposing an artificial reality on a universe that had previously only know known total darkness and emptiness, and every force in nature is currently trying to drive us back to that original point of neutrality. Everything around us is temporary, and at some point in the future we will all return to that initial state of nothingness. It’s inevitable.”

“Maybe,” his wife admitted. “But, I still want you to replace the lightbulb.”

           
G. Allen Wilbanks is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and has published over 60 short stories in Deep Magic, Daily Science Fiction, The Talisman, and other venues. He has published two story collections, and the novel, When Darkness Comes.

Physics Lecture

By David Henson

Let’s take trees, for example.

Books are written on trees.
Music is played on trees.

Trees die hard and shake the earth
when they fall.

Yet what are they primarily?

Look at a tree.

Is it bark, branches, a trunk?
Cellulose, chlorophyll and water?
Molecules and atoms?
Protons, neutrons and whirling
electrons?
No.

Like everything,
trees are primarily space. Empty
space.

The same kind of space so empty
the stars can’t fill it.
A vacuum that can’t even carry the sound
of a scream.

That’s what trees are.

Tomorrow we’ll take a closer look at birds.

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“I write for the fun and to fulfill a need to create.” – the writer

Delayed Resuscitation

By Adrianna Sanchez-Lopez

When I was a girl, you told me to wear layers—to avoid getting wet—because when the cold enters, it refuses to leave. After you died, I forgot.

Grief, like a bird, pecked my heart ajar. The coldness of your absence crept into me.

Now bitter winds live in me, whistling hollow memories. My blood aches, lost in this shuddering body maze. With each breath, icicles form—jagged points stabbing my tongue, trachea, lungs. Marbled chrysalides encage my lashes, my dreams: frozen, forever stillness.

On sleepless nights, I whisper: You can’t scream. This cold will shatter you like ice.

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“I write because I believe in the transformative power of story.” – the writer

Civil (re)Engineering

By Ron. Lavalette

We should hand everybody a mirror,
tell them to have a good long look,
ask if that’s who they really want to be.

We should offer everybody a rifle,
see who’s interested in having one,
and hand them the mirror again instead.

We should give everyone a photo album
with photos of everyone else’s family.

We should build a planetary dinner table.

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Ron. Lavalette writes to overcome his stir-craziness up on the Canadian border in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. His debut chapbook, Fallen Away (Finishing Line Press), is out now.