By J. Hardy Carroll
After the funeral, I made arrangements for the bills to come to my office.
Every month, I paid her rent, her electric, even her phone.
At least once a day I would call her number and pretend she might answer it, hear her voice on the answering machine.
At first I left messages, but then I couldn’t.
I’d turned her apartment into a time capsule.
In September I got a letter that her lease was up.
Time to face it.
I needed to move on.
I stood at her door a long time, key poised in my hand.
By John Davis Frain
She started in Vaudeville. “Disappearing nightly,” she’d say. Cinema arrived, and absent the beauty of a Mae West, she departed.
A Red Cross nurse, she was ribboned for saving thirty-two Yanks one night in Nazi-occupied France. “They were soldiers, and young.”
She returned home after the 91st Evacuation Hospital. Raised four successful daughters. “My most delightful job.”
Making ends meet proved slippery until she invented bottle caps that preserved beverages. “Pepsi purchased the patent.”
Today, her 100th birthday, her youngest, Elizabeth, said, “Mama, you should write your memoir.”
“Oh, dear,” she blushed. “I’d have nothing to say.”
By Pat Brunson
The worst part is the forgetting,
If I remember correctly.
At the Dollar Tree, for eight dollars I buy eight pairs of reading glasses.
I see old faces, my mind races through the Rolodex, “Hi, Cindy.”
My keys are always in the last place I look.
The button on my car key shows me where I parked.
Waiting for my prescription at CVS and being told Walgreens is across the street.
Called my daughter about losing my cell phone, she said, “Daddy, look in your hand.”
But my socks always match. I bought 22 pairs, all black.
By Sean D. Layton
You took my hand, and we slipped away from Karen’s party like we’d known each other forever.
Later, I scribbled down my number, then a lingering, predawn kiss at your front door.
All week I lived on memories. Brown, pliable curves and wine-dark nipples stiffening under the brush of my fingertips. My phone sat stubbornly silent.
On Wednesday, your dusty pickup pulled up to Karen’s.
Streaming sunlight turned your sundress to gossamer revealing the silhouette of your secrets. Your surprised smile was frayed, your eyes anxiously pleading as some guy touched the small of your back, then shook my hand.
Under an organic coverlet
tangled roots channel through clay.
Each threadlike finger, a plunge
into dark, moist, fecund paradise.
The shape is defined, turned, hoed.
A spade and a savage push cuts through.
The oily scrape of metal on soil
churns up segmented, sinuous miners
the color of waggling tongues.
And leggy parasites, their sultry wind
through fathomage interrupted.
The bed, sedulously furrowed and sown
by a calloused and grime-lined hand
Silence, as unseen feasts, a million quickenings
and a thousand microscopic fornications explode within.
By Phyllis A. Still
My eyes crave light. I’m floating alone—waiting for the light they say will come. I loved him. He said the cylinder was full. His was when he left. The darkness is silent and peaceful.
By Erica Plouffe Lazure
booked flights to Florida, walked the dog, drank leftover party nips, spent three hours online shopping at the café sipping Mexican hot chocolates, wore knitted hats in the bathtub, turned our oven on to broil, wore mittens to bed, emptied the fridge making stew, went to the mall and bought nothing, called the super again, learned the workmen weren’t getting overtime, put another cape on the dog and gave him a blanket, ran the hairdryer over our hands his paws, ate ice cream to warm up, made love under eight layers of covers, invented new words: fridigious, ice-is, colden daze.
Erica Plouffe Lazure’s flash fiction collection, Heard Around Town, won the 2014 Arcadia Fiction Chapbook Prize. Another fiction chapbook, Dry Dock, was published by Red Bird Press in Spring 2015. Her fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, the Greensboro Review, Meridian, American Short Fiction, The Journal of Micro Literature, Fiction Southeast, Flash: the International Short-Short Story Magazine (UK), Southeast Review, and elsewhere.