Because

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By Dr. Debbie Engelmann

Because, if we choose to call “an issue” a challenge rather than “crisis”;
Because, we can look at hardship as an opportunity rather than an obstacle;
Because, we can ask, “what did I learn that makes me better?”;
Because, we can take a breath and do the difficult things;
Because, our courage does not depend on the weather,
the economic forecast or a whim;
Because, we choose to know the most significant
elements of life are laughter, learning, and giving our finest effort to each endeavor;
Because of these things, each morning is a pleasure and every day a success.

         
Dr. Engelmann says, “As a writer and natural intuitive healer, my purpose is to guide others on their path of finding peace within themselves through my writing and sometimes through my practice.  To help ‘wounded souls’ open their hearts and shine their unique light upon this world.”

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The Bouquet

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By Dianne Moritz

When I left that last time,
You handed me a bouquet
Of roses, daisies, and
one lone bud of artichoke
Poking from its center.

After the flowers wilted,
I kept that artichoke
For many days
In a blue, ceramic bowl,
Its heart dried, brittle.

         
Dianne writes poetry and picture books for kids. Her poems have appeared in print and online journals including Earth’s Daughters, Long Island Quarterly, Adelaide Literary, The Haiku Foundation and Haiku Universe.

Reading A Diary

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By spilledwords

Sitting on a wooden shelf emblazoned “1994”; while at housekeeping she flips its dusty pages with moving lips yet inaudible she reads to her fill.

“Is that me – fat and shrew?”

“No, no,” he assured her.

“Then who is it?”

“It’s my Ex”

“And who’s this low-life slut you always meet at a street corner and have a romp with in the back of your Toyota SUV?”

“Oh, that’s the mother of my children”

“Don’t you remember how we got together?”

Curiosity has a nasty way of exposing pretensions. When you read someone else’s secret you get what you deserve.

Moving Advice From My Future Self

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By hawkelsonrainier

Pack your things in heavy-duty corrugated brown boxes. They hold up better in transit. Don’t go cheap on the truck rental either – you’ll want at least 865 cubic feet of cargo space. If you find a letter from an old flame in a dresser drawer, do not read it. The nostalgia will only distract you, and you’ll be compelled to look her up on social media. It will become apparent that she’s doing well for herself on the East Coast, and you’ll still be here with all these boxes to load as the last of the sunlight bleeds away.

         
Hawkelson Rainier dabbles in short fiction and poetry from time to time. His debut novel, The Lake Erie Lights, It is available at Kellan Publishing.

Belly of the Beast (or Answering Rupi Kaur’s Question)

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By Caitlin Pencarrick Hertzman

Doors slammed shut would be better than tear gas. At least you could howl your desperation at them, and know the echoes would hound them along their concrete tunnel. Echoes that would ring out at home in the voices of their own children. Perhaps when their own children cry they’ll forget it was for paw patrol, seeing instead the diapered boy with streaming eyes. The tiny, half-naked girl a mother threw over her shoulder before running as far and fast from the poison as she could. If I can’t even reach the door, where can I give my true name?

         
Caitlin wrote this drabble in response to a poem in Rupi Kaur’s collection, “The Sun and Her Flowers”, a day after being inundated with media reports that the USA lobbed tear gas across the border into Mexico. Caitlin lives on a gulf island off the coast of BC and writes primarily about issues of social justice.

Back in 5 mins.

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By hombrehompson

The sign on the shop door reads “Back in 5 mins.”

This is not unusual. Far from the city, life meanders without process. Post Office closures. Farm vehicles rumbling in the distance. Dog walkers on the riverbank. Church bells every other morning. Cars covered in blossom. Sirens alien and unwelcome.

Nothing stirs at this hour, in the land of perpetual Christmas morning, the air carbon neutral.

Back in 5 mins, it reads.

Today this is unusual.

She takes the key from her pocket, looking over her shoulder, wondering who has put the sign on her shop.

         
hombrehompson lives and works in Sheffield. His stories have appeared in Spelk Fiction, Ellipsis Zine and The Cabinet of Heed.

My Ears

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By bladhac64

I can’t help what they hear, my ears.
For example, the other day, I heard my partner when I got home early from work. His grunting always was distinctive. I always hated that part of him.
I never really had him down for this.
I closed the door gently and made my way upstairs.
The grunting continued. Then there were some words: ‘Oh, come on. You can do it.’ His voice again. I flinched.
He didn’t hear me creep into the bedroom.
‘Oh.’ It was all I could say when I found him screwing our new mirror to the wall.

          
Bladhac64 is a writer of fiction and poetry based in the UK. He has a PhD in literature and creative writing.