Mountains

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By Conor Kilbride

The mountains have grown
Alongside humanity
They are growing still
Like civilization
This is how it will go
One never-ending show
The peak will breach the sky
We have passed that
Now we can fly
And when humans fall
The mountains will be there
Still growing

        
Conor Kilbride writes “to pretend I am a more serious person than I am in reality.”

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Questions Google Can’t Answer

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By Frances Tate

Why does the attractiveness of the weather inversely correlate to my plans for the day?

Pondering this as I drive to work in glorious sunshine, I discover another mystery.

Why am I paying more attention to the vehicle in front of me than its driver is? She’s perfecting the stereotype and the even distribution of her foundation.

The red traffic light takes on a different meaning as a mascara wand appears. Waves. She rolls forward, crosses the lane marker. Again.

I’m tempted to follow her to work. Attach a bright red ‘L’ plate to her vehicle. Warning: Lipstick under application.

             
Tell us why you write:
“There’s an option?!” – the writer

Mosquitoes

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By Dianne Moritz

Wasting no time for seduction,
they move, make the hit. ZZT!

They need you like air, blood,
and your skin wells red, blotchy …

fierce itch a constant reminder.
Some men are like mosquitoes.

You’re walking down the street
on a sunny day, eating ice cream:

chocolate almond, sure, your favorite.
A guy whistles, calls out, “Hey,

Babe! Love your ass!” As if you care.
Then you’re standing at the water cooler

and a co-worker steps too close, cops
a feel. Or perhaps you’re relaxing, reading

The Rubaiyat at 3 AM when the phone rings.
Heavy breathing shatters the silence …

           
Dianne Moritz writes to make sense of life and love.

Impostor Syndrome

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By John Adams

“Impostor Syndrome.” Tommy’s voice cracks on that last syllable. “Thinking you don’t deserve good things you’ve earned.” He doesn’t look at me, hasn’t looked at me since our friends left. “I… have it too, Natalie, sometimes.” He fumbles with the zipper on his letterman’s jacket.

I want to hold his hand.

I want him to hold my hand.

But he doesn’t.

“I tripped,” I say. “During cheerleader tryouts. I still got on the squad, and—”

He looks at me.

He smiles.

He takes my hand.

And within my synthetic human-suit, underneath my oozing true skin, my seven scaled hearts flutter.

         
John Adams lives in the Kansas City area, where he produces comedy shows and writes to amuse himself.

Remnant

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By Serena Jayne

Inside the secondhand copy of Pride and Prejudice, I find a tattered love note promising a glass of wine and some precious uninterrupted reading time. Had the couple’s relationship flourished or turned brittle and musty like the battered book?

An ambiguous ending serves as an invitation to fill in the gaps. I imagine they birthed a daughter with a passion for reading. Perhaps the girl preferred tales of wizards and wands rather than regency romance. Unaware of the keepsake inside, she donated the novel.

Satisfied, I fall into Lizzy and Darcy’s world, hoping to conjure my own happy ever after.

          
Serena Jayne has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Her short fiction and poetry has appeared in Crack the Spine, Oddville Press, 101 Fiction, and Switchblade Magazine, among others.

Jelly Bellies

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By Amanda Saint

They called me pudding as dad had put a bowl on my head and cut around it.

Well, that’s what I told myself. I knew it was really because of my roly-poly belly, filled with ready meals and doughy white toast.

So I let my hair grow wild, grew tons of veggies in the garden. Sold them at farmer’s markets then started a veg box delivery business.

I see them now at the foodbank. They’ve got jelly bellies and a lost look in their eyes at how life turned out. I give them free veg. Call them love.

         
Amanda Saint is the author of two novels, As If I Were A River, and Remember Tomorrow. Her short fiction collection, Flashes Of Colour, is coming in 2020.

Lessons Dad Taught My Brother About Being a Real Man

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By Nancy Geibe Wasson

Like a treasure map to nowhere, my brother’s blotchy, tear-stained face gave all the clues. Dad said not to cry while getting belt spanked. Real men don’t cry when hurt. Crying is for girls. Years later, my brother learned how to stay stone-faced while Dad kicks him in the ribs and hammers him with his fist. While nursing my brother’s wounds, I admitted to him what Dad did to me late at night. My brother didn’t shed a single tear when he pulled the trigger. I cried when they took my brother to jail. Lucky I’m not a man.

           
Nancy Geibe Wasson is a writer from Northwest Arkansas. She enjoys books, cats, and tea, but is otherwise unpredictable in a good way.