By Sandra Arnold
My children find a finch’s nest blown out of a tree in a storm. Inside lies half a tiny egg on top of which sits a miniscule spider. I watch their faces as their father shows them how the nest is woven with hair from our dog and lined with fleece from our sheep and feathers from our hens and how it has been fastened to a twig with strands of straw. He shows them how to handle the nest without disturbing the spider. They watch, scarcely breathing.
Sandra Arnold’s flash fiction collection, Soul Etchings, was published in the UK in June.
By Jeff Wood
Dad and I are drinking beer, watching the storm clouds tumble like clowns over the Sangre de Cristos. Between us and the mountain shimmers a thin quilt of rain, falling halfway down the sky and disappearing in wisps as fragile as ghosts.
“It’s called virga,” dad says, “when the rain does that, evaporating on the way down, never reaching the field.”
”Dry year,” I say.
”Dry as bone,” he adds, clearing his throat.
The last few swallows of beer are warm, the glass bottle already dry to the touch. The hot wind blows in our faces. The distant thunder rolls.
“I write to remember, and understand.” – the author
By Natasha Cabot
The raccoon is watching, as I sit down to eat. Dark eyes sweep over me — sizing me up, as if it knows it could steal my meal. Now its paw is on the window and its nose presses against the glass — translucent puffs of air leaving temporary clouds.
It wants my food. The wheels inside its brain spin with fury, wondering if it could take me in a fight. It probably could. Its pink tongue leaves its black mouth, licking its lips. Then it disappears.
But I’m not safe. I hear scratching at my door, and the knob turns slowly.
Natasha Cabot writes because she “has millions of tiny worlds inside of her that will drive her into Jack Torrance-like realms if she doesn’t get it out of her.”
By Nayana Nair
When you see me walk toward my grief,
toward my past,
with my head sinking down,
with my hands full of my own pieces,
stop me dear.
Come to me.
Run to me.
Call out to me
even when you think I cannot hear.
Hold me back
even when you think I cannot be stopped.
that you will try.
Nayana is an engineer and technical writer who also moonlights as an amateur poet. She says, “Writing for me is a process of self realization and an effort to understand what is ever-elusive.”
By Maura Yzmore
After Mom turned the house into a shrine, with Father’s photos everywhere, his college graduation portrait spat on me from the windowsill.
Father and I never got along. I usurped his beloved, became a difficult child, an impossible teen.
I wished Mom would pick me over him, just once. But she saw his army portrait and his childhood one, on a trike, spit right into my eye, yet she remained mum. I left for good.
But I’m a spittin’ image of him. I look at myself in the mirror and Father’s saliva soaks my face. I imagine kisses – belated, compounded.
Maura Yzmore is a Midwest-based writer of short fiction. Her work has appeared in The Molotov Cocktail, Coffin Bell, Ellipsis, and elsewhere.
By Hayley Reese Chow
I smile and tell the doctors I’m fine—no more voices, no hallucinations.
But in the darkness, I settle into my frayed armchair and wait. I twist the wedding band around my liver-spotted finger as the silence of the empty house stuffs my ears. Finally, I feel her butterfly touch alight on my shoulder.
“Frank, won’t you come to bed?” she coos. My damp eyes close as I savor the sound.
They say it’s an old mind’s delusion, but she feels real to me. So, the shadows keep my secret while the world sleeps, and I sit with my ghosts.
“I work numbers during the day and spill sentences in the wee hours of the night. Words that sit in the soul only go sour, and writing is the cheapest therapy there is.” – the author
By Catherine Coundjeris
The mountain is
New to me,
In every light.
Rest on it
Cast into my room
Cold and shining
It stands by
Pushing back the sky.
Spirits like fireflies
Rise above it.
“I am fascinated by the pattern our lives make in the big picture of the universe in which we live. This poem is a tribute to my mother who recently passed away. She inspired me to write and enjoy poetry in all its many forms.” – the poet