Waves of Regret

By Michael Degnan

The ferry arrived 20 minutes ago, but I still feel the swell of the ocean. How strange the way we can preserve sensations in our bodies.

It’s the same with you. I still feel you pressed against me, swaying during our first dance. I still feel the lace of your white dress. That was 20 years ago.

I look at the sky. The sunset’s red streaks are like the lipstick marks you found on my collar a couple of years later. I arrive alone at my rental and sit down, regret still pulsing through my body like a violent ocean.


Michael Degnan lives in Peaks Island, Maine. He writes because “it helps him think.”

Self Care

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By Laurie Janey

She lies in bed, 3.30 in the afternoon, spots of sunshine creeping across the curtains, and she thinks about death. She’s not scared of being dead. To be dead is to not be. It’s the dying bit that’s a hassle. She’s not into pain, not into fear, not into leaving a mess behind for someone else to deal with. And besides, she hasn’t finished watching that TV series about the serial killer and the kinky cop. She gets out of bed, 4.10 in the afternoon, crisis averted, and smears herself in an overpriced anti-aging skin serum, from hairline to nipples.

              
“I write because my brain won’t shut up.” – the writer

When I’m Alone, I’m Afraid

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By James McEwan

I can’t remember when I first noticed the little bird, a wheatear. When the telephone rang it appeared at the window and when I hung up the handset, I would drop some seeds or crumbs outside.

A bond developed between us and mutual expectation. The bird became my companion, and I was its source of titbits. We were creatures of habit, and the little bird became a great comfort to me in my moments of deep anxiety.

The bird will migrate soon, what will I do? I wished the calls would stop, or at least whoever it was, would speak.

             
“I write to free the souls trapped in the cavity of my imagination.” – the writer

A Tree Reborn

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By Tanzelle

Circular cracks show on its map
Its rivers do not flow, only dried up sap

Mountains rise up and its structure still sure
However, the dying giant has no cure

Grey, empty, hollowed out
Water it cannot go without

It gains new life on a lonely night
when by lightning strike it is set alight

Its ashes nourish
The soil it will encourage

Seedlings sprout from its ground
The extent of life is ever profound

              
Tanzelle writes “for creative expression.”

Golden Years Gone Wrong

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By Dianne Moritz

How I yearned for the golden years as I hit retirement age. Days with plenty of free time, relaxing by the beach, traveling to far-flung, exotic places: Tahiti, Peru, Paris. No work. No worries.

In reality many friends died, suffered dementia, or moved away. Then, suddenly came a global pandemic no one could have fathomed in their worst nightmares. Life changed in an instant.

Now, we huddle in our homes, wipe everything down, wash our hands raw, wear masks, and pray. Yet, still, people die.

The future of this brave, new world looks bleak.

            
“I sometimes write to help lessen my anxiety.” – the writer

Dancing Girl

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By Arinda duPont

If you stop the dancing girl, and stare into her eyes
you can see they are red and puffy from crying all the time.

For all her whirls and twirls,
and carefree spins
there are tremors in her hands.

If you can watch her long enough you might realize
that she is not dancing,
but trembling, silently weeping, spinning out of control

             
“I write because I don’t know who I am without writing.” – the writer

Her Misery

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By Andaritian

When he says he feels the happiest these days, she can only smile. She doesn’t congratulate him, nor say she’s happy too. Because she envies him. She’s always wondering how it feels when someone’s genuinely happy. She can only dream about it. But when someone so close to her says they’re happy, she suddenly thinks she’s left behind. Everyone she knows has found happiness, why can’t she? Why does she always think she’s trapped in misery? Why can’t she move on? And in the end, she can only cry. Silently. Without, no one knows.

             
Andaritian writes because “it keeps her sane in the crazy world that seems to always want to drag her down.”

On Identities

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By deenprogress

Labels,
From the moment of birth…
“It’s a Girl!”
Stay with us,
As we grow….
First-Born, Example-to-her-sibs.
Shaping us,
While malleable….
Smart; socially awkward; Bookworm.
Into Self.

We acquire some of our own…
Muslimah*, Munaqqabah*.
In this life of Meaning,
Relationships define us….
Mother, Daughter, Wife, Sister, Friend.

Yet, still, are those
Others seek to attach….
Generations-, Cultures-, Decades-thick
Truth, with her identical twin; Not-so-true
Who I should be.

These labels we wear, give, inherit, bequeath
Willingly, Unwittingly, Grudging, Proud
Burying the Human, Unique.

I peel; weary, wary
Affirming this, Rejecting that
Hoping, someday, to find; amidst it all;
Me.

             
“I write to tackle life from an African Muslim Woman’s perspective.” – the writer

The Waterfall

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By Bibiana Krall

“I have never danced in the rain,” she said.

Her words transported me back in time to my childhood.

Woods protected our farm, a fragrant mystery of spruce, maple and oak.

The rain gutter on the barn perched so high, hawks nested there.

Providence was a hole in the eavestrough the size of a man’s fist.

Orange-clove shampoo with my sister in tow made for summer adventure.

Gravity created a waterfall, mischievous hands deflected its force.

Washing our hair in freezing-cold rain, we became land-locked mermaids.

Lightning eventually forced us indoors.

Boldly embracing life, we never stopped yearning for more.

              
“I write because I have something to say. I write because for years I was told my voice didn’t matter. I write for freedom and I write for hope. I am a late bloomer and went back to school a few years ago. I studied hard and read more books than I ever had in my life.” – the writer

She

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By Bruce Levine

She floated on air
As if suspended
By hot-air balloons
A spectacular ride

Her spirit as free
As seagulls ascending
Or eagles go soaring
Through mountain top clouds

Her laughter as joyous
As chocolate fudge sundaes
And time everlasting
In perpetual spring

The days rushing forward
And weeks disappearing
Time standing still
Yet gone in a flash

Like spun sugar melting
And reindeer descending
On rooftops at Christmas
A Santa Claus laugh

Today and tomorrow
Forever remember
The time shared together
A favorite repast

                  
Bruce Levine, a 2019 Pushcart Prize Poetry Nominee, has spent his life as a writer of fiction and poetry and as a music and theater professional. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife.