By Dwayne Allen Thomas
We were like small-town teenagers during a blackout in the 1950s. Despite phones, text messages, email, Facebook, and FaceTime, I drove 40 minutes each way to her house. We sat in my car, talking for hours. Nearly every day. For five weeks.
It almost didn’t happen. That first night, I drove her home from an event. She said, “Nice meeting you” and “Goodbye.” Ten times in the next four hours. But she didn’t leave. At 6 o’clock, we went for breakfast. She reached for the check. I said, “I should marry you.” She still didn’t leave.
By Emma De Vito
The note was very clear. He only had to follow the step-by-step instructions and she would be safe.
He went straight to the bank, withdrawing the money. They had specified no police. So, he went to the drop off alone.
A blue container waited where they said it would be. Lifting the lid, he placed the bag carefully inside.
Three days later, he received the postcard:
Thank you for following instructions for once. You’ve been far more generous than you would have been if I had asked you for a divorce.
Your loving wife,
By Alexis Wright
If every thought of you
Was petal’d so daintily
A lustrous garden I’d have
And forever there I’d be
By Michael McGibney Whelan
It’s a word that shrugs its
Shoulders throws the whole shebang
Overboard yet doesn’t actually abandon ship
Tolerates a stupidity by dethroning it
Knows what doesn’t really matter
And so it carries pins to prick
Pompous balloons and
When told they don’t
Serve wry bread
Rolls its eyes
Michael Whelan is the author of the poetry collection After God. His work has appeared in The Best American Poetry Blog, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The Galway Review, and Little Patuxent Review among others.
By May Hem
I never cared much for statistics
until you were one of them.
Now I scan them for patterns
to find significant factors
and probabilities of effect size
but only that outlier
hints that you were ever there
and the effect measurable
only in the absence at my side.
As usual, my back is to the restaurant’s kitchen door, a lone diner always parked in some out-of-the-way location as though I might, if seated amongst them, infect the other patrons with the “friendless” virus. Yet, as I glance across the thick-carpeted room I’m sad for the couple, long married, who no longer speak, for the parents attempting to rein in a disruptive child or get a sullen teen to eat. I celebrate young lovers and blindly happy newlyweds. No, I do not dine alone. Life’s comedy and drama unfolds before me, and I am content.
By Benjamin Davis
Once upon a time a man named Ingvar sold his soul.
When his debt came due he asked the devil if he could buy back his soul.
The Devil said, “for 1,000,000 years of labor.”
Ingvar asked if he could transfer the debt.
The Devil said, “only to willing souls.”
And so IKEA was born.