the summer before we left home
was a stifling one;
a bucket of teeming snakes,
writhing for freedom.
she dropped into our muggy lives like the whisper of fall,
but she wasn’t anything less than a shout.
she was fire and Coca-Cola
and on her back she carried the whole universe,
wrapped neatly in red hair and restlessness.
that summer we screamed to the sky,
cursed its void,
and took oxygen for granted.
before we knew it
she was gone like the whisper of fall
leaving behind strands of red
and the echo of something
that could have been greater.
By Mark Tulin
My mother died, but don’t worry,
she’s all right, doing just fine,
spends her days in a wooden box
with me sleeping on the grass outside.
She’s calm. Doesn’t say a word,
doesn’t eat a thing, doesn’t move an inch—
Nothing seems to hurt, plenty of fresh air,
warm sunshine and cool nights.
She’s where she wants to be,
her son by her side
deep in the woods—
The perfect place to reside.
Ashes burnt from the past,
memories drifting in the sea,
no longer flesh and achy bones,
no longer cataracts and hammertoes.
Mark Tulin’s poetry chapbook is titled Magical Yogis.
By Lynn White
Do you dream in colour,
or are your dreams grey,
pale imitations of reality.
Are they flat almost featureless
in a blurred mist,
or are they stark
black and white?
Are your sleeping eyes prisms
to reflect the outside in,
in a spectrum of rainbowed glory?
Or are you afraid.?
Afraid to let it enter
Afraid to set it free
to make a kaleidoscope
of shades and tones
a new reality
in glorious colour.
Do you remember?
Lynn White’s poems have been appeared in anthologies and journals such as Vagabond Press, Apogee, Firewords, Indie Soleil, Pilcrow & Dagger and Snapdragon.
By Tina Stewart Brakebill
They were waiting. Her followers. The wedding was in an hour. They expected an update. Her finger hovered over the share button. Nearly 10,000 of them. Thanks to that viral video: Office film homage culminates in surprise proposal. She couldn’t say no. Did she want to? Then more and more followed. They wanted. And wanted. Did she want to say yes? She stopped thinking. She let them vote on the dress. Pick the cake. Choose the venue. Niagara Falls of course. Did she want to say no?
The water rushed.
She inhaled. Hit share. Exhaled.
By Jane Dougherty
Casa Mario had become their restaurant, ever since their first holiday together when he had proposed as they watched the sun set over Rome from the Gianicolo.
Years later, he still insisted, always gently with a smile, never giving her chance to say she wouldn’t mind trying somewhere different for a change.
She would take his hand, trying not to let her smile slip, trying not to look with too much longing at the noisy, bright, banal restaurant fronts they passed, none of which reminded her of the dreams tossed away like coins in a fountain.
By Natalie Mansfield
The sound of dripping water filled the whole building. Every drip amplified by the silence outside.
Droplets of water glided slowly through the air, eventually splattering in the growing puddle on the floor. Dirty water rolled into the cracks between the floor tiles, soaking through the rotten wood below and dripping into the space underneath the building.
A brown rat looked up just in time to see a droplet of the dirty water splash on to his face. The water seeped into his skin, infecting his tiny body with a virus that no human would live long enough to identify.
By John Grey
Crows have been by
to relieve us of my dead.
A possum was squashed.
A raccoon was mangled.
A sparrow dropped from the sky.
Don’t even want to think
about those carcasses being out there.
Luckily, crows have a taste for my discomfort.
John Grey’s poetry has recently appeared in The Homestead Review, Poetry East and Columbia Review. He has work upcoming in Harpur Palate, the Hawaii Review and Visions International.