Hell-bent on repentance
I dug up my past
– a stack of confessions
in black ink and metaphors –
true and false,
unstructured and incomplete.
Forgotten in the pages was
a decade-old whispered poem
to a future lover,
the writer of words and dreamer of dreams
who could make me believe
his theories of history and heaven
I wanted to write him poetry while the world burned
through its tribulation.
But you only like poems that rhyme.
By Sarah Ann
He walks away with a swagger. I want him to pause, but he marches into his future.
I don’t know how we got here. We were determined to win where others failed. Death and separation took many. We were never smug offering consolation, knowing we wouldn’t follow the same path. But we got lost.
We have flattened the grass with circular arguments; his need for adventure, my promises to change.
If you love somebody, set them free. So I have. I will get used to cooking for one and a half-empty fridge. And I’ll survive, longing for his return.
By Ellen Grace
When we took away her bottles, we weren’t sure that we would ever see her again. She ran out the door and screamed that she was being tortured, that someone should call the police.
When no one came, she blamed that on us too.
I wonder what she’s doing now, in that empty house full of possessions. She’s probably on the floor, in the cellar, with the one bottle we couldn’t find. The one she kept hidden in the wall. She’s probably pouring the last drop on her tongue and wishing there was more. She always did have a problem.
The bus shelter at the end of our street grinds its teeth at night.
Sometimes I sit with it, hold its hand, listen to its tale
of drunks and suicides,
of lycanthropes baying at the full moon,
of lost Lotharios weeping in their fists
I talk to it too about my problems
Of the jig-saw days when pieces don’t fit
Of the times when your heart races
Like a wildebeest on the veldt
But latches onto nothing.
After a while we both settle
and I head off home
beneath a lopsided moon.
You start with what you remember. The never-quite-sure-what’s-going-through-her-head laugh; the swollen feet squeezed into heels, too pink, too high for all but your crazily rebellious teenager; the lavender-infused hugs; the steak and kidney pies on Sunday afternoons; the “by gum, you’re a bonny lass,” – her final voicemail played over and over.
Your memories morph into a black and white collage of time snaking back to an era before you existed; a mirage of other people’s memories, preserved now in photos of unsmiling bonnet-clad ladies and bushy-bearded gents gazing vaguely into a future that now stares back at you.
Mary Thompson’s work has been long-listed, shortlisted and placed in publications and competitions including Flash 500, Fish Short Memoir, Writing Magazine, Retreat West, Reflex Fiction and the Cabinet of Heed.
By Deb Whittam
down the slide
around the bend
the empty swing
I’m a princess
you’re my serf
find me riches –
fill my royal purse
what? that’s not fun?
I know a circus
that’s fun for everyone
clowns … no acrobats
on the monkey bars we fly
flying high but now
from an airplane
Oh no … it’s beginning to rain
a flood, the waters rise
quick, the boat
I’m sure we’ll survive
look ahead, whales
all the creatures there be
no …. its pirates
We’re on the high seas
By Elianna Mayer
He stands still,
Holding branches of hopes
And dreams and sun-kissed leaves.
There’s music, There’s wind.
They play. And he laughs
For above is the sky
But the joy shaded his lonely soul
They spoke to him in ways but words.
And he was in his prime.
Until the magic left his bones,
And the leaves left his side.
Death took toll inevitably,
Painfully, one at a time.
They fell before his rooted trunk,
And now he only could bow down.
Wounded soul, he arched with grasping hands.
Sky, give me back what was once mine.