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.
By Jan Kaneen
It’s not been ‘left,’ it’s deliberate. There’s no point in ‘making’ something you’re going to unmake the minute you use it. And you can’t ‘stain’ black sheets. Black’s an absence of colour. You can’t ‘stain’ something that’s not there. And ‘caked-on’s’ downright melodramatic. It’s just a bit spattered that’s all – dried-on at most. And mould’s the opposite of ‘filth’ actually, specially on bread. In the olden-days, they used to make it into moultices or poultices or something, to treat infection. And anyway, Mother, you shouldn’t even be in my bedroom, it’s my space, my mould, my ‘mess,’ not yours.
By David Cook
“Where the hell have you been?” she yelled. “You walked out of that door months ago and I haven’t seen you since. No one has! You could have been dead in a ditch for all I knew. And now you waltz back in here and expect me to take you back like nothing’s happened? Is that what you think? I’ve been going out of my mind with worry!”
“Meow,” he replied, and rubbed himself against her ankles.
David Cook’s stories have appeared in the National Flash Fiction Anthology, Spelk, Ghost Parachute and more.