The Helper

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By Phil Town

“I can help you.”
“I don’t need help.”
“You look like you do.”
“I’ll get over it.”
“I can help you forget.”
“Maybe I don’t want to forget.”
“You don’t want to forget what’s making you miserable?!”
“Maybe not. Maybe it’s time to just face it down …”
“I can help you do that, too.”
“… on my own.”
“It’ll be easier with me, you know?”
“I know, but … You have been a good friend, it’s true.”
“Been?!”
“Sorry, yes. I’m pouring you down the sink.”
“Nooo!”

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Night

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By Joan McNerney

Slides under door jambs,
pouring through windows,
painting my room black.

This evening was spent
watching old movies.
Song-and-dance actors
looping through gay,
improbable plots.

All my plates are put away,
cups hanging on hooks.
The towel is still moist.

I blow out cinnamon candles,
wafting the air with spice.
Listening now to heat
sputtering and dogs
barking at winds.

Winter pummels skeletal
trees as the moon’s big
yellow eye haunts shadows.

     
Joan McNerney’s poetry has appeared in Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations.

Blessed Be the Wind

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By Candace Freilich

The pyre wouldn’t light. It was too early in the season for mistral winds, but they blew out the torches all the same.

” ‘Tis God’s work,” the minister declared after the third failed attempt. “Let her go.”

The villagers freed the witch, apologizing for their false accusations.

She smiled in relief, and hurried home. Mother would be happy the weather charm worked, even though this wasn’t how they’d planned to test it.

The Answers

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By Ali Grimshaw

They call me adult.
I have learned to apologize, drive a car
mastered spell check to avoid embarrassment.
Yet my days of fevered creation
and re-imagining myself, remain inadequate.
Knowing I know less with each ring of curiosity around my trunk.
Like paint peeling off an old house I am more than one color.
I live as a revolving door to exit and enter,
each time with a different view.
Growing up I believed adults lived in sureness.
Shocked disappointment crashed down
when the truth broke through
with no answers in its hands for me.
Why didn’t mom tell me?

 

 

Morning

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By D. Bankson

Martha visits me every Sunday, as she has for seven years. Today is that anniversary.
Rain is engraving rivulets in her makeup, scarring her face, a break in a mask so well constructed. She carries flowers, but they droop with her bearing.

She huddles her shoulders into her jacket. I see her green eyes buried there. Too much fabric, too much mask.

She knows where I stay. The walkway is slick, and she can’t see through the tears. But her footing is solid, experienced.

“Hello, Dad,” she whispers as she places primrose on my grave.

     
David Bankson’s work can be found in concis, (b)oink, Anti-Heroin Chic, Artifact Nouveau, Riggwelter Press, Antinarrative Journal, among others.

My Camera Never Lies

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By Kelvin M. Knight

Where my camera looks, I look, into the tangle-wood of other’s lives. Snapping their misfortunes, photoshopping their mistrust, airbrushing beauty into their moments of ugliness – this is my life.

My camera never lies, only me. What would I sell if I turned my lens around? This pocketful of patience. This flask of cold forgiveness. This plastic bag of humility scrunched around my fist.

These things aren’t newsworthy, yet I wrestle with my camera everyday. One day I’ll flash its light into my soul. One day I’ll discover who I really am.

But not today. Today the rent is due.