By Ali Grimshaw
(Originally published March 3, 2019)
the light turns red before we have left the intersection
leaving our tail end vulnerable
our brakes don’t work, spinning on black ice with
blurred windows of reaction
we must go slowly, inching through the fog in faith
blinded by dense thoughts
breakdowns leave us on the rainy roadside
forgiveness shows up like an invitation
an off-ramp never seen before
we just need to stay on the road
grip and steer
(Originally published December 9, 2015)
By Nick Dunster
The elderly tenant called me up to make a formal complaint, insisting that I visit him in person that cold, December morning.
“It’s that immoral young woman over there,” he explained, gesturing toward a window in an adjacent block. “Every day she wanders around in her apartment with no clothes on. It’s really not acceptable.”
I peered across. “Well,” I said, “I can’t see anything.”
“Ah no,” the tenant explained. “You can’t see anything from there. You’ll have to stand on this table and then lean your shoulder against this wall. Then you’ll have the right angle.”
(Originally published 12.22.16)
You will fall in love with words and writing, and in the process, you’ll hear this a lot: “Don’t write like a victim.”
Don’t listen! Don’t let anyone else tell you how to express your truth.
Someday soon you will come to realize that things will happen that are outside of your control, and some of those things will be painful. Yet, somehow you will make it through, I promise.
I’ve written this because I love you so much, and I don’t want you to ever forget that.
Your future self
(Originally published on 10.5.2015)
Have you noticed how I linger now when we embrace?
How I press my face into your blouse and inhale,
fight the urge to take a chunk of your flesh between my teeth,
let it dissolve on my tongue?
Because you are where I
You are what I
should be, and
We is how it
When I leave,
[perhaps you notice this, too]
I don’t look back—
I set my jaw, pocket my fists, and march,
eyes always forward.
Is that what you do, too?
By D.A. Donaldson
(Originally published July 12, 2018)
“It’s called The Drabble,” she said. “One hundred-word limit.”
He sneered, “And you call that being published?”
“It’s something. It’s a start. It’s better than your Letters to the Editor.”
“At least people read those!”
“Do they? When’s the last time you heard from a reader?”
“Gimme a break,” he swigged his beer, “I don’t see any book deals coming out of your online dribbles.”
“Drabbles,” she corrected. “And my last post got 147 likes. At least I know that someone is reading and enjoying what I write. And you know what else? You just inspired my next submission!”
Of course it’s magic,
the way the teacher coaxed
me off my easy chair,
where briared and booked,
to snooze away my twilight.
I find I’m curious again—
that odd peering into things,
I thought I’d
that first poem?
Like a first solo flight—
like Newton’s apples,
the catch of thin breath,
and the wonder
“Sometimes I find the right word. And then I soar.” – the writer
By Roy Gomez
(Originally published March 23, 2019.)
I would’ve bet a heart couldn’t ache any more. But I was wrong. There my boy sat, alone, waiting in that silent chapel for someone, anyone, to show up for his dad. Danny gripped flowers. Even wore my favorite tie. The knot was tight, off-center. That too was my fault. I wished I could cry. I was grateful to Bud, though. He was late – almost missed it all – but he came. As shovels of dirt thumped on my coffin, my old cellmate consoled him. Telling whoppers. That hurt worst … my boy feeling proud of his old man and all.
R. Gomez has been kicking words around for a while. He lives with his wife and pets on a hillside overlooking Medina Lake directly in the center of the Milky Way.
By Toni G.
(Originally published November 16, 2019.)
He wrapped his arms around me then
his cheek resting heavy on the top of my head
as he hugged me in a kind of embrace
that were he to let me go
my entire being would spill out onto the floor
like rice grains falling from a ripped plastic bag
That was when
his sinful son
was loved unconditionally
no matter what the vice president thought
about boys like me.
Toni G. writes because there’s just so much that needs to be said.
By Michelle Kinder
(Originally published April 4, 2019)
Stop. Be still. There is nothing for you to do.
The heartbeat is not earned
You are here. They are not.
It’s only right to bear the fruit of their lives and yours.
Be deserving of your unfailing heart
But the heartbeat is not earned
Strive. Achieve. Strive. Achieve.
A carousel of contribution
Persistent drumbeat you didn’t even know was there –
Child, rest, the heartbeat is not earned
Feel the sunshine – the breeze dancing on your face
Believe the bird songs – This is enough.
You are enough.
Michelle Kinder is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Public Voices Fellow, her writing has appeared in multiple outlets including TIME, Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, Vita Brevis, and The Huffington Post. She grew up in Guatemala and lives in Dallas with her husband, daughters and dogs.
By Holly Day
(Originally published November 21, 2017)
The parts of my childhood I can remember
are disjointed, unsuited for a house
or a school or a world
made of the stable things I read about
all the time in good books.
I got lost. I am, even now, certain that each new home
won’t be comfortable for long,
clinging to the hope
that we are suitable hosts for each other’s misery. I tell you
home is more than the back seat of a car.
Even leaves separate from trees
before curling up to die.
Holly Day’s poetry has appeared in Tampa Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, and Ugly Girl.