The Old Music

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By Philip Hess

Have you ever been to a bonfire
Of acoustic guitars, strings pinging
Like when your spokes went out?

Once I went to a piano burn,
Keys and pedals already stripped,
Just the hulking dark shells set ablaze.

Another time when I lit an old drum,
The taut leather across the top
Swelled way up before bursting with a bang.

And whenever I torch a pile of scores,
I think of broiling wienies in the smoky flames
On a conductor’s stand turned skillet.

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The Very Short Poem

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By John L. Malone

I’ve got a poem for you, a very short one, he promised with a garrulous grin, and then, in a long-winded introduction in which all the masters of brevity were cited from Basho to Lydia Davis, he proceeded to demolish all notions of shortness. The poem took ten seconds, the intro five minutes.

         
John Malone is a South Australian writer of short stories, flash fiction and poetry.

The Poet

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By Sandra Arnold

Walrus-like he slumps
in the shadows of the rocks
flickering fire
into a flaccid belly.
She doesn’t see the pelican chin
or hair too thin to be so evenly raven.
Only his eyes refracting the stars
and the moon’s reflection in fragments on the sea.
You fuck divinely he complains. So it must be the wine
or the cold sea wind that renders me unimpressive
for I was never impotent till my wife asked for a baby.
She weeps
then comb my hair with spiraled shells
and sweeten the night air with love songs
and the eloquence
of your verse.

         
Sandra Arnold’s third novel, Ash, (Mākaro Press, NZ) and her first flash fiction collection, Soul Etchings, (Retreat West Books, UK) will be out in 2019.

Uninvited Guests

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By Traci Mullins

Usually she managed to ignore them—their knocking, their scratching, even their pounding in the middle of the night. But today they clamored and clanged, creating such a ruckus that she had to open the door. She was stunned to see that Anger and Sorrow were only lost toddlers, pleading for safety. She made her heart into a cradle and her Feelings tumbled in, not so scary after all.

       
Traci Mullins’ short fiction has appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, Spelk, Dime Show Review, Ellipsis Zine, Palm-Sized Press, Fantasia Divinity, CafeLit, CommuterLit, and others. She was named a Highly Recommended Writer in the London Independent Story Prize competition.

A Watchful Companion

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By Will Shadbolt

I was with Jessica from the day she died. After that, I remained glued to her life, only in reverse. I watched her wrinkles fade away, her drinking problem vanish.

I saw her at the funerals of her two daughters and husband, and when she received the phone call about the car crash.

I observed this new trio carefully, their wide smiles.

The girls always asked, begged Jessica to spend less time at work.

I wanted to reach out, but I could only watch. “Spend more time with them, Jessica, please,” I whispered.

But I already knew the future.