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 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.
By Tremaine L. Loadholt
he came home to an
his condo, a quiet, chaotic hole
that gripped him tightly.
the memories of Claudia
pained him throughout each day.
he could see her swollen eyes,
clogged with tears, then
her mouth drawing in from pain.
the chemo had dulled her
insides—crushed her soul.
her voice, now an echoing
everywhere he went.
By Julie Bloss Kelsey
It occurred to me
eventually, we all wake up
outside the Garden of Eden.
So many promises
unfulfilled and broken:
illness and death,
earthquakes and heartaches,
a myriad of misery
accompanies this human form.
It is our daily choice
to rise from the ashes
and accept our truth.
Go forth and be fruitful –
multiply our happiness
as best we can.
Friends are key –
ones you can text
a single swear word
in the dead of night
and your phone pings back
with emojis of love.
It is then we realize:
maybe a tiny piece of Eden
has followed us home.
By J. E. Kennedy
Old Mrs Bergman’s roses were the envy of the village. The bushes bloomed in a congregation of scarlet and coral, sun-flare yellow and delicious tangerine. They spilled over the walls and lit up the pavement with their scattered petals, like delicate wishes skipping along the breeze, destination unknown.
Mrs Bergman plucked and preened, watered and fed. She whispered sweet nothings. She told the roses all that she would have told him if he were here. And they bloomed.
At night she would take the fading telegram from the drawer: Missing in action.
And she waited to meet him again.
By All Natural Spirit
It’s all those little things you know,
that you tend to let fester so,
and now they seem to just grow and grow.
Beware, because you’ll find yourself in a raging fit,
where everything around seems a deep dark pit.
Choose what you let touch your soul,
and soon you’ll see that you’ve a new goal,
this is to accept, move forward
and to let all those little things go.