Where I’m From

hands-600497_1920

By Nacklo

Tell me where I’m from.
Explain the culture that made me,
the genes that gave me a kufi instead of shades.
Never been into meadowlarks or glades
yet I appreciate the romantics.
Poets that paved the way.

You see no one is born a slave,
but restricted humanity breeds partiality to your own kind.
Be careful what truths you accept into your mind.
If you let assumptions lead,
you might be disgusted by what you find.
Perhaps it’s semantics,
logical gymnastics that bind,
but if anyone could be summed up in one word it would be Human.

Ninety-five

woman-441415_1920

By Rosemary Noble

“At least, I haven’t got dementia.” A smile lightens her clouded eyes. Rarely used hearing aids sit stubbornly by her side.

“When are you going away?” The missing teeth never fail to upset me.

“In two weeks,” I repeat.

“What?”

“I’ll go and make us a cup of tea.” The visiting hour stretches endlessly ahead. I’m grateful for a diversion.

I watch her drink. Long, tapering fingers clutching the teacup handle. In contrast her unusable, arthritic feet slumber in old lady slippers.

“When are you going away?”

“Two weeks.”

“I’ve no memory these days. At least I haven’t got dementia.”

Slow Song for a Quiet Cactus

cactus-2161126_1920

By Brian Dean Powers

My cactus (which is older than I am)
blooms (most years) late in December,
around the Winter solstice.
Yet this is the first week of Spring,
and the plant is still budding and blossoming.
I’d like to read meaning into the extraordinary.
I’d like to find in it a sign of better times.
—I know, Nature doesn’t work that way.
Omens are only in the eye of the beholder.
Plants live in a world of weather and water, sun and soil.
They have nothing to say about health, or romance, or democracy.
Satiny pink and red flowers:
complex, pendulous, unexpected.

Split Custody

broken-heart-2084321_1920

editors pick

By Rachel Doherty

Again, I’m left waiting. It’s the third time someone forgot to pick me up at school this month. Mom will blame Dad and Dad will blame Mom. I blame them both. Living half my life with one and half with another. In other words, all of my life without someone.

They say it will get better. They say they just have to work out a better schedule. Ever since the separation I am told just give it time and the kinks will get worked out. I know better. This is the new norm. I’m done waiting. I’ll just walk home.

These Lines

art-1868727_1920

By Alanna Pass

THESE LINES
from my pencil
anchor me to this earth
like a kite on a string.
These lines
form words on these pages
giving shape to my thoughts
running wild in my head.
These lines that form words
are lassoed into sentences, then paragraphs
a calm order brought from the spiraling chaos.
My soul is tamed
At least for a while
From the simple act of writing.

White Petals

flower-144285_1920

By Jade M. Wong

A chilly breeze plucked a white petal off the tulip sitting at the open window.

He loves me.

A second plucked petal floated with the breeze before coming to a rest on the damp soil.

He loves me not.

The flowerpot trembled as a stronger wind blew in, sending petals fluttering in the air.

He broke my heart.

A giant gust rushed in, flinging the flowerpot across the room, shattering the clay and showering the floor with soil.

So I’ll break everything he’s got.

The Man I Never Knew

station-22050_1920

By Kecia Sparlin

Keith drove me to the station. He carried my bags, bought my ticket, and waited with me for the bus.

“Give Emily my love.”

I’d stay a while with our daughter while I looked for a place of my own nearby.

“I’ll tell her.”

The bus rolled, and I turned to find Keith through the window. Twenty-five years of marriage, I thought I should wave goodbye to the heartless bastard even if he felt nothing.

The brakes shrieked. Passengers screamed. My head hit the seat.

“A man,” a woman shouted. “He ran in front of the bus!”