Survival Mandate: Two Haikus

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By Cap’n 575

i.
Only to survive
a nanosecond longer
mountain battles sea.

ii.
Someday (not today)
We all become the mountain
We are all the sea

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Mother and the Minister

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By Michael Bloor

Sixty years ago, it was still commonplace for ministers in rural Scotland to call on all their parishioners, welcome or not. Mother would seat him at the kitchen table and put the kettle on, while I listened at the door as they discussed father’s behavior. After one particularly disreputable episode, the visitor concluded:

“Weel mistress, you’re nay marrit. So my advice wud be just to put him richt oot the door.”

My mother pondered this a moment, “Aye, minister, I’ll do as ye say. Can I ask a favour though? Would ye collect his pay packet for me every Saturday?”
      
Michael Bloor’s work has appeared in Breve New Stories, Ink Sweat & Tears, Fictive Dream, Platform for Prose, Flash Fiction Press, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Fiction Pool, Scribble, Occulum, The Copperfield Review, and Dodging the Rain.

Misplacement

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By Paul Beckman

I misplaced my keys again, Annie. Have you seen them?
Not in a while, William, Not in quite a while.
I checked to see if I left them in the car and the car’s missing. Did we lend it out?
No, William. You sold the car.
When?
A little while ago.
How little?
Two plus years.
You’d think I’d remember something so important as selling my car.
You’d think.
I’d think what?
You think you should wash up for dinner?
I do and let’s take a walk or go for a ride afterwards.
I’d prefer a walk.
Okay, me too.

      
Paul Beckman’s stories have appeared in Connotation Press, Spelk, Raleigh Review, among many others. His new collection, KissKiss, is due out March 18th

In the End

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By Donna L. Greenwood

“When they drop the bomb, there’ll be nothing left worth surviving for,” he said.

And then they dropped the bomb.

I couldn’t bring myself to gobble up the pills or drink the vodka he had provided. He had no such trouble. Halfway through the vodka, he told me a joke about a cross-eyed teacher who couldn’t control her pupils. I didn’t laugh; I just watched him die. I breathed and drank water. His flesh began to turn to moisture.

I climbed out of the hole he had dug, surveyed the scorched earth and went in search of other betrayed women

Cheap Thrill

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By Lily O’Brien

I love a bad book. A really boring, disgusting and poorly written book. I love the small print and the anorexic pages. I love the bloated physique of an unattractive prospect. Its bubbled over title sticks out like new money. It’s ostentatious. It’s crass. It’s hopeless.

I don’t even pay for the bad books anymore. My coat pockets are shredded for the sole purpose of secrecy. In they go. One by one they fill the lining. A plump dispassion for the coveted, I prefer the ugly. Mormon romance novels. Cookbooks for teen obesity.
These, I can afford to hate.

Lost Mother

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By Hannah England

He was four when she lost him, tomorrow he will be eight.

Her own mother had died, a loss she cushioned with increasing alcohol before being dismissed from work, excused from her marriage, and barred from motherhood. Without the strength to claw her way back, he has been without her for half his life. He probably has no memories of her, just fleeting glimpses of the shadows she cast during his babyhood.

As she darts down dark alleyways, she hopes his dad is wrapping birthday presents in colored paper. She doesn’t know what she would give him, if she could.
      
Hannah England has written for The Guardian, the Same journal, SpillWords Press and Our Queer Stories.