Slow Song for a Quiet Cactus

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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.

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Split Custody

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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

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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

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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

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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!”

I Want to be a Crayon Today

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By czvasser

I want to be a crayon today
an instrument of imagination
intermediary to ideas
incendiary to action

A familiar of the hand
the color of thought
iridescent when I want to be
waxy smooth

I want to be hugged
by cinnabars and ceruleans
blended on rag
with indigo and heliotrope
always firm
except when radiated
easily sharpened
a shaving of once was

Proud scribble of sunday
the purple of saturday
melting all over you
I want to be a crayon today

Possible Inner Monologue of the Woman Behind Me in Line at Wholefoods Today

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By Todd!!!

*Deep breath*
Oooohhhhhmmmmm

I love waiting in line because it feels like working without having to actually work.

*Deep breath*
Oooohhhhhmmmmm

 … I give my inner child permission to just set my monkey brain aside while I’m waiting in line.

*Deep breath*
Oooohhhhhmmmmm

Actually who am I kidding? I hate lines as much as the next guy.

*Deep breath*
Oooohhhhhmmmmm

In fact, screw that guy! (with his one-two-three-four … thirteen-, fourteen-fucking items in the Express Lane!)

*Deep breath*
Oooohhhhhmmmmm …