By Sophie Flynn
I liked it when you said I had an ‘artistic temperament’ because it covered it all: tears in the carpark, not eating for days, refusal to choose paint for the walls because I just couldn’t look at the colors anymore; and instead made those days when I couldn’t cope, when I pictured cutting out my tongue and ripping off my skin, seem part of something greater to create something worthwhile, rather than days indulging myself. My artistic temperament was such a lovely phrase for what was really: unpleasant, unnerving, unbearable or, as you finally put it as you left, unlovable.
The flowers arrive without a message or recipient.
The husband accuses his wife of having an affair. In turn she accuses him of having the same. This soon escalates into a vicious argument, with years of unsaid truths hurled at each other in unison.
He wants a divorce. She wants a divorce.
As if prompted by this, their daughter enters the room, woken by the argument. She wanders past them both and finds a card on the floor.
These flowers are for next door, she says, before getting a glass of milk and returning back to her bed.
By Maura Yzmore
When I met Jenny, she worked as a waitress at the diner where I often ate after my shift.
The day I fell in love with her, she gave me the middle finger—the whole middle finger, with the telltale writer’s callus and both knuckles. It floated alongside chunks of chicken in the creamy soup that she served me.
I was more curious than appalled. “How does one get the whole middle finger chopped off?”
“By flipping off a ninja,” said Jenny, deadpan. At that moment, I knew she was the one.
The settlement I received paid for our honeymoon.
Bio: Maura’s short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Fiction Pool, Storyland, Microfiction Monday Magazine, The Dirty Pool, and 50-Word Stories.
By James Blevins
“We’re here for only a short while,” Amy said out loud, sketch pad on lap, pencil poised over blank page. “Then it’s back to the spider.”
Her breath, a frosty, cloudy haze, emitted percussively as she spoke. “But as far as I know,” she continued with added emphasis, pencil dancing across her sketch pad, “spiders don’t write poetry.”
When she was finished, she looked down at what she had drawn, then back to its source, satisfied. Above her, the sun was young, far below its apex in the sky.
“Maybe they don’t need words,” she mused. “Not like we do.”
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.
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
I want to be hugged
by cinnabars and ceruleans
blended on rag
with indigo and heliotrope
except when radiated
a shaving of once was
Proud scribble of sunday
the purple of saturday
melting all over you
I want to be a crayon today
By Robert Krenzel
This Lady has lost her way.
She is an immigrant: a French girl, originally.
She welcomed others, lighting the way to a better life.
She watched, twice, with pride as the boys sailed off to rescue her homeland. She counted them back; too many never returned.
She wept as she watched the towers burn and fall. They were immigrants, like her. How could they?
She grew angry and suspicious.
Lately she has lost her way. The light has gone dark. She no longer welcomes the wretched refuse.
Only for a time. Maybe just for a few years. Maybe just four.
Bio: Bob Krenzel writes historical fiction in his spare time. A 24-year Army veteran, he served in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan.