The Very Short Poem

man-851319_1280

By John L. Malone

I’ve got a poem for you, a very short one, he promised with a garrulous grin, and then, in a long-winded introduction in which all the masters of brevity were cited from Basho to Lydia Davis, he proceeded to demolish all notions of shortness. The poem took ten seconds, the intro five minutes.

         
John Malone is a South Australian writer of short stories, flash fiction and poetry.

Advertisements

Shelter

tornado-572504_1280

By Matt Paul

‘Seek Immediate Cover,’ flashed the tornado update before the TV died. I screamed for Callie until my voice splintered. She wasn’t in the basement, under mommy’s bed, or hiding in the fairy-lighted crawlspace. I called my wife’s name, forgetting for a moment. Hailstones battered the front porch, and I spotted Callie in the street. Her mother’s red hair wind-socking, pink gel shoes peeling from the asphalt. As I bolted out the door she stretched her arms skywards, to the better place I’d said mommy had flown, her tiny hands clenching-releasing as if reaching for a hug.

The Envy of the Village

rugen-2511875_1280

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.

Disappearing is Harder Than You’d Think

balloon-1046693_1280

By Anonymous

First, you must shed the detritus of your life. The car will be the last worldly belonging to go: donate it. Toss your phone in the river. Photo albums, love letters, diaries: burn them. Cash out your bank account, stuff the cash into your couch cushions. Drag the couch to the curb, put a FREE sign on it. Flush the pills. Tie your wedding ring to a helium balloon, wait for a gust, and let go. Don’t watch. Swallow the hurt.

Now, walk away and don’t stop until you’re gone.

Lost Mother

lost-places-1772410_1280

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.

Grief

doorknob-686491_1280

By J. Hardy Carroll

After the funeral, I made arrangements for the bills to come to my office.

Every month, I paid her rent, her electric, even her phone.

At least once a day I would call her number and pretend she might answer it, hear her voice on the answering machine.

At first I left messages, but then I couldn’t.

I’d turned her apartment into a time capsule.

A shrine.

In September I got a letter that her lease was up.

Time to face it.

I needed to move on.

I stood at her door a long time, key poised in my hand.