By Yuan Changming
To be a matter when there’s no question
Or not to be a question when nothing really matters
To sing with a frog squatting straight
On a lotus leaf in the Honghu Lake near Jingzhou
To recollect all the pasts, and mix them
Together like a glass of cocktail
To build a nest of meaning
Between two broken branches on Ygdrasil
To strive for deity
To come on and off line every other while
To compress consciousness into a file, and upload it
Onto a nomochip
To be dying, to die
Yuan Changming lives in Vancouver, where he co-edits Poetry Pacific; credits include ten Pushcart nominations, the 2018 Naji Naaman’s Literary Prize, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry, Best New Poems Online and many others worldwide.
By Kelley Morris
Through laughter and tears
Remembering when both occurred
With anticipation and hope
Not knowing what lies ahead
Remaining firmly planted
In this moment where life is lived
Kelley Morris is a public school elementary music teacher living in Oklahoma. She is passionate about the need for music education in public schools and the right of all students to receive a quality public education.
By Rachel Chen
After the funeral, begins the cliché.
After the funeral, she finally let herself cry, silent sobs wracking her body.
After the funeral, she stared absently at the flowers everyone had brought, already wilting in their vases. She contemplated getting up, but there was enough lasagna in the fridge to last weeks.
After the funeral, she cleaned out the closet. Tried to throw things away but ended up boxing it all. She labeled them meticulously, putting off moving them to the attic.
After the funeral, nothing changed. Anything that had did before people came and confirmed that he was gone.
Rachel Chen likes coffee, rain, and poetry (though not necessarily in that order).
By Sheree Shatsky
She holds my stick and bites crisp, her lips lingering my caramel and rolled peanuts. Her tongue swirls me in, tart and sweet and nutty. He salivates and leans in for a taste. She teases me back and nips me a trickle. He adjusts his boxers and she laughs, waving me in his face. He grabs my stick. She jerks me away. I lose my head and roll towards the Tilt-A-Whirl.
Sheree Shatsky was selected by the AWP Writer-to-Writer Mentorship Program as a Spring 2018 mentee for flash fiction. Her work has recently appeared in X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, KYSO Flash and mac(ro)mic with work forthcoming in Sleet Magazine, among others.
By Carol J Forrester
She’d stuff the teapots
with carrier bags.
Oranges, blues, yellow, and pinks,
sunsets wrapped in ceramics,
perched on window sills.
Later they came to pieces
in her hands.
Plastic wilting like dried up roses,
shuddering beneath soft touches
and wasting away to dust.
We took turns choosing,
turning them over,
shaking the remains loose
from the curved bones
of these empty shells.
I keep carrier bags
in my teapot.
Oranges, blues, yellow, and pinks,
sunsets wrapped in ceramic,
perched on a window sill.
Carol J Forrester “plays around with words too much to say for sure which are her favorites.”
By Helen Chambers
They saw the crossroads ahead at the same time.
Separate thoughts were interrupted by a beep.
He took the phone, she sighed heavily and the mechanized voice ordered them to follow the road. Forever, she thought. Retracing our steps won’t help.
-Show me the map, she said. Here, use it.
She swore, and spun the car round, spraying sand.
-We missed it, he said. Probably that junction we passed ages ago.
-You said turn left, she snapped. Ahead of them, smoky emptiness lit by the descending sun; behind them, years of resentment traveled in simmering silence.
Helen Chambers is a writer from North East Essex, UK, who dreams up her best ideas whilst out walking by the river. She won the Fish Short Story prize in 2018.
By Shane Kroetsch
I want to know what it means to live a life well lived.
I reach out for answers but like all things it’s subjective. The definition is based on our intentions and fears. My experience is not yours. Yours could never be mine.
You told me once it’s about being able to forgive or to fall in love after you’ve been hurt. I wish I had listened. I wish I could go back and stop myself from becoming cynical and isolated. I look at the faded picture in my hand and know it’s far too late for that now.
Shane’s first published work, a collection of short fiction, will be published in February 2019.