Hills & Mountains

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By Lian Wang

when god piled up lumps of dirt and stone
did he think to himself
they would
host singing competitions
between baritone owls
and soprano sparrows
sport seasonal fashion
green and frills for spring/summer
orange and nude for fall/winter
shed dead skin
but revitalize
from a symbiotic relationship
with bamboo scaffolding
yet tall ones would be mountains
and short ones hills?

              
“The mountain outside my window distracts me from virtual classes.” – the writer

Wildflowers

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By Melissa Gill

If you find me

Growing wild

Please do not pluck me

Out of my element

Let me live

Among the wildflowers

Instead of leaving me to wilt

In the corner of your room

              
“I write to slay the monsters in my head, and to remember my grandmother’s smile on my birthday.” – the writer

The Moon

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By John Young

Jimmy, in his hospice bed, dreams, and knows that he dreams, always the same dream. He floats, as it seems, beneath a brilliant moon, above a desert, vast and white as snow. And then he is a grain of sand, one of billions, each sentient and quite alone.

A breeze caresses the desert’s skin, and in a moment leaps into a storm. But in his darkness, he is self-contained, and safe!

He wakes then sleeps again. Again, in his dream, he floats above the desert, vast and white. Now self-contained, complete, secure, he gently wills himself towards the brilliant moon.

              
“I like spooky stuff, the boundary areas between ‘normal’ and odd experience. I write to express what ‘bubbles up’ from … well, I don’t know where.” – the writer

Toxic Relationship

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By Zoe Sparque

As a baby, Toby never cried. “Something is wrong with him,” said his grandmother. “Just an easy child,” his mother responded.

As a toddler, Toby didn’t speak or walk. “Something is wrong with him,” said his grandmother. “He’s just a quiet kid,” his mother replied.

His grandmother knew better than to seek a fight with her daughter-in-law. All she wanted – all she had ever wanted – was to protect her grandson from all evil and danger.

She quickly opened the bottle and stirred a spoonful of medicine into his food. Certainly, one day soon, it would finally drive out the demons.

              
“I write because it allows me to live a thousand lives and travel to a million different places. Words are awesome like that.” – the writer

Summer Trip

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By Norbert Kovacs

In the gas guzzler, we went a thousand miles. Smog clouded the cities. We had fast food every meal, wrappers out the window. At all the forests, garbage dotted the trail side.

We bought lots of chintzy beach gear, ready for the sunny sand. The news kept saying the heat would break records. Then hurricanes sent us running for cover.

With plenty of money in hand, we weren’t thinking of cost. But we paid, didn’t we?

              
Norbert Kovacs believes that learning truth should feel like dreaming, then waking up.

Amaryllis

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By Jim Bates

They grow tall in a pot on a sunny window sill. Four soft pink flowers tinged with swirls of red set against a winter background of white. He touches the petals wistfully, thinking of spring and working in the garden. Mood uplifted, he puts on his warm clothes, heads outside and tramps through knee high drifts to the shed. He pulls it open against an icy wind and gazes longingly at his gardening tools. Just then he notices more snow beginning to fall and sadly reaches for his shovel. Spring’s just around the corner, he tells himself. But not today.

              
“I love to try and express how the natural world can have a positive impact on people.” – the writer

Hey! Where You Going?

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By John L. Malone

“Hey! Where you going? Don’t you know we’re in lockdown?”

“You might be. I’m not.”

He’s at the door. It’s open a little to let in the breeze and he’s about to make his grand exit. I must admit. Full moon, galaxy of stars. It is pretty enticing.

“Why should you have all the fun?” I say.

“‘Cause I’m a cat. Cats just wanna have fun.”

              
John is having plenty of fun writing miniature stories about his cat, Rosco.