Put It Down

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By czvasser

I’d like to put it down
rest my arms
and shoulders
shrug

lay my head on
smooth stones
rather than rocks

ash lays deep

Small brass bells
on every hem and hair
opposite pearls
irritations of the mind
metastasized

My hands grip and strangle
beyond caress

I’d like to put it down
pick up
where we left off
I’d sing
You’d say
your song
my name

each bell tolls
heavier than before

let me put it down
pick you up
Toss you to the sun
catch you in my mouth
swallow all

Label

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By Connor Greenaway

The frayed afterglow of neon lights permeated through cheap drapes, diffusing colourful ambience into the gloomy motel room.

“What are you doing”? Karen asked, the red bead of her lit cigarette steady between her fingers.

“You know why I’m here,” Dan said, face fixed in a whiskey-leer that had become all too familiar.

She eyed him with a steely expression, not allowing her contempt overwhelm the situation. “I think I do,” she said. “You should leave.”

Dan’s face twisted. “Tease!” he spat viciously, and with the smile of a person whose careless enemy has undone themselves, Karen slammed the door.

The Professor

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By Susanne Swanson

“Do you know how many times you’ve said ‘okay’ in the last minute?” she blurted out.

(Twenty times by my reckoning. She was not the only one counting.) He stopped. Public speaking was not his forte, though economics may have been.

“Twenty-three times!” she announced.

“Sorry,’ he said. “Didn’t know I was doing it.”

The rest of us knew and thanked her. We were on edge waiting for the ‘okay’ and winced when it came. No sentence was immune.

“I’ll work on it, okay?” he promised. “But when it’s quiet you’ll know what I’m thinking, okay?”

Okaaaay! we shouted.

The Sketch Artist’s Rendition

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By E.F. Olsson

The news finally broke in interrupting the television show. I was disappointed – not from the show and the bad actors, but because they took so long.

The anchor anxiously warned that the police were on a city-wide lookout for a man, a potential serial killer, and everyone should stay indoors. They gave a description and broadcasted the sketch artist’s rendition from the lone witness.

Once they returned back to normal broadcasting, I went out onto the porch, lit a cigarette, stared up at the moon and smiled at how uncannily accurate that drawing was.

Perhaps I should grow a beard.

Equilibrium

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By katagene

strip me bare

and I’ll pretend I didn’t know where we were headed
this idiosyncrasy we tangled
somewhere between the frames of paper doors

if I could take from you
I’d steal you all
[not just so I could say this]
nurture all the rewrote skin
until it’s feign and flutter
: we know I have no soot

I reside only in moments
the fleeting shot where the world dyslexes
numbs my sense of motion
the flurry grounded

strung together by your words
they hold me close
fingertip

to fingertips

and I wonder whether you noticed
ever
I was gone

Goodbye Gram

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By Kerry E.B. Black

Ariel dreaded the M.I.U. and its decaying grandeur.

Gram rested in an over-sized chair before a silent television. The other residents’ smiles quavered, searching for recognition. They found none.

The nurse whispered a warning in Ariel’s ear. A tear slid over Ariel’s cheek as she stroked her Gram’s pigment-free hair.

Gram stirred and searched Ariel’s face. “Is it you?”

Her heart leapt. “Yes, Gram, it’s Ariel. I love you.”

Gram’s bony finger collected her tear. “I love you, too, dear.”

Ariel cried into her Gram’s lap, uncertain even at the end if her Gram really recognized her.

Timepiece

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By Brian Geiger

“And,” continued the lawyer, “the final statement: ‘To my son, Johnston, I give the timepiece that accompanied me from boyhood to death. Live by it as I did.’”

Johnston watched as the timepiece was passed slowly down the tableside—from his grandmother to his mother; from his mother to him. Her eyes watered as she pressed it into his palm. He kissed her, fighting tears himself, and motioned for his daughter’s hand. The mothers smiled as he pressed it into her palms. With a delicate laugh, she placed it on her round stomach. “An heirloom,” she mouthed. “It’s perfect.”