By Annie Soilleux
He flings his wedding ring out of the window as he drives off. It rattles down the roof of the shed and lands in the leaf litter on top of her compost bin.
The worms do their work, casting orange pith and lettuce slime into rich, crumbling humus. She turns the heap, changes the locks, cuts her hair. Buys a new bed.
Come spring, she’s pressing well-rotted compost into terracotta pots when her fingers stumble on something unforgiving. She digs it out and turns it over, examines it a moment before tucking it away. She’ll put it on Ebay later.
“I live in Berkshire and write to try and entertain.” – the writer
By Don Edwards
I see the young ones manically circling the yard,
Mop haired with freckles like constellations
Endless energy, expansive bones
Finding a path to make familiar.
Somehow a gift they came and I am responsible again
When I thought it was over and I had done my part
Now looking forward to the quiet of the rest.
I should have known no quiet for this weary one.
Little princes irreplaceable
Like priceless gems hidden forever
Within the earth now at last arrived
Are here to be treasured, protected, and admired.
I don’t assume tomorrow’s favor
I have seen so many yesterdays speed by.
“I write in order to remain outside of the deep dark hole that offers itself daily. Like everyone else.” – the writer
By Sharon Waller Knutson
She squints as sunshine slants
and her five-year-old sails
through the room, drags
her out of bed and up the hill,
her bad breath blowing
in the air, hands trembling.
Her nightgown is plastered
to her blossoming bosom
and baby bump. The flu,
she explains. Last week
It was Covid. Her son’s
teacher doesn’t buy it,
gives her the same
disapproving evil eye
as her baby daddy,
his family, hers and her pastor
who preaches about sinners
like her, but all she wants
is to crawl under the covers
with her lover, Jim Beam.
Sharon Waller Knutson is a retired journalist living in Arizona where she now writes poetry because writing is like breathing fresh air.
By Andrew Atkinson
Dear Mr. Spencer,
We are replying to your drabble request of earlier today. It sounds very much as if you do indeed have an unexploded bomb in your garden. The description indicates a V62 model; several have been unearthed in recent years as building work has intensified. To de-activate the device please follow the following instructions very carefully. Unscrew the outer shell and put to one side. You will see three coloured wires. It is essential that you cut these in a specific order. Failure to do so could risk personal injury. Carefully separate the wires and then cut the…
“I write just for the fun of it.” – the writer
By James Burt
It was the ultimate hipster joint, a pop-up restaurant in a burning building. Fans kept the worst of the smoke from our table, but it was hot, and we heard occasional crashes as parts of the roof collapsed. We giggled nervously while doing our best to enjoy overcooked, overpriced steaks. For dessert we had ice-cream. It was cooling and we gulped it down, desperate for relief from the heat. My friend wanted to take a photo for Instagram, but the plastic on her phone had melted. “No one will believe us back home,” I said, as my hair caught fire.
“I write because it’s a socially acceptable way of telling lies.” – the writer
By John L. Malone
The way you get worked up towards the end.
I can hear you, the noise of your coming, three rooms away.
Are such outbursts necessary?
Why, even the walls vibrate,
Now you’re really going.
Hope you don’t bust anything.
You’re not that young anymore, remember.
There’s no doubt you give it your all.
Do you enjoy it?
Sounds as if you do.
Now you’ve gone quiet, can I come in?
Yes ! The clothes are done.
One hour, twenty. Wish I had your stamina.
You must be exhausted.
“I get my material from the every day: an inexhaustible supply.” – the writer
By Andy Lind
Yeah, I was there the day The Tuxedo Man died. We were at the same bar together. He was there to impress some girl. I was there to drink. She asked me for help. He got mad when he found out she was talking to me. He threw down some dough, stormed out of the bar, and made his way to the bridge. I followed him to see where he was going. As he was leaning over and throwing up into the water, he fell. Maybe I pushed him, maybe I didn’t. Even if I did, nobody will ever know.
Andy Lind enjoys sharing his love of noir and hard-boiled mysteries. He writes to keep the genre alive.
By Paul Rousseau
Room 6, Intensive Care Unit
A rattle of tired breath passes your lips. Your heart shudders and stops. I glance at your face; your eyes are still, your pupils as big as dinner plates. My hands plunge to your chest and pump and push. Your body twitches and trembles as I struggle to resuscitate.
A door slides open. A young boy reaches for my hands, hands that were just on your chest. “Is momma okay?”
One week later I learn of a viral pandemic. You were the first to die in this small southern town.
“I write to tell the stories of those who suffer with the betrayal of their bodies.” – the writer
By Sandy Wilson
It is a place of memories: salt on lips, screech of gulls, the aroma of sun lotion. Here Sylvia sits hunched watching her son play.
It is a place of memories. Noah’s military father told himself the sacrifice – their son being brought home draped in the flag – had been an honour. But her grief, her keening, still echoes in her skull. She joins her son at the edge of the sea where the cool waves rise to numb her memory of his birth, rise to wash away the grief, and silence the song of lament in her head.
“I write short stories, memoirs and poetry, in a vain attempt to understand life.” – the writer
By Holly Huzar
“So nice to see you!” she said. Her halter-top bulged with baby. I couldn’t place her, this smiling woman. Forty-ish, long red hair, eyes crinkled from laughter.
I could have asked her name, but instead, just smiled and listened about her joyful pregnancy. We hugged goodbye; she walked away.
Suddenly, startled recognition. Her naked back with raised scars. A skinny bald teen, body sliced and ravaged from spinal cancer surgeries. She’d wanted a relaxation massage. My hands had softly rested on her back while she silently wept, exhausted. She must be dying, I’d thought.
Today, I taste grateful salt tears.
“I write because the stories want to get out.” – the writer