Is This Living?

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By A.S. Coomer

I noticed my typo
product
instead of
produce
& wondered if
I only think in terms
of the finished thing
leaving the living
to be constructed
by tomorrow’s steadier hands.

        
A.S. Coomer is a writer, musician, and taco fanatic. Novels include Rush’s Deal, The Fetishists, Shining the Light, & The Devil’s Gospel. He runs Lost, Long Gone, Forgotten Records, a “record label” for poetry. He co-edits Cocklebur Press.

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A Coastal Walk

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By Gareth Culshaw

We passed the sun saw the earth had spun
now it gave us sand to rub in our hand
feel a thousand stones flake as grave bones
hear the waves kiss what our lips miss
our footprints showed that our heart glowed
but we had been blind lost what we didn’t find
walked into darkness fed our eyes starkness
the sea touched our toes drowned out the lows
gave salt to our blood drained away the flood
our legs became freer we were far, but near.

A Watchful Companion

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By Will Shadbolt

I was with Jessica from the day she died. After that, I remained glued to her life, only in reverse. I watched her wrinkles fade away, her drinking problem vanish.

I saw her at the funerals of her two daughters and husband, and when she received the phone call about the car crash.

I observed this new trio carefully, their wide smiles.

The girls always asked, begged Jessica to spend less time at work.

I wanted to reach out, but I could only watch. “Spend more time with them, Jessica, please,” I whispered.

But I already knew the future.

Void of Colour

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By Anike Kirsten

He kept his sights on the tarmac beneath him, avoiding the colour of the world—a plague that would infect his mind and trap him in cold reality.

With soft steps he slogged down the road, following the remnants of a zebra that had left its stripes as it fled, with some haste, the cruelty hidden behind the colour. He trailed the white lines until they were straight no more.

And when they curved away, he took his own path. The zebra might have changed its mind and steered clear of the cliff, but he hadn’t.

At least, not yet.

       
Anike Kirsten’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in 600 Second Saga and Illumen.

Damage Already Done

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By Hannah Clark

It had taken no more than five sharp words. What they were, the shape and order of them, their exact quality: all details that would be forgotten over time. But damage is damage, after all, and done is done. As she tugged her pajama top down over her breasts and he rolled away to dispose of the empty condom, all of their frailties were exposed. Like a quarry illuminated by a sharp dawn, cavernous and stark and seemingly insurmountable, created long ago by long-forgotten exploration. An inescapable thirst to know what lay beneath the surface. A damage already done.

       
Hannah Clark is an MA student at Manchester Metropolitan University, studying Creative Writing. Her work has appeared on Litro, Reflex Fiction, and been shortlisted for The Short Story Flash 400 Autumn 2018 competition.

Watching from the Inside

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By Fiona Wood

I have no sense of time anymore. No sense of the temperature outside. Peoples lives running fast, no pacing required. Through Facebook I get a sense of what is happening in the lives of my friends and family. They sometimes send words of “hope you get well.” Those are hard to read as I will never get better.

I’m deteriorating while outside is evolving and celebrating. I am trapped on the inside looking out. But I try to remain gracious and pleased for them hoping they never succumb to my fate.

Obscured Under a Low Sun

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By hombrehompson

The sun is low, obscuring figures on the pedestrian crossing.

You look up from your phone as they come into focus, slam the brakes hard.

Bam.

You open your eyes at the wheel. A sensation of waking up.

Is this a dream?

Your phone bleeps, answering your question. You approach the same crossing. Everything replays. You slam the brakes hard.

Bam.

Towards the crossing once more, into the low sun.

To wake is to escape this loop, but in the safety of the dream car no one gets hurt, and everyone gets to keep their limbs.