Moppet

By Isabel Night

I sit in the lobby of the vet clinic, carrier in my lap, cradling my cancer-riddled cat, Moppet. Unable to endure her tortured meows, I focus on the Francis of Assisi medallion I bought for her.

It’s a temporary fix — until we arrive at the comfort room. Weeping, I open Moppet’s carrier and give her one last hug. Mama’s staying with you.

Upon returning home, I crawl into bed and dream of Moppet nearby, purring away. In the morning, I discover her religious medal resting on my pillow.

Strange, I’m positive I left it with Moppet at the vet’s office.

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“I write to honor my aunt and grandfather: The artists in my family who inspired me.” – the writer

End of the Uterus

By Robin Wright

When my uterus realized my brain was no longer interested in filling it with a child to grow, it grew other things to fill the loss—polyps, fibroids, cysts. My doctor issued a cease and desist order, sending my uterus to the organ graveyard. Other body parts protested and grew cysts and polyps in solidarity of the banished uterus. Some of these infiltrators were forced to march off to join my uterus in the land of abandoned organs. Others are biding their time on Vanquish Row. Shhh, let’s keep that between us.

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“I write because I have to in order to make sense of things.” – the writer

And So It Begins

By Nova Warner

We sit on the bench together, recovering after a long walk. Silence passes over us with a warm embrace. I catch your fleeting look and fear the passionate sparkle in your eyes.

I’ve seen it in hundreds of romcoms and dramas. I can practically hear the music reaching a crescendo. I want to beg you to not say those three words. The future flashes before my eyes in those brief seconds, joyous love which morphs and changes to indifference before reaching seething hatred. Friendship sacrificed for temporary love. But before I can stop you, you declare it.

“I love you.”

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“I write to stave off existential crisis.” – the writer

Chambray

By Barry Basden

I went to the store earlier today when it was cool. By myself, the wife was feeling poorly. I walked around and picked up a few things: a loaf of bread, baby spinach, three bananas, some ambrosia apples, a huge Pecos cantaloupe — they’re the best. Felt odd all afternoon, like my shoulders weren’t on right. Noticed in the bathroom mirror that my collar wouldn’t lay straight. Kept shrugging my shoulders. No dice. Then I noticed my shirt was buttoned crooked. It had been that way all day. I saw a lot of people but nobody said a thing about it.

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Barry Basden lives in the Texas Hill Country with his wife and Bean, their little rescue terrier. He writes because, well, because sometimes it seems like the thing to do.

Nesting

By Juliet Wilson

The female blackbird flew to me and twittered under her breath. I understood that her home had been destroyed by a gardener too keen for neatness to notice the cleverly camouflaged nest in the hedge. The bird wove my hair into a new nest, which became my crowning glory. By balancing her eggs on my head I improved my posture. As they hatched I witnessed the very beginning of a new generation of blackbirds that now sing beautifully for the neighborhood.

My hairdresser hates me, but I have more important things to think about now.

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Juliet writes because she feels she has something to say that is worth sharing.

Confirmation

By Bella Mahaya Carter

A couple of years into therapy, long forgotten—and disturbing—early childhood memories surface. They are dream-like, hazy, scary, and unreal. As if I imagined them. Or as if I lived them in another life. One day, three thousand miles away, I work up the nerve to question my mother over the telephone: “Do you remember Daddy’s temper? How he’d lock you out of your bedroom while he beat me with his belt?” I expect a cold, hard no, but instead, silence creeps over the line, and then, in a sad and tender voice, Mom whispers, “You were so little.”

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“I believe in the power of writing to heal and transform lives.” – the writer

The Creator

By Chris Tattersall

God had commanded an order to life: Love, marriage, consummation.

Raised correctly, Fiona had matured into a confident, slim, faultless young lady. She would undoubtedly attract the attention of the perfect man.

Watching her pure daughter dressed appropriately in white, drift down the aisle, Fiona’s mother felt nothing but pride. Pride in Fiona, but equally pride in her own parenting and beliefs.

With the approval of god’s representative and witnesses, Fiona stood at the altar and reached for the hand of the man she hoped to learn to love one day. With her other hand she caressed her flattish stomach.

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“(I write) as an outlet for creativity in my quantitative world.” – the writer

Of Egos and Entropy

By Hawkelson Rainier

I went back in time to the night Alexander burned Persepolis. It was his destiny, he believed, to bring retribution for the desecration of Athens more than a century earlier. He was crazed with wine and adrenaline, godlike in the light of that churning inferno.

But the next day, the great general did not hold his head quite so high as he looked upon the razed city. Ash swirled mindlessly in the breeze, and heat emanated from the gutted palaces – nothing more than colossal ovens now. And soon enough, they would go cold forever, as all things do.

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“The short-form compels me to consider words as a precious resource, like water or air.” – the writer

Invisibles

By Kevin Criscione

I saw a boy run across the four-lane roadway at 4AM, eyes like rare stones, face creased like burlap, barefoot, fleeing something. He had jean shorts and a small dolphin backpack meant for a younger child. I followed him by instinct, but the moment had passed, and he was already gone. Instead, I found other ghosts. A hooded figure curled up in a doorway. An empty tent, cut with a knife. The world is so big and so cruel. What a strange sensation, to catch a glimpse of it, then force yourself to forget.

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Kevin Criscione writes to make reality a little more legible.

The Old Codger

By Jim Murdoch

My wife is not dead. Good.
I listen for her breaths—

in and out, puff and wheeze—
all of the proof I need.

The patina of love
has worn thin like patience

and the drab truth revealed;
I do not want to die

alone. I go to pee,
sitting down these days and

wonder why so long for so
little but, hey, that’s life.

Back in the bed I check
again. Just to be sure.

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Jim Murdoch grew up in Burns Country in Scotland. Poetry, for him, was about irrelevance—daffodils, vagabonds and babbling brooks—until one day in 1973 he read Larkin’s ‘Mr Bleaney’ and felt as if the scales had fallen from his eyes. How could something so seemingly unpoetic be poetry? He aimed to find out.