Scar Still Here

By E. L. Blizzard

This splinter makes my finger ache, sending me to Arkansas. Running round a pond, screaming, after a sliver jams in my pipsqueak palm so deep only a speck is seen. Mama wants to pull it. Grandpa saves me. “She’ll survive. Leave her be,” he mumbles, pulling me onto his thin lap, letting me slurp coffee from his saucer and wolf Grandma’s coconut cake. My rescuer would soon depart. What’s left is a shadow by my life line, a redolent nostalgia of sweat from his long-lost cap, and my affection for saucer coffee.

splitting wood
for the hearth
ancient summers gone

E. L. Blizzard writes for self-care and connection.

Searching for Thoreau

By Jim Bates

Growing up, my brother and I spent as much time as we could walking those rolling fields and hardwood forests, like our hero. We learned to identify wildflowers by their color and birds by their song. I’ll never forget squishing through springtime bogs listening for spring peepers and wandering fragrant summertime meadows happy among the butterflies and bees. We had our own Walden, a magical pond over the hill, hidden from the progress of man. I scattered his ashes there last week, watching as they drifted away becoming one with nature, and maybe, if he was lucky, finally finding Thoreau.

“I hope my stories bring people a little pleasure and make them smile.” – the writer

A Reactive Dog Teaches Social Distancing

By Ruth Polk

What my family called “reactivity” was really training in social distancing. Someone’s coming? Turn around, walk away, down a driveway, or up the steps. Would they’ve figured out these tricks? Of course not!

They respond effectively because I’ve been patiently training, day-by-day, year-by-year.

We’ve practiced all types of scenarios: There’s a mail carrier, quick, what will you do?

If they got us away, I rewarded them with good behavior. If they were daydreaming, I barked and pulled hard on the leash. It takes a lot of reinforcement for them to learn new behaviors.

Good thing we started preparing years ago.

“Seeing the changes brought on by the pandemic through Pettigrew’s eyes has helped me keep it in perspective.” – the writer

But You Seemed so Happy

By Josiah Robb

You never kept a journal so it makes no sense to be rummaging through your old books and things for clues. We all talked. Yeah, we all knew you’d been through many a rough time but you were through it now. Great new job, kids back in your life. Healed, smiling, out running with your dog every morning. Looking through the window, I would smile and say hey. Good on ya.

You shall be remembered running free, ethereal cape of joy glimmering in the wind behind you. Is that what you wanted us all to see?

“I write because it’s who I am.” – the writer

Dark and Light Battle

By kento1

If my son is the apple of my eye, what kind of genus Malus have I progenerated? The other day he actually set down his new PS5 to ask, “where do white supremacists go for seafood? To no response he answered, “The Ku Klux Klam House.” He was definitely giggling too hard too hard to hear my silence; certainly too focused on his joy to see wheels turning as I wondered if I have (so far) raised my teen to be a racist bastard or comedy genius. The only settled answer is that whatever I conclude, his mother will disagree.

“I write to discover which side of the Manichaean battle I fight against.” – the writer

there is always hope

By Aida Bode

I’m but an ant looking for crumbs. I smell and see yellow, but it’s dry, stuck on something like a rock. I feel and touch red, but that too, is abstract and without taste. The universe seems to be laughing with my perceptions and deceives my senses. While standing on an endless rock marked with pretense, I notice a big vast sky covered in clouds. Is the end coming? Is the final judgement on my search for crumbs closer than I can hope? What is there to believe in?

Ah – I see a hole! Perhaps, I’ll find crumbs after all.

“I write to expose what the senses hide, to discover what’s kept secret, and to rejoice in the meaning of what the search for knowledge brings. I write to obey to the calling of our DNA.” – the writer


By J.M. Faulkner

The dim, canopied trail unfolds ahead. I park, and the blonde hops into the back. Pretty? I don’t know. She’s faceless in the rear-view mirror.

“Going far,” I ask?


A hitchhiker, then. Just as well—seems my wallet has a hole in it. “Little late for a read?”

“I like books,” she says, and I’m starting to think this one is a touch simple. I pull into the car park and kill the engine. The library is dark inside, and my hitchhiker remains put. Silent. Turning now, I tell her, “This is your stop—”

The backseat is vacant.

“I write because it stitches the different chapters of my life together and helped me overcome learning difficulties as child.” – the writer

Neighborhood Rummage Sale

By Robin Wright

Granddaughter and I walk six blocks, perusing sweaters and shoes, paintings someone’s brush stroked on Memory Lane. She plunks down a dollar for a purse, gets headbands thrown in from a man who praises her politeness. At our last stop, we ask questions of a lady who looks away, checks under a chair, wanders around, yells at a man across the street. Do you have my cigar box? He jogs to her. No. She sobs. Someone stole my money. The man wraps an arm around her. Granddaughter and I again search her wares, determined to buy from this woman.

“I write because I can’t imagine not writing.” – the writer

What Really Happened

By Trina Jacobs

“Be careful, girl,” Mr. Wolf said, “There are a lot of dangerous beasts in the woods.”

Little Red shrugged. “I’m not afraid.”

Mr. Wolf grinned. “You should be.” He rode on.

He was at Grandma’s house when she arrived, looking smug as he warmed himself by the fire.

“I’ve brought you wine and bread to go with dinner,” Red said, glancing at Mr. Wolf.

Grandma smiled with too many sharp teeth. “Shall we?”

The women shed their clothes and shifted.

Mr. Wolf’s eyes went wide. He was only a man. He didn’t have time to run.

Red and Grandma feasted.

Trina Jacobs has been writing down the stories that fill her head since she learned to write words.

Jaded Soul

By Essam M. Al-Jassim

Worn out in body and soul, Ahmed returns home from work to see his wife and children expecting his arrival, as they do every day. He caresses his wife’s cheeks and plays with his children in his weakened state. Ahmed quietly withdraws amid the laughter of the little ones to take a shower; and there under the drops of water falling on his enervated body, he can cry where no one notices his tears. The world is cruel outside.

Essam M. Al-Jassim is a Saudi writer and translator. This translation was originally written by Hossam Al-Khattib.