By Ali Grimshaw
They call me adult.
I have learned to apologize, drive a car
mastered spell check to avoid embarrassment.
Yet my days of fevered creation
and re-imagining myself, remain inadequate.
Knowing I know less with each ring of curiosity around my trunk.
Like paint peeling off an old house I am more than one color.
I live as a revolving door to exit and enter,
each time with a different view.
Growing up I believed adults lived in sureness.
Shocked disappointment crashed down
when the truth broke through
with no answers in its hands for me.
Why didn’t mom tell me?
By CR Smith
She sits in her armchair picking at the worn arms listening to the clock tick. Sun streams through the window, through the net curtains, casting elongated patterns across the faded striped wallpaper.
The odd shapes flicker like an old movie watched in silence. The shaft of light highlighting dust particles dancing in mid-air buoyed by the draft drifting through the window.
A thin layer of grey coats the mantlepiece and all her mementos. It would have worried her once, before retirement from housework following decades of continuous service.
What a revelation to discover the layer of dust remains constant.
CR Smith’s work has appeared in Ellipsis Zine, Spelk Fiction, Zeroflash, The Cabinet of Heed, and Drabbledark: An Anthology of Dark Drabbles.
She looked up at him and said, “You can’t hurt me anymore, Marcus. This isn’t like the last time. I’m stronger now, more resilient.”
Pulling the knife from her chest, she smiled and daubed the wound with her fingertips, “Damn, that’s gonna leave a scar.”
She spun the blade around flinging crimson droplets about the room.
Marcus held up his now empty hands and stepped away from Pam, his eyes imploring.
He missed the first step and tumbled down, ass over teakettle, stopping only when he lay crumpled and broken on the landing.
She still held the knife,
… and the bedroom door with my mother behind it, sulking in her Thursday robe, and now it’s early Friday. My father at the foot of the stairs. If I choose him, I have a life like the one papered on the walls of his office, beaches and Ferris wheels. If I choose her, it’s a life of closed doors and one day leaking into the next. I look at my father at the foot of the winding staircase. Winding like a mother’s arms around a newborn. I step back and knock on the bedroom door.
Francine Witte is the author of four poetry and two flash fiction chapbooks. Her full-length poetry collection, Café Crazy, was recently published by Kelsay Books.
By Trenda Berryhill
Windows down in her hunk-of-junk car, Val cursed the humid gusts tangling her hair. Her black suit stuck to her skin like a fly to the gummy strip nailed to her porch. She guided the car left onto the dirt road. Ahead, the one-room, whitewashed church awaited. Val parked. Accustomed to the sneakers she wore as a preschool teacher, she wobbled on three-inch heels. Inside, the preacher asked if anyone wanted to speak. All heads turned to her. She walked to the pulpit. She smiled as she’d been taught and lied, “My daddy wouldn’t have hurt a fly.”
By D. Bankson
Martha visits me every Sunday, as she has for seven years. Today is that anniversary.
Rain is engraving rivulets in her makeup, scarring her face, a break in a mask so well constructed. She carries flowers, but they droop with her bearing.
She huddles her shoulders into her jacket. I see her green eyes buried there. Too much fabric, too much mask.
She knows where I stay. The walkway is slick, and she can’t see through the tears. But her footing is solid, experienced.
“Hello, Dad,” she whispers as she places primrose on my grave.
David Bankson’s work can be found in concis, (b)oink, Anti-Heroin Chic, Artifact Nouveau, Riggwelter Press, Antinarrative Journal, among others.
By Kelvin M. Knight
Where my camera looks, I look, into the tangle-wood of other’s lives. Snapping their misfortunes, photoshopping their mistrust, airbrushing beauty into their moments of ugliness – this is my life.
My camera never lies, only me. What would I sell if I turned my lens around? This pocketful of patience. This flask of cold forgiveness. This plastic bag of humility scrunched around my fist.
These things aren’t newsworthy, yet I wrestle with my camera everyday. One day I’ll flash its light into my soul. One day I’ll discover who I really am.
But not today. Today the rent is due.