Shooting Stars

By Lois Dale

Stars reflect light,
guide the way,
and provide hope.
Follow a star.
Wish on a star.
Lucky star.

It was engraved that year
in the book of occurrences,
she would lose two stars
in her heavenly sky.
Two esteemed orbs
of her stellar universe.

Failing and falling,
at the same time.
No intensity of prayer or care,
could alter this outcome.
The celestial signs were there,
impossible to deny.

How would she endure
this double loss?
When dark thoughts arose,
she closed her eyes,
shook her head,
attempting to scatter, displace,
and banish them.

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“I write because I feel my thoughts are better expressed in poetry.” – the writer

The Deckchair Poem

By John L. Malone

This poem was meant to be a glorious thing,
To really take off, even sprout wings
But somewhere, somehow it took a wrong turn,
The vision got lost, the fuel failed to burn
So I switched phrases furiously, here and there
Sentences too, to give it more zest, flair
But I saw it wasn’t working, I began to panic,
It was like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

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“The greatest peacetime maritime disaster is the perfect metaphor for the poem that no matter what couldn’t save itself.” – the writer

What Goes Around

By Jennifer Lai

She resisted for months because he was her best friend’s boyfriend.

But one drunken night, she indulged. They started sneaking around—early morning encounters, midday meetings, late-night rendezvous. Naked. Sweaty.

When she suspected her friend caught on, she sat her down. “I need to tell you something,” she said. Expletives were voiced, accusations ensued.

Soon, she found a new best friend and confided her past sins, guilt, and anguish.

A few weeks later, wanting to surprise her new boyfriend, she popped in at work midday. At his desk waited her new best friend, who said, “I need to tell you something.”

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“I write to escape reality, to relieve stress, and to satisfy my curiosity.” – the writer

Strucken

By Pete Mackey

… my little boy says,
meaning what I know
he means, the way sounds
hit you near
enough, the fox
with the frazzled tail
dashing as we approach,
its life at risk
between the hedges, so
flashes in fatherhood
strike you as worthy
of forever, which is how
long you would drive
with him remaking
the world one sound
at a time, after
the lightning that comes
and goes in storms,
vivid days like this
in between—and perhaps
it did strike that tail.
Now to find
a new word to say
not simply “life”
but much more than.

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“(I write) for the same reason I read: for a love of words and stories that connect us.” – the writer

Cultivation of Memory

By Andrew Anderson

I fought my way through the nettles and tall grass, stepping tentatively since the flagstones were long buried now. The old greenhouse emerged, its glass shattered, with only rust holding the door upon its hinges.

A mouldy violet rosette hung from a bent nail above the forgotten plant beds:

*3rd Place Marrow, Newlands County Show, 1973*

I smiled, remembering happy hours spent outside with Grandma beside the cold frame, willing that vegetable to grow whilst Grandad battled with his own cultivars inside.

I resisted touching the decaying prize, afraid it might crumble to dust, taking my memories with it.

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“I write to clear my mind.” – the writer

Moving On

By Mary Ellen Cowles

“Stale English Muffin,” she read with disgust, unfairly labeled in her old boyfriend’s new book. She wished he knew about her metamorphosis over the years. What would she be now – a crispy apple, an exciting enchilada?

After stewing about it for way too long, she became aware that time was no longer a commodity she could afford to waste, so she decided not to let him suck up another minute. Nostalgia, yearnings, what-ifs, were in the past, happiness was now. She put the book in with the trash and smiled as she erased him from her heart.

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“I write for the joy of it.” – the writer

An Ode to My YouTube Home Repair Mentors

By authorpolk

Thank you to the ones who,
Before starting a repair,
Say, let me record this.

Thank you to the ones who
Act goofy, sing a song, and remind me,
In my fit of frustration,
To have a light heart.

But, thanks most of all
For explaining the smallest detail.
For making me feel that I am not alone
In not knowing how to fix what’s broken.

Thank you for all you’ve taught me,
For your generous impulse to share your expertise,
And for being there, a click away,
When I need you.

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“During the pandemic my home has decided now is the perfect time to have an all systems breakdown … I have been tackling home improvement projects I never would’ve dreamed of trying. The generous folks on YouTube have saved the day more times than I can count.” – the writer

RomanceLvR

By Jennifer Lai

The dating app alerted Rachel of her new match: RomanceLvR. His ‘About’ section read: “Bookworm. Flip my pages?”

Cute. It reminded her of Jake, her beloved ex who, after 5 years, still couldn’t commit. She’d got tired of waiting and called it quits last year.

RomanceLvR was a perfect match. Could he be her soul mate? She thought about connecting despite a lack of pictures. She shrugged. Why not?

#

The dating app alerted Jake of his new connection. Rachel looked as beautiful as ever. He wondered if she would take him back. He was finally ready to commit.

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Jennifer Lai writes to “escape reality, to relieve stress, and to satisfy my curiosity.”

Heart(break)

By M.J.Iuppa

Expected. One night, Across the Tracks, dancing with
arms raised over a sea of bobbing heads, the blarney
flowed — glasses of cold beer and laughter and seeing
old friends turned inside out — the angles of arms &
legs, and faces tipped back in the spin of colored lights.
A weird worship. Crowd dancing, but feeling down-
right alone; the accidental touch of shoulders, or hips,
or lips — it never happened; even though I swear it
happened — face to face, we were made restless in
heady times. We were tired of being so vulnerable.
Our hearts broken, beyond words, we danced.

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“Writing has been my constant companion, my inner voice, trying to make sense of the world around me.” – the writer

Ambition

By Michael Bloor

Like many toddlers, John was asked what he wanted to be, when he grew up. Surprisingly, John answered that he wanted to be an Old Age Pensioner. He’d been spending time with his Grandad, who had his own shed.

In his mid-teens, John secretly decided that an ideal profession would be that of a professional sperm donor. At a student party, he told a woman that he wanted to be the person who chose the paintings for reproduction on the covers of the Penguin Modern Classics series (she was impressed).

Now he’s 66 and his world has come full circle.

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Michael Bloor only discovered the exhilarations of short fiction after he retired.