The Character

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By Alice Cimino

He started to fade.
He was bleeding a dark substance, darker than water, darker than blood. Ink, he said.
His face was whitening, his eyes were losing their glint, he was becoming something not human, nor animal. Paper, he said.
His thin line of a mouth opened. I’m not real, he said.
But he was. To me.
He climbed back into his book.
And I opened my eyes.

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Because the Moon Never Listens

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By Donna L Greenwood

I will leave him in the morning, she tells the moon. The moon is no mother. It hangs indifferent in the dark sky. He sleeps beside her. Her arm is caught beneath his dense flesh. The bedroom is littered with the debris of last night’s argument. Those rapier words that sliced her heart now lie impotent upon the carpet – their purpose blunted. She tries to move but succeeds only in disturbing him. He awakens and hardens. He reaches for her, mistaking her despair for lust. Beneath the diminished moon, her body unfurls around him and she is defeated once more.

Granddaughter Outside after the Rain Stops

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By Robin Wright

Alisha, spindles of sun splashing her hair with light, runs,
bare feet tickled by a gauze of freshly washed grass, stops,
scoops gravel with hands soft as ice cream.

She devours this freedom like it’s a final candy-coated
meal. Unfettered by shoes, or car-seat straps,
no adult whisking her from harm.

She runs again, sails like a bright red kite,
ruffling on the wind’s lacy gusts, until she drops
into exhaustion’s arms.

    
Robin Wright’s work has appeared in Ariel Chart, Bindweed Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, Rat’s Ass Review, Peacock Journal, and others.

A Few Whiles

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By Breena Clarke

I knew a boy who, at the age of eight or nine or so, thought that, if there was one while, i.e., a unit of time, surely there were two whiles and three and so on to several. Often he would say that he’d be back in a few whiles, that he’d only be gone for a few whiles. On returning he’d explain that he’d been gone, been lollygagging, only for a few whiles. He meant a half an hour, an hour or so. It’s been a long, long while. I am still waiting. He died suddenly in 1989.

      
Breena Clarke is the author three novels. Her debut novel, River, Cross My Heart, was an October 1999 Oprah Book Club selection. Her short fiction has appeared in Kweli Journal, Stonecoast Review, Nervous Breakdown, Mom/Egg Review, and Catapult among others.

Easy Writer

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By Pat Brunson

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT, or perhaps it wasn’t, but I needed to start someplace. Tired of the blank screen mocking me to no end. “Look who thinks he’s a writer.” Staring at me. “Is that your third cup?” I cracked my knuckles to limber my fingers. “Checking email?” THEY RODE OFF INTO THE SUNSET. THE END. I pushed spell check again. Now to fill in the middle with 85,000 words; presto, a novel. This is so damn easy.

Ladies and Gentleman, The Magnificent Marco

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By Steve Campbell

So this is how the curtain falls – ankles bound, arms chained, submerged in a tank full of water? Oblivious to my genuine plight, the inverted audience is riveted. I’d hear a pin drop if the sound could penetrate a fog of anticipation.

I’m the master of misdirection, a manipulator of the world’s greatest minds, but I’m nothing without my faithful assistant, Marco. He’s learnt every intricate detail of my act, to ensure that we amaze and bewilder in equal measure, including when to step into the wings while I receive the adulation I deserve. That is, it appears, until tonight.

     
Steve Campbell has short fiction in places such as Sick Lit Magazine, formercactus, Twisted Sister Lit Mag, Occulum, and MoonPark Review.

Two Ducks

 

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By Sarah H. Alam

We learn something from everything we see.

Like the two ducks.

They flew in, and simply settled down. No ripples, no carry-ons, no takeaways. The world around them goes on, undisturbed. They swim in circles, seemingly pointlessly. But what do we know? They teach me about true delight. Letting things be, enjoying the now.

I am grateful. For this this moment, this learning, this home. A home that ripped apart an ecosystem to be. To watch ducks make a home in an ecosystem that already is.

I see two ducks being themselves. And winning. Every day.