On the plane to America there was a child stuffed in the overhead compartment. I heard it—the soft cries echoing hollowly through the plastic above my head. I stared out the window for a while. I stared at my hands. The flight attendant came by with water and peanuts but I let them fall off my lap. Felt the ice burn through my sock. Wished on a star through the glass but it turned out to be a bird and fell out of frame. I think I’ve had enough of this life; I want to move on.
–––––––––– Cameron Calonzo is a high school student from Southern California. She writes “because she is a poor conversationalist.”
By Holly Day
(Originally published November 21, 2017)
The parts of my childhood I can remember
are disjointed, unsuited for a house
or a school or a world
made of the stable things I read about
all the time in good books.
I got lost. I am, even now, certain that each new home
won’t be comfortable for long,
clinging to the hope
that we are suitable hosts for each other’s misery. I tell you
home is more than the back seat of a car.
Even leaves separate from trees
before curling up to die.
Holly Day’s poetry has appeared in Tampa Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, and Ugly Girl.
Presser foot down. Sewing machine stitches on linen blend fabric. A beautiful chocolate-brown curtain covers a picture window. Six months later. Swish. Swish. Swish. Curtain is washing. Spin. Spin. Spin. Brown water goes down a drain. Curtain twists, then huddles to one side of the tub. Washing machine jumps and stops. Jumps and stops. One final hiccup. Done. Curtain goes into dryer. Hot air blows. Lint collects on mesh. Tumbling. Shrinking. Wrinkling. Iron slides and glides. Forward. Backward. Sideways. Days later, on the front window of a thrift store, gathered on goldenrod, a sad-looking, paper bag-brown curtain.
I can’t remember when I first noticed the little bird, a wheatear. When the telephone rang it appeared at the window and when I hung up the handset, I would drop some seeds or crumbs outside.
A bond developed between us and mutual expectation. The bird became my companion, and I was its source of titbits. We were creatures of habit, and the little bird became a great comfort to me in my moments of deep anxiety.
The bird will migrate soon, what will I do? I wished the calls would stop, or at least whoever it was, would speak.
“I write to free the souls trapped in the cavity of my imagination.” – the writer
The morning I became a widow, I woke up early to make him breakfast. I made the usual: waffles, bacon, and coffee. While cooking, I remembered his ill condition from the night before. Accordingly, I grabbed a clear bottle from the medicine cabinet and mixed it into the coffee. I wrote him a daily love letter.
Promptly, he came downstairs. I cleaned the dishes while he ate.
After finishing, he smacked and fingered the food out of his coffee-stained teeth. He unfolded the note marked in dark red; There revealed the letter “A”.
I live peacefully now.
–––––––––– “I write because it makes my thoughts feel concrete.” – the writer
Thirty-eight years ago, Madeleine vanished. Her old beat-up truck was left running on the corner of 15th and Walsh. Her truck was filled with perishables and her brother’s tux for his wedding that weekend. Madeleine was just gone. No witnesses, no leads, no surveillance to run again, nothing.
Her brother claimed she’s gone because of the fight they had. Her father thinks she’s dead and her mother couldn’t care less.
Listen hard enough though and you’ll hear Madeleine. The broken whispers carried in the wind. Her croaked out sobs in the mist. Just one dead girl warning the next.
–––––––––– “I write because it is a form of escapism.” – the writer
He quit his drinking for her; she did the same for him. A frantic decision, made in a heartbeat, by two thirtysomethings desperate to keep their hearts beating. Their faces are haggard, their minds slightly numb, but still they persist. Eleven days and counting, with no guarantees they’ll make it to the twelfth day. They lean on each other as best as they can, taking it day by day and drinking lots and lots and lots of Ginger Ale and desperately fumbling around to find something, anything at all, that they still might have in common.
Paul Germano’s fiction has appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, The Fictional Café, Foliate Oak, Microfiction Monday, Vestal Review and Voices in Italian Americana.