Mirror, Mirror

By S.A. McKenzie

There was no use pretending anymore. That slinky pair of black pants she’d paid too much for last winter just did not fit anymore. Lorna sighed, giving up on the struggle to drag the pants past her thighs. She stared glumly down at herself. There was rather more self than there used to be, really.

“Right, that’s enough! The diet starts today,” she said to her reflection in the mirror. A movement caught her eye. “What the hell?” Lorna said, staring at the mirror. Her reflection was eating a bar of chocolate! That mirror had always made her look fat.

S.A. McKenzie writes offbeat stories featuring time-traveling rabbits, carnivorous unicorns and man-eating subway trains, because someone has to speak up for these misunderstood creatures.

Hours, Minutes, and Seconds

By Mark Tulin

I keep running along a trail,
down a narrow path,
up a steep hill,
around a high school track,
jogging and sprinting,
I need to run fast,
counting my hours, minutes,
and seconds on a stopwatch.

Don’t want to creep along,
crawling like an infant
in a loose-fitting diaper,
who doesn’t know the difference
from a 10K and a 100-meter.

I run to elude old age,
keep my body slim and toned,
to be a super-flash extraordinaire
that nobody’s going to catch
Like a lightning bolt from the sky,
I move through a slow-paced world,
across the final finish line.

“I write to document the stories in my head.” – the writer

Little Flower of St. Frank

By Michael Neal Morris

“I thought you might be dead,” the astonished guard said nodding toward a large rat that appeared to be gnawing the fingers of the man meditating against the wall opposite the door.

The prisoner regarded his open hand, then raised it for the guard to see. The animal had crawled there for warmth and now lay stiff in his palm.

“Ugh,” the guard uttered and backed away from the outstretched arm. “You preach it to death?”

The prisoner laid the carcass in the cell corner and stood. “Nah,” he said wiping his hands against his pants. “Just heard his confession.”

“I write to keep myself safe. I write to keep you safe. I write because I look silly doing the safety dance.” – the writer

She Sees Us

By Linda Chandanais

“Three o’clock? Okay.”

“They’ll do it in the van. She freaks at the vet’s … she can’t go in fear.”
Deaf, has tumors, and now her legs are done.
Her tail thumps, she sees us through cataract-clouded eyes.

The parking lot; vet joins us; needle in hand.
Words of love, thanks, apologies, given, but not heard.
Thump, thump, thump, she sees us. We’re here, we’re here.

We drive home, hold her close, caress.
“When we rescued her, she was the size of her head, remember?”
Rescued her? That’s not the way it went.
We bury her under the lilacs bushes.

“I breathe, I write, I breathe, I write again.” – the writer


By Lynn White

I wondered what they were thinking,
all those grinning people
standing around him
taking their selfies.
I wondered what he was thinking
but I don’t think they cared
or even noticed
that he looked strained
as if he had a problem,
looked uncomfortable
as if perched on the edge of a toilet
straining with effort.
Perhaps that was his problem,
ideas don’t come when you strain,
they float into your head dreamlike
glowing gold
as you stretch out your arms into infinity
glowing gold,
with no one around
to take selfies.

“I write to let the words escape.” – the writer

Sir Francis Bacon’s Belated Vindication

By Michael Bloor

Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Lord Chancellor to James I, was a pioneer of experimental science. Yet his report of one of his most famous experiments, showing that boiling water freezes faster than cold water, was scoffed at by fellow scientists for three hundred-odd years. Bacon’s experiment was unwittingly repeated by Erasto Mpemba, a Tanzanian high school student in 1963. Publication of the ‘Mpemba Effect’ led to further controlled experiments replicating Bacon’s finding.

Sadly, I can’t wait three-hundred years for Margaret to recognise the scientific fact that twigs and small branches won’t decompose any time soon in the garden composter.

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

If You Love Me

By Anne Silva

If you love me,
don’t leave a note,
don’t leave a reason why.

If you love me,
don’t close your eyes,
don’t even say goodbye.

If you love me,
you would wait,
through hell and water.

If you love me,

“I write because there is no other way to express all the messed up feelings I feel.” – the writer

Paint By Numbers

By Yash Seyedbagheri

I open windows to a New Year. Paint last year’s walls lavender. Rearrange books according to hopefulness, instead of most depressing. But credit card bills leap from screens. Student loans demand payment. They don’t recognize spaces I’ve finally tackled. People I’ve apologized to. Tempers I’ve combatted.

I close the computer. Pledge to pay X loan. Y card. Preempt numbers. But when I reopen the computer, they remind me I’m delinquent. A statistic who once withdrew into Merlot-induced euphoria. Discarded responsibility.

I clean, blast Tchaikovsky waltzes, polish my desk, open windows wider. But numbers dart out. I can’t paint over them.

“I write to explore human behavior, to ask questions, and to poke fun at the world.” – the writer

So After … So Maybe

By David Berger

So after I tried figuring it out.

So I missed my taxi because I let some old guy have it.

So I caught the next one.

So the taxi I missed was t-boned.
So the guy who got it instead of me was CIA.
So he was on his cellphone with the CIA Director.
So the Director heard a crash.
So he figured it was another 9/11.

So he called the President.

So the President was watching a TV show about the northern border.

So the President invaded Canada.

So maybe I should’ve taken the cab in the first place.

“I write to express myself as a social being and as an individual.” – the writer

Ballad from Heaven

By Douglas J. Lanzo

After touring Antietam’s hallowed battleground,
where many thousands of Civil War soldiers
were slain or wounded one fateful day,
my twins sons and I
came upon Private Soldier Monument,
a towering marble statue
of a federal army soldier
affectionately dubbed “Old Simon.”

As we read Old Simon’s engraving:
“Not for themselves but for their country
September 17, 1862,”
a tiny finch emerged out of nowhere
and alighted upon the soldier’s cap.
Before I could take a picture,
the bird began to sing,
its lyrical voice weaving together
strands of sadness, gratitude and hope:
a ballad from heaven, leaving me breathless.

“I write to unlock a bit of the hope and inspiration that resides within us during these difficult times.” – the writer