“The Avatar” and “A Viper and a Chickadee”Ella Williamson
You found malleable a woman of uncandled clay;
I suppose it was she who gave you the carver’s adze,
Saying, “I just want to be close to you” –
You smiled through the splinters in your gloss
And took lacquered fingers to the handle.
“Dirt Clouds,” “Accentuating Florence” and “Saying Goodbye to Florence Is Filled with Mud”Shelby Stephenson
At my picture window, I raise the blinds
On the graveyard side. And, it’s you, July,
Lovely ghost? Not changed much since you were ten.
That’s how old I was when Pap George sold me
To Seth Woodall. I was thin as a seam,
Fearless, too; Runaway? Not so bold, see?
“Rock Paper Pictures,” “Of Voices, Waters, and Fires” and “Samsara Serenade”Khalil Elayan
It’s called The Cave of Forgotten Dreams
this place where handprints
with broken finger
wave at squint-eyed scientists
where prehistoric rhino, too,
looks up and down
“House at Night,” “My Life Map” and “Just Another Brunch”Katerina Canyon
Gold-flecked dust ignites in waves.
I kiss my desert skin.
The coyote’s song lulls me
before I count the sheep.
The doorknob will turn
before the lock’s clasp
“Stiletto,” “Redeeming Time” and “Successive”Ryan Krause
Stiletto drops like river
Runoff echo in the cave.
Once dawn’s cables bridge
The canyon, you, first
Step out to punish pavement;
“In the Key of Keystone,” “Lost & Found & Lost” and “Winter Wind”Robert Rubino
It was all that jazz
it was the city — San Francisco
it was the venue — Keystone Korner
a former topless bar on Vallejo Street transformed
into a world class club its interior intimate its memory indelible
& all that jazz
“The Sherman, the Grant, The Eldest,” “Eyes in the Warehouse” and “Musket”Matthew Mitchell
The General Sherman bounds 1,487m
Like a bird god lean and hard
Sherman surveys Atlanta
His face bewhiskered, pockmarked
his choice to end this here
The Mathematician’s DaughterSonja Srinivasan
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. She jerks her head up with a start and sees the clock–9:40 a.m. There just might be time! There just might be time if Nancy runs fast enough, time to see John and confess her love for him. She has been working on a proof all night and has fallen asleep at her desk and is late, is late, for a very important date,
The BeekeeperKathleen Powers-Vermaelen
When I find the counselor waiting for me in the hallway on Sunday morning, I know something bad has happened. "Hello again, Miss Campbell," she says when I've come near enough to hear her. “Could we talk in the lounge for a few minutes?"
Bar LifeLily Lavender Wolf
all that fairy dust dancing inside your beer stein and yet you don’t believe in magic?
this incredible blast of light from the sun, ninety-two-point-ninety-five million miles from our planet, fragments through the surface of a stream and appears as shimmering waves streaking across your feet, and you still say you don’t believe in magic?
The BearMary Kate Baker
I was a child and already I could tell my dad was not paying attention the way he should. It was as if he had forgotten that living things grew. He forgot with my older brothers, lanky-limbed with pants that grew too short, leaving their bony ankles exposed. He forgot with me, my little girl body moving toward a brink of change that no one would explain to me.
Baba Ji’s HandymanKabir Mansata
Jay ran away from her home in Salt Lake, Kolkata, at the age of seventeen. She had an abusive father and an absent mother. Her parents’ were relieved when she left as they had one less mouth to feed.
She moved to Bombay and began a career as a part-time actor and a yoga instructor. Life was looking up for her –
The Edge of SolitudeStan Dryer
I live on the edge of solitude. I try to exist with only the few essentials needed from our civilization and to hold at bay the tempting glitter of the rest of what it offers. The list of essentials is short. It includes such items as coffee, tea, sugar and a canoe. Yes, a fiberglass canoe. No one lives on my remote Canadian lake without a means of transportation.
Pancreatic CancerDouglas Brouwer
“Pancreatic cancer” were not the two words I was expecting to think about today on my long drive home from the university hospital on other side of the state. I knew, of course, that something wasn’t quite right, but always, in the past, the something that was not quite right could be treated promptly and effectively with an antibiotic.
Maybe, If, and What Might’ve BeenNick Gallup
You’ve got to trust me on this, but back in the early sixties they had a thing called drive-in movies. The movies were actually shown outdoors, after dusk, of course. You pulled your car into a spot where there was a speaker mounted on what looked like a parking meter, except that the parking meter part was a speaker you could detach and place in your car.
Long Short Story
“Four bronzes,” I say before the man can even ask.
He lifts up a large striped fish off my makeshift table, inspects it and asks, “You gut and clean this, boy?”
I nod once.
“It’s well done. You been doing this long?”
“My father says I could gut a fish before I could walk.”
Esther of the HeartsLiza Porter
Sarah jerked awake on the couch, the dream still swimming in her mind. Or was it a visitation? Where was she? She looked around, face damp with sweat. Of course…long underwear, down sleeping bag, heat on full blast. Minnesota. She sat up and turned on the lamp, shook her head. Another dream about Esther. Every night since she’d died.
Scorch EarthDerek Fisher
An earwig slithers across the little black plastic air-conditioning vent. I examine this earwig with intention as Father drives. I at once want and want not to touch it.
I do not like how Father drives the van. I find he is too slow the majority of the time, and then in little unpredictable bursts, too fast. Father is not prone to rage, but behind the wheel he is a different version of himself. Docile, with a chance of acrimony.
Before We Were The Land’s?James Brewer
He was no longer alive; and for his oldest child, recollections of the words that had been spoken (and the thoughts that had been thought) at the funeral a few years before were becoming less distinct as they became more distant. As the anniversary of his father’s passing neared, Lee was once again regretting that he had more or less “squandered” the few opportunities for memorable communication that had presented themselves during the last year or so of his father’s life –
The Prophet of Vultures and BeastsAndreas Hasselbom
Daniel remembered fishing with his father just four months earlier at a small lake near the Czech border. It had been a tradition for years, but Daniel knew now that it couldn´t continue. His father had never been a patient man, but he possessed a strong attention to detail, which only grew stronger over the years. Making sure the fishing pole had no scratches, ensuring that the line wasn´t about to wear out. And worms, always a full box of writhing earthworms.
Strangers in the ParkGerry Moohr
You probably know about the violence that struck Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017. Demonstrators from thirty-five states rallied in Lee Park to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, Commander of the Confederate Army. I saw a lot of what happened that day.
The Dying GladiatorDavid Kennedy
Kate had calculated that meeting the presidential carriage as it pulled up the drive at Edgewood would serve her interest, but that did not deprive the gesture of its heartfelt quality. The carriage had been specially made in New York. It was dark green in color, Arthur’s favorite, with that hue presenting the central theme on the exterior paint and the interior upholstery, trimmed in morocco and cloth.
The VelodromeBrianne Turczynski
Miriam Birchfield’s abdomen plagued her to tears. Her tears burned and irritated her cheeks, and they made her see the reflection of herself as a blotchy stranger in the mirror. She took the bottle of bitters from her vanity; it was the last bottle Dr. Morel gave her before he died. She didn’t know if she would ever get another, because in approximately thirteen minutes, she would welcome a new doctor into Whittingham Estate, the place she had worked as manager of the staff and had lived her whole life.
Able Archer: Moscow, Moscow Oblast, USSRLawrence Lichtenfeld
Yuri Andropov was resting comfortably in his hospital bed. An hour earlier, he had been hooked up to the dialysis system in the suite. He had had some vodka afterwards, and a couple of cigarettes while lying in bed. The television was tuned to the state channel ‘Fourth Programme’—known for its intellectual broadcasts. Tonight, Andropov was enjoying the broadcast of a Bolshoi production of “Cipollino.” His heavy-eyed viewing of the ballet was interrupted by the military hotline ringing on the telephone table next to his bed.