Village Square Logo

 I had plans for that summer and everything changed because of the marbles. But I’m way ahead of myself.

My brothers, Jeff and Mick, hung around Farmer Tom’s place, feeding chickens and riding on the tractor with him, watching while he milked his yellow cow, Bess. I’d been over there a time or two when Mama had shooed me out of the house to go fetch my brothers home for supper. I’d seen Mrs. Farmer a few times, a slight woman with gray hair pulled back loosely into a long ponytail and we’d waved at each other.

Farmer Tom died the last day of June and we were let out of school early, to mourn the loss of a great friend our teachers said, and to get us out of the school building because we couldn’t sit still for excitement. I should have figured something was up when I saw Jeff and Mick whispering intensely with Sam, the undertaker’s son.

Two days afterwards on Saturday, my whole family and me sat scrunched together in a stifling hot church, the fans creaking to push out even hotter air. Mr. Farmer’s coffin sat in front with a single vase of blue forget-me-nots next to it. Mick kept shoving Jeff with his elbow, which jostled me into Mama. Mama looked at the three of us and glared, her lips in a tight line. Finally, she slid between Jeff and Mick. I kept noticing that Jeff and Mick were paying unusual attention to the coffin all the while the Reverend was speaking in his deep sad voice. I sat there wondering about Mr. Farmer and about what I’d do this summer since I kept lists of things I planned to do and at this point, my summer was pretty full up.

I don’t know how long we were in the church but I was about to roast and Mama was fanning herself with the church funeral bulletin. I suppose I should have felt more sadness for Mr. Farmer except I’d never seen him but from a distance and never done more than wave at him and it was so hot, I could barely think. Well, when the Reverend finally stopped droning and Mrs. Chesterfield began to play the piano as loud and lively as she could, Jeff and Mick jumped to their feet. Mama snatched the back of their shirttails but they whispered something to her and she nodded. I noticed she wiped away a tear.

Well, just as the ushers were walking forward to get in line to carry the coffin out, Jeff and Mick followed close behind them and the two of them grabbed a handle on each side. Then the eight lifted the coffin and all went well while they slowly walked down the aisle and through the dark-wood double doors to the steps. Everyone else was making a wild escape out of the church and I had to scoot out quickly so I could watch the coffin being carried down the stairs. I don’t know what happened but one of the eight tripped on the last step down and the coffin lurched as if it was coming alive. The lid opened an inch or two and out flowed a wave of water, it looked like, and the men in front slid on something shiny. The coffin flew upright and out jumped Mr. Farmer in his black suit, whatever breeze there was catching at his cuffs as if he was walking and his arms flailing, and then Mr. Farmer fell on his face with a thud. Mrs. Farmer shrieked and jumped over to him, straightening out his pant legs and tugging his arm to pull him up. Finally, Mr. Farmer was gathered into his coffin again and the lid closed and the procession continued toward his gravesite near the church while Jeff and Mick picked up the marbles. I kept backing up away from the churchyard step-by-step, wanting to see everything but not wanting to be too close. When the last shovelful of dirt was tossed and flattened, I headed for home.

That night at supper, Mama’s mouth was little more than a taut string. She banged bowls of potatoes and beans on the table. Daddy sat at the head of the table. Mick and Jeff squirmed in their seats. I think we all waited for the thunderbolt to happen. Mama asked us for our plates, dished beef stew and potatoes on each of them, and passed them back to us. Daddy said grace. I felt like I could hardly breathe waiting for the cloudburst and being glad it wouldn’t land on me this time. Then she burst.

“How could you! I was so ashamed of you. And Mr. Taylor was your friend.” 

So, that’s his name. I half listened and then I realized Mama’s anger was now directed at me. “I didn’t know anything about this,” I said. “Honest. Mick and Jeff didn’t tell me nothing.”

“Mary Lou.” Mama’s blue eyes looked like they could flash lightning. “You will go over each morning and feed Mrs. Taylor’s chickens and each Saturday morning, you will go over and help her with whatever she wants you to do.”

“But it’s summer vacation.”

Mama just glared at me. I looked at Daddy but his face was set like stone in an expression I’d never seen before. I sighed.

“Now everyone eat,” Mama said. “I don’t know what Mrs. Taylor is going to do now, them living on leased land and him no longer here to work it. Life does have its troubles.”

I didn’t say anything further throughout that meal and afterwards I dried the dishes. When I finally could escape to my room, I didn’t feel even like reading which was my favorite thing to do. I just lay on my bed feeling like all my plans had been blown up.

I slept in as long as I could until Mama pulled the quilt from off my eyelids and told me to get up. I could tell from her expression that this wasn't a morning to argue with her. After breakfast, I took my time getting over to Mrs. Taylor’s and I dribbled out the chicken feed figuring if I took too long, nobody would want me back. Instead, Mrs. Taylor thanked me and insisted I come in and share a cup of tea with her, which I had to do to be polite. If Mama found out I was less than polite, who knew what else she’d pile on me but this dawdling was eating into my time. On my way home, I realized if I got to Mrs. Taylor’s about the time the sun rose and hurried with the chickens, I’d be home in time for breakfast and have the rest of the day to myself.

My plan worked out well for a few days but Saturday morning I had to go help Mrs. Taylor in addition to feeding the chickens. I arrived after breakfast, fed the chickens, and then knocked on her front door. She didn’t look like she was expecting me so I had to explain why I was there. She let me in. The kitchen was tidy, the floor sparkling clean and there wasn’t a particle of dust anywhere so this was going to be easy.

“Come in, Mary Lou,” she said. “Let’s have a cup of tea before we begin.”

Though I felt grown up sipping tea out of a fine china cup with pink roses and a matching saucer, I was tensed up anticipating what she had in mind. I kept eyeing the clock that tick-tocked on the mantelpiece and seemed to me for every minute the clock moved forward, it must have moved back a half one. I was nervous about breaking something so I finally quit drinking anything at all and looked over her shoulders through the window for something that needed to be done outside.

“What I’d like more than anything with Mr. Taylor gone, God rest his soul, is to have you read to me. Mr. Taylor used to every evening in his lovely deep voice.” She sighed, and I felt a breeze of sadness float over me.

I scanned the room and then spotted four shelves loaded with thick leather-bound volumes. It would take an eternity to read all those out loud. “That’s probably more than I could possibly do. I’m only eleven, going into the sixth grade. I’m sure you’d hate to hear me stumble through them.”

“Let’s try it anyway, shall we?”

I was her prisoner, what else could I do but agree, and so I watched as she set the china cups and saucers next to the sink and then walked into the living room and stood in front of the bookcase. I wasn’t sure whether I should get up from the table or go in and suggest which book might be interesting to start with, as if I would have known. We didn’t have books at home so I borrowed as many as I could. Mama didn’t know it but I’d gotten a card from the town library, too.

Anyway, Mrs. Taylor came back into the kitchen with a thin book and I breathed a sigh of relief inside. Pilgrim’s Progress. I kept reminding myself of Mama’s thin mouth and the tight lines on her face when she’d told me I’d have to do whatever Mrs. Taylor wanted me to do the whole summer so I knew I had to stay.

“Maybe we could share reading,” I said, hoping she’d jump at the bait and then I’d just let her keep on reading while I feigned interest.

She handed me the book and sat there still and quiet, breathing in and out quite normally. “Go ahead, Mary Lou.”

I opened to the first page and began to read and somehow it turned out to be a lot easier than I’d expected and it was noon hardly before I knew it and I was free to go. I looked forward to the next Saturday but I wasn’t going to let anyone know that.

And that was how July and early August went: I was up each morning with the chickens, pardon the pun, and by now I’d named them all and learned their different personalities, and each Saturday morning I’d read another two or three chapters in Pilgrim’s Progress and we were almost through the book and I was beginning to wonder what we’d read next. I don’t know what possessed me though and the third Saturday of August I slipped in a few other papers and when it was time to read, I read those. Well, Mrs. Taylor stopped me cold with her words, “What’s that you’re reading?”

“Well,” I said fetching for some quick excuse. “I figured we’re almost through Pilgrim’s Progress so I thought a change might be nice.”

“Tell me what it is you’re reading.” Her eyes, I noticed for the first time, were brown but in them was a sternness I had not figured on.

“My writing,” I muttered almost under my breath. I took my pages and scrunched them into my jeans’ pocket. “I like to write.”

“No, no, go ahead. I quite enjoy it for a change.”

I pulled out the papers and smoothed them out. I’d never felt this before, my heart feeling like birds flying inside, all free and happy like when they chirped good mornings to each other on summer mornings. I read what I had and Mrs. Taylor laughed until she cried. I was greatly encouraged. When I finished the pages I’d brought, I asked her if I could read her more next week and she nodded.

So for the next two Saturdays, I brought what I could of what I’d written. And something else happened because we started to talk to each other like one woman to another and I found out she wasn’t that different from me and that being older didn’t mean that you’d become someone stern and only concerned about grownup things. I’d ask her about her childhood and she’d tell me all sorts of stories which, when I remembered them later, I wasn’t sure whether they were entirely true or not but it didn’t matter because here I was able to talk and laugh with a lady who was much older and wiser than me.

The Saturday before school was to start, I knocked at Mrs. Taylor’s door and a woman I’d never seen before opened the door.

“Come in, Mary Lou,” Mrs. Taylor called from somewhere in the back of the house. “This is my daughter Lisa.”

I thrust out my hand and she barely touched my fingers.

“So this is the girl who reads to you each Saturday, Mother?”

Mrs. Taylor walked into the room and she looked different like she was both glad and sad to see me, and I could see she’d been crying. “I’m leaving today. Lisa’s insisted I come live with her. Since Mr. Taylor died, I haven’t been able to keep up with the farm lease payments. It’s for the best but I’ll miss our times together.” Her words sort of hung in the air and then they fell with a crash to the floor and I wanted to pick them up and somehow cradle them and make everything back to what it was.   

“It’s not for the best! Isn’t there another way? You could come live with us.” I tried very hard not to, but I burst into tears, big sobs that just tore through me, and I felt like a little girl again. I finally was able to stop, and I stood there clutching the packet of papers I’d had the foresight to put into a used manila envelop that I’d scrounged from Mama. “Why do you have to leave? You’re the only friend I’ve ever had.”

I helped with packing the china cups and saucers in newspaper. When we were finished, there weren’t many boxes of things from a lifetime, which surprised me. The three of us somehow tied a rocking chair to the top of the Chevy, set an ornately carved jewelry box, that Mrs. Taylor said was a wedding gift from Mr. Taylor and that he’d carved himself, on the backseat, along with a couple of boxes of wood-framed family photos I’d never noticed before and fervently wished I’d paid more attention all the times I’d been there. My envelope of papers was on the kitchen table and I placed a newspaper on top. 

After lunch, Lisa left me and Mrs. Taylor to sit in the living room and I asked her if she wanted me to read to her for a bit. She shook her head. What I really wanted to do was to ask her if we could talk even though I didn’t know what I’d ask her and the time seemed so short that I couldn’t even think of what I might have wanted to hear so we sat there and I understood what silence being deafening meant.

Then Mrs. Taylor cleared her throat and reached over and patted my hand. “I don’t want to leave but I have no choice. It’s like losing Mr. Taylor all over again. It’s like losing your whole life.” She pursed her lips tight and took a deep breath that she held for the longest time. “I’ll miss you, Mary Lou.” She stiffened and pulled her hand back and walked into the kitchen where she found my manila envelope. “Are these for me?” She looked at me squarely with her brown eyes telling me something I couldn’t decipher. “Thank you. I’ll cherish these,” she whispered. “I won’t ever forget you, our Saturday mornings together.” She smiled and her whole face lit up.

I didn’t know at the time what any of this meant except that I felt like if someone had tapped me, I would have sounded hollow because all the life had gone out of me. I’d spent all week copying everything I’d written with the intention of reading a bit from them for the rest of the summer and maybe we could have continued into the fall and winter. And all that planning was ending right now and I didn’t know whether to run and hide or to act as grown up as I could. “Yes,” I said. “For you.”

I helped with carrying the last of the boxes out of the house. Mrs. Taylor alternated between a few sobs and telling me she wasn’t moving but sixty miles away and maybe I could come visit her but for me, those sixty miles may as well have been half around the world. 

At three o’clock that afternoon, Lisa said, “I think we’re finished here, Mother. I’ll let you two say your good-byes.” She walked out of the house with the last box, set it behind the driver’s seat, and settled herself in behind the wheel.

I stood on the stoop next to Mrs. Taylor. She still clutched the manila envelope in one arm and then squeezed me so tight with her other arm I could barely breathe. “We’d never have become friends if it weren’t for the marbles,” she whispered. “Mr. Taylor would have enjoyed seeing all the commotion for his sendoff.”

She squeezed me again and then gripped my hand while we walked down the flagstone pathway to the car and she let go when she slid into the car. I pushed the door shut, Lisa started up the engine and Mrs. Taylor mouthed “I’ll miss you,” tears in her eyes. I stepped back while the car rolled away down the dirt road, watched until the last puff of dust was gone.

 

 


Bio: Brigitte Whiting lives in Maine and often uses settings and experiences from her backyard in her writing. She earned Fiction Writing Certificates from Gotham Writers Workshop and UCLA-Ext and is working on her WVU-MFA Certificate. In addition to facilitating WVU classes, she meets weekly with two local writers' groups.

 


Lost and Found

by

Brigitte Whiting

Smelled: a gamey odor downstairs in the basement. Searched for its source but couldn’t find it.

Found: one dead mouse with reddish-brown legs and a white underbelly in the basement bathroom. A deer mouse. Picked it up with tongs, took it outdoors, and tossed...

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One Hundred Yards

by

McCord Chapman

 

 

A deep sigh came just as Jason was pulling off the highway onto Route 11. He was close and could feel his back tingling as if his whole spine had suddenly fallen asleep. This happened every time he headed into a small town, no...

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Yearning - F2k WINNER!

by

Noel



Trish pushed her hair to the side to show off her sparkling diamond earrings. “Alvin just got these for me. I didn’t even have to drop a hint.”

Heather leaned forward for a better look. “Oh Trish, they’re beautiful. And LuAnn, did I see you drive up in a new...

Read more: Yearning - F2k WINNER!

 

 

 

Flamenco

by

Cedar White

We’re late, of course. Won last-minute tickets to a concert at the Greek, the Gipsy Kings, but now parking is impossible. Ten years of driving in LA and the traffic makes me want to move to, I don’t know, Kansas. Then my date points to a...

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Marbles

by

Brigitte Whiting

 I had plans for that summer and everything changed because of the marbles. But I’m way ahead of myself.

My brothers, Jeff and Mick, hung around Farmer Tom’s place, feeding chickens and riding on the tractor with him, watching while he milked his yellow cow, Bess. I’d...

Read more: Marbles

 

 

 

Ruler of the House

by

Luann Lewis

We never should have bought this old house.  We sunk all our savings into it plus we took on a mortgage so huge that at this point I would have to pay out money just to get rid of the place.

 

I hate the sounds...

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Abe, the Teenage Hypnotist from Planet Garfunkel

by

Albert Orejuela

You’re hearing a voice, but no one else hears a sound. It’s a deep distant whisper, soft, safe, and inviting: the words of which you can’t yet make out. The harder you listen, the softer it gets; softer and softer, deeper and deeper. The more you listen to it here, ...

Read more: Abe, the Teenage Hypnotist from Planet Garfunkel

 

 

 

A Night in Fontana

by

TJ Marshall

Brody Carlisle halted his horse on the crest of a shrub-covered hill, slapped his Stetson twice sending dust floating skyward, and after placing it back on his head, coaxed a swallow from his canteen.

To the west, the sun slid behind a scattering of tall pillar-like plateaus. Their...

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Full

by

Luann Lewis

Food. Globes of mashed potatoes glistening with a thin layer of gravy, plump slices of pie gushing with ruby red cherries–food wassensuous. It was sensuous before Abby even knew the meaning of the word.  Sparkling Christmas goodies enticed her as a child. She would sneak from her...

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The Decision

by

Brigitte Whiting

Stan stood on the sand, crumpled by how many people and birds running and sliding into it today. Now, it was getting dark, the last of the purple, streaky clouds turning black against a pale, gray sky.

Go or stay, just two choices.

He reached down...

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Swiftwater

by

Cedar White

10

Amos stood on a thick, muscular knoll on the shoulder of a dark river. He shivered, soaking wet from his silver hair to his leather shoes, and stared, disoriented, at the pines across the river. They seemed to stand with their backs to him. Amos felt...

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Minerva Shield

by

Frank Richards

In July the monsoon rains returned and with them came the little green frogs. Price Aurigena had first seen them in the summer of 1969 when he’d arrived in Korea and now, a year later, they were once again everywhere. Frogs sprang from the ground like exploding popcorn...

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Seinfeld Moment

by

Frank Richards

I have studied martial arts all my life: Karate, Judo, Kenpo Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, and Hsing-I, but as I've gotten older, I pretty much stick to Tai Chi. I used to study Tai Chi at a park in Washington, D.C. called Glen Echo Park. It's an old...

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Wedding Portrait – Life Portrait

by

Glennis Hobbs

July 20, 1942


Escorted by her eldest brother Neil, Annabell walks across the front lawn to meet Bill. her groom. She is dressed in a long gown of pink net overlying pink point d’esprit. A bandeau of artificial roses secures her pink net veil. She also...

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Salvation

by

Teresa Crowe

S is for Scintillation. 

Their arms and elbows locked as they vied for control.  Major released her grip and dredged her beet-colored nails across his muscled chest.  Zane glanced at the four lines of ripped skin, blood dripped onto the rim of his pants.  He lunged forward, grabbed...

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The Explorers

by

Glennis Walker Hobbs

Black, ginger, and tortoiseshell felines zoom through the open screen door onto the deck. Black Nic pauses and surveys his domain from the top of the steps. Kittens race down the ramp and scamper into the backyard. Glory, the tortoiseshell, runs to the maple in the corner, ...

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Beckett – you asked for this

by

Joy Manné

Here am I, on this grey morning, here I am again, entering this day as I entered yesterday and the day before and unless I am spared by death will enter tomorrow and the day after, endlessly growing older with the anxiety that brings, the fear of coming...

Read more: Beckett – you asked for this

 

 

 

Reconciliation

by

Brigitte Whiting

Mattie opened the front door. "I'll be back in a while, Henry," she said, then stepped onto the porch and clicked the door shut.

It opened behind her and Henry stuck out his head. "Wait, I can come with you."

She shook her head. "I need...

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Road Trip

by

David Snyder

  The eight-year-old 1958 Chevy was purring along through rural Kansas with ease. Don smiled with pride. When it hit 180,000 miles he planned to celebrate with a smoke and an ice-cold Mountain Dew from the cooler.  It was a beautiful late April day with the sunny...

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Why I’m Failing My Innovative Fiction Course

by

Ed Kratz

   

This is from an assignment in the Innovative Fiction Course taught by Karen

I'm just not making it in my innovative fiction course.
What is innovative fiction you might ask? Well, if you have to ask, I'd say you're one of those rubes...

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Dear Don...

by

Ed Kratz

   

The Don, whose real name you do not want to know, ever, has vast experience solving problems. Our organization, Don’t Try to Find Us Press, never advocates violence. We take no responsibility for violent acts committed by those misinterpreting the Don’s recommendations.
Now for...

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Todd’s Miracle

by

Leslie

Todd shivered in the dark, seated cross-legged on the linoleum. Coats and dresses draped gently over his five-year-old shoulders. He flinched as a slit of bright light flashed through the space at the bottom of the door. Seconds later the deep, rolling rumble followed. “Mommy?”

Silence.

“Mommy?” ...

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Mad Hatter Town Planners

by

Margaret Fieland

   

I fell down the rabbit hole straight into the town planning committee meeting. A large basin of Sangria sat in the middle of the scratched wood table in the center of the room, and a keg rested against the back wall. Al, Stan, and Art...

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Dinner at Grandma's

by

Lolla Bryant

You’re at Grandma’s house again for dinner.  As always, the family is gathered together and everybody’s trying to out-talk everybody else.   You ask yourself why you continue to go through this ordeal every week, but you know why; it’s Grandma.  Also, it’s a family tradition that brings you...

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Mommy’s Little Secret

by

Leslie

At age five, Amy told her mother that the thought of swimming scared her. Not surprisingly, her mother poo-pooed the idea, and said that fear showed weakness and stupidity. From then on, Amy said she hated swimming and never admitted any fear to her mother again. I don’t...

Read more: Mommy’s Little Secret

 

 

 

Of Heroes and Holiness

by

Angela Hess

What does a hero look like?

 

George Bailey is a hero.

 

George Bailey dreamed of traveling the world.

 

George Bailey gave up his dreams to care for his family and community.

 

Rudy left his family...

Read more: Of Heroes and Holiness

 

 

 

My Desk

by

Luann Lewis

Another rejection letter and I feel like a loser. Yeah, I know, I’m not trying to make a living doing this. I even claim to be “writing for myself.” Butwe all want validation and, let’s face it, us writers want readers. So here I sit, ...

Read more: My Desk

 

 

 

My Mobile Space

by

Janet Harvey

 

In June, I will expect to find my special place in Townsville, Queensland. Last year it was in Darwin, Northern Territory, and today my place is in Hobart, Tasmania.

 

 

We live in a truck, a 2004 Isuzu 350NPR turbo automatic...

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A Red Squirrel's Narrative

by

Brigitte Whiting

This past summer and fall upturned me. The birdfeeder, usually so generous, abdicated her job, and I had to scrounge for food during the long wet season. My mother told me it was unusual to have such a rainy August and October. She would know. I was born...

Read more: A Red Squirrel's Narrative

 

 

 

Talk-Back, Dear Lia, on FnF

by

Joy Manné

This essay is part of a Talk-Back series – I owe that title to Karen. A Talk-Back is my response to a chapter in a WVU textbook, my communication with its author.

This Talk-Back is a response to the exercise in Lia Purpura’s chapter, ‘On Miniatures,’ (Flas...

Read more: Talk-Back, Dear Lia, on FnF

 

 

 

Reunion

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

“Why the F--- Do I want to see a F—ing alligator jump up to eat a F—ing chicken hanging on a clothesline?”

 

The last time I hung out with my Uncle Dan is when I dragged him to Gatorland to do something touristic. ...

Read more: Reunion

 

 

 

A Fear of Broken Things

by

Angela Hess

“Does he look at you?”

 

My cousin’s innocent question triggers a flashing red warning light in my brain. My baby doesn’t look at me. I assumed he was too young still, but my cousin’s baby is only four days older than mine, and they are...

Read more: A Fear of Broken Things

 

 

 

Wild Roses Growing in the Ditch

by

Louise E. Sawyer


It is a joy to hold a lovely scene, a delightful moment, in memory.
~Marjolein Bastin

Frank was four and I was five and getting ready to start school when Dad and Mom moved us into a new house on Glasgow Avenue—a three-bedroom home that wasn't quite finished—in...

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Hazardous Happenings

by

Albert Orejuela

At some point, everything comes to an apex.  Status quo can only persist for so long before the natural balance of the universe calls for consumption, and then it all comes down to a choice.  That’s it, a lone decision that ultimately leads down a pathway to a higher level...

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Dealing with Rejection

by

Carolann Malley


Sending your writing out into the world can be scary whether you write poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. But, at some point, if you are a serious writer, you will do it. Getting a rejection letter back can be more devastating than asking a girl out as a teenager and...

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Backyard Neighbors

by

Brigitte Whiting


I took an hour to walk outdoors in my yard, first to clip dead honeysuckle branches, pluck dandelions, and then to fill the birdbaths and feeders. And to ponder what to write about one of my backyard neighbors, the gray squirrel, Sciurus Carolineses. Its name is derived from the...

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Betrayal

by

Angela Hess


My four-year-old son has a friend over. I overhear my son’s friend tell my two-year-old daughter, “Gracie, you can’t come in here.” Then my son’s voice: “It’s okay, she can play with us. Here, Gracie,” he says, presumably handing her one of the toys they are playing with. My mama...

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The Weight of Emotions

by

Angela Hess

  I can hear my parents’ raised voices upstairs. They are fighting again. I turn on the sink faucet, letting the sound of the running water drown out their voices. I thrust my hands in the nearly scalding hot water and methodically scrub each dish in the sink...

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An Apology

by

Brigitte Whiting

   I'm sorry that I hadn't thought of how I would take care of a puppy. It had seemed like a good idea, accept the gift of a puppy from acquaintances. She had the coloring of a coyote and was named Brindle for those tawny markings. I'd...

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Baby Precious

by

Louise E. Sawyer

It was Christmas Day 1950 and my sixth birthday. Under the tree was an unusually long, large box with my name on it. I was excited to open it. I couldn’t wait. When I finally did, I was amazed to look upon the most gorgeous doll I’d...

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Downsizing

by

M Clare Paris

 
I think about death quite a bit. Not morbidly, nor do I worry about what happens when one dies. Although I enjoy a spiritual life, I am also philosophical about the end of my life. If there is something else, it will be darned interesting. If there isn’t, ...

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Absent But Present

by

Louise E. Sawyer


My father, Thomas George Sawyer, was absent at my birth and absent the first seven months of my life.

It was Christmas Eve 1944 at the two-story white house on Beechwood Drive-my Grannie’s house in Victoria, the capital city of British Colombia on Vancouver Island. Grannie Price, my...

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Gathering: A Contemplative Essay

by

Brigitte Whiting

I'm always looking for ideas to use in writing: for that prompt at which I first gulp and then slowly retrieve some thread of an idea, for the poem I need for the Monday morning poetry group, for an essay that's due in two days.

I've heeded...

Read more: Gathering: A Contemplative Essay

 

 

 

Seasons in a Wild Turkey Hen's Life

by

Brigitte Whiting

Last spring, a wild turkey hen incubated her eggs for twenty-eight days. When they hatched, she scrambled to keep up with them. Poults to scientific literature. Babies to her. She didn't need to teach them to scratch for bugs—they came with that instinct. Nighttimes during their first four weeks, ...

Read more: Seasons in a Wild Turkey Hen's Life

 

 

 

Lesson in Subtext

by

Joy Manné and Karen Barr

Roles

Teacher – Karen Barr

Student – Joy Manné

Teacher

WELCOME TO WEEK 8 OF SUBTEXT.

There is no word count, but the challenge is to get all ten types of subtext in as few words as possible. Here they are:

Show don’t...

Read more: Lesson in Subtext

 

 

 

Teenage Escape Plan

by

Danielle Dayney

I woke to warm, gooey air smothering me even though the ceiling fan was spinning on high. Dangling lightpulls smacked and banged the glass globe with each rotation of the blades. The base of the fan swayed and groaned, ready to jump from its screws in the drywall any second.

...

Read more: Teenage Escape Plan

 

 

 

Miracle Baby

by

Harry C. Hobbs

The mother and father watched as the sun rose on a cold morning in February 1945, wondering if their four-month-old son had lived through the night. Could miracles really happen? Perhaps this child they had wanted so badly wanted wasn’t meant to survive. His mother was a month past her...

Read more: Miracle Baby

 

 

 

Ylva the Úlfr

by

Cynthia Reed

When I flew to California in September, the golden archipelago summer, verdant below and mazarine above, still held sway. Twenty-three days and eleven thousand two hundred and forty miles later, if you’d sat here with me on the back deck this afternoon--you’d know, too--autumn now envelopes Sweden in...

Read more: Ylva the Úlfr

 

 

 

Late Summer

by

Debbie Noland

The winner of the April 2019 Poetry Contest!

  
Summer gasps its last hot breaths,
panting...

Read more: Late Summer

 

 

 

Teenage Turmoil - (Aged 16)

by

Miss Natalie Sackstein.

Part of the series: #1 THREE AGES OF WOMAN

TEENAGE TURMOIL
by (Aged 16)

My mind is but...

Read more: Teenage Turmoil - (Aged 16)

 

 

 

Frustration - (Aged 28)

by

Mrs. Natalie Liknaitzky

Part of the series: #2 THREE AGES OF WOMAN


FRUSTRATION
BY (Aged 28)

Creation stifled. Each...

Read more: Frustration - (Aged 28)

 

 

 

Multipotentailite - (Aged 80)

by

Natalie Knight

Part of the series: #3 THREE AGES OF WOMAN.

MULTIPOTENTAILITE
(Inspired by Lydia Davis to write...

Read more: Multipotentailite - (Aged 80)

 

 

 

By Late Winter

by

Brigitte Whiting


My unfinished deck waits beneath two feet of snow.
The driveway is one long strip of ice,
and...

Read more: By Late Winter

 

 

 

Joy Crawls Out Of Her Bag

by

Louise Sawyer




In memoriam of Joy, my animal companion, who died January 9, 2018.

Joy crawls out of her sleeping bag,
...

Read more: Joy Crawls Out Of Her Bag

 

 

 

Cyber Sisters

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

we meet in online classes,
strangers in cyber space,
we share
a love of poetry,
a desire...

Read more: Cyber Sisters

 

 

 

Winter Ballet

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs




snowflakes swirl in a dance
hurl themselves against the window
pine trees rock branches to and fro,
gently, then furiously
...

Read more: Winter Ballet

 

 

 

Computers and Catspeak

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs


I move the mouse
over the pad
type in password

mouse?
did I hear the word mouse?
where...

Read more: Computers and Catspeak

 

 

 

A Soldier’s Letter Home – A Found Poem

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs



Based on letters by Private George Walker, written June 12, 1918-July 17, 1918

I got your letter just about lights...

Read more: A Soldier’s Letter Home – A Found Poem

 

 

 

Ottawa Reverie

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs



As I leaf through my manuscript of Ottawa poems, “In the Shadow of the Tower,” I decide to check...

Read more: Ottawa Reverie

 

 

 

The Room

by

rolly




I hear little drips the leaky faucet makes
amid violent silence of the passing night

how I long for that...

Read more: The Room

 

 

 

Speedy, My Reptilian Twin

by

Lina Sophia Rossi




The house seems different, quiet and empty
despite being filled with people, cats, and dogs.
No longer swishing or pitter-patter,
...

Read more: Speedy, My Reptilian Twin

 

 

 

Metaphorically Speaking

by

Lina Sophia Rossi




They say life is like a bowl of cherries
sweet, juicy, tasty. Watch out for the pits.
Isn’t that what...

Read more: Metaphorically Speaking

 

 

 

Ligature Ideations

by

Lina Sophia Rossi




From the doorjamb, staff had to cut her down,
now she was an amorphous, lifeless mound,
large form lying on...

Read more: Ligature Ideations

 

 

 

Never Sober, Always Arguing

by

Lina Sophia Rossi




Arguing chips away at my soul.
How can I feel half, when part of a whole?
Drink yet another beer, ...

Read more: Never Sober, Always Arguing

 

 

 

Your Call to Say Hi, Gone to Hell

by

Lina Sophia Rossi




Why call, then yell I interrupted?
To talk to you, gives me great displeasure.
My personal peace has been disrupted.
...

Read more: Your Call to Say Hi, Gone to Hell

 

 

 

Waiting for the Rain

by

Helen Rossiter



Mavis Bone with her face as crinkled as a brown paper bag sits quiet and still in the ancestor’s rocker, ...

Read more: Waiting for the Rain

 

 

 

Christmas Birds

by

Debbie Noland



Just above the power lines
that stretch along the road, the birds
on Christmas morning swarm, and then

at some...

Read more: Christmas Birds

 

 

 

Stragglers

by

Debbie Noland



Two pelicans left in the cove
this brisk November afternoon
must surely know it’s time to leave.

The dock marina...

Read more: Stragglers

 

 

 

San Luis Valley Sunshine

by

Frankie Colton




Summer sky azure
Thunderheads billow rain falls
Warm sunshine-filled days

Golden leaves falling
Fall breeze whispers winter comes
Crisp morning...

Read more: San Luis Valley Sunshine

 

 

 

Bathroom Ekphrastic

by

Debbie Noland



It’s dank and dark and dingy
in the old cabin bathroom.
The narrow steps stretch downward
with their cold, metal...

Read more: Bathroom Ekphrastic

 

 

 

Ice-Breaking Revisited

by

Christina Huizar



I met my love – my love was fair
His most chance word fascinating
His every move a mystery
I...

Read more: Ice-Breaking Revisited

 

 

 

Boardwalk Stroll – A Prose Poem

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs (Glennis Hobbs)

My morning stroll leads me to the east end of Flinty’s Boardwalk by Del’s Cairn. A replica of ...

Read more: Boardwalk Stroll – A Prose Poem

 

 

 

Adventuring — An Unrhymed Heroic Couplet

by

Brigitte Whiting




I've been where no red squirr'l has gone before,
toheights and depths, despair. Until an opened...

Read more: Adventuring — An Unrhymed Heroic Couplet

 

 

 

Ode To A Poem

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs (Glennis Hobbs)

you start as a blank screen
or a sheet of pristine paper,
words elude me, then
tantalize, taunt...

Read more: Ode To A Poem

 

 

 

The People’s Princess ~An Elegy

by

Louise Sawyer

There was a day never forgotten
When the world, including me, watched from afar
the fairytale wedding of...

Read more: The People’s Princess ~An Elegy

 

 

 

Crystalized Fog ~a Pastoral Poem

by

Gerardine Gail Baugh

Of cold air hitting a warmer ground
Yesterday ended in a rising fog
Or was it the other...

Read more: Crystalized Fog ~a Pastoral Poem

 

 

 

Elegy for Judy

by

Gerardine Gail Baugh


I try to hear her voice; its sound has faded.
I see her hair, shining dark, brushing her...

Read more: Elegy for Judy

 

 

 

Portrait of Solitude

by

Albert Orejuela

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Break Time

by

RJ Hembree

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Colors

by

Maggie Fieland

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Wild Horses with the Snow Covered Mountains

by

RJ Hembree

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Color Cubes

by

Maggie Fieland

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Rest

by

Albert Orejuela

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Camera Smile

by

RJ Hembree

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To Relax Wild Horses Before a Photo Shoot, I Find it Helpful to Tell a Couple of Jokes

by

RJ Hembree

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First Step

by

Karen Barr

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Orchid Alone

by

Albert Orejuela

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Veg 2

by

Maggie Fieland

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All Along the Watchtower

by

RJ Hembree

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Ham

by

Karen Barr

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Winter

by

Maggie Fieland

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Backlit Great White Egret

by

RJ Hembree

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White Lightning

by

Karen Barr

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Wild Horses

by

RJ Hembree

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Cow Gossip

by

Karen Barr

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Cooper's Town

by

Albert Orejuela

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Along with the Sandhill Cranes, American Wigeons Filled the Sky

by

RJ Hembree

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Aleyne Desert

by

Maggie Fieland

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A Favorite Fishing Spot for the Ospreys

by

RJ Hembree

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Wearing a Coating of Ice

by

Gerardine (Gail) Baugh

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Long Way 'Til Spring

by

Brigitte Whiting

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