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.

 


A Night in Fontana

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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.

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Full

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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.

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Swiftwater

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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...

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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...

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New Age Centre

by

Natalie Knight

I had been in Oz for a few months when I received an emergency call to come back to South Africa. Every émigré who leaves elderly parents dreads this call.

 

But this was worse than death. Our family lawyer called me to attend a meeting...

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"I’ve Been With Willy All Day"

by

Brigitte Whiting

   

The late August sun hung hot in a bare blue sky. Matilda picked up a tattered straw bushel basket and trudged into the garden with it. The rows of beans were dusty green, the corn stalks tall, their leaves edged with yellow. She settled on...

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50 Minutes

by

Allyssa


Nomi stood a few feet from the curb, watching her breath in the November Seattle rain, waiting for her mother. She hated asking for money. The feeling of dread almost compelled her to flee as she saw the silver Mercedes approaching. If only she didn’t need another fix.

“So, ...

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Her Fortune is the Future in the Past

by

Albert Orjuela

The toe drags umber, the pressure of holding paint forces the belly to bulge, and the canvas texture causes tired bristles to bend and stretch, casting tinted shadows in their wake. The resulting undertones bring life to the painting. The vitalizing paint bled from the brush is drawn from the...

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The Compulsion of Water Lilies

by

Gevera Bert Piedmont



She was buzzing in his ear again, the world’s largest and most annoying fly.

“This isn’t the beach you promised me. Can’t we go into town at least?”

He flicked a hand over his shoulder at her, go away, and stared into the waves. His eyes sought and...

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Lessons In Plot: From Setup To Payoff

by

By Joy Manné (the student) with Help and Encouragement from Karen Barr (the teacher)



From ‘The Road from Setup to Payoff’ by Karen Barr, (Writers Village University, MFA 250-261 Story Focus series based on the book by Lisa Cron)

One of our most hardwired expectations is that anything that reads like the beginning of a new pattern—that is a setup—will in fact, be a...

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Meatloaf and Mashed Taters

by

Art Subklew


Art Subklew is a 55-year-old Paramedic residing and working in The Southern Berkshires, Massachusetts. He began creative writing as a teenager, mostly focusing on fictional short stories grounded in his experiences as a teenager growing up on a small farm. He has attended numerous classes in Creative Writing...

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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...

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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. ...

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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...

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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 Orjuela

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...

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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, ...

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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...

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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.

...

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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...

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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...

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Last Cigarette

by

Belinda Moutray

Under the shaky match’s sulfurous flame, the last Marlboro’s tip blazes brightly, dims and flares.

Broken, quivering...

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Writer's Prayer

by

Margaret Fieland

Bless my paper, bless my pen,
bless my keyboard, Lord. And then,
please keep track of all those...

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Unmutable

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

She’s unmutable beauty in life and death.
Endearing spirit, smile warm as sunshine and everlasting.
From birth’s first...

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Spiders Are My Friends

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

From the breeze, I saw the glistening web.
The big, cozy spider stared out at me.
I wonder...

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Serial Killer

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

Hide behind an actor’s mask and prybar;
Some humans are born with souls as dark as night.
Abduct, ...

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Resembled His First Love

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

All victims resembled his x -first love, Stephanie Brooks,
Long middle parted brunettes with small framed feminine good...

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Phrasical Subordination

by

Margaret Fieland

The main clause of the sentence names the thing you mainly do
but it can have subordinates and...

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Passing Through

by

Margaret Fieland

Morning sun shimmers through gray clouds,
etches shadows on cracked sidewalk.
Empty beer cans surround broken fire hydrant.
...

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Library Book Group

by

Brigitte Whiting

I don't believe in Dracula,
don't even know his story,
Count Vlad the Impaler of Romania, circa 1400s...

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If I Set A Clown On My Lawn

by

Gerardine Baugh

I doubt I am noticed, behind trees, that line of pond, in my front yard.
I turn...

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Falling in Love

by

Margaret Fieland

My mother
sank into cold lake water
bit by slow bit,
first up to her ankles,
then her...

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Ever Wonder About Ted Bundy?

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

I wonder how many others are like Ted Bundy.
He bludgeoned his victims so they couldn’t make a...

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Dreamscape

by

Margaret Fieland

Dreams and nightmares roll around,
fantasies I weave at night,
land of dreams I cannot share,
panoramas to...

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Blueberry Jelly

by

Gerardine Gail Baugh

Blueberry jelly
Splattered across the table,
Ingrained in the rug
Flowing patterns spattered on the wall
Sitting in...

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Dandelions

by

Brigitte Whiting


We discussed dandelions in my poetry group. Some grow so tightly their stalkless stems have to be dug up with...

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TAN RENGA and NÎGUIN: : Japanese poetic forms for two or more writers

by

Carol Neillon Malley, Cynthia Reed and Sharon Ammerman

INTRODUCTION
During the recent MFA314 Japanese Poetic Forms class, WVU students had an opportunity to explore six forms...

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Dump The Core!

by

Gerardine Baugh

A Prose Poem

It is just after ten at night. Michael changes the channel so Captain...

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The Guinea Pig’s Obsession

by

Louise E. Sawyer


I watch Joy munching on her cat grass, head down she gobbles without stopping. Down one row and up the...

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Tomcat Under Nine Antennas

by

Gerardine Baugh

I stretch out over the back of the couch, lounging soft, boneless skin, soft fur stretched so far...

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Words Done Gone

by

F. Michael LaRosa


F. Michael LaRosa wrote this piece for MFA376. He tells us, it is a blues song in prose that laments...

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A Dream: Must Have Been Something I Ate

by

Gerardine Baugh

A pickle meets the side of the barn. Ignoring the rats. With arms like tendrils, it sneaks its way...

Read more: A Dream: Must Have Been Something I Ate

 

 

 

Stormy Weather

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs


Thunder rumbles, stops and starts again when lightning jags across charcoal coloured skies and splitsinto forks. Raindrops dance...

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Frenzy

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs


Norva hosts an open mic musical fundraiser two days after Christmas so that people who are home for Christmas can...

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Summer Solitude

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

Summer, 4:00 a.m. and I step out onto my deck. An indigo dawn rises over the silvery mist that hides...

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A Prose Poem Is …

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs


To put it in simplest terms a prose poem is made up of sentences and paragraphs. The prose poet depends...

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Death of a Home

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs


The ghosts of yesteryear journey through my mind.

The white frame house stood sixty feet back from the road. ...

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I’m Called Midnight

by

Louise E. Sawyer


Two little guinea pig boys flew out of the hut and ran with joy around the cage. They popcorned, jumping...

Read more: I’m Called Midnight

 

 

 

Stargazer

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

 A Poem in Free Verse

Stargazer, Rhode Island Red

So much like me,

Always...

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Eagles in Winter Storm "Stella"

by

Brigitte Whiting

A poem in free verse

Before the nor'easter "Stella" arrives here—

weather warnings have...

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Heads I Win

by

Joy Manné

A Chant in Free Verse

Bathed and blessed, in fine white cotton clad,

to...

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Do you wear shoes? Do they make a sound?

by

Gerardine Baugh

I looked up and saw it.  I would have missed it if I hadn’t looked up when I...

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Wakeful Nights

by

Catherine McArdle

A Sonnet

These midnight doubts have power to kill your peace

and numbing...

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Dragons

by

Judy Beaston

A Cinquain poem

 

 dragons

dance on night walls

swift runners, fire breathers

...

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Milky Way Bonaire

by

Miranda Mulders

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A Dark Welcome

by

Albert Orjuela

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The Big Rock Candy Mountain

by

RJ Hembree

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Fog in the Adirondacks

by

Albert Orjuela

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Smew

by

RJ Hembree

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Roadside Attractions

by

Gerardine (Gail) Baugh

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Rock Formations at Point Lobos

by

RJ Hembree

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Hot Air in the Hudson Valley

by

Albert Orjuela

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Rock and Roll

by

Gerardine (Gail) Baugh

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Take a Walk on the Wild Side

by

RJ Hembree

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Got Coffee?

by

Albert Orjuela

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Tracking a Tractor

by

Gerardine (Gail) Baugh

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One More for the Road

by

RJ Hembree

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Bella in High Key

by

Albert Orjuela

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Chickory

by

Gerardine (Gail) Baugh

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Patterns in Nature

by

RJ Hembree

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Blowing Away

by

Albert Orjuela

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Morning Shot Great Blue Heron

by

RJ Hembree

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Close Up

by

RJ Hembree

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Watchful Budha

by

Gevera Bert Piedmont

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When the Killdeer Come to Town

by

RJ Hembree

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Green Heron

by

RJ Hembree

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Light as a Feather

by

Albert Orjuela

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Babysitting

by

RJ Hembree

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Happy Guy Here

by

RJ Hembree

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Bacon!

by

Albert Orjuela

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Ragdoll

by

Gerardine (Gail) Baugh

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