Village Square Logo

The rain that had pelted the high mountain jungle all morning stopped abruptly, and the sun gradually dissolved the lingering clouds. Insects hummed again, birds burst forth in joyous song and flowers lifted their dripping heads, spreading their petals wide to receive the sun’s bright blessing. The People, the Faithful Ones, gathered under the banyan tree by the Great Hall to hear Brother Bastion’s words.

After the daily rains, Brother Bastion used to sit with them and teach them. Lately, though, he spoke only from a distance. He was ill, he said, and dared not come too close.

Today, he would not appear at all. He was too ill to leave his cot and would speak only a few words to his beloved people from inside his chamber. Still the Faithful Ones gathered, silently waiting.

As the sun’s rays touched the Blessing Stone, Reuben sounded the cymbal. A moment later, Bastion’s voice drifted, slow and dreamlike, through the sultry air.

“My children, there are those who do not believe, those who will say we are wrong to live as we do. We are not wrong. Some will say we are deceivers. They will say I am a deceiver. We must not let that deter us from our purpose, to serve the needs of others.

“Remember, my children,” the voice crooned, “we are all stewards of this world and must care for one another’s needs. If we each give a little of what we have, just a little, our reward will be great. Take your gifts to Brother Reuben in the Great Hall. He will present them to God, and God will decree where those gifts be used.” The voice trailed off then resumed barely above a whisper. “Give with gladness in your hearts, my children, so other’s hearts may also be gladdened.”

Reuben sighed as he knelt on the rough wooden floor and pulled his frayed prayer shawl over his head. He’d expected, after three years on this land, the colony would be in better shape. The need must be exceedingly great elsewhere for Bastion to ask more from his people. They had so little. But the Faithful would bring their tiny coins and bits of silver, still giving when they had nothing left to give.

“Oh, Great God,” he intoned aloud. “Mighty and Omnipotent One, guide the Faithful in their giving. Supply their needs and grant them peace. Raise our Brother Bastion and restore his health, oh Glorious Lord. To you and to our colony, I pledge my life and my being.”

As he finished his prayer the reed curtain parted, and a man stepped out of the blazing sun into the cool interior of the Great Hall. “Welcome, Faithful One,” Reuben said without looking up.

“Thank you for the welcome, my friend, but I am hardly one of your Faithful.”

The voice was soft, but it sent a shiver down Reuben’s back. He raised his head slowly. “What do you want, Gale?” He glared at the man. “You were sent from this place in disgrace. You are not welcome.”

“Don’t be like that, Brother,” the man said. “Isn’t this a place of love and forgiveness… a place of second chances?”

The curtain parted again, and a young girl stepped inside. “Brother Reuben?” she bowed her head, “I’m sorry to interrupt…”

“Mia! Welcome. You’re not interrupting.” He held his hands out to the girl. “The Faithful are always welcome. Come in.”

She glanced at the stranger as she took Reuben’s hand. “Mother wanted me to bring this like Brother Bastion said. It’s not very much…”

“Your reward will be great, Faithful One.” Reuben smiled and took the small coin. “Is your mother any better?”

“No, Brother Reuben.” The girl shook her head. “She stays the same. She said to tell you she prays for Brother Bastion every day.”

“As do we all, child.” He placed his hand on her head in blessing. “Greetings to your Mother and my thanks. Tell her our prayers are for her as well.”

The girl smiled. “Mother also said you might want to check on Brother Bastion. When Caleb took today’s soup, yesterday’s soup was still untouched on the stand outside his door.”

Reuben frowned. “Oh? Perhaps he is fasting. I’ll see to him.”

When the girl was gone Reuben turned back to Gale. “Now, tell me what you want.” He looked at the tattered shirt and worn boots of his one-time friend and thought he knew. “Go to the kitchen. Claudia will give you a meal. Then leave. I do not wish to see you again.”

“You asked me what I want,” Gail said quietly. “I want you to listen to me. You and your people must leave this place. Men are coming to drive you away… by force if necessary. Bastion has ignored their warnings for too long.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Reuben, Bastion is not what you think. He’s…”

“GET OUT!” Reuben roared.

Instead, Gale sprang forward. He knocked Reuben to the floor, straddled his chest and pinned his arms to the boards. “You will listen to me, my friend,” he said as he struggled to hold the larger man. “I’ve seen the devastation Bastion has wrought, the heartbreak he’s caused. He has started other colonies, Reuben, six of them, and abandoned each one when the people had no  more to give him. He is ready to abandon this place, maybe already has.  You heard the girl, his food was untouched.”

Reuben fought vainly, kicking and thrashing. “It was for just such blasphemy you were expelled,” he spat. “And now you dare to return asking forgiveness? I curse you, Gale Levaport! You and your children to the third generation!”

Gale laughed. “I am cursed already, you fool.” He stood up, grabbed Reuben’s arm and pulled him to his feet. “Everyone in this colony is cursed. Look around! Have you seen your precious Bastion lately?”

“No. Brother Bastion is ill and wishes to be left undisturbed.” Reuben rubbed his shoulder. “And we know about the other colonies,” he said, lifting his chin. “Brother Bastion told us how the local authorities came in and took over the land, how many of his colonists were killed trying to defend their home and how the rest were scattered and lost, fleeing for their lives.”

“Open your eyes, man!” Gale shouted. “Those weren’t Bastion’s lands. They were owned by other men. He had no right to be there. The colonists had no right to be there. Six times he’s built these colonies, taken everything the colonists owned and given them nothing in return. When the landowners threatened violence, where was Bastion? Where was he each time the enforcers came? Away, Reuben, conveniently away. Six times, my friend!”

“No!” Reuben shouted back. “I don’t believe you! Bastion bought this land at great expense for us, his beloved people. Gale, he’s given us a home and a family when we had none. He’s given us hope and a future for our children. He asks nothing for himself.”

“Oh, Reuben.” Gale sighed, shaking his head. “He takes everything for himself. You’re the Administrator, you have total access to everything?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “Have you seen a deed for this property? Of course not, there isn’t one. Tell me, where is the treasury? Bastion holds it for safe keeping, doesn’t he? How are the offerings distributed? Bastion takes them to the city.” Gale put his hand on Reuben’s shoulder. “Where does your food come from, my friend? Only what you can grow or kill. What about your clothes? Look at them Reuben. They’re as shabby as mine. Do you have tools? Books? Radios?”

Reuben’s face grew red. “Bastion promised those things will come in time. For now, he says, our gifts are needed elsewhere. Others must be in dire need, so we wait. We have enough.”

Gale’s shoulders slumped. “You have to leave here, Reuben! The landowners have sent enforcers to evict you.”

Reuben stared at Gale. “What? How would you know that? Unless…”

The reed curtain flew open as three men strode inside, their heavy boots thudding on the wooden planks. One carried a small club in his right hand. “We’ve waited long enough, Levaport,” he growled. “You tried and failed. Now it’s our turn. Where is Bastion Grimsby?”

Gale groaned and hung his head. “I had no choice, Reuben!” he whispered. “I have a family to feed. I tried to tell you…” His voice trailed off. “I’m so sorry, my friend.”

Reuben glared at him then turned to the newcomer. “You are trespassing on private land, sir,” he spoke with more authority than he felt, “and we can tolerate no violence here. I must ask you to leave.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
The club carrier ignored the request and took a step forward, thrusting his face toward Reuben. “Be gone by this time tomorrow.”

“This is our land! We will not leave.” Reuben stood his ground and spoke the words boldly, hiding his shaking hands behind his back.

“Where’s Bastion?” The man stepped past Reuben peering into the shadows.

“He cannot be disturbed.”

The man spun around, raising the club. “Take us to him… now, or I’ll smash your head in.”

Colour drained from Reuben’s face. “Please,” he said, his voice shaking, “Brother Bastion is ill. He really cannot be disturbed.”

The man took a step toward Reuben, lifting the club higher.

“No Jacques, wait!” Gale reached toward the man. “I’ll take you.” He glanced at Reuben and whispered, “I’m sorry my friend. Prepare your people to leave this place.”

Minutes later the man pushed the curtain of Brother Bastion’s chamber aside. The Colony leader sat slumped on the floor, leaning heavily against the leg of a crude table. He wore a loose shirt, open at the front, and a short sarong wrapped about his waist. Both were soaked with sweat and the bloody fluid that oozed from the open sores covering his skin. A small chest lay open beside him, its contents, a few coins, bits of silver and gold, the odd tiny gem or piece of jewelry, spilled haphazardly across the floor.

Jacques and his men pulled back, repulsed by the fetid stench.

Gale sighed and shook his head sadly. “Bastion you waited too long this time. You should have been gone.”

Bastion’s voice was a hoarse whisper. “The price of treatment has gone up. There wasn’t enough yet.”

As Bastion spoke Reuben hurried up the rough stone steps. “Brother Bastion,” he called as he came, “I’m so sorry. I told them you were…” He stopped, staring at the sight within the chamber, then dropped to his knees, a strangled cry ripping from his throat.

Gale bent to the holy man and lifted him to his feet. “I tried to tell you, Reuben,” he said, cradling the sobbing man. “He kept everything for himself, for his own need, but this time his luck ran out.”

Bio: Linda Murray has been involved with WVU for several years. She is working on the Creative Writing Certificate, has take a number of general interest courses and continues a longstanding love/hate relationship with a YA sci/fi novel. Her short story, Zephyr, was published in the first edition of the Village Square.


Safe

by

Brian Hunt

Everyone wore a mask now, but why they did was no longer a question. Those who asked either disappeared or, after a suitable period of re-education, joined their faceless colleagues. The masks kept us free not just from airborne threats to health but from the complexities of signalling...

Read more: Safe

 

 

 

Eagles’ Run

by

Sandra Niedzialek

Sarah Jensen works at the county morgue. It’s the only job available, her probation officer tells her. She’s a lousy thief, it seems. Gah, she hates scrubbing stainless steel. She’s the only one in the morgue because her shift is from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. As she...

Read more: Eagles’ Run

 

 

 

How Horrible the Moon

by

Brian Hunt

How horrible the moon. How horrible the pale light it cast upon my grave as it called me to my duty.

In a few short hours I would leave the comfort of my grave to walk among the living. I scared most of them, but now after over...

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The Woman in the Mirror

by

Miriam Manglani

Jack pulled the comforter over his head and clamped his hands over his ears, but it did
little to block out his parents’ screaming. If it got any worse, he would hide in his closet.

“I told you I wanted shrimp for dinner,” Amit, Jack’s father, scowled and...

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To the Moon

by

Brigitte Whiting

"How terrible the moon," Mr. Abrams said each time there was a full moon. "There's sadness with beauty."

At first, when the future Mrs. Abrams met him, she thought it was odd. When he was young, he'd wanted to ride on the back of his older brother's motorcycle...

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One Precious Day

by

Paul K. McWilliams

“We love those who know the worst of us and don’t turn their faces away.”
                                                                                                                     -Walker Percy

                                                                   

Mike Hanlon, an old childhood friend of mine, had cultivated the pot, not for kicks or profit, but expressly for relief.  He was a poor and suffering soul growing...

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SkippyGraycoat

by

Peter Mancusi

Skippy Graycoat woke up early to the chirping of birds. It had been a long night for the young squirrel. He spent hours fixing up his new apartment, a fancy little hollow inside of an old, maple tree, and he was happy to finally have some privacy. No...

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A Pot Full of Beans

by

Brigitte Whiting

Clara Beth didn't remember that she'd promised to fill the cast iron bean pot for the Smithville Annual Bean Hole Bean Pot supper until late Friday afternoon when she received the call that the bean hole was prepared, the embers hot and ready. "Almost ready," she lied. What...

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How You Can Go Wrong

by

Lisa Benwitz

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Angelina scoffed at Sam, her husband of sixty years. “You’re not leaving. You won’t last a day without me.”

“I can’t deal with you anymore,” he said as he walked out the door. As if she’d been the one to disappoint, to betray.

Angelina’s sagging...

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The Piano

by

Nitin Mishra

The old grand piano sat in lonely corner of the room. Dust covered the piano body, and insects crept in through the keys. For the house’s inhabitants, the grand piano was merely a dead wooden sound-making device mechanically operated. No one ever tried to infuse life into the...

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Makers and Takers

by

Kim Bundy

Jake dropped the baby off at daycare early that morning and replaced three water heaters by lunch. There were two HVAC systems left to service, so he wolfed down a sandwich as he drove between jobs. When he got back to the shop that afternoon, his boss called...

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The “Ely Kay”

by

Paul K. McWilliams

It’s my boat yard, and I don’t much care for the look of her. It’s a point of pride. You should be able to take a level to a boat up on lumber. Every day with her list, she stares me down. She looks guilty and sad with...

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What We Long For

by

Cyril Dabydeen

Creating an imaginary garden
                            with real toads in it.
                                    --Marianne Moore


Frogs circle the yellow-and-black snake in the trout stream by instinct, no less. Mr. Yorick, tall, but roundish, ...

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Emerson

by

Paul K. McWilliams

He hurts, body, mind, and soul. Death has made its introduction and he has given it a knowing nod. At this moment he’s in a hospice unit. The head of his bed is elevated and he’s in the consoling company of his dog, Emerson. The dog proved quickly...

Read more: Emerson

 

 

 

Blunt Trauma

by

Paul K. McWilliams

To all, excepting only Annie, Charles W. Durgin fell while fishing and drowned.  It has been nearly ten years since she struck him with his own club, the club he affectionately called “the priest.” Nightmares still waken her upright and screaming. Not the stifled screams into his calloused...

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Man in the Mirror

by

Nitin Mishra

It may have been the sultriest day of the decade, who knows, maybe two or even three decades and the excessive humidity had invited swarms of insects. In such a sweltering afternoon people were destined to stay indoors, and if anyone ventured out, the insects would certainly torment...

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The Impostor

by

Mick Clark

I was amazed by how many people were stuffed inside my uncle Henry’s corpse.

My aunt clung to me for the first time in her life, bird-bone brittle and ashen pale, while the mourners breathed crowds of ghosts into the icy morning air.

The coffin swayed...

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21 Days of Lockdown

by

Donna Abraham Tijo

Day 1:
When Coronavirus Comes Calling
A five-year-old declares, 'I wish to always have my favourite pancake in my world.'

Day 2:
An E-mail of Hope
He sent the e-mail to the school reserving seats for his daughter for the fall session. It’s in the new city they...

Read more: 21 Days of Lockdown

 

 

 

Sugar Daddy Dreams

by

Enza Vynn-Cara

Burnt toast, avocado, honey, two poached eggs laced with turmeric and garlic, and a new vitamin concoction that makes my stomach churn, and still, I guzzle half of it down with gusto, as if it’s our first Godfather Cocktail at Carlo’s Bar.

Why, you ask?

Because...

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The Visitor

by

Brigitte Whiting

Madeleine saw the visitor in her Sunday school class, a man her age, maybe fortyish —she considered herself a youthful fifty —with a deep dimple in the middle of his chin. He wore no wedding ring. He introduced himself as having just moved to Cannington, and was the...

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Chickens

by

Brigitte Whiting

First, there was dust everywhere, but now, far worse, there were chickens everywhere. They were pecking through the yard, leaving puffs of dust. They were roosting in the pine trees. And they clucked from morning to night. The five roosters vied for which was loudest and shrillest. Amanda...

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Desiree

by

Joe Cappello

I buried him in the backyard one night after a rainstorm. The soil I removed from the hole was thick and sticky and clung stubbornly to the surface of my shovel.

I connected the hose to the backyard spigot and used it to clean off the shovel. Then...

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The Anointing of Mary Ballard

by

Joe Cappello

The young lady entered the laboratory with her eyes cast down reverently, as though entering a church. When she reached the gurney, she pulled a chair close to it and placed the things she was carrying on a nearby table. She removed the sheet covering the body and...

Read more: The Anointing of Mary Ballard

 

 

 

Beginning at the End

by

Joe Cappello

I am in a meeting at our England location in a typical rectangular conference room walled off from the real world of work taking place outside. Suddenly, I am a spirit floating above my colleagues, as though I had died only seconds earlier and am waiting to be...

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Hope Held My Heart

by

Chel Talleyrand

We were isolated that summer from the rest of the world. The excessive rains had pounded the fields into mosquito-infested pools, destroying our harvests of corn and beans. We heard it was worse in the cities. As food supplies depleted, guns decided distribution. Friends and families banded together...

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Bibliosmia

by

Penny Camp

My love for reading started early. I traveled the world and rode dragons, fought knights, stormed castles, stole treasure with pirates and rescued kidnapped princesses. I floated down rivers in the deepest regions of unexplored lands. I climbed trees and mountains and flew on clouds.

Mom read to...

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To Thwart a Wild Turkey Hen

by

Brigitte Whiting

A flock of wild turkeys has wandered in and out of my yard for years. I have a raised deck so my birdfeeders stand ten feet off the ground and the turkeys graze under them. They are timid birds, and typically when I step out onto the deck, ...

Read more: To Thwart a Wild Turkey Hen

 

 

 

The Style of No Style

by

Frank Richards

I must be the Charlie Brown of writers because I’ve never been able to figure out what “style” is all about. What does that word, ‘style,’ mean? I’ve always had a problem with it. If there were such a thing as “styleblindness,” a disease like colorblindness, I’d be...

Read more: The Style of No Style

 

 

 

Corona Clean

by

Fran Schumer

The Corona virus presents new challenges. Stuck at home, and with more of us sleeping, eating and working here, and a dirtier house, I was finally going to have to figure out how to use my new vacuum cleaner. Ordered a year ago, it mostly sat in its...

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Occasional Neighbors

by

Brigitte Whiting

I understand a little bit about wild turkeys. They're on a constant hunt for food, drifting through the neighborhood scrounging what they can. But I don't know how it happens that a few will either be left behind by the flock or leave it. This past fall, I'd...

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Enjoy the Ride

by

Penny Camp

Get up early. You can’t ride all day if you sleep in. Braid your hair tight — you don’t want it flapping in the wind. Make sure you don’t wear the undies with the seams down the back because after a long day of riding they will make...

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Cocoa and Biscuits

by

Penny Camp

Saturday mornings were special occasions at our house when we were growing up. My friends begged to spend the night so they could be part of the Saturday morning ritual.

Mom would take out her green plastic bowl and splash in a little water, a little cocoa powder, ...

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Livin’ the Dream

by

Holly Miller

When I was a child, my mom and Aunt Leona would pack us six kids into our blue Chevy Belair and drive to a local mobile home dealer (they were known as trailers back then). We would walk through the new homes, just for something to do. How...

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Fall in Maine

by

Brigitte Whiting

Autumn is falling in Maine, harder this year than I remember over the last few falls. We've had two nights of close to freezing temperatures, not enough to ice over the birdfeeders or kill any of my plants yet, but cold enough to turn the furnace on. My...

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Best Laid Plans

by

Penny Devlin

Every year shortly before spring, the Gurney’s Seed & Nursery Co. catalog shows up on my doorstep. The cover is plastered with a WARNING label in big black letters informing me that if I don’t order now, this will be my last catalog. It also has coupons: $100...

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One January Morning

by

Brigitte Whiting

Mornings, I like to have a Kindle eBook open on the dining room table so I can read and look out into the backyard to see what might be happening. 

I live in a raised ranch with an attached two-car garage. My deck, which is off the kitchen...

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The Ruins and the Writing Technique of Negative Space

by

Sarah Yasin

A book club I’m part of recently discussed The Ruinsby Scott Smith. It’s not a book I would have finished reading based on the first 50 pages, but sticking with it afforded me insight into what a narrative voice can do. The story is about a group...

Read more: The Ruins and the Writing Technique of Negative Space

 

 

 

A River of Words

by

Penny Devlin

Go to work every day. Do your job. Do it well. Always learning, getting better every day. Soaking in the letters that become words, that lead to success.

Meetings, instructions, to-do lists, directions — the words start to drown like a river of brown muddy water rushing through...

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Canada, Marty, and The Exorcist

by

Jen Lowry

On our homeschool adventure today, we dreamed aloud of the places we would travel to if we could. My kids and I agree: Ireland and Scotland are our top two places to visit. We played music from Spotify and sang aloud to the merry tunes of the Irish.

...

Read more: Canada, Marty, and The Exorcist

 

 

 

Monarch Butterflies

by

Brigitte Whiting

I had no idea what milkweed looked like because I'd never seen it, but I'd always wanted it to grow in my yard so I could see the monarch butterflies.


For the longest time, I've hoped the patch of wonderfully fragrant plants with pale purple flowers growing...

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A Monarch Chrysalis

by

Brigitte Whiting

The monarch caterpillar couldn't decide where to turn itself into a chrysalis. He wandered across my front stoop so many times I was afraid I'd step on it so I stopped using the front door. One time, he'd be crawling up a post of the front railing. Another...

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Truth

by

Angela Hess

I am twisted, bent, and deformed on every side. Everyone trying to use me to serve their own purposes, to justify their own beliefs and actions. Their eyes constantly sliding away from my pure, unaltered form, too brilliant and painful to behold without their chosen filters to dim...

Read more: Truth

 

 

 

The Goldfinch

by

Brigitte Whiting

On a Monday afternoon, I carried a bucket of water outdoors to refill the birdbath. A male goldfinch jumped down from the bath’s rim, and hopped away as quickly as he could to creep beneath a nearby spruce branch. I thought how odd he was...

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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...

Read more: My Mobile Space

 

 

 

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. ...

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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...

Read more: A Fear of Broken Things

 

 

 

Neighborhood Walk Meditation

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

Vultures gather on the old man’s neighbor’s barn,
‘decorated with ravens and barren trees.
A small cottontail stirs...

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Dream Metaphor

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I shiver in the darkened room,
stretch, try to pull the covers higher,
suddenly I am floating near...

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A Whitmanesque Inventory: Spring

by

Phebe Beiser

So glad it rained last night. Now, late morning, sun shines,
an unexpectedly warm early March. What a...

Read more: A Whitmanesque Inventory: Spring

 

 

 

Solitary

by

Malkeet Kaur

For eons now, the very core of my being
has become inaccessible.

Solitary.

Once it used to be...

Read more: Solitary

 

 

 

The Blanket Hugs Me

by

Louise E. Sawyer

I’m grateful that I have a daybed
downstairs where I can rest during the day
with my Guinea...

Read more: The Blanket Hugs Me

 

 

 

On Love and Dreams

by

Miriam Manglani

1.
Love is a beast and angel and dream on fire.

2.
Your soul wakes in your dreams.

...

Read more: On Love and Dreams

 

 

 

The Writer’s Breastplate

by

Louise E. Sawyer

…apologies to St. Patrick


Creative Spirit with me,
Creative Spirit before me,
Creative Spirit behind me,
Creative Spirit...

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The Sweater

by

Malkeet Kaur

As I rummage through the clothes,
I spot it, the well-worn white sweater
that now had aging spots...

Read more: The Sweater

 

 

 

The Holly Tree

by

Nolo Segundo

We have a large holly tree
in our backyard—
is it foolish to say
you love a tree?

...

Read more: The Holly Tree

 

 

 

waiting on an email

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

rain beats against the metal awning.
winds whipped up against two storms
racing each other over the Mississippi
...

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Looking for Weeds

by

Louise E. Sawyer

Pushing my walker with the purple
pet carrier propped up on the seat,
I walk down the driveway.
...

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Ocean Mood

by

Malkeet Kaur

The roaring, crashing surf summon us.
Soft and damp ecru sand lies beneath our bare soles.
The sun-baked...

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The Beetle in the Sink

by

Miriam Manglani

There is a beetle in the sink.  
A big fat one,
shiny and black
with sharp needle...

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Four Cats – Four Friends

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I
the painting of four cats
hangs on my living room wall


II
you can see
Glory Barrie...

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On Eating an Orange and Seeing God

by

Nolo Segundo

I miss the big navels, the big navels when they are not in season,
but almost any orange...

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Summer – A Pantoum

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I sit on my deck and enjoy summer sun.
Zephyrs caress my cheeks with soft kisses.
Bombay cat...

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Your Broken Heart

by

Miriam Manglani

I found your heart’s hinge —
I knew it could open!
Inside, I saw all of its broken...

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Who Is Margaret?

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I find the small black and white picture in a box
of old letters untouched for twenty years.
...

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Made Whole by Others

by

Miriam Manglani

Some people fill deep holes in us
the space that’s left when our loved ones leave
they plug...

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Autumn Villanelle

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

leaves don orange, crimson and yellow gowns
as they prepare for Cinderella’s autumn ball,
soon the leaves will...

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Sunny Day Epiphany

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

Umberto, my Golden Retriever is sad,
Sparkie and Sal, his companions, have died

I wanted to adopt a...

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Ocean City

by

Nolo Segundo

I saw it then as my own little Shangri-la,
for I was very small and knew nothing
of...

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All The Dead I Know

by

Nolo Segundo

Let’s start with Eric—a nerdy-looking kid before
nerds were invented, and only 18 when he crashed
his funny...

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The Dinosaur Will Get a Makeover

by

Miriam Manglani

She talks of makeovers with friends,
using contour sticks and beauty blenders,
making “Tiktoks” with dance moves
called...

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Fireplace Camping

by

Louise E. Sawyer

After supper, my brother Frank and I beg Dad,
“Tell us a story in front of the fireplace.”
...

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My Love

by

Miriam Manglani

My love for you was tentative and tender
Now it blazes like wildfire through dry fields
Cuts through...

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The Never-Was-But-Could-Have-Been

by

Miriam Manglani

I never doubted that he loved me
even after he died from dementia —
There were tight hugs...

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Farley vs Apricot

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

Apricot the Beanie cat
perches atop the bookcase,
guards the books,
taunts the ginger kitten down below

Farley’s...

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Define Self Truth

by

Gerardine Gail (Esterday) Baugh

How blind are we with
wishes that bite; with
memories that burn;
that we choose, to be
trapped, ...

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Invisible Lines

by

Miriam Manglani

When I first saw their formless
bodies on screen,
worlds unfurled
in their grainy black and white images,
...

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She Bikes for the First Time

by

Miriam Manglani

“Keep peddling!” I call.
Not prepared to watch her fall.
I hold the bike steady
and let it...

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The Stranger

by

Miriam Manglani

You were always quiet but
grew quieter.
Unable to retrieve basic words like “cat”.
There were other small...

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A New Day Begins

by

Bob Hembree

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Angst

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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The Fly on the Wall

by

Bob Hembree

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Glancing Vulnerably

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Fowl Squabbling

by

Bob Hembree

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A Mid-Photo's Daydream

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Solar Reflection

by

Bob Hembree

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Being Held Up

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Reflections

by

Paula Parker

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Jack

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

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Hollister

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Evelyn

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

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Curiosity

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Rebecca

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

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Hazel

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Working Hands

by

Paula Parker

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Maya

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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The Birds in the Flower

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Pst... Hey

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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The World in Her Hands

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Oak

by

Craig Gettman

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Flower

by

Craig Gettman

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Berries

by

Craig Gettman

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Winding Road

by

Craig Gettman

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Sunset - April 2020

by

Craig Gettman

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