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“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 flesh dimpled with shivers as she followed Sam into the icy morning in nothing more than her Laura Ashley slippers and flowered housecoat. She winced as it took him three tries to heft their ancient Samsonite onto their brand-spanking-new 2000 Buick’s maroon leather seat.

She bore silent, frozen witness as he slid into the driver’s seat and fiddled with the mirrors, which always drove her crazy. She hadn’t driven since the ‘70s, leaving Sam the sole driver of the car. How much adjusting could the damn mirrors possibly need? She waited for him to glance her way; but, as usual, he focused so firmly on his own agenda that he never looked up to see what was right in front of him.

As the car’s wheels squelched down the slushy driveway, a surge of panic broiled in Angelina’s guts. Run after him, her instincts screamed. Beg him to stay. As her instincts had never done her a lick of good, she ignored them.

A sudden swirl of wind buffeted the hem of her housecoat, chilling her in places she’d never felt cold before. The shock of it jolted Angelina to her senses. Here she stood practically naked, and that handsome young lawyer fellow from down the street would be jogging by any minute now. What on earth would he think of her?

A fragment of her son Vinny’s favorite poem came back to her, the poem he’d flustered her with every chance he got: “How naked go the sometime nude!” Realizing just how vulnerable she was, both to the elements and her own emotions, Angelina thought she finally understood exactly what the poet had been trying to say.

She trudged back into the house as the Buick continued its doddering descent into the street. She needed to get herself in order and concentrate on priorities: a cup of steaming hot coffee, her white cotton panties, and her trusty Playtex eighteen-hour bra. Then she would call Sam’s sister. If anyone knew what had gotten into him, it would be Gloria.

So what if Sam had taken plenty of comares in the past, Angelina reflected as she dried off from her bath and donned her daily armor. What Sicilian husband of their generation hadn’t? It was certainly no reflection on the wife. Out of all the wanna-be pinup girls clamoring for his attention, she was the one Sam had chosen to bear his name. To Angelina’s generation, that meant something. To her, it meant everything.

She’d been desolate when he’d taken his first mistress, but with a torrent of tears still streaming down her cheeks, she’d decided that if another woman was willing to do the things in the bedroom that she, Angelina, was not, she was willing to turn a blind eye, as long as Sam still showed her the respect she was due. And he always had. But this morning, when she’d searched his sock drawer and found a stash of Viagra he certainly wasn’t using with her, the shock of her anger had compelled her to confront him. She couldn’t have said what had changed; she only knew something had.

She’d never imagined Sam would react the way he had. Through all their years together, he’d never so much as hinted at leaving her. Yet he was gone, his Viagra along with him.

With shaking hands, she picked up the phone and dialed Sam’s sister. “Gloria? Come over. We need to talk.”



Two cups of coffee and a tablespoon of Maalox later, her sister-in-law let herself in without bothering to knock. “Yoo-hoo, Angie, it’s meee-ee.” Angelina wrinkled her nose as the cloying stench of Gloria’s perfume wafted into the kitchen a good ten seconds before she did. “I brought you some crushed tomatoes, the imported ones,” she said.

“Two for two dollars at Mercandetti’s. You can’t go wrong.”

Angelina plucked the bag from Gloria’s flabby arms and set it on the counter. “What do I owe?”

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” Gloria chirped. “It all comes out in the wash eventually.” Moving into the dining room, she flung her gaudy purse over the back of one chair and herself into another, which groaned its protest. Angelina winced. The woman had to know how big her ass was. Would it kill her to sit more gently?

Angelina placed three almond paste cookies on a piece of paper towel and joined Gloria at the table. She needed to convince her to tell what she knew, and God knew the woman loved her sweets.

“I know Sam must have called you,” she said. “Did he tell you why he left?”

“He didn’t tell me a thing, swear to Gawd.” Gloria clasped one hand over her voluminous bosom. “You know Sam, so dramatic. He was blabbering a mile a minute. I barely caught any of it.”

“I don’t believe that for a second, since he doesn’t even take his morning crap without running it by you first."

“Well, he did say he was leaving,” Gloria conceded, “but he didn’t fill me in on the details.”

“Oh, so that’s why you rushed over here, hoping to get them from me so you can spread my private business all over town?”

Gloria gave a dainty sniff, arching one thickly-drawn-on eyebrow. “You’re the one who asked me to come.”

The last thing Angelina wanted to do was humble herself before Gloria, but what choice did she have? “I never thought he’d have the cogliones to leave.”

“Oh, honey,” Gloria said. “What happened?”

“He’s cheating. Again.”

Gloria devoured all three cookies in exactly six bites before responding. “Seriously? He’s eighty years old, for Heaven’s sake.”

“Tell that to the people who make those nasty sex pills. You’re lucky to be a widow. You don’t have to worry about sex anymore.”

Gloria grimaced, showcasing both her impressive chins. “Well, maybe if Sam didn’t have to keep working fifteen years after he retired, he wouldn’t be in a position to meet that kind of woman, and you wouldn’t have to worry about it either.”

“Not that it’s your business, but Sam does not have to work. It’s not like we need the money. But you know your brother; you can’t tell him a damn thing.”

Gloria rolled her eyes. “My brother’s spent money like a drunken sailor since the day he married you. Your pensions and his piddly salary can’t possibly cover the kind of bills he racks up.”

“Well, he doesn’t spend it on me, if that’s what you’re implying. I already have everything I need.”

“Oh, that’s rich!” Gloria’s bray of a laugh jangled against Angelina’s frayed nerves. “He’s still paying for the crap he bought for you twenty years ago, interest upon interest. Do you have any idea how many times me and Dom have bailed him out over the years?”

Angelina was struck silent. No, she hadn’t known. Sam had always handled their finances, and she’d kept her nose out of it.

“Did you really think Sam never told anybody about the hoops you made him jump through to get a little nookie?” Gloria mimicked her brother’s gravelly voice. “‛One outfit, one time. You want Angie to take off her nightgown, you’d better come home with jewelry. You want her to pretend she likes it, it better be diamonds.’ It’s been a family joke for years.”    

Angelina felt the sting of humiliation to her very soul. She’d always thought Sam’s family had envied her, at the very least respected her, and all the time they’d been sniggering behind her back.

Gloria stood quickly. “Look, forget I said anything. Really, nobody thought anything of it. I’m sure Sam will be back when he calms down. He loves his creature comforts too much to stay away for long.”

Angelina stifled the urge to slap the smirk from Gloria’s face. “Get out, Gloria. I don’t know why I thought you might actually be helpful for once.”

“I’ve gotta run anyway. And don’t worry about paying me for the tomatoes. Dom made sure I’d never have to worry about money.”

“Take them with you. I don’t want them. You know I only use Roma tomatoes.”

“Well, excuuuuse me, Mrs. High-and-Mighty.” Gloria grabbed the bag and headed off in a huff, slamming the door behind her.



Angelina stood before her walk-in closet. She’d always viewed her collection of expensive clothing and lavish jewelry with pride, as evidence of Sam’s devotion. Now she felt nothing at all. Certainly not shame. What did she have to be ashamed of? She always kept an immaculate house and delicious meals on the table, and he always rewarded her for it. In exchange, she accommodated him in the bedroom as long as he behaved. She’d actually thought he’d been as grateful for her as she’d been for him from the start.

The handsome war hero had been a great catch – a good provider, a decent father, a fun-loving companion. This was far more than the homely, big-boned girl the boys in Little Italy called “Horsey” had ever expected to have, and she’d been determined to hold tight to him. Everyone had been shocked when Sam had chosen her, but for sixty years she’d showed them all. Or so she’d believed.

Even after the disappointment of her wedding night, Angelina had hoped love would come eventually. They’d done okay, all things considered, maybe even better than most, but love would have been nice, she thought, blinking back tears. It sure would have been nice.



Not five minutes after the bellboy closed the door behind them, Sam heaved and grunted on top of Angelina like a mindless animal, while the white satin peignoir she’d gotten for her bridal shower remained neatly folded in her unopened suitcase, and the loving words she’d expected to hear remained unsaid.

Her girlfriends had warned her sex might hurt a little at first, but she hadn’t expected to feel like her insides were being ripped to shreds, nor was she prepared for the sweat and stink and mess of it all.

There was blood afterwards, splotches of it flowering the creamy white sheets. Not even pausing to pull her panties back on, Angelina scurried to the bathroom and wetted a plush towel. Kneeling atop the bed, she scrubbed frantically at the stains, mortified at the thought of the maid seeing them.

“Nice view,” Sam said.

She had no patience for his nonsense. “C’mon, Sam. Help me out here.”

“Oh, I’ll help you out.” He draped himself over her,  and took her from behind, slapping hard at her buttocks. “Giddy-up, Horsey,”

Angelina was paralyzed, both at his use of the hated nickname and what she feared he intended to do. Why had nobody told her about this? Was it some degrading secret that only other wives knew? She closed her eyes tightly and prayed for it to be over.

When she awoke in the morning, she was relieved beyond measure to find a note that Sam had gone exploring. How could she possibly face him now? Disappointment flooded through her, both for Sam, who had expected her to do those perverted things, and for herself, who hadn’t said or done a thing to stop him. She didn’t think she could ever love him now, but the time to end things was past. She and her parents would never live down the shame.

“Angie, come see what I bought you!” Sam was exuberant upon his return later that morning, carrying armloads of pastel shopping bags filled with silk dresses and frothy nightgowns, crystal bottles of French parfum, Belgian chocolates wrapped in gold foil, handbags with matching gloves soft as butter, and a sapphire-and-diamond necklace so exquisite, Angelina grew dizzy at the sight of it.

She imagined how envious everyone would be at such lavish evidence of Sam’s devotion. Maybe it was worth it, she thought. After last night, she deserved all of it and more. “No more funny stuff,” she warned, accepting his slobbery kiss as he backed her toward the unmade bed. “Just the regular way from now on.”

“It will never happen again,” he promised. And it never had.



What was happy, anyway, Angelina thought, except what everybody else thought you had that they didn’t? As it turned out, the only one who’d been fooled was herself. She had never garnered respect at all, not from Sam and not from his family. Her marriage had been a sham from the start, branding her both a laughingstock and a fool.

Furious in a way she’d never allowed herself to feel before, Angelina flung jewelry boxes and clothing alike into mounds on the carpet until the closet was empty. She collapsed atop them and sobbed until her eyes were barren of tears.



She was boiling a pot of rigatoni when Sam returned, exactly nine days and sixteen unanswered telephone messages from Gloria later. Angelina heard the front door open and close, the squeak of his La-Z-Boy, the blare of Pat Sajak and the “Wheel of Fortune.”    

Did he really think he could just waltz back in like nothing had happened? Not if she had anything to say about it. Angelina marched into the den and stood above him but found herself struck dumb.

“It’s over, Angie. Never again. I swear on my mother’s grave.” Sam started crying then, talking all the while, but Angelina didn’t comprehend a word. “I shouldn’t have left,” he said, finally running out of steam.

“No, you shouldn’t have.”

There was so much else Angelina longed to say: how deeply she’d been wounded every time she’d had to pretend he was somewhere, anywhere else but with another woman; how mortified she was to find he’d been mocking her to their family and friends for years. But there was no point now. She had chosen silence on her wedding night, she realized, and had lived in the prison of that silence ever since. Besides, what was the alternative? To divorce him and start over at seventy-five years old? It might be a new millennium, but she was the same old Angelina.

Remembering the pasta on the stove, she walked back into the kitchen. Surely it was ruined by now.

“I stopped at Calabria’s for a loaf of bread,” Sam said, following behind her. “I got you six cans of the Roma tomatoes you like.”

“Thank you,” she said, shuffling slowly to the stove like the old woman she was. “That was nice.”

He shrugged. “They’re buy one, get one free, over a dollar cheaper than Mercandetti’s. You can’t go wrong.”

But you can, Angelina thought, stirring the limp, overcooked pasta. You can go wrong. And once you do, you have no hope of going back to change it. Still, she stirred and stirred and stirred.


BIO: Lisa Benwitz’s poem, “The Things You Never Did,” was published in 2003 in Chicken Soup for the Soul Celebrates Mothers, and has since been reprinted in other Chicken Soup books as well as on its website. She is currently enrolled in a creative writing MFA program at WVU.


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...

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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...

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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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My Carousal of Life

by

Chel Talleyrand

As a little girl, I had this recurring dream that would cause me to wake up in a cold sweat. A grand celebration was going on in a great hall, where my mother and father sat on gold thrones at the end of the room overseeing their subjects...

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The Tattoo

by

Donna Abraham Tijo

Red Bull is engraving the Eye of God on your chest. “It’s a private tattoo over my soul and conscience,” you murmur. “I’m an atheist, bro,” you continue, thinking of the Chotta Bheem rakhi on your wrist eons back in time. I will be brave like Bheem someday, ...

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Booklovers’ Paradise

by

Donna Abraham Tijo


‘I am a writer, but I wish I could write like that,’ said Durga, seated at the head of the rustic green, rectangular table. There were nineteen women on the sides, who turned to look. Then, some picked up their beverages and sipped them. In the background, a...

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My Car, My Friend

by

Leona Pence

Tony Spencer applied the first coat of wax to his prized possession, a 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix. Oh, sure, it had flaws, like a smashed door and a dragging muffler, but the interior was a beaut. It had bright-red bucket seats with a gleaming silver gear mount between...

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Brother Bastion

by

Linda Murray

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, ...

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Standard Police Report

by

Frank Richards

Standard Police Report - Inventory of Possessions - Portbou, Catalonia, Republic of Spain

27 Sep. 1940

Location: Hotel De Francia


Noted contents of subject’s hotel room as follows:


- a large steamer trunk containing books in various foreign languages, for example, Les Fleurs du mal, ...

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Starburst

by

Brigitte Whiting

We sat, you and I, alongside the lake, watching the sky spread above us in an immense starburst, the Milky Way threaded through its center, seeming to beckon us to follow it.

"A reverse inkblot," you said.

I thought, no, no, nothing as mundane as that, but all...

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There Are No More Pets in My House

by

Enza Vynn-Cara

 

There is death in my house.

“It's gone to a better place,” she says. "Now flush it down the toilet and wash your hands. Breakfast is ready."

Like that, she cans Juju, our goldfish. She did the same with Didi, Ma’s parrot, ...

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Revenge of the Fishy

by

Leona Pence & Tom Whitehead

 

 

 

Tom Whitehead: (In the deep husky Marlboro movie guys voice) HEEEEEEEEEEEER FISHY, FISHY, FISHY!

It was an early Saturday morning. He thought it was just another day of fishing, then all of a sudden out of nowhere he...

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Temp-Tation

by

Leona Pence

 

 

David Porter watched his wife and two sons as they played on the monkey bars at the park. He smiled in contentment as peals of laughter rang out. Two short weeks ago, he’d been in danger of losing his family.

...

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Free Range Souls

by

Enza Vynn-Cara

Samael and Malachi, two brothers working for different bosses, sit on the fence dangling their booted feet each on their side of the divide. One pair of boots is caked in white droppings; the other scrubbed clean. It’s like a dare. Trespassing? Not quite. ...

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Einaudi

by

Luann Lewis



An elderly woman shuffled up the sidewalk and took a seat on the bench across the way from me. I watched her slow steps and noticed her feet stuck in matted slippers and her swollen discolored ankles. Breathing a sigh of relief, I felt grateful...

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Campfire

by

Brigitte Whiting


We sat around a campfire in the backyard that evening, our parents and us four kids, aged four to fifteen. Dan, the oldest at nineteen, was in the Army serving somewhere that Mother didn't want to tell us. "You don't need to worry," she said. "I'll...

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Jack and the Beanstalk

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

The global wealth distribution has been heavily off balance, the scales of capitalism have plunged so far into disproportion they will fall before they will be fair again.  Jack and his widowed mother have economically crammed a century of mourning into an egregious year but failed...

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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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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...

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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.

...

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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...

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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...

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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, ...

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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...

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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

Alberto Rodriguez 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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With Emily on the Death Carriage

by

Nitin Mishra

After a hard day of labor
As I was hurrying my way back home.
A black Carriage stopped...

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2020 Time of Haiku

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

DNA's protein coat-
Stripped me of maskless days, now
I eat popcorn alone


Are you kidding me!
No...

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The Nature of Time

by

Sitharaam Jayakumar

Time flows from infinity to infinity,
with no beginning or end in sight,
unlike men and women who...

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Some Heart-felt Emotions about My Motherland

by

Sitharaam Jayakumar

Oh! My motherland, my heart and soul,
as I watch dark clouds hover in your skies,
my eyes...

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A Dream, A Fantasy, Flying into The Unknown

by

Sitharaam Jayakumar

I am once again a youth in my teens,
dreaming of flying high up into the clouds.
I...

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Missing Miss Pickle

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I miss the way
you sat on your stool
by the kitchen window,
meowing goodbye when I left,
...

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Surprised by Joy

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I stare outside my window
as snowflakes swirl,
cover my garden
with another white blanket

my Vancouver Island...

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Definition of a Poem

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

A poem is a spark sprung to life.
A poem is a magic inspiration.
A poem is a...

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Lessons from History

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

reading about the 1918 Spanish flu
shows mistakes made by history:
parades, train trips, troopships,
overcrowded hospitals
pandemics...

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I Go Picking Seashells

by

Sitharaam Jayakumar

I look at the deep blue sea,
stretching endlessly before me,
as I sit on the sands, alone, ...

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Moments of Silence

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

sometimes social isolation  
is a requirement
to write a poem
 
in times of self-quarantine,
loneliness hovers...

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The Lockdown Cyber Trip

by

Louise E. Sawyer

I.  New York City

Around the world, we few gals hunkered down
around our computers, tablets, and phones,
...

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On the Farm

by

Maryann (Max) Maxson

Greene’s’ farmhouse
took on smells of hay and silage
cow and sheep scents brought in
on men’s overalls and
...

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The Estate

by

KG Newman

One day after I die I’ll have a shiny dedication plate nailed to a bench
along a trail...

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Thankful

by

Samantha Vincent

I can taste you in my coffee,
So I no longer drink it black.
I can feel your...

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Our Neighbourhood Playground

by

Louise E. Sawyer

We neighbourhood children gravitate
in the late afternoon to the large empty lot
at the corner of Scotia...

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Immediate Action Required

by

KG Newman

It’s 100 seconds to midnight
with nuclear arms re-normalized and
climate change addressed by fine speeches,
while on...

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About It

by

KG Newman

For years I tried to remember the moment
as less heartbreaking, somehow —
the day a dad realizes...

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American Refugees

by

KG Newman

At the foreign arboretum
we zigzag among species
which may or may not
be poisonous to our love
...

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Monday/Wednesday/Friday And Every Other Weekend

by

KG Newman

Half the week you live a very full life. The other half you pretend not to care, swallow...

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Sadness

by

Michael Scanlon

Oh, what I'd give for a peaceful soul;
my mind at rest I'd want no more,
content amid...

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First Impressions – Walter

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

today I meet Walter
for the first time

I know my brother-in-law
only through pictures,
from his mother’s...

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Abandoned House

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

lichen covered, grey
boards, paint free,
the old house sits
surrounded by poplar trees,
and overgrown grass

doors, ...

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Good Intentions

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I sat down to do my work today,
but a visitor came calling
and distracted me

I meant...

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How to Define a Cat

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

(with input from Farley, Yanni, Glory and Blake)

A cat is a stylist who licks your locks.
A cat is...

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I Am Old Now

by

Chel Talleyrand

I am old now.
I drag myself to greet my day now filled with the fog of medicines...

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The Wind Excites Me

by

Chel Talleyrand

The wind excites me.
It speaks of adventures
I dare not journey.

It visits me
to speak to...

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listen to the wind words

by

Maryann (Max) Maxson

we learned to lie
in the garden
behind the mask
discarded innocence
aware now of space between

bride...

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Commandment VIII Hiawatha/Geronimo/Sitting Bull

by

Maryann (Max) Maxson

I will be the people’s tears

I cry for justice
freedom
respect denied

I cry for lies
told...

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Submontane Home

by

Maryann (Max) Maxson

I followed the familiar trail
through maple and pine
along old logging ruts
crossing Plank Road at the...

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Awake

by

Maryann (Max) Maxson

the day I under

stood

the birds echoing chirps to the squirrels
chittering to the trees and to...

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Think

by

Gerardine Gail Baugh

You cannot take someone else's land,
because you stripped and overpopulated your own.

You cannot spew poison in...

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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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Portrait of Her

by

Vincenzina Caratozzolo

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Beach at Dusk

by

Vincenzina Caratozzolo

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Lonesome Horses

by

Vincenzina Caratozzolo

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Get Out the Penitentiary

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Tulips or Three?

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Rock and Roll

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Garden of Hearts

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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Evil Eye-pad

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

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