Village Square Logo

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, will fight for dharma, you had pledged at the marble mandir at home, in Pune. “I only need myself to keep a check on my actions. You know what I mean?” you now whisper.

Your mom had smiled at you as she had placed the thali of prasad at the feet of the Gods all those years back. Bikram Uncle had visited that day. He had sworn your mother as a sister when they were children. “Bikram Uncle had to cut his hair during the 1984 riots against the Sikhs,” she had whispered, shaking her head in sorrow.

“It’s a good tattoo man, it’s deep,” Red Bull reaffirms. It’s the fifth time this past hour, but you’re lost in all that’s gone. On his right arm charges a bull in red. It has wings on either side, and when the muscle twitches, the bull seems to amass energy in its wings. “You’ll never tire of it. Only make sure you don’t beef up on the chest. You don’t want a bulbous eye of God,” Red Bull continues. “And of course, the chest cannot become breasts.” Red Bull, what a cool name. It would suit a Marine Engineer, you tell yourself.

In the living room, Avni is lowering her tight derriere onto a bean bag. “That looks awesome, Neel,” she says sipping Kiwi juice from a bottle. Her grey office skirt rides up her thigh and the red silk blouse comes loose around her waist where it’s been tucked into the skirt. She has silky, toned legs.

You need to protect your tattoo. “It’s still tender Avni,” you say pushing those legs back and weaving your fingers into hers instead. You are determined to catch what Pablo is saying on screen to Colonel Carillo.

“You son of a bitch,” Pablo bellows and then drives two bullets into Carillo. “Go Pablo, go,” you murmur. You’ve been following the series together. It’s time for dinner; you let go of those fingers. She needs to get back home. She pulls out her office ID tag from the front pocket of her laptop backpack where she tucks it in every evening at your door. Hanging it around her neck, she tidies her clothes and leaves to dine with her parents. No goodbye kiss today.

You can’t wait to hit the gym, but the earliest you’re permitted is a week later. That day, your vest hangs loose around your neck. For the remainder of the month, you wear a loose-hanging vest to the gym. And for the remainder of the month and, well, later too, you measure your chest each morning, after the dead lifts, of course. The end of the measuring tape creeps toward the 40th inch each day and you are delighted. Your workout buddies look at your tattoo. At first, they look discreetly. Then they ask you to exhibit it, “For new members, Dude!” You do. You have a chiseled chest after all, and a sharp tattoo.

Your parents visit the next weekend. Pune celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi and your parents have decided to include you in the celebrations, albeit in Gurgaon. On the TV screen, a red ticker ticks with news about some Father Tom who has been brought back to India from the clutches of ISIS. You put up your hand in refusal at your mom who is standing there with a thali, holy smoke rising from the dhup. You tap your forefinger on the eye over your heart instead. You pick the prasad, swallow the laddoo in one gulp, then run to work, leaving your mom standing there marveling at your ideology.

You worked at the shipping line the year after getting your Marine Engineering degree at Bangalore. That’s where you had met Avni while sharing an Uber ride. She had hailed it from a neighbouring college where she was studying Electronics. You now prefer onshore roles and so you move to Gurgaon.

While walking down the corridor towards your desk, Amrita notices the ink of your tattoo through your light cotton shirt. You left your vests in the laundry basket for Mom to wash. You flex your chest muscle in pride. There are other pretty eyes that notice throughout the day as well. Some male eyes too.

You decide its best to wear white shirts to work, without a vest. You do own a chiseled body.

So, you get the next tattoo imprinted on your left shoulder. Poseidon, God of the Sea; thunderbolt, trident and sea waves. Avni isn’t pleased. “He looks blind,” she cries. “You’ve got a blind figure coming at me with a trident. How should I react, Neel?”

“Its Poseidon Avni. You know nothing girl.” You shrug.

There they crash, the waves, at the narrow of your bicep brachii, visible from under the sleeve of your fitted shirt, the sleeve with a fold and a triangular cut at the tendon, a cut that seems to clinch a million stares, you’ve realized.

Arey, does the goddess Ganga not pour enough blessings on you? Why do you need Poseidon?” your mother asks that Dussehra. “Arey, don’t you remember when we’d gone to Haridwar for the Ganga arti, you were about to slip and flow away, the chain was coming lose. Goddess Ganga saved you that day.”

“Yes, and we were stuck there for days due to the Muzaffarnagar riots.”

“He’s a boy, he needs a macho figure,” shouts your father from the balcony where he sits sipping his cup of morning wakefulness and reading the newspaper. “It’s under his shirt Bhawna. Go forth Son, but not too many okay?”

“We need to come more often to Gurgaon,” your mother mumbles. She’s chopping a potato into determined chunks—a modern mother with a chef’s knife and a chopping board. She bought them from one of the hundreds of gourmet grocery stores dotting modern Gurgaon. “Who knows what he’ll have the next holiday we come.”

You get Ganga on a lotus atop a crocodile; this one you get etched on your right shoulder; its Thai art style adds just the required sharpness to the edges. The crocodile seems to slither down the arm towards the elbow and you delight in its shiny green when it reflects on women’s sunglasses. One of them turns around to catch a glimpse. She’s on the foot over bridge at Cyber City, the one you need to take to work.

Avni is upset again. Neither makara nor dragon, she perhaps thinks, but she does not voice it. She knows what people will say over chai and samosas if they hear of her fragmented fundamentals. “What a girl, sleeps around with boys with tattoos. At least the boy emblazons the goddess.”

You’re aware of the speech of the world, the one that’s always reserved for the weaker lot. “They can keep multiple wives,” your mother had said when your friend Ahmad brought his girlfriend home back in Pune. “Didn’t he come home with another girl last time?”

“She was a common friend, Mom,” you defended them vociferously, once they left. But your words had been drowned under the whirr of the mixer-grinder grating pudina chutney. “They eat beef,” Mom had whispered in the kitchen while pouring out Coke for Ahmad and his girlfriend. Ahmad and Pooja had excused themselves saying they were on a diet.

“Doesn’t my opinion count?” Avni asks looking at the Thai crocodile. “Could you not even ask?”

You do not. The next summer, you bear Shiva on your right arm. The holy Ganges spouting atop his head unifies into waves that flow under the goddess. Avni disapproves. Her Profile picture is avant-garde. “But you’re an atheist,” she attempts. “All these God’s sliding below your sleeves.”

“I am,” you state. “But girl, it’s Shiva under Ganga. Ain’t there a story there? The aesthetics Avni? Appreciate the shades of blue on Shiva’s skin, lady, and Shiva’s abs give my arms the look I have been trying to chisel out for years at the gym. Show the love, pumpkin.”

“Oh! All right. What the heck.” And then she is beside you as Parvati.

You’re lucky, winter arrives late to Gurgaon. Your team takes to the tattoo like a toddler to glittery wrapping paper. Even Poonam, at work, bows before it as she heads for a presentation with that difficult Arnab in his glass cabin. All goes well for her. She returns relieved and then she bows again before you, in mock gratitude.

That Diwali, at home in Pune, your mom strips you naked to check for new tattoos. The Diwali gift overwhelms her and when you leave, she slips a picture of the lovable Maakhan Chor in your duffel bag so you can pray to the natkhat Lord who will protect you from all evil. You keep the picture in your wallet. Avni never checks your wallet.

It is now the turn of the Sudarshan Chakra; this one you want on your back. The hand of Krishna to guide you. “You’re changing, Neel. You can see the ruckus religion is creating in our country. Let’s keep away from overt symbolism,” she cries.

“It’s in the back. Look, it’s like a wheel, honey.”

“It’s not a wheel, Neel, and you know it. You’re a namesake.”

“Okay, chill. I’ll get a sword on my forearm. That’ll balance it out. What do you think, pumpkin?”

“Whatever. I need to leave. Remember, you can’t undo it,” she says, as if murmuring a threat. She hangs the office ID tag around her neck and leaves.

Ahmad and Pooja had separated too after they had left your home that day. You heard it from another friend. “Their love could not tide over Pehlu Khan’s lynching for carrying a cow,” Gautam had said, and you knew that Ahmad had stopped talking to you since the day he had left your home with Pooja. He had probably been embarrassed about the beef revelation in front of Pooja.

Years ago, you first spoke with Ahmad outside the Std. IV classroom. He had also been punished by the Math teacher. After that, he joined you every time. Your mother didn’t know. Ahmad didn’t tell on you.

You get a sword on your left forearm, and that March, at Le Havre, where you’d gone to a work conference, you change the sword to a cross on French Good Friday and decide to take a day off from work. It bleeds—the cross—black blood from black wood. Gothic, man!

Back in Gurgaon, Poonam is offended and refuses to pay obeisance to your Shiva. “Unless you dedicate tattoos to Brahma and Vishnu too,” she says, pouting. “On your right arm where it belongs, Neel; your left you can decorate with Gothic or Avant-garde or whatever,” Gauri admonishes too. That summer you get the Trimurti on your right forearm which is by now sleeved in colour.

This brings Poonam back and, like Iron Man, your favourite superhero, you announce, “I had my eyes opened. I came to realize that I have more to offer this world…” The men on your office floor ask details; they envy you.

You etch symbols of rage and love on your legs: the trident, the om, Celtic symbols, dream catchers. Your left arm, you adorn with Anubis and Ra, the Sun God. “In a world of ordinary mortals, I am Wonder Man,” you whisper at the mirror one morning as you flex your muscle and Anubis on your forearm pouts in approval.

Poonam adores the Gods on your right arm. And the lady you pass daily now on the Cyber City foot over bridge adores the colours, the shapes and the dreams, the vision they perhaps conjure up in her mortal brain.

“She was asking about you,” Ramesh at the cigarette kiosk whispers. “She buys her smoke from me since she saw you here the other day. Her name’s Teesa, Tessa, something like that, in case you want to know. I heard her friend call her. I don’t think he’s a special friend like that,” continues Ramesh tightening the lid on his PearlPET jar of mint.

Arey Ramesh, I’m only glad to bring you business,” you say. He needed to hear it, the poor man.

There she is, Tessa, on the foot over bridge again. As you walk back towards your office building, she turns to look at your arm and you hear a faint prayer twinkle from her lips. Definitely, a prayer. What you don’t notice is the one on yours, after you walk forward.

“Let not an inch lack divinity. You were made to rise,” you whisper into the mirror at the Men’s.

On your glutes, you go for a phoenix, the one that rises from the ashes. For you’re rising, like the glory of the Tattooist who holds the potions to give life in his hands; who with the words he etches, slights.

Life is nothing but fantasy, after all. An Arabic text you get designed on your left ankle. And Om Shanti on your right in Devanagari alphabets.

On your right palm, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, it is. Again, in Devanagari. You hold it out every so often now.

In queue behind Poonam, who’s heading to a meeting with Arnab, is puny Divya. She feigns desire to seek your blessings. “What for baalike?” you overplay. “For your shipment’s safe arrival? For wit to respond to Arnab?” You list them out, as if you possess a menu of blessings to bestow.

“For the shipment,” she petitions.

“Poseidon blesses you.”

“Oh! Please ask Poseidon to bless my shipment too,” prays Rahul. “Ask Ra, the Sun God, Rahul. Isn’t your shipment coming from Africa?”

"Do you possess upon you, the Almighty, any God who can help me with problems in love?” Veer seems to joke. You pull open your shirt and turn around to show him the Sudarshan Chakra on your back—for Krishna who loved his Radha so.

“Mulmul shirts from now on,” you decide. The Gods need to be visible to their devotees.

Your mother can’t help but adore you, your divinity. You also raise your palm for peace when she rebukes you for dirty clothes. And you raise your palm after your belly is satisfied with the flavourful daal offered by her loving hands. You raise your palm at the maid who in a moment of hurry swipes your foot with the mop.  And you raise your palm when your father waves from the cab leaving for the airport. Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. On the streets, eyes look up towards the balustrade on which you lean. They adore you. Your body, your art, your aesthetic. You think.

“The universe is so big; it has no center. I am the center,” you marvel, raising your palm in blessing.

On the foot over bridge, you hold your palm up to a bewildered Tessa. “Shanti, Shanti, Shanti,” you say, the tattoo and not the Tattooist.

Bio: It was while fighting over the corporate ladder that Donna Abraham Tijo’s first short story won a contest and was published in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul, Indian College Students’ (Westland Ltd, 2011). She then went on to publish her first novella 'Or Forever Hold Your Peace' (AuthorsUpfront, 2014) on a whim. With learnings gathered over the following years, she contributed a short story ‘My Mama’s Girl’ to ‘Escape Velocity’ (Write&Beyond, 2018). These days she’s adding final truths to her second novel, 'The Pheeki Lives of Geetanjali and Maryann.'


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

Albert Orjuela

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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Yearning - F2k WINNER!

by

Noel



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

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

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Flamenco

by

Cedar White

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

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Marbles

by

Brigitte Whiting

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

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

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Ruler of the House

by

Luann Lewis

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

 

I hate the sounds...

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Abe, the Teenage Hypnotist from Planet Garfunkel

by

Albert Orjuela

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

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A Night in Fontana

by

TJ Marshall

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

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

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Full

by

Luann Lewis

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

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The Decision

by

Brigitte Whiting

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

Go or stay, just two choices.

He reached down...

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Swiftwater

by

Cedar White

10

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

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Minerva Shield

by

Frank Richards

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

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Seinfeld Moment

by

Frank Richards

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

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Wedding Portrait – Life Portrait

by

Glennis Hobbs

July 20, 1942


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

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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

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...

Read more: Baby Precious

 

 

 

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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Misinformation

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs

it is a well-believed misconception
the only true poetry
is that which rhymes

the would-be poet seizes upon
...

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Invisible Presence

by

Gerardine Gail Baugh

He sat on the wooden bench directly outside the closed down Ace Hardware, across the street from...

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Summer Rain

by

Heather Lander

I’m wishing for the sound of rain upon the roof and down the glass
A rhythm from the...

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The Unborn

by

Sunbeams

Nature's Ballet........................
Seeds...... floating on a gentle breeze,
Some soared towards the blue sky, out of sight.
Some...

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Death of My Dog

by

Sunbeams

Come lay with me,
the fire is beckoning.
Come feel its warmth and hear its sound.
Come lay...

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Portrait of a Starving Cat

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs

she disdains ordinary cat chow,
pesters humans for their food

she paws at the cookie tin,
flips the...

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I Remember

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs

the bewilderment,
in the hollows of his eyes
shadows of the man
he used to be

I remember
...

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Inukshuk

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs

what is this mysterious
stack of stones? a Shinto shrine?
a stone stick man designed by a child...

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I'm a Poet

by

Louise E. Sawyer

I’m a poet with a propensity
to write three morning pages,
observing my pen as it gallops
across...

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It’s Not Easy Being Blue

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs

my moods are ever changing
shades of blue
like my friends
the sea and sky

mornings after sleepless...

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Animal Companions

by

Louise E. Sawyer

Neuron, my animal companion, bonded
to me, but when I brought Little Joy home,
Neuron became Little Joy’s...

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The Green Hay Pile

by

Louise E. Sawyer

mornings depend
upon

the green hay
pile

owned by cream cavy
Cocoa

beside black brother
Midnight

Photo was...

Read more: The Green Hay Pile

 

 

 

Thank You, My Tech Friend

by

Louise E. Sawyer




Thank you, my tech friend,
pretty with back dressed in rose gold
practical with front framed...

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What Is Not Said

by

Enza Vynn-Cara




Why do you speak and say nothing?
Say everything when you’re silent?
Am I to...

Read more: What Is Not Said

 

 

 

Ups and Downs

by

Enza Vynn-Cara




Up there
inside the tower
with the air filters on the roof
you watch the...

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Telemarketers

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs





those evil scourges of civilization
call morning, noon and night,
harass me every day
...

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Oceanography

by

Wynelda Ann Deaver





Ocean holds secrets close. Millions, trillion, gazillions of droplets mixed with millions, trillions and...

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Mystery Man

by

Leona Pence



I once met a man from a far distant land, so handsome and charming...

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Minotaur

by

Joy Manné

 

Two children, girl and boy,

progeny of servants of King Minos,

...

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Lullaby for a Lost Child

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs




I

I feel you kick under my heart,
soon my special angel child,
I...

Read more: Lullaby for a Lost Child

 

 

 

Look Up

by

Gerardine Gail Baugh





Stand back and look up. Do you see it? Do you?
Alice's rabbit checking...

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I'll be a Poet

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs





I’ll take my pen in hand

crystallize thoughts into ideas
paint magic with...

Read more: I'll be a Poet

 

 

 

Give Me The Wings Of An Angel

by

Leona Pence





Give me the wings of an angel
To lift me above worldly things
Give...

Read more: Give Me The Wings Of An Angel

 

 

 

Flashing Lights

by

Leona Pence




(My songwriting attempt)


I want to see all the lights upon a flashing...

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Eidolon’s Wind Chimes

by

Gerardine Gail Baugh





I miss our disagreements, laughter and silent times.

Memories of listening to your...

Read more: Eidolon’s Wind Chimes

 

 

 

Don’t Piss Off (or on) a Yard Gnome

by

Leona Pence

Prose poem: This one was inspired by the poet’s dogs, Jax and Luna.


I cringed...

Read more: Don’t Piss Off (or on) a Yard Gnome

 

 

 

Do You Remember, AJ?

by

Glenda (Glennis) Walker-Hobbs





June 30, 1967, we met on Parliament Hill,
listened to the Centennial music gala,
...

Read more: Do You Remember, AJ?

 

 

 

Deacon Knox Young is Turning One!

by

Leona Pence



 

Everybody’s gonna have some fun.
Aunt Peggy, Uncle Kris, Sydney...

Read more: Deacon Knox Young is Turning One!

 

 

 

Daddy Dearest

by

Enza Vynn-Cara




Today, I saw you for the first time, without disguise, nestled in the corner where...

Read more: Daddy Dearest

 

 

 

Get Out the Penitentiary

by

Albert Orejuela

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Tulips or Three?

by

Albert Orjuela

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Rock and Roll

by

Albert Orjuela

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Garden of Hearts

by

Albert Orjuela

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Evil Eye-pad

by

Albert Orjuela

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Portrait of Solitude

by

Albert Orejuela

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Break Time

by

RJ Hembree

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Colors

by

Maggie Fieland

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Wild Horses with the Snow Covered Mountains

by

RJ Hembree

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Color Cubes

by

Maggie Fieland

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Rest

by

Albert Orjuela

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Camera Smile

by

RJ Hembree

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

by

RJ Hembree

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First Step

by

Karen Barr

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Orchid Alone

by

Albert Orjuela

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Veg 2

by

Maggie Fieland

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All Along the Watchtower

by

RJ Hembree

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Ham

by

Karen Barr

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Winter

by

Maggie Fieland

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Backlit Great White Egret

by

RJ Hembree

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White Lightning

by

Karen Barr

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Wild Horses

by

RJ Hembree

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Cow Gossip

by

Karen Barr

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Cooper's Town

by

Albert Orjuela

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