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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 more annoying parents to lecture him about survival in the forest. He stretched out his arms and legs, then peeked his head outside for a breath of fresh, autumn air.

 

“Well, time for breakfast,” he mumbled to himself. He noticed all the other residents of the Maple Grove Complex gathering acorns and getting ready for winter. “Bunch of fools,” he went on, “working so hard when they don’t have to.” He chuckled then ran towards the bottom of the tree. When he reached the ground, he headed straight to his secret food spot: a large, white house at the edge of the forest.

 

You see, even though Skippy’s parents warned him not to rely on humans for food, he always ignored them. When they showed him and his siblings how to gather and store acorns, he never paid attention. In his mind, he’d always have his secret food spot to count on, but on that particular morning, he was in for a rude awakening…

 

“What the heck!” he shouted when he climbed the fence and noticed all the bird feeders in the backyard of the house were gone. Even the bowls of peanuts they usually left outside were gone. “What’s going on?”

 

“They’re gone, Skip,” said Chadmun the Chipmunk, who’d snuck up next to him on top of the fence. Chadmun was Skippy's lonely partner in crime, the only one from the forest in on their little secret. His parents were taken by a hawk months ago, and Skippy felt bad for him. “New people moved in the other day," Chadmun continued, "and I don’t think they’ll be feeding us. Plus, they have a cat!”

 

Skippy’s beady, dark eyes widened. “A cat?”

 

“Yes. I came here to warn you. Ain’t safe for us here anymore. Time to start gathering our own food from now on.”

 

“Gather our own food?” Skippy’s heart sank. “I don’t know how to do that!”

 

“Well, you better learn soon my gray friend. Winter will be here before we know it!”

 

In a state of panic, Skippy rushed back to his complex to look for his girlfriend, Gwendi Frizztail. He had planned to marry Gwendi soon, now that he had his own apartment, and he wanted to surprise her that morning with some tasty peanuts. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out that way.

 

“Hiya Gwendi,” he said when he saw her sitting on a branch outside of her parent's nest. “What are you doing?”

 

“Waiting for my father,” said Gwendi. “We’re going on an acorn hunt today. Supposed to be a long winter, and someone’s been stealing everyone’s acorns!”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes. I already made a complaint to Herbie Halftail. He’ll be sure to get them back for us.”

 

Skippy narrowed his eyes. “Why were you talking to that buffoon?”

 

Skippy and Herbie were enemies. They both had eyes for Gwendi, and ever since Herbie became a member of the Knights of The Round Tree Stump, the local law enforcement of Maple Grove, Gwendi bragged about him constantly.

 

“He’s not a buffoon," said Gwendi. "You’re just jealous because he’s an admirable knight.”

 

“He’s not so special.” Skippy tried to conceal his jealousy. “I bet he doesn’t have a fancy nest like I do.”

 

Gwendi rolled her eyes. “Whatever, Skip. Anyway, what do you want?”

 

Skippy fell silent for a moment. He was too embarrassed to ask her for anything, but now that his secret food supply was gone, and winter right around the corner, he was desperate.

 

“Ummm, you think you can spare a few acorns for me?”

 

"Certainly not!" Gwendi scurried down the tree, glaring at him. “You expect us to work hard all day just to feed you? You have some nerve, Skippy Graycoat!”

 

“Sorry I asked, sheesh!”

 

“It’s not my fault you don’t know how to gather acorns," Gwendi went on. "Your parents tried to teach you, but you ignored them. And to think I was actually going to marry you!”

 

"What's that's supposed to mean?" Skippy frowned. "You don't want to marry me anymore?” Sadness filled his eyes.

 

“It's over, Skippy. You're lazy and I don't want a lazy husband! Herbie Halftail proposed to me yesterday. He's an honorable knight and a good provider. He has more acorns than everyone else in Maple Grove.”

 

“You're going to marry that jerk instead of me?”

 

“It's none of your business who I marry!”  Gwendi scowled at him. “Go play with your lonely little chipmunk friend and leave me alone.”

 

“Who told you I don’t know how to gather acorns anyway?”

 

“Oh, Skippy.” Gwendi sighed in frustration. “You think I’m that stupid? You never worked a day in your life. I figured out your little game. Sneaking into that backyard, taking all those free seeds and nuts while the rest of us spent hours gathering our own food. You’re despicable!”

 

“Now wait just a second!” Skippy’s little nostrils flared. “You didn’t mind it when I brought you all those tasty peanuts. The ones we can't get in the forest.”

 

“I didn’t know you were stealing them from someone's backyard!” snapped Gwendi. “Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if you and Chadmun the Chipmunk are responsible for all the stolen acorns around here.” She shook her head. “You’re nothing but a lazy thief, and I wish we never met!” She turned away and started to cry.

 

***

 

Later that night, Chadmun the Chipmunk paid Skippy a visit in his new pad. Skippy couldn’t sleep anyway, so he didn’t mind the company. Chadmun brought him a few acorns and his eyes lit up. He was starving.

 

“Where’d you get the acorns?” Skippy asked, gnawing away at one of them. “They’re delicious.”

 

“Well, I stumbled upon a whole pile of them just outside of Maple Grove,” said Chadmun. “And you’re not going to believe this, Skip... but I saw Herbie Halftail running back and forth to the same pile, adding more acorns to it each time. He’s been stealing everyone's acorns at night!"

 

"What!!" Skippy dropped his acorn.

 

"Yes, he's been hoarding them all for himself and—”

 

Before Chadmun could finish the story, Skippy darted out of his apartment to hunt down Herbie Halftail. Anger welled up inside of him, and he was determined to expose the “knight" for what he was. Chadmun quickly followed behind, to show Skippy where Herbie’s hidden stash was, and Herbie was standing on the acorn pile when they arrived.

 

"What are you fellows doing up past curfew?" Herbie asked them in a stern tone. “As a knight of The Round Tree Stump, I demand you go back to your nests at once!"

 

"You're no knight!" shouted Skippy. "You're a thief and a fraud, and you've deceived my girlfriend."

 

“You think you can take this guy?” asked Chadmun. “He’s a lot bigger than you, Skip.”

 

Skippy didn’t even think about backing down. He would prove to Gwendi that she was making a big mistake if she married the fraud. In a fit of rage, Skippy lunged at Herbie, and the two squirrels engaged in a vicious brawl. It was a long and close fight, but Skippy was victorious. He made Herbie tell everyone the truth, especially Gwendi, and all the stolen acorns were returned to their rightful owners. Gwendi apologized to Skippy for all the mean things she said to him, and everyone praised Skippy for his heroism.

 

“Guess he’s not so admirable after all!” Skippy said to Gwendi, but he loved her too much to stay mad at her.

 

***

 

The following morning, Skippy woke up to someone shouting from the ground below his apartment. He looked outside and couldn’t believe it was Sir LanSquirrel himself, captain of the Knights of the Round Tree Stump.

 

“Skippy Graycoat!" Shouted Sir LanSquirrel. "Come forth at once.”

 

Skippy, a bit nervous, immediately ran down the tree to meet with the legendary knight.

 

“Mr. Graycoat,” continued Sir LanSquirrel, “your courage and willingness to face harm for the sake of our community have impressed me. Many squirrels would’ve starved this winter if not for you. We need brave squirrels like you in our knighthood.”

 

“Umm, thank you sir...but I wouldn’t be much of a knight. I was a careless youth, and I ignored everything my parents taught me about survival.” Ashamed, Skippy could barely look him in the eyes. “I don’t even know how to gather my own food!”

 

“Then your first lesson begins today!” said Sir LanSquirrel. “By next season, you’ll be a skilled acorn hunter and a true Knight of The Round Tree Stump.”

 

And so, it was, Skippy Graycoat became a proud member of the knighthood, and he and Gwendi got married on Winter’s Eve. They even made a spare room for Chadmun the Chipmunk in their apartment, so he wouldn't be lonely anymore.

Bio: Peter is an avid lover of the fantasy genre, inspired by the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Robert Jordan to name a few. He resides in Westchester, New York, and has been a steady member of WVU for the past three years. He’s been an active member of the Kidz Korner  Writing Group, and the World Building Group, where he’s been posting and working on a Middle Grade/YA Fantasy/Superhero novel series. He has finished the first book and is currently almost finished with the second book. His dream is to become a successful fantasy author, to create exciting worlds, with family-friendly stories.  He's also an artist and enjoys bringing his characters to life using various media.

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 else could she do. Losing face would have the townspeople ribbing her about her memory for as long as she lived.

She'd do what she'd done last year and the year before.

"Stanley," she called into the house. No answer. He was probably in his workshop. She walked down the stairs to the garage. "Stanley."

"What's the hurry?" He'd stepped out of the shop so quickly he still held a Philips screwdriver in his gloved hands.

"Run to the store and buy canned pork and beans."

"Again?"

"Next year, I promise."

One thing about Stanley, he was a good sport, and in ten minutes, he'd gotten his wallet, put on his old camouflage jacket and hat, and backed their Jeep Waggoner out the garage and down the driveway.

She stood watching him go and he was down the street and around the block before she thought to tell him how many cans, and more importantly, what brands to get. Well, all she could do was get started with peeling and slicing onions, and dicing and frying bacon.

She fielded three phone calls from the fire pit crew asking her how much longer, found the cast iron pot tucked on a lower shelf in the back of Stanley's workshop and rinsed it out, and put the bacon and onions in it. "Come on, Stanley, hurry up," she said to no one.

An hour and a half later, she heard the squeal of his brakes — she never understood why it took him so long to take the jeep in for repairs or what he meant by saying he saved all sorts of money by waiting until the brakes were about done with before he replaced them — and the garage door open. She hurried out to help him bring in the bags of cans.

"Had to go to two different places," Stanley wheezed. "You didn't tell me how many you needed."

"Never mind," she said. "Just hurry."

She set the cans of beans on the countertop. Regular beans and pork. Oh no, barbecue beans and western beans. Well, she'd start with the familiar brands and if there weren't enough to fill the pot, she'd have to add those. She handed Stanley a can opener and reached for a second one and the two of them opened cans and poured them into the pot. She hadn't watched what Stanley opened and before she could stop him, he'd poured in the barbecue beans. Probably no one would notice.

They were down to needing only a few more cans. Stanley gathered all the opened cans into a large trash bag. She peered into the pot. She had no choice but to add the western beans. She opened the can and the tang of chili and cumin hit her nose. After sixteen hours of further cooking, all the flavors would have melded.

There was a knock at the door. The fire pit guys always came to haul the filled pot to the hole. She emptied the last three cans without looking at the labels and Stanley swept them into the bag and carried it down the hall to drop it into the bathtub. She could just barely stir the mess and there wouldn't be time to taste them. She set the cast iron lid on top.

"Come in," she called. "All ready to go."

One thing about the guys, they never asked questions. After they were gone, she sat down at the kitchen table, staring out into the yard, and telling herself that next year, she'd try to plan better. She was grateful that Stanley wouldn't bug her about her forgetfulness.
 
                                                *
 
Bean Hole suppers were scheduled for 4:30 on Saturday evenings.

Stanley and Clara Beth arrived ten minutes late, and by then there was a line at the serving table, each person holding a durable paper plate. The bean pot was set just outside the Grange Hall's side door, which meant the plates were passed up to the front, a ladle of hot beans dropped on it, and then it was passed back to the owner.

She decided she'd skip the line and stand directly at the door. The beans smelled wonderful, with a strong scent of sweetness, and a subtle one of spice. Her spoonful of beans had the right consistency, the bacon and onions blended into the sauce. No one would be able tell whether she'd started with dried beans or canned ones. She continued along the table and filled her plate with two fresh rolls, a slice of butter, and cole slaw. She decided against hot dogs and took a slab of baked ham instead.

Somewhere in the hall, someone coughed and sputtered. "Hot!"

Clara Beth stared at her plate. It was probably Rusty. That man complained about everything.

"You've got a new recipe, Clara Beth," Yvonne Scott crowed from two tables away. The woman could out-perform a rooster.

All Clara Beth could do was nod. She turned back to her plate and took a bite of the beans. They were a little bit spicy. "Taste the beans," she hissed to Stanley.

"Best ones you've made so far," he whispered back.

By the end of the evening, that seemed to be the consensus — she'd outdone herself. The ladies wanted the recipe and she said it was her secret. Everyone accepted that, except for the busybody Nellie Kent who kept badgering her about how unfair it was of her to keep the recipe to herself.

And the secret was kept from Clara Beth, too, because Stanley had hauled the several dozen empty cans to the transfer station early that Saturday morning.


BIO: Brigitte Whiting lives in Maine. She has completed both the Nonfiction and 3-Year Fiction MFAs at Writers' Village University. Her work has appeared in Village Square and Literary Yard online journals, and in Wit, Wisdom and Whimsy, a collection of poems by her local poetry group, Monday Morning Poets.

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 him into his office.  

“Take a seat. “ The fluorescent ceiling lights made everything in the room a weird shade of green. Mr. Huffman closed the door and dropped into a rolling black leather chair behind his desk that had nothing on it except a paper calendar. He bent over the calendar, fiddled with the chewed tip of a ballpoint pen, and cleared his throat.

“Jake, we’re going have to let you go. I hate this, because you do good work, but when the paper mill shut down, we lost lots of business.”

Jake’s face burned, so he looked down at the empty lunch pail still in his hands. His fingernails were caked with black dirt he had scraped off one of the HVAC units that afternoon. A clock on the paneled wall ticked loudly.

“Mr. Huffman, I really need this job.” He glanced up at his boss, who was looking at the pen. This was shameful stuff, a man losing a job, and they both knew it.

“I know. But you’ll find something, you’ll do the right thing for Ashley and the baby.”

His throat thick, Jake walked out of the office and down the hall to his locker to change out of his work boots, heavy with dried mud. He pushed through the back door of the building, drove to the Quik Stop for a beer and ran into Wade Merrill, a guy from high school whose dad was president of the bank. Wade went on and on about a big catch Jake made their senior year to help them get to the state football championship, then asked what he was doing now. Jake told him he’d just quit his job, that he was sick of flooded basements. Wade laughed and said you’re a winner, man, you’ll find something.

Jake told Wade he had to get going and Wade said yeah, I guess you got a kid now. Jake throat tightened again and he didn’t say that he was going to see his buddy, Tommy, who lived down by the river.

The windows of Tommy’s little cinder block house were levered, and he kept them open most of the year to catch the sound of the water. There was a big wood-burning stove and the whole house smelled like ashes, even in the summer. Tommy had worked for a construction company for a couple of years, then one day a company truck rolled backwards over his foot, mashing most of the bones. Now he drew disability and cooked a little meth on the side.

When Jake got to Tommy’s, he found him stretched out on his sofa in a plaid robe.

“Shit, man, hate to hear that,” said Tommy, when Jake told him he’d been laid off. The room was lit by a rerun of the 2011 National Championship game on the television and Nick Saban’s unsmiling face filled the screen.

“Saban don’t never look happy. You’d think them four million dollars a year would wipe that pissy look off his face,” Jake said. He’d worked since he was twelve—cutting grass, framing up houses— and this was the best paying job he’d ever had. He liked it because every day was different, from installing a new water heater to dealing with a busted air conditioner. The beer sloshed around in his stomach as he thought about how he would tell his wife he’d lost his job. They’d been together since their senior year of high school when one day he sat behind her in history class, looked at her curly hair, and wondered how she was in bed. Two months later she was pregnant, and after they graduated they got married and moved into a trailer on her father’s property.

“Christmas is two weeks away and I have no idea where I’m going to get the money for it,” Jake said.

Tommy kept his eyes on the screen. “Dude, I’m telling you. You need to help me with my ice. It ain’t no big deal, you know.”
The beer in Jake’s stomach sloshed again. Moving meth would be quick and easy money, but he’d really never done anything illegal other than driving drunk and he figured that didn’t count because he’d never been caught.

He told Tommy about seeing Wade, and Tommy said wouldn’t it be nice to have a mommy and daddy who paid for everything. Jake’s parents had worked at the paper mill ever since they got out of high school. When the mill shut down, they said they had to go where there was opportunity, and  moved to the coast of Georgia to work in another mill. He got the occasional call from them—they were doing a lot of fishing and even thought they might buy a used boat,and it was like they’d started a new life. He had never been out of the county and they hadn’t either, so the whole move was a big surprise to him.

“Maybe we ran into each other for a reason,” Jake said. “Like, maybe, I should’ve asked if his dad had any openings at the bank.”

Tommy snorted and said, “Dude, let me tell you something about the fucking world. Wade’s daddy, he thinks of himself as a maker. The makers make all the money and pay for stuff like food stamps and welfare for the so-called lazy people, the takers. Wade’s daddy only takes care of folks like him, people who went to college, so good thing you didn’t waste your time asking.” He took a long swallow of beer. “You know, now that I think about it, all that’s left out here in the county are the makers and the takers—hardly nothing in between.”

Jake left Tommy’s to go to the Bi-Rite to pick up diapers and as he drove he thought about Wade calling him a winner and wondered whether he meant in football, or just in general. Back in high school Jake was a big shot, a football star, and all kinds of people wanted to be around him. Now it was just him and Ashley, and the baby, who cried all the time. The doctor said it was colic, something he’d never heard of.

Hardly anyone shopped at the Bi-Rite after Walmart moved in and many of the food racks had been removed, leaving long, black greasy streaks on the linoleum. The beer had gotten to him so he pushed through a swinging door by the meat department to get to the bathroom. He wove between rows of boxed food stacked on pallets, and as he reached for the bathroom door, he looked down to see a cellophane-wrapped bundle of cold medicine on top of one of the pallets. He remembered Tommy telling him the law was trying to put meth dealers out of business by keeping this kind of medicine out of people’s hands, that he had to pay bootleggers twenty-five dollars for a single box.

And here was a case of the stuff.

He looked around to make sure he was alone, paused for a long moment, then picked up the bundle and took it into the bathroom. After locking the door and relieving himself, he tore open the bundle and began loading boxes into his coveralls, flushing the cellophane down the toilet.

He quietly cracked the bathroom door open and saw a man walking toward him wearing a big white apron with red streaks on the front. The meat counter guy. Jake pulled the door shut and locked it, then pushed the toilet lid up and sat down loudly so the guy would hear it. Heat was coming up and out of the neck of his coveralls, and he could hear the guy playing a video game on his phone. Didn’t the dude have some meat to cut? After about five minutes the guy knocked quietly on the door.

“Coming!” Jake flushed, twice, and started to open the door but now the toilet was overflowing with shreds of cellophane. There was no plunger in sight, so he kicked the globs of cellophane under the sink. Once the toilet stopped gushing, he opened the door and pushed past the guy, avoiding eye contact. He passed an old woman who looked like she would fall if she didn’t have her shopping cart to hold onto. She stared at him blankly, and he guessed she was too deaf to hear the boxes clattering under his coveralls.

As the girl at the register rang up the diapers, he wondered how he would pay for things without a job and thought about the only time his father ever used food stamps. They’d picked up a rotisserie chicken from the deli and the clerk held the chicken up and loudly demanded that one of the bag boys return it, telling everyone who would listen that food stamps didn’t cover hot food. Back then food stamps were the paper kind, not credit card-type things like now, and he remembered how they shook in his father’s hand as he paid for the rest of the groceries.

He picked up the diapers, and as he did, a few of the boxes shifted inside his coveralls. The girl looked him over, then shrugged and picked up her phone.

His heart was still pounding when he got to Tommy’s.

“You’re back—what’s going on?” Tommy said.

“I found something.” Jake unzipped his coveralls and began flinging boxes at Tommy.

“Well, well, well… what have we here, my friend?”

“Took ‘em out of the back room at the Bi-Rite. It was like they were waiting for me.”

Tommy examined the boxes, then pulled a roll of bills out of a wall safe and tossed it to Jake. And just as Jake was feeling good for the first time in the day, thinking he’d have some money for Christmas, Tommy got a text from a buddy who told him a cop might be on his way over.

As they ran around hiding things, the blood in Jake’s temples started throbbing. It made him think about a water heater overheating when the water boiled inside the tank. If that happened, you had to act quick to flush it or else all hell would break loose.

Tommy’s forehead was shiny with sweat. “Dude, could you take some of this cash and keep it for me?” Jake noticed Tommy’s hands were shaking as he tried to hang a fake painting on a nail above the wall safe.

“Man, c’mon … no! This was just a one-time thing to get me through Christmas—I’ve got to get out of here,” Jake said, grabbing his phone. He jumped in his truck and as he pulled out of Tommy’s driveway, he saw a bright set of headlights about half a mile away. He hoped it wasn’t the cop but a few seconds later blue lights appeared in his rear view mirror so he gunned it, turning down a side street toward his daughter’s daycare. He pulled behind the dark building, turned off his truck, and as he listened to the engine tick, he pressed his fingers to his pulsing temples. When no one showed up, he figured the cop was probably at Tommy’s, and he hoped no one found the cold medicine he’d just stolen.

What a shit-show of a day—losing his job then stealing that medicine. And now he was hiding behind his little daughter’s daycare because he thought the police were after him. He imagined Wade finding all this out and a wave of embarrassment washed over him. Restarting his truck, he eased out from behind the building and instead of turning toward home, toward Ashley and the baby, he headed for the interstate. As he entered the highway, he slipped easily between two semi-trucks to join a long line of cars heading east, toward Birmingham and Atlanta.

A minivan passed him, full of suitcases and wrapped gifts. He could see a little car seat in the back and he thought about Ashley, fixing dinner with the baby on her hip. He pictured Tommy trying to hang the painting over the wall safe and he began shaking like Tommy had and then realized the truck had  drifted onto the rumble strips on the shoulder. He swung back onto the interstate and a late model SUV in the lane next to him veered away slightly, a woman in the passenger seat picking her head up off a white pillow to look at him. A little dog with a fancy collar was curled up in her lap.

She kept staring at him and after a few minutes he snapped, rolling down his window and yelling he’d been laid off, not fired. He wasn’t a thief. He wanted to work. But now he had to leave town to find a job. His hair was flying around in the wind and the cold air stung his eyes, blurring his vision.

The woman frantically motioned to the driver next to her to go faster, and the car bolted ahead. It was a BMW, a maker car. He thought about Mr. Huffman telling him he’d do the right thing for Ashley and the baby and as he rolled up his window and wiped his eyes, he hoped to hell he was.


BIO: Kim Bundy lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she works at an academic medical center. She has begun querying agents with a recently completed middle-grade novel set in the 1970s. One of her short stories was published last summer in the literary magazine, Halfway Down the Stairs, and another will appear later this year in The Louisville Review.

 

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 piano by at least hitting keys intentionally. It stood at that same corner for years and years, just like an item of broken old furniture, completely discarded and forgotten.

Many times, the owners tried getting rid of the piano. They even established contact with the local piano storekeepers, asking them to purchase the piano at a price the piano store could never find a customer to pay. But they still insisted on selling the piano, claiming it was the most elegant piano in the entire world with a superb tone, texture, and quality. The owners contacted many such piano movers and piano stores who might buy the piano at the price they asked for. But unfortunately, no one accepted the offer.

“Those cheap bastards…,” was the simple comment of the piano owners.

A middle-aged man of around forty-four worked as a butler to the couples who owned the house. Although he was hired as a butler, later his duties expanded far and wide-ranging to include a gardener, janitor, and even massage guy. He needed money so he could never resist whatever the couple demanded. His name was Frank, and he had a son. His wife, whom he’s adored much, was deceased. He took and held all the pain within himself just to bring a smile upon his son’s face.


Frank loved his son. His son’s demands were almost final to him. He tried his best to obtain them to see a smile on his boy’s face. He could not afford a big, sophisticated piano, but he had brought home a plastic piano that was capable to make some sounds. He had to save up his money for a long time even to afford that plastic toy called Piano. He did his absolute best to give both the father’s and mother’s love to his son. He would rather stay alone than to bring a stepmother to his son, because he believed a stepmother could never replace a mother. A stepmother raised him, and he had to endure her harsh treatment. His experience never encouraged him to marry a second time, even though he missed the sweet pleasantries of conjugal life. He secretly longed for one, but his love for his son was far greater and bigger than his basic instinct.

His son had nurtured a liking for the toy piano since the day he had it. He spent a good amount of time hitting the black and white keys here and there. It sounded kind of beautiful, but Frank knew that his son still had to do a lot of work to improve on his skills. He was even afraid to think that he longed for the real piano in his master’s house.

He spent eight to ten hours of the daytime in his master’s place. The chores events kept him busy most of the time, but as time permitted he never failed to visit the music room to look at the piano, just to desire the piano, to let the thought of owning such a piano dwell in his thought process. Even such sensations gave him the utmost pleasure. He often envisioned his dear kid sitting at the piano and playing it. Oh, how he wanted to see his son perform in front of other people and be musically educated. He knew in his lifetime he could never be in a prosperous position to buy such a piano. Just to be close to it, he pretended to dust the already dusted piano.

One day he discussed the piano with his masters.

“Sir, there is something I need to discuss with you if you allow….” Frank poured his heart out hesitantly.

“What is it?” his master replied without looking at him. “Whatever you want to discuss, be reminded not to ask for a raise or a loan or some help or some money in advance.”

Before Frank could think of what to say next, his master barged in again. “So is your discussion related to any of those?” Without waiting for Frank’s answer, he again added, “I will pay you only for the time you work here... no more, no less. So, if you want to work then work as usual. Otherwise you are free to leave the house anytime you want.”

Frank was afraid he might never have the chance to speak.

“There is a myriad of mongrels like you loitering in the streets. But let me remind you, if you leave the house stealing something, then I will make the police chase after you, they will find out no matter where you hide…I’m sure you understand this all.”

Frank listened in complete silence then bowed his head. That is all he could do because that was all he had learned since he started working. All the masters were the same to him, unhelpful, ungrateful, and brutal.

He had never expected his master to treat him this way after working for him all this time. He felt disheartened and lost all the hope, whatever he had in mind. He maintained his silence for a longer time.

His master demanded sternly, “So is the matter dropped now?”

“No Sir... I’m still not finished,” Frank replied reluctantly.

“Then spit out what you want to say,” the master said in a low rumbling voice with a scowl all over his crooked face.

“I want the piano... my son loves to play on it,” he said all at once.

His master slowly turned his face toward Frank as if he were ready to leap over him. Squeezing both his thick and uneven eyebrows towards the center of his forehead, he again asked in a heavy bass voice, “Do you even know what a piano is, and do you know how much it costs?”

“I know, Sir, I can never afford it even if I work for twenty-four hours a day for twenty-four years.”

“So already knowing that, how even dared ask for the piano, you rascal?“ he blustered.

He looked at Frank, giving him a very sharp penetrating look as if to inject and brutally dissect him.

Frank maintained his distance and voice and replied as if apologetically, “You have been trying to sell the piano for a long time now, and I am trying to gain it. I can work for you for twelve hours a day for the rest of my life at the same pay if I can have the piano.”

His master kept quiet and stared at Frank as if he had asked both of his kidneys. Frank suspected his master could begin ranting anytime, so he said, “That is the only way I can pay for the piano. I can give my labor and sweat and in exchange let me have the grand piano.”

Suddenly his master’s voice lit up from one corner and spread all over the face. “What guarantee do I have that you do not stop coming to work after you have the piano in your possession?”

“Sir, you know where I live, and I have no place else to go and no one would let in a poor man like me. I cannot escape anywhere with the piano. I am grounded for the rest of my life with the piano,” Frank said, adding a little courage to his staggering voice.

“All right, take the piano, but to what you have said there will be no day off besides.”

“Okay so you agree…,” he said raising his voice.

And the very next day they arranged for the piano to be moved to Frank’s home. The following day Frank returned to work at the usual time. He went to the music room and though there was no piano there, he saw himself tied to the house for the rest of his life. “Perhaps a very necessary sacrifice.”


Bio: Nitin Mishra is originally from Nepal. Currently he resides in Apex, NC. He is a Software Developer by profession. Reading classical literature is his great source of entertainment. He’s immensely inspired by Russian Literature. He writes short stories and poetry. His novel, The Last Wind, is on Amazon.

Recently his poetry was published in the Village Square

With Emily on the Death Carriage

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 such a lean. Been so since December, ever since her skipper, Dan Parker, perished and her mate, Tommy O, turned to drinking. She’ll keep after me till things are right, till she’s afloat and put to fishing again. She’ll not wither into a heap. But, hell, it’s not my place to get the kid out of the gin-mills.

Best anyone can figure, a swell pitched Dan from the stern when he was bent over the side cutting fouled gear, figuring then that his “Ely Kay” gave him a fatal knock as she bobbed dumb. Tommy O was in the engine space warming himself.  Sometime after, Tommy came out and found no one, only Dan’s knife plunged into the stern board. So, it is now, and there’s been enough sadness.  It’s time to do as the “Ely Kay” has long pleaded.

Happy hour comes early in the joints favored by the fisherman. It’s not much past noon and the Satuit Grill is jammed with a boisterous lot. As I bump my way to the bar, I can see Tommy O, his hat askew, jostled, spilling his whiskey. Despite the crowd, he’s alone. I place both my hands on his drinking arm and wait for him to see it’s me. “Come lad, enough misery, put down the drink. It’s spring and well past time for scraping and painting the ‘Ely Kay’.”


BIO: Paul is a retired RN who resides in Florida and has one remaining ambition. Paul intends to recreate, in fiction, the once working-class village of Minot Beach where he spent his summers. As a child, it had been a place of summer shacks as well as nearby resort like amenities such as restaurants and lodgings. The beauty of the place remains, hence these days Minot has become a year-round haven for the well-to-do, many of whom enjoy photography and taking their dogs on walks along the beach. However, the summer village is long gone. It had been a glorious summer destination peopled by both the rich and the poor and it deserves to be remembered.

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...

Read more: The Impostor

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Sugar Daddy Dreams

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Chickens

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Desiree

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Beginning at the End

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Hope Held My Heart

 

 

 

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...

Read more: My Carousal of Life

 

 

 

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, ...

Read more: The Tattoo

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Booklovers’ Paradise

 

 

 

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...

Read more: My Car, My Friend

 

 

 

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, ...

Read more: Brother Bastion

 

 

 

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, ...

Read more: Standard Police Report

 

 

 

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, ...

Read more: There Are No More Pets in My House

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Revenge of the Fishy

 

 

 

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.

...

Read more: Temp-Tation

 

 

 

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. ...

Read more: Free Range Souls

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Einaudi

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Campfire

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Jack and the Beanstalk

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Lost and Found

 

 

 

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...

Read more: One Hundred Yards

 

 

 

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, ...

Read more: Cocoa and Biscuits

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Livin’ the Dream

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Fall in Maine

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Best Laid Plans

 

 

 

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...

Read more: One January Morning

 

 

 

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...

Read more: A River of Words

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Monarch Butterflies

 

 

 

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...

Read more: A Monarch Chrysalis

 

 

 

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...

Read more: The Goldfinch

 

 

 

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. ...

Read more: Reunion

 

 

 

A Fear of Broken Things

by

Angela Hess

“Does he look at you?”

 

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

Read more: A Fear of Broken Things

 

 

 

Wild Roses Growing in the Ditch

by

Louise E. Sawyer


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

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

Read more: Wild Roses Growing in the Ditch

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Hazardous Happenings

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Dealing with Rejection

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Backyard Neighbors

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Betrayal

 

 

 

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...

Read more: The Weight of Emotions

 

 

 

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...

Read more: With Emily on the Death Carriage

 

 

 

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...

Read more: 2020 Time of Haiku

 

 

 

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...

Read more: The Nature of Time

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Some Heart-felt Emotions about My Motherland

 

 

 

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...

Read more: A Dream, A Fantasy, Flying into The Unknown

 

 

 

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,
...

Read more: Missing Miss Pickle

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Surprised by Joy

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Definition of a Poem

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Lessons from History

 

 

 

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, ...

Read more: I Go Picking Seashells

 

 

 

Moments of Silence

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

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

Read more: Moments of Silence

 

 

 

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,
...

Read more: The Lockdown Cyber Trip

 

 

 

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
...

Read more: On the Farm

 

 

 

The Estate

by

KG Newman

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

Read more: The Estate

 

 

 

Thankful

by

Samantha Vincent

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

Read more: Thankful

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Our Neighbourhood Playground

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Immediate Action Required

 

 

 

About It

by

KG Newman

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

Read more: About It

 

 

 

American Refugees

by

KG Newman

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

Read more: American Refugees

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Monday/Wednesday/Friday And Every Other Weekend

 

 

 

Sadness

by

Michael Scanlon

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

Read more: Sadness

 

 

 

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...

Read more: First Impressions – Walter

 

 

 

Abandoned House

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

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

doors, ...

Read more: Abandoned House

 

 

 

Good Intentions

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

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

I meant...

Read more: Good Intentions

 

 

 

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...

Read more: How to Define a Cat

 

 

 

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...

Read more: I Am Old Now

 

 

 

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...

Read more: The Wind Excites Me

 

 

 

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...

Read more: listen to the wind words

 

 

 

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...

Read more: Commandment VIII Hiawatha/Geronimo/Sitting Bull

 

 

 

Submontane Home

by

Maryann (Max) Maxson

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

Read more: Submontane Home

 

 

 

Awake

by

Maryann (Max) Maxson

the day I under

stood

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

Read more: Awake

 

 

 

Think

by

Gerardine Gail Baugh

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

You cannot spew poison in...

Read more: Think

 

 

 

Reflections

by

Paula Parker

More Details...

 

 

 

Jack

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

More Details...

 

 

 

Hollister

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Evelyn

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

More Details...

 

 

 

Curiosity

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Rebecca

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

More Details...

 

 

 

Hazel

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Working Hands

by

Paula Parker

More Details...

 

 

 

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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