No YOU Say it Erika Raskin

Photo of green leaves layered on each other

Someone asked me what a writer’s voice is. I was momentarily tongue-tied. It’s a tricky concept to capture and describe–a little like trying to render a physical sensation or an unfamiliar smell. Lots of adjacent experiences tend to be employed in the effort. But bear with me while I give it a shot. Forty years ago a rat died in our kitchen pipes. (I’ve generally recovered, thanks.) I chronicled the traumatic incident for Salon detailing the stench that came from the spigot as rotting chicken in the meat drawer– with a side of decomposing broccoli. … Continue reading No YOU Say it Erika Raskin

A Leg in the Darkness by Alex Joyner

Photo of a paint horse with sunset through trees behind it

When the leg appeared out of the darkness, flung over the gate of the neighboring corral, I was howling along with Emmylou Harris. “Beneath Still Waters” was booming from the CD player in the old door-less refrigerator in Jackie’s garden, where I was sitting with Jackie until just minutes before when she went off in search of a horse I had seen passing along the dirt road like a phantom. Jackie swore I was seeing things. “You come out to Archer City, Texas and you think there’s nothing around here but horses.” But she set … Continue reading A Leg in the Darkness by Alex Joyner

The Goodness of Contests by Fred Wilbur

Photo of rows of different colors of thread

Life should not be a contest, but it is. This statement seems terribly bleak, “survival of the fittest,” dystopian, shoot-‘em-up violent and down-right unappealing, but countering this notion, contests can be good things. There are team competitions, matches between two individuals, and self-challenging ‘contests.’ Professional sports teams immediately come to mind. They are primarily entertainment, but they illustrate coordination, cooperation, cohesion among members of the team. Such events promote social camaraderie and civic pride (forgetting the celebratory riots which sometimes follow.) Amateur sport is less about entertainment and more about learning to be a team … Continue reading The Goodness of Contests by Fred Wilbur

Samadhi and The Genesee River, 2 poems by Victoria Korth

Photo of stains on cement

Samadhi By day it hides in the bones, disguising its rich scent with worry and talk. At night it falls lightly, dips fingers in water, crosses itself on the steps of a shuttered church. The hand tingles, cool as quartz in an atmosphere of stone and wood and wax. As a child it dwelt under the skin, then beyond the edge of a paperback book. Now I bite the inside of my cheek, taste metal where it tries to form words. It is promise, night blooming flower, jasmine tree at the end of Rose Lane … Continue reading Samadhi and The Genesee River, 2 poems by Victoria Korth

MAISON MAGIQUE by Deborah M. Prum

Photo of shadow of hand on wall above small house made of paper

  I have a five-year-old grandchild who lives in Paris. Recently, she informed me that when she plays tag at her schoolyard, to avoid becoming “it,” all she must do is scurry to a yellow drum, touch it, and yell, “Maison Magique!” Those two words keep her safe. “Nothing bad can happen to you in maison magique, Deb-deb.” She calls me “Deb-deb” to get around the parental edict, “You may not call an adult by her first name.” My grandchild’s voice is reassuring because she believes what she asserts. Listening to her, I longed for … Continue reading MAISON MAGIQUE by Deborah M. Prum

You Must Pay The Rent by Marijean Oldham

Black and white photo of female with her hand on her face

The kitchen is new to her, its wide granite island, so big you could autopsy a moose on it. More cabinet space than she’d had in all her previous kitchens combined, and then some. A Viking range. A hot water tap. Ice and water through the door in the refrigerator. Although her contributions were meager by comparison, they merged kitchen tools. Her KitchenAid mixer; her mixing bowls; his Cuisinart food processor; his silverware set. Chili is simmering in an enameled pot on the stove. Cornbread bakes in the oven. Her own work day finished, Sarah … Continue reading You Must Pay The Rent by Marijean Oldham

Lent by Sharon Ackerman

light purple rose

The word Lent derives from an Old English word meaning ‘lengthen.’ Or more precisely, it comes from the Middle English word lente which means springtime, which itself descends from the Old English lencten. Of course the forty day period of Lent comes at a time when days are lengthening and a few green tips of flowers are testing the air. It is this time of lightening that enters the liturgical calendar as a season of reflection and forgiveness. As it turns out, reflection and forgiveness are complicated. Friends in recovery from alcoholism tell me they … Continue reading Lent by Sharon Ackerman

We Were Bag People and Lament for my Late Cousin While Feeding the Dog, 2 poems by Marianne Worthington

long wooden table, red chair and blue chair

We Were Bag People Life is no knock-off handbag, no purse ordinary as any K-Mart pocketbook. No. Worse. Life is a brown paper bag, plainest container, what my father called a poke. Run get me a poke for these beans now. My father talked like a Hank Williams song: Life is a sack of shit sometimes. A&P store bags jam-packed our slumping shelves—our lunchboxes our backpacks our suitcases. Life is utilitarian and pitiful sometimes, papery thin as bird legs. Life is a grease spot in the corner of a lunch sack, stained like a workshirt … Continue reading We Were Bag People and Lament for my Late Cousin While Feeding the Dog, 2 poems by Marianne Worthington

A Change of Scenery by Emily Littlewood

Woman standing against wall, reading

I’ve been having trouble reading lately. Actually, for the last few years. I can’t seem to sit down with a book and focus on it long enough to get through the entire thing. And my memory what it is, if I start a book and set it down longer than a day or so I forget everything that’s going on and some of the characters and even the setting, and the result is that I have to start over. I don’t have the energy. But recently my same-age-as-me aunt, Eden, suggested Fourth Wing, a “romantasy” … Continue reading A Change of Scenery by Emily Littlewood

say goodbye, without disappearing by B. Luke Wilson

Photo of tree with red leaves

your namealways tasteslike a palindrome across my tongue minnowingpond wide words      stained red as pomegranate arilsthe sun dies between us      painting ripples aquarelles what is left to say when there is no way forward      that doesn’t feel like retreatwhen clouds lit citrus bright over lakeside cypress      hold that dream i can’t whisper B. Luke Wilson grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and his fiction and poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Moon City Review, LIT Magazine, Artemis Journal, and elsewhere. He is the assistant … Continue reading say goodbye, without disappearing by B. Luke Wilson

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