Is Your Poem Ready for Submission? by Roselyn Elliott

black and white computer keyboard
 

So, you’ve read a literary magazine’s guidelines, you’ve even read its sample poems available online, or ordered a recent copy of the magazine to learn about what they publish. Maybe you’ve taken a class/workshop in which your poems were critiqued by peers and a popular teacher. But, how is it that some of our poems we have toiled over to the point that they are strong and seem to be the best they can be, do not get selected for publication by the journals where we’ve chosen to send them? As a poetry editor, I’ve … Continue reading Is Your Poem Ready for Submission? by Roselyn Elliott

Geoffrey Stein Updated

Inked silhouette of Trump on Stop sign
 

                                                              I paint to find out what I think about the world; to discover the things I do not have words for. With collage, I love the randomness of the snippets of text and photographs appearing and disappearing that becomes the subject’s likeness. Even as photos and text become part of the pattern of lights and dark that create a coherent likeness, they also retain their … Continue reading Geoffrey Stein Updated

A Runaway Life by Mariflo Stephens

Train running on mountain
 

I live a runaway life. I’m a writer, a wife, and a mother and, like a lot of women who tire of the multi-layered duties that come with that combination, I need to get away. Right now, what I’m running away from is a story. That could be funny since I’m a short story writer, a comedic one at that. But it’s not funny. Usually I run away to Washington, D.C. I ride the train from Charlottesville and settle in the quiet car. The train sways slowly from side to side. It’s like being calmed … Continue reading A Runaway Life by Mariflo Stephens

Migration by Priscilla Melchior

color photo of hummingbird
 

She’s been sitting on the feeder since first light, gathering herself, I suppose, for the journey south. I wonder if she slept there, waking for a sip from time to time, adding calories, planning her long, winged trek through the mountains to the Gulf and across the waters to Mexico. Not for the first time do I consider the courage of the hummingbird at one-tenth of an ounce, the toll it will take to travel 3,000 miles to flee the cold of winter. Not for the first time do I consider the family she fed … Continue reading Migration by Priscilla Melchior

Announcing the 2019 Short Fiction Winners

Necklaces with pendants of different shapes
 

Co-judging the annual fiction competition with Suzanne Freeman is a little like being each other’s plus-one at a silent auction. We independently review the wares that are displayed on a virtual table, offerings as distinct as intricate necklaces and catered dinners for twelve and bulky Irish sweaters. You never know what you are going to come upon next. Suzanne and I look and re-look and then rank those manuscripts that speak to us most. Then we compare. While one woman’s masterpiece is another’s Ikea instruction manual, there is always overlap. Which is so interesting. Are … Continue reading Announcing the 2019 Short Fiction Winners

De-constructing by Judy Melchiorre

Color photo old home with balcony and vines
 

His breakfast smells like ripe tomatoes and promises, pledged in youth and romance, a starter home, a child or two, a job with promotions and perks, naive happiness. We are older now, each creak and crack in the house has a name, unlike our shadow children. He works so hard, pale faced, heavy-footed, listlessness engraved into his bones. Desire distills into an uneasy companionship, his hand restive in mine, his shoulder sharp. I do not hear the word love, only silence, and the foundation settling. Judy is a poet based in Richmond, VA and a … Continue reading De-constructing by Judy Melchiorre

Journaling with Jenny by Jenny Patton

Sharpened pencils pointing up
 

When I was seven, I made my own journal out of legal pad paper—a little book that sparked a lifelong passion for writing down my thoughts, feelings and desires. E.M. Forster asks, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” Here’s my take: “How do I know who I am until I see what I think?” Journal writing has been proven to combat stress and help treat eating disorders, depression, addiction and other psychologically rooted problems. People who write about past traumas show stronger immune systems. After my mom died, … Continue reading Journaling with Jenny by Jenny Patton

Crossroads by Ron Wallace

Black and white foggy morning with multiple trees
 

I try to find beauty ………in the autumn night. Your stars, your moon, they’re still right there where you left them ………But without you they seem merely splinters of glass soon to be swept into winter. Every October I watch a three quarter moon ……….white as polished bone, rise among the awakening stars in a charcoal sky ……….above the crossroads where Hecate is leading ghosts into the light. I close my eyes and see you walking ……….out of Plutonian darkness into the fragile magic of Oklahoma river mist, a quarter century spinning behind my lids … Continue reading Crossroads by Ron Wallace

Guarantees by Elizabeth Meade Howard

old obsolete gravestone without inscription
 

    The gravedigger called, annoyed that I was not at the cemetery where he was waiting to lay my father’s stone marker. I’d expected his call en route and said I would get there as fast as possible. It was a steamy, late summer day some years ago and the cemetery was a 15-minute drive. My father’s ashes were encased in a black plastic box beside me. He’d died in 2000 and since then, the heavy, half empty container had collected dust in a corner of my office. He’d requested the scattering of his … Continue reading Guarantees by Elizabeth Meade Howard

Lucky? by Christine Holmstrom

Photo of knives stuck on magnetic strip
 

In Alice Sebold’s book Lucky, a memoir of her brutal rape as a college freshman, a policeman tells her she was lucky. He meant she was fortunate to have been raped and beaten rather than being raped and murdered. I was lucky too—luckier than Alice Sebold in that I’d never been raped despite taking risks in my teen years and twenties—hitchhiking, getting shit-faced drunk in bars, inviting men I barely knew into my home. And then at thirty, I’d been hired as a correctional officer—prison guard—at San Quentin, the infamous men’s maximum-security prison. Working at … Continue reading Lucky? by Christine Holmstrom

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