All posts by Erika Raskin

Political Animals by Erika Raskin


 

I’ve been a vegetarian for years and years. I try not to be preachy about the issue `#ToEachHisOrHerOwn but in truth the whole concept of eating other creatures depresses the hell out of me. Last week, a truck carrying a load of chickens in horribly overcrowded cages, passed me on the highway and I burst into tears. All of which is an ironic preamble to the following observation: Like mammals with two legs, the four-legged variety can also be assholes. Just on principle. Seriously. The coyotes who use our yard as a public toilet, for … Continue reading Political Animals by Erika Raskin

Santa, Undone by Travis Flatt

Photo of Santa walking from behind
 

He taps on my door. You’ve got to hand it to a seven-year-old for knocking. That lesson he learned even before reading. “Please knock,” his mother would yell whenever he barged in on us in the act, and he’d step back out into the hall and tap a little drum beat on the door. Today, I’m sprawled out on the bed with an IPA (just one), watching Robocop (the original), when the kid walks in and hands me a list. Before his mother left for work, she asked him to write Santa a list. I’m … Continue reading Santa, Undone by Travis Flatt

All’s Fair in Love and Teacher Gifts by Ellen Weeren

Photo of wrapped present with pink bow
 

Even though it was early June, Elena wore an oversized, off-white cable-knit cardigan to the grocery store. The gift cards were displayed near the beer coolers, an area which was always too cold for summer clothes. Her list of teacher gifts contained six names, eight if she counted the music and art instructors, who her son Brian only briefly saw every other week—not enough time to warrant the same Panera card his more engaged teachers should get, especially since he was such an easy kid. She toyed with the idea of only treating them to … Continue reading All’s Fair in Love and Teacher Gifts by Ellen Weeren

You Are Here by Erika Raskin

Photo of confusing map of parking garage
 

I’ve written previously about missing a sense of direction and thought an update might be warranted: It still sucks. Recently, when I was taking my ups driving my brother to chemo appointments in DC (where I haven’t lived since 1982) I asked which way to turn to get into the hospital parking lot. ‘I told you yesterday,’ he said. ‘And, what, you can only tell me once?’ He instructed me to take a left. Grudgingly. Then I’m pretty sure he called me ‘hazy’ under his breath. I stopped myself from reaching over and pinching him … Continue reading You Are Here by Erika Raskin

Butter Moon by Lydia Gwyn

Photo of man in spotlight
 

  The full moon is bright yellow tonight. She watches it rise above the tree line as she drives, rising above the high school building, the water tower. She knows all the months’ moons have names but can’t remember the name for December. It’s not strawberry or harvest or salmon. She thinks it may be ice. An ice moon, but it looks more like a butter moon. A solid, creamy pat in the sky. When she gets to Shadrack’s Land of Lights, she can still see the moon, though lights are everywhere as promised. There … Continue reading Butter Moon by Lydia Gwyn

Second Marriage by E. K. Riley

Black and white photo of picture on ground
 

    She kept track of what belonged to her and what belonged to him. She felt guilty, but also compelled. The silver coffee spoons were hers, a family heirloom and dormant in a back drawer since she didn’t throw those kinds of parties anymore. The spinning top collection that reminded him of a similar basket from his childhood were his. The vintage bomber jacket mixed in among the coats, the one that still smelled faintly of club cigarettes and highway exhaust, that was hers. The white plates, chipped with use, and the ceramic mugs … Continue reading Second Marriage by E. K. Riley

A Map Of Her Mind By Benjamin Roque

Photo of someone getting a facial wrap
 

Suddenly Emery stopped walking. He just stood there, a still-life in the afternoon, on a busy sidewalk. The crowd parted around him—one businessman swore into his cellphone as he sidestepped past. The sun burned between buildings, a theater and a bank. Broken glass, trodden into pebbles on the concrete sidewalk, reflected brightly. Someone tossed a coin Emery lost in the sunlight. The ring when it hit the ground revealed it to be a bottle cap. Emery touched his mostly gray swirl of beard and sat down on the sidewalk, his back against the brick facade. … Continue reading A Map Of Her Mind By Benjamin Roque

The Closet Full of Darlings by Erika Raskin

Photo of person against long row of shelved boxes
 

Lots of people have gotten credit for the literary adage advising writers to kill their darlings. In fact it was Arthur Quiller-Couch. I think. Anyway, the exhortation is important because it acknowledges how scribes sometimes become overly attached to “ornaments” of their own creation. As your piece evolves, plot twists and descriptions may no longer serve you. Characters, too, may overstay their welcome. Even really, really good ones. (Move along. Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?) The positive news is that when you cut something from your current work, you don’t have to actually vaporize … Continue reading The Closet Full of Darlings by Erika Raskin

Joshua Number Eight by E. Hume Covey

Photo of old yellow bus
 

    If you could sit totally still for long enough on the big rock by the sycamore, the catfish would peek out tentatively from the hollow underneath and then would move out, browsing along the bottom. A few minutes later, the ribbon snakes would slither down the honeysuckle, gliding back and forth across the pool with their heads raised barely above the surface. This time a gray watersnake had joined them, below the kingfisher’s perch, half in the water and half in the patch of jewelweed, near where the lone trout lurked  in the … Continue reading Joshua Number Eight by E. Hume Covey

The Cat Goddess of Apartment 15B by Alex Barr

Photo of figure in hoodie, face obscured, crouched down
 

The back of Bill’s neck smells for some reason of peach and is delightfully warm to my lips. He murmurs something I don’t catch but sounds like a note of appreciation. I turn my attention to the tangles of his hair, scented with some fairly pleasant chemical with overtones of coconut. He makes no further comment but squeezes back into my embrace, warm inside his thick toweling bathrobe. I’ve caught him on the landing. The sun streams in through the roof light as if the gods are pouring honey. “What time is it?” he asks. … Continue reading The Cat Goddess of Apartment 15B by Alex Barr