Home Sick by Erika Raskin


 

The room was humid with the scent of pine cleanser and Tierney, already sick with nerves, nearly gagged. She dropped her purse on the bed and went to the window that hadn’t budged since she checked in. Putting all of her weight into it she strained so hard a grunt escaped, leaving her feeling stupid with effort. The admonishment to try, try again was neatly countered by the definition of insanity. Another dueling dictum. The acrid stench triggered a particularly nasty childhood memory. She’d used the disinfectant to clean the dining room rug as a … Continue reading Home Sick by Erika Raskin

Her Apron Full of Crinkle Root by Roselyn Elliot

crinkle root leaf and root
 

Make yourself useful! Rock the baby, feed the baby. Move away from that radio, before I pull both your ears and unplug the thing forever. Today, I’ll teach you how to make pickles. First, go to the garden and pick enough cucumbers to fill this pan. Then I’ll show you how to wash them and make the pickling juice. Go, before your mother comes back. Do this for me. My father supported his widowed mother. Dad was Grandma’s baby, her youngest of seven, and he brought her to live with him and my mother on … Continue reading Her Apron Full of Crinkle Root by Roselyn Elliot

Dear Johnny… by Margaret Thacker

Non-Fiction
 

I read your obituary in the paper today. It said you were 49 years old when you died. You left to mourn a wife, three children, one grandchild, a sister, and foster parents who steered you in the right direction. You worked for a construction company and were a volunteer fireman. It had been so long since I’d seen you. I was nine and you were ten. You came to school mid-year, after everyone had been assigned a desk and knew their place on the bus. I was in third grade and you were in … Continue reading Dear Johnny… by Margaret Thacker

At Your Service


 

    This year, as you probably know, marks the bicentennial of the publication of Pride and Prejudice.  And, if Jane Austen could only see what an industry she has spawned.  The Amazon listing for books related to – or cashing in on — this title spans 101 pages.  There are sequels and “variations” and “re-tellings” as well as “re-imaginings.”  There are journals, graphic novels and a whole spate of murder mysteries, including one by P.D. James.   There is a version set on Mars and another one set along the Hudson River.  There is Pride … Continue reading At Your Service

A Clean-Swept Room by Raennah Mitchell


 

For days after her mother’s death, while adults move around her making funeral and guardianship arrangements, Sarah stands by walls. Her six-year-old fingertips search the wallpaper in the day care where they have placed her. Peach-colored blossoms overlay faint gray stripes. She turns away and leans against them. Across the room, other children color, drive toy trucks through a box of rice, dress in capes and felt hats. Sarah rolls her head from side to side, imagining she can fall backward into her mother’s arms, the paper flowers closing over them. The squat woman who … Continue reading A Clean-Swept Room by Raennah Mitchell

Lost in Detroit by Kathryn Christian


 

Everett’s mother sobbed loudly as he stepped onto his front porch and let the storm door crash against the house. He had to get out of that house, though. It was all full of church people and casseroles. The neighbors, too, were all patting him on the back, asking how he was doing. And Pastor Samuel had the nerve to ask him, right in front of his mother, if he was still trying to get into Kent State after high school. “No,” he said. How could he now? He wandered over towards the railroad tracks … Continue reading Lost in Detroit by Kathryn Christian