Two of You - Linda Niehoff
Her Response - Patricia Rossi
Freedom - Margaret Brinton
Token - Daniel Thompson
Screaming’s all I can hear. Not in anger and I think in this moment not in sadness. It’s agony, breaching the walls. It’s her breaking, her smile changing, it’s her bridges burning while she stands at their centre. The sound of her heart being torn to pieces and still being told she’s ok.
Her screaming is silence in a house once full of laughter, pain that words just can’t express. It’s the empty tape in my hand. The tearing of pages. Regret from hours wasted flipping through naming books. It’s her only relief when a life’s been taken from her.
Michaela Gorin lives in Perth, Western Australia where she's completing a Bachelor of Arts at Edith Cowan University. She's been writing since 2008 and has had a poem previously published in Melbourne, Australia. Other writers that inspire her include Gayle Forman, Maya Angelou, Amy Zhang, W.H. Auden, Mary Fry and Anne Sexton.
Two of You
You stand in the dark kitchen and stare out the window, not realizing I've just come home. There are two of you.
There’s the you in the reflection that looks like you've swallowed the night. You’re covered in flashing lightning bugs, cricket song, lonely Sunday night streets, and the crooked branches outside the window. You’re see-through.
The other you stands in front of me, a boundary of opaque skin that I can’t ever get inside. Before you notice I’m there, you dial your phone and softly say, “Hey, it’s me. She’ll be home soon so I can’t talk very long.
Linda Niehoff lives in a small Kansas town where she works as a photographer. She's a fan of silver water towers, ghost stories, and old Polaroid cameras. Her short fiction has appeared in Dogzplot, Forge, Scissors & Spackle, Literary Orphans, and Crack the Spine 2013 Spring Anthology, among others. She blogs at thewrittenpicture.typepad.com
Quite predictably my mother would gently whisper the same word, her inevitable response to my annual query, “What do you want for Christmas?”
My seasonal inquisition, her steadfast reply were metaphorically tucked in the eaves of the attic, packed away in a corrugated box marked “Christmas Decorations.” Every December as we unwrapped and excavated fragile ornaments from crumpled newspaper, our infamous exchange so too was exhumed, tethered to more than tinsel, a holiday tradition of its own.
Our yuletide colloquy, a faded memory, but only now, decades later, do I truly understand my mother’s annual answer to my question…..PEACE.
Patricia Rossi is an attorney, freelance artist and writer. Her poetry has been featured in Long Island magazines and published in “Poetry Haiku. Her personal essays have been published in major New York newspapers. One of her academic papers was featured in New York Magazine. Patricia leads creative writing workshops for cancer survivors. She is also the recipient of a number of New York state funded individual artist grants. Patricia has utilized the grant monies to create and implement writing empowerment workshops for women specifically in underserved communities in New York State. Patricia lives on Long Island with her husband Ed and their adorable pup, Flanagan.
Urgently his wife paced near their waiting, open door and she uttered pleas to speed the distant siren onward while Ralph, supine upon the floor, portrayed peace upon his ashen face. Despite the crush of the cardiac force subduing him, the artist's fading thoughts embraced a sweet relief, and those tormented years of half-completed canvas began to recede mercifully from his waning consciousness.
Ralph's gasps for air were instinctive but free from panic in the final moments of life releasing him. No more would taunting brush and prodding palette pursue him, haunting him to create what stubbornly refused to emerge.
Margaret generates her ideas for plots and characters while taking long walks on the beach or while swimming laps at the clubhouse pool. She has earned generous dollars by writing for educational publishers and has placed short pieces with consumer and religious and literary magazines.
Felt like the token at the beginning. Sure I had game, but we played basketball. We weren’t friends. After a few practices the guys started saying, “Good take, white boy,” and “Get up, white boy.” Still, we played basketball. We weren’t friends.
Then I got punched in the hall and the kid yelled, “Fuck you white boy.”
The guys asked what happened. This kid sucker punched me, I said. Next day I saw the kid had a busted right eye. When I told the guys at practice, one said, “Come on white boy, you know it ain’t all about basketball.”
Daniel W. Thompson’s fiction has appeared recently or is forthcoming at publications like Bartleby Snopes, decomP, Camroc Press Review, Jersey Devil Press, and Cheap Pop. He lives in downtown Richmond, VA with his wife and two daughters cleaning up diapers and dog fur.