This week’s artwork is by Rachelle Olsen-Veal.
by Alexis Goldsmith
Margaret chose the candles for Mom’s funeral. They had the sweet smell of peaches. They put him back in a bathroom, in a time when he couldn’t yet see above the counter. Before Margaret was born. Leaves brushed the hazy glass. Dad’s & a woman’s voices. And something else: flies buzzing in your ear on a humid morning, fog rolling off a lake, vinyl walls, deep black mold. And something else. Behind a locked bathroom door, eating ripe fleshy peaches with pits filled with cyanide. “What are you thinking about?” Margaret’s hand is on his. “I can’t remember,” he says.
The Drowning Pool
by Cathy S. Ulrich
The children practice the dead man’s float in the water. They don’t believe in ghosts, or drowning. They have contests to see how long they can hold their breath, playing still and dead. One of them always loses, thrashing his hips up and down until he finally surfaces, gasping. The other children don’t move, their faces pressed into the water. They don’t see when he pulls himself out of the pool and crouches below the lifeguard’s stool in shame. The children are counting the seconds until they need to breathe again, and the lifeguard counts, too.
God of the Sea
by Cyn Bermudez
Metal tore my wrists as the boat rocked. Mast and bow tossed about, ripping through rotted planks. Salt and wet wood permeated the air, my pores, my tongue. My flesh—torn by whip and branded with hot metal—stung with each splash, with each touch of cold wind. The ocean twisted in fury. I bit into my arms, banged the shackles against a flat, sharp object that hung near where I stood. Beneath me the floor fell away revealing a large and terrible eye. Blacker than night, hungry like a wild beast. White bone shone through ripped flesh.
by Joy Manne
They said he was born lucky.
If anyone found a coin by the roadside, it would be Tommy, except mostly he found $50 notes.
If anyone got the most beautiful gal, it would be Tommy, and she would always come from the richest family and have parents who adored him.
The best university, the best grades, the best job offers, and – just before choosing between them – run over by the Mercedes 300SEL 6.3 that had once belonged to Mick Jagger for whose concerts he always managed to obtain the best seats.
Lucky Tommy escaped before life could disappoint him.
Before He Gets Home
by Bill McStowe
When he gets home, Lo is in bed with Jasmine, the book about the princess tucked under her arm. Before he gets home, she returns the duffel bag to the front closet, under the winter jackets she has been meaning to donate.
Before he gets home, Lo looks at her bruises in the mirror.
She calls her sister.
Before he gets home, Lo sits at the kitchen table and counts the money she keeps hidden between sweaters in the duffel bag.
Before he gets home, Lo smokes a cigarette.
Before he gets home, Lo reads her baby girl a story.
by Courtney Watson
War was all they were good at. Planning it, waging it, missing it once the guns cooled. There were annual celebrations, but roman candles and bottle rockets echoed weakly. That’s why they forgot us when the first metallic streaks sizzled across the thin black sky, leaving us to host the ghosts of the last revolution while they lost the next one. Tomorrow would mean blood soaked in the marble, and boots on our fine pink china. Tonight, though, the sky was haunted with bright specters of light and sound. Fireworks or bombs; either way, they laughed and our world burned.
by Dan Plate
When Jesus was ten, he and his cousin John had a thing for the same girl. John was the better looking boy, but Jesus made her a bird, which was what she wanted.