by Rebecca Ford
He knew the importance of fastidiously picking out his clothes each morning. Crisp tangerine shirt, ironed khaki shorts and matching orange shoes donned with a crisp and donning a gray tweed ascot cap. Moisturize. Reflection. Reflect. He grabbed his gray Irish terrier, locked the door and went out for his walk. This is what kept him from falling into tatters. He had been fractured once. His body – limp and lifeless. Enraged and polarized. His skin had sagged. His bones had crumbled and his organs and fallen into themselves. Turned to powdery ash. Of course he knew this at the time.
Jon the Watchman
by Harman Burgess
After many years of experimenting Jon has managed to capture the nature of time within himself.
He did it with rubber bands.
The true meaning of each second writhes around inside Jon’s stomach like a hungry serpent trying to devour its own tail.
It is quite uncomfortable.
Space, responding to time, acts on Jon’s body; folding his physical form in on itself in a mandala of cosmic light.
This is also uncomfortable.
The movement of Jon’s consciousness is one with time. It ticks forward from hour to hour with the world changing around it. All Jon can do is watch.
by Nydiir E’ries
No one would rescue him now. Blue veins protested to the surface like lightning breaking out of the clouds. This was a reminder of life’s cruel torment. Rocking, he watched the sky and eavesdropped on the conversations around him.
“Ma, we did miss you.”
“Driving down is hard.”
“I want to go home.”
“Will you disappear like Grandpa?”
“Why is that old man sitting alone?”
“His family will visit.”
“Ol’ man ain’t go’ no family.”
“Who would leave him alone during the holidays?”
“Should be, ‘what’d the ol’ man do ta be left ‘lone?’”
Long Term Storage
by Cara Nighohossian
Lisa’s new neighbor, Marcy, sat on the bed chattering about swings and highchairs. Lisa opened the closet to arrange her sweaters on the shelf and noticed a black dress. As she grasped the old wooden hanger, her fingers brushed the fabric. An arm appeared in the sleeve, pulling her inside the closet, inside the dress. From her black lace prison, Lisa saw herself smiling, hand atop belly, coveralls spattered with blue paint. She screamed. Nothing. Marcy prattled on, oblivious.
New Lisa leaned forward, whispering, “Thank you. I’ve been waiting such a long time.” The door creaked on its hinges. Darkness.
by Alexis Gkantiragas
Today is the day! After only two years, I’ve officially been promoted to volunteer at my firm! No more paying to work – I’m breaking even at only 26.
Maybe my parents will let me have my room back now they don’t have to rent it out to cover my employment. Goodbye futon!
by David Klotzkin
When I was a kid, my father read me a novel about lost explorers in the Brazilian jungle. A native boy saved their lives repeatedly but the explorers sailed back to Europe without him, leaving him to the jungle.
I was thunderstruck by the cruelty of the author who left the boy there! I wrote my own ending on the flyleaf, where the explorers civilized the native and brought him to England, and he became a famous soccer player.
Just a generation later, my daughter found the book and asked, what Eurocentric cultural elitist wrote on the flyleaf?
The Turquoise Typewriter
by Liz Dickinson
The turquoise typewriter was not bequeathed to me,
but donated after your house clearance.
“We thought you’d like this,” not,
“She’d have wanted you to have this.”
A gift of vintage typography, in lieu of love.
At my wedding, you refused to sit at the top table.
“I’m not family, seat me near the fire exit.”
I picture you, typing on your keys,
And I wonder, upon seeing my long, piano fingers,
you knew then, I was not worthy
of your typewriter.
When my piano fingers type, I hear music in the typeface:
The reciprocation of an unsolicited gift.