Dreams in Helsinki
by Kirby Wright
5 pm, when the chef at the Memphis Grill breads his chicken-fried steak. Human machines march for rails, rehearsing To Do Lists to the smells of meat, grease, and ozone gusts from trains. Tethered dreams release like helium balloons from the souls of workers. Look! See those reds, blues, and greens scaling concrete verticals? A yellow hovers over Helsinki Cathedral. A few drift above the clouds, where winged demons pop the wishes of the dying.
The Black Cat
by Patricia Milan
The black cat came limping home, her front paw bloody and loose. She wouldn’t stay indoors, was never happy like that. She mewled when I touched her, so I let her be to curl up by the heater. Breathing faster than normal, she tried to rest. I had no money for a vet. She recovered that time, but the limp never fully went away. A year later she came home dragging her bottom half, died slowly in my arms shortly after, but she purred as she went.
The Swimming Pool
by Kaleb Estes
The plastic tricycle my mom got me when I was three, a couple of lawn chairs, two dead birds, hundreds of cigarette butts, a pair of glasses, several beer cans, and one of my sister’s shoes—that’s what’s sitting at the bottom of our swimming pool. We hadn’t cleaned it in eleven years, not since my sister drowned. But just before the paramedics came again, Mom decided to clean a few things out. When the paramedics waded into the waist-high murk, there was just the plastic tricycle, the lawn chairs, one of my sister’s shoes, and my mother.
by Greg Melo
I looked at the picture frame on the kitchen table. Your amber eyes were full of life back then. Your smile, radiant as I had my arms wrapped around you. I pushed the frame off the edge of the table and watched as glass shards littered the wooden floor. Then I swept the memories away.
The Taxi Becomes a Bath
by John Potts
I caught a taxi one morning and before long the back seat was half-filled with water. This was agreeable since I had no clothes on and needed a bath anyway. The water was warm and soapy, and the driver was happy for me to use his taxi as a bath on the way to work. I looked across the back seat and was surprised to see another passenger. It was a middle-aged woman with grey hair, wearing a white linen dress. The water covered her dress but she didn’t seem to mind: she was reading a book.