by Judith Shapiro
Otters sleep holding hands lest they float away and lose one another.
After our argument, we turned and faced the other way, feigning sleep that eluded us, keenly aware that we’d both still be here in the morning.
Elephants are like ballerinas. You think they have these big, flat feet but underneath it all, they’re walking on their tiptoes, as if in toe shoes.
I wanted to ask you if you’d rather be an otter or an elephant in your next life.
Crown of Rain
by Matthew McEwan
Rain fell and drowned in curbside rivers.
The man in the grey suit waited under a drumming umbrella.
He used to love standing out in the downpours. His mother would yell at him for getting wet. But when the streets were empty, the city was his. He could walk anywhere. He was a king.
The man stuck his hand out, catching cool raindrops.
The taxi’s brakes whined.
‘Uh-‘ the man stammered, wiping his hand on his suit.
by Gail Tyson
On this frigid night, I’m famished. Linda and I order at the bar, but my entrée doesn’t come. She kindly shares her salad. So far in life, I’ve avoided kale, but tonight my fork spears a blue-green leaf curled around a wedge of butter-soaked toast. Salty-sweet tang explodes in my mouth. Bite after bite, kale and toast remind me what I’ve been missing: how what is good for you and what is not can come together, spark hunger I never knew was there, every mouthful making me want more until only the taste lingers on my tongue.
Please Dispose Of Your Heart Properly
by Elad Haber
“I gave him everything!” I sobbed to the screen. “Six years!”
The matronly woman on the other side of the screen had wire-rimmed glasses and calm, understanding eyes. She pressed a button and a slot opened in front of me. A proffered tissue. I wiped my eyes with it.
“It seems to me,” said the therapist, “that your heart is broken and you will need a replacement.”
Another slot opened with a ticket.
“Please take this to the next screen for further assistance.”
In the surgical room, warnings papered the walls.
I sighed and attempted to follow the on-screen directions.
This week’s artwork is by G.J. Mintz
Back to the Beach
by Joseph Yenkavitch
Maria sat stiffly on the multi-colored blanket leaning back on both arms her right foot fidgeting into the warm beach sand. Her husband, one hand holding onto little Grace, ran into the water while the more independent Kathy splashed nearby. Maria watched as the turquoise water encircled the children’s bodies. She sat upright as the waves climbed and lifted them. Catching her husband dreamily gazing out to sea, her hand grabbed a knot of cloth. Kathy waved as frothy water covered her. Maria leaped up remembering how Bobby had waved going under. But Kathy surfaced with a squeal of laughter.
Standing on Air
by Andrew C. Hartford
It was dark inside the prison yard despite the morning sun. Dressed in another’s Sunday best, Jeb Sanders trod heavily up the scaffold steps. No crowd had come, only the law and the faith, the latter of which was represented by a lone figure standing before the trapdoor. Moving to his spot, he made a quick study of the priest. Pale, baby-faced, the leather spine of his bible uncracked. His holy garb, though clean, was too long and fell past his feet, giving off the impression that he was floating. “Hey” Jeb said, “Mind showing me how you do that?”
A Slow Demise
by Seminare Ta’afua
My eyes opened yet the darkness did not go away. I lifted my head but it bumped into the ceiling. I moved my feet but could not bend my knees any more than a few degrees. Turning was also obstructed. I realized my demise and start to feel my tears roll down into my ears. I knew yelling wouldn’t help but impulsively- maybe by fear- I screamed out as loud as I could. I maneuvered my arms to allow for prime pounding position and proceeded to hit the coffin ceiling repeatedly. It didn’t take long until dirt started sifting through.
The Cockroach at the End of the World
by Jim Doss
He wants to be called Bernie, but no one’s left to speak his name. He stares from those sad Franz Kafka eyes, a body shriveled as if he’s lived for years in concentration camps. He combs through building rubble, nibbling on barbecued people, not bothering to hide since the bombs went off. Mutually assured destruction—some deterrent. His cells absorb radiation, mutate, then mutate again. He feels sick, both at heart and in mind. He isn’t transformed algae crawling out of a pond at the beginning of time, but he is the new Adam in search of his Eve.
by Matthew McEwan
She spotted it first through tears. It was a hiccup moment. Nothing significant, just something to notice; a small leaf sprouting against her grey wooden fence. The next morning, she woke up and cried. When the tears stopped, she saw two; a week later, three. Since then, she would cry in her empty double bed, then stare out her window, counting the leaves as her cheeks dried. Months passed and no longer did she cry, but one day she tossed her heavy duvet aside and rushed outside. She took hold of the blossoming vine in a white-knuckled coil and ripped.