What You Eat
Callum ate only nuts and seeds.
In time, his fingers were twigs. Vines were his arms. His legs, twin trunks. Callum’s beard was moss; lichens were his hair. Cinnamon birds drummed on the great shell that his belly had become. They tugged his guts into his lap. They slithered away. Roots in the soil. No longer needed, his lungs withered. His stomach was a shrivelled pouch. His heart a dark bowl that rolled down the long slope to the stream.
The vestiges of his eyes and ears drew in the measured dance. The faint music.
by Todd Pettigrew
Incomprehensible. Killing an infant.
No one knew the murderer. He simply appeared, forcing his way into the house, ignoring the older children. Finding the infant asleep, he fired and fled.
They chased, but reaching the end of a dark alley, found nothing.
Teufel. Damon, folks whisper. But even devils have reasons. Why desolate this family?
They’d lost three to illness already. And now this beautiful boy is only memory. His mop of dark hair. His curious eyes.
They weep, and pray for strength.
We stand alongside them, Alois and Klara, as they mourn little Adolph.
The Hitlers are not alone.
by Jeremy Nathan Marks
Every day at lunch mice scampered past the microwave. They left droppings everywhere. The workday was filled with worker shrieks. When the boss didn’t act, the staff walked out.
The boss asked the landlord to do something, but the landlord said that trapping mice was beyond the terms of the lease.
The boss loved rodents so he set live traps. But when he went into the ceiling where the mice were living, he struck his head on a beam and suffered a severe concussion. Since no one was in the office to know he was missing, the mice cannibalized him.
It’s The Little Things That Matter
by Roopa Menon
When my father’s muscular legs started to shrink and resemble chicken legs, he blamed the cook’s insipid food.
When my father’s legs burned raw from pain, he blamed Covid.
When my father snapped at us, he blamed our irreverence.
When my father scraped his foot, and his bruise, tarry black, refused to heal, we blamed ourselves.
“Undiagnosed diabetes.” The doctor said, shaking his head. Then, before wheeling my feverish father into the emergency room, he stopped and looked at me, “It’s the little things that matter. Always.”