Three pieces by Kelsey Dean
Mind Your Mittens
In Michigan we use our hands for maps.
My restless feet take me everywhere except home,
but it’s always here, always pulsing in my palm.
Come to Bed Red
The color I wished I’d whispered in his ears.
But at sixteen, my cheeks
went cherry pink at the thought
and my tongue kept tripping.
Her daddy wouldn’t pull the sled. She had to drag it herself, eyebrows knitting curses, wondering if the effort was really worth a ten-second thrill.
Kelsey Dean is essentially Pippi Longstocking, although her hair is not red. She tries out different careers by day and writes by night. She also paints. You may see some of her work on this page: http://kelseypaints.tumblr.com/. Kelsey is from Ann Arbor, Michigan, but is currently living in Istanbul, where she hopes to become a mermaid in the Bosporus.
Ten pieces by Len Kuntz
They looked like that—minty-green, tangy lemon, plum-colored. She tugged her knee-highs, hiding the bruises like a good daughter, beckoning her first boyfriend forward.
Summers we started fires. Twig piles, then brush fires, abandoned barns behind our trailer park, empty residences. The last one—our lives—smoldered longest of all.
Slick lips, light as scarves or gossamer. He took her that way, a new Houdini, made her fly. He said, “Abracadabra,” and for once she believed.
In the office elevator he smelled garlic and shrimp. She was older, her lips swollen berries. He took them, said, “Marry me,” as she swooned.
My daughter paints everything fire-engine red—lips, lashes, hair, nails. There’s a rough, new boy now. “Don’t worry,” she says. “He’s nothing like you, Dad.”
My daughter returns from the tropic tent with a tongue stud. She says it’s to keep her focused, clicks the bead, says, “Or maybe ecstasy.”
The power’s out, everything frozen while moonlight lifts off the lake. You take my hand and lead. You kiss me hard, say, “Shut up, stupid.”
Scotch on the Rocks
He’s passed out, a polar bear snoring, Jimmy Fallon on TV. You empty his half-empty glass in the sink, thinking half-empty, half-full, time to leave.
My daughter visits: half-shaved head, studs where eyebrows should be, wearing torn fishnets and studded stilettoes. She lights up a cigarette and I listen.
Summers we picked fruit along with the migrants, mother sweet on the foreman, Dad just paroled, the sun a gold peach asking too many questions.
Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State and an editor at Literary Orphans. His story collection, “The Dark Sunshine” debuted from Connotation Press last year. His work appears widely in print and online, and also at lenkuntz.BlogSpot.com
Secret Stash by Dan Plate
In those days, Joseph used the wise men’s gifts to buy a set of tools, a solid workbench, and a string of pearls for Mary.
Dan Plate lives in Illinois with his wife and three kids, teaching and indulging an interest in everything mathematical.
Lady Godiva slurps steaming milk from
a wooden spoon while I talk about
ceiling fans and garden hoses.
She ignores me. Burns her cold tongue.
Kayla Pongrac is an avid writer, reader, tea drinker, and record spinner. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Vinyl Poetry, Split Lip Magazine, Oblong, HOOT, KYSO Flash, and Nat. Brut, among others. Her first chapbook is forthcoming from Anchor and Plume Press. To read more of Kayla’s work, visit www.kaylapongrac.com or follow her on Twitter @KP_the_Promisee.
Two pieces by Patricia Zoltan
Not Just a Pretty Face
Online Dating Service Entry Form
Account Name: Tart With a Heart
Age: Younger Than Springtime
Appearance: Funky Comes To Town
Occupation: Nail Polish Name Creator
Through The Fire
We were waiting for the train, starving and ragged but free, smudgy-faced, smelling like stray dogs. A woman in white, smiling, handed me an apple.
Patricia Zoltan is an Adelaide-based writer in South Australia. Her short stories have recently appeared in Bukker Tillibul, bukkertillibul.net, and on writersbillboard.net. Her story, ‘Violet and the Clairvoyant’ was the winner of the Flash Fiction competition of Writers Billboard in March 2015 and is available online, http://writersbillboard.net/flashfictioncomp.html
Patricia is also the Founder and Managing Editor of Tiny Bites, an online literary journal, dedicated to short fiction, tinybites.net,
which is now open for submission at TinyBitesSubmissions@gmail.com