Smoke by Bruce Harris
The trouble began with three words, “Have a light?” There were matches in the ashtray. He grabbed one. Now, he trades cigarettes to stay alive.
Bruce Harris enjoys relaxing with a Marxman.
Rambunctious by Alina Yudkevich
Heathcliff’s bones were made of rubber, according to his mother. He held his breath when she walked by, so she wouldn’t see his toes wiggle.
Alina Yudkevich is a 17th grader at the University of Georgia studying English and Film Studies. She works part-time at a particle accelerator laboratory, and will be very embarrassed if she accidentally ends the world.
I’m a Rich Girl by Mitchell Sommers
There’s no “reading of the will.” That’s just bad movies. Only a check, all my father had. I clutch it, not crying, not yet, anyway.
Mitchell Sommers is an attorney in Lancaster and Ephrata, PA. He is the fiction editor of Philadelphia Stories. He received his law degree from Penn State, Dickinson School of Law, and his MFA from the University of New Orleans.
Two pieces by Monica Crumback
It’s like Gettysburg behind the garage, thanks to all the frost. Late October. Here come leaves, rakes, then Christmas. I pray it killed the wasps.
It’s not a color so much as a banner painted on her mouth. Nude is useless, like pink and blush. Red says she’s growing up.
Monica Crumback‘s essays have been published in numerous print and online publications, including Brain,Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers, Skirt Magazine, and Vox Poetica.
Three pieces by Lisa Nielsen
in a flash
you were miles gone before anyone noticed.
a flash of light,
a moratorium on what light really means
and shadows turning bitter in your wake
you were too amused to catch on
that I was predisposed to lavish
love on scented lips, to sway my hips
and ask for change
strike a pose
head to knees
fingertips to toes,
I spy through my legs like curtains,
and take my breath for granted.
today, forgetting is my conciliation prize.
Lisa Nielsen is a single mother living in Staten Island, using poetry to make sense of the world.
Varnished by Mary Nelson
Diagnosis for Narcissa: Allergic to her own image. Therefore avoid light. No mirrors. Reaction from Narcissa: Asks for stronger Benedryl. Opens compact and checks make-up.
Mary Nelson is an octogenarian who has been writing ever since college days having published short stories and two historical novels. But she’s not above delving into some humorous challenges such as this one. She believes that without a sense of humor the creative process is minus a powerful asset.
Three pieces by David Ellis Dickerson
Heartstruck, she fainted in the opera’s loge. Her necklace spilled. Today, children discovering marbles underfoot cup them to their ears to hear “una furtiva lagrima.”
In the middle of her jump, she paused, hovering, undecided about whether or not to land. Both milieux have good arguments. For now, air wins.
Slide the buckle. Flotation device. In the event. The compartment overhead. Secure yours first. Assist your neighbor. No smoking. Tampering or disabling. Thanks for choosing.
David Ellis Dickerson is a regular contributor to public radio’s “This American Life” and the author of the memoir “House of Cards.” He could not resist this magazine’s concept.