Vicki Wilson

White Bread - Rolls ready to serve
Photo Credit: grongar

I was at the Thanksgiving dinner table with them, and was finding it hard to hold back my hysteria. Soon, someone would do it. Someone would say that one thing that gets said after having too much wine, and that would allow all the other things to get said, and then, boom, it would be like a truck crashed through the oak table knocking the half-eaten turkey to the floor for the dogs.

Who would speak first?

Would it be Michael?

Michael had the baggage and the lowest tolerance for merlot. He could most certainly go after Dad. I had to admit, Dad had provided the fodder. Words like lazy, girlie, sissy-boy and slow used to spit from Dad’s mouth as he tried to teach Michael to play baseball, football, basketball—any sport, really. Michael hated sports, still did, even at thirty years old. But he still sat with Dad watching games on TV on all the major holidays.

Would it be Mom?

She was more stealthy. She liked to toss zingers out like round lifesavers to drowning victims, except her lifelines had cement blocks tied to their ends. I had been hit more than once with a cinder block, with something cliche about my divorce, my withering womb, or my general lack of motivation in life to ever see anything through to the end.

Or maybe this Thanksgiving would be different. Maybe the light snow outside, the generally cheery mood everyone seemed to be in, the really good merlot we poured (a gift from the neighbors) would be our deliverance.

“Pass the rolls,” Dad said.

“We’re out,” Mom said.

“How can we be out of rolls?” he demanded.

“Mom had the last two,” I answered.

I swear I didn’t mean anything by it. I really didn’t. There wasn’t a breath of a whiff of a hint in my subconscious that I was making a pointed remark about my mother’s weight. So she had started shopping lately in the “women’s” section. So what.

But that’s all it took.

“Figures,” Dad said.

The truck had come.

The table would crash.

The turkey would fall.


Vicki is a freelance writer living in New York. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, The Southampton Review, and more. She writes poetry, plays and fiction. Email: vicki[at]

The Bottom Line

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Cute Houses
Photo Credit: Cimexus

When the average age
of a town
is 56
the ambulance in the driveway
means a new home
will soon be up for sale.

And anticipation will mount
as concerned neighbours
gather in the street

to inquire as to whether the beautiful old lady
a few doors down,
god rest her soul,

had two bedrooms
or three.

Ryan has recently been published in Quills, Toasted Cheese, The New York Quarterly, and The Antigonish Review. He also has pieces appearing in the anthology Lake Effect and has a full length poetry book in print entitled Pigeon Theatre. Email: cyanogen_rqf[at]

A Girl Named Autumn

Ariana Cisneros

side of the street
Photo Credit: Chris Darling

The autumn leaves
That we saw as we walked
Were baked into your hair
Woven with cardamom
And bleached your eyes
A brilliant gold

I unlaced the tresses
As if each would crinkle and tumble away
The orange coiled around my wrists
Maroon and olive
Licked my elbows and ears
Oven-warm scent of a clove and paprika tongue
Drained into your spine

Maybe you’ll be able to
Move again
By Christmas

Maybe then
You’ll speak again
If the blizzards don’t freeze you
And the long nights don’t shroud you

I’ll introduce you
To mint candy canes
And tinsel
To the woody smell of pine
And to snowball fights
So your cheeks blossom again
Instead of paling,
Tuning pearl and pasty
Little mouth drawn down

You will never taste rust again
Or eat soup on Styrofoam trays
That tired nurses spoon to you
You’ll see color
Staining your feathers again


Ariana Cisneros is a junior in the San Francisco School of the Arts’s Creative Writing program. Email: surfingseahorse[at]