More than Dinner

Flash
Dawn Zera


heirloom tomatoes at the market
Photo Credit: Kristen Taylor

The baby’s been up all night, the five-year-old is causing trouble, and it’s been months since the husband growled that she made him dizzy with lust. It’s ninety-five degrees out, the window AC unit is on the fritz, and there’s only a twenty-dollar bill left in the coffee can.

But it’s farmers’ market day, so she throws the baby in a backpack carrier, and drags the older one along. If anything, it’ll feel good just to admire the farmers’ offerings. She walks around the market once, looking over everything, seeing which stands offer the best products, then swings back to the ones with the freshest tomatoes, remembering the basil back home in the garden. She’s intrigued by the possibilities presented by the figs, so those get picked up too, along with the sweet corn the kid insisted on buying, and some organic pork (it doesn’t matter much that it’s organic; it just looks good).

Once home, the kids are plopped in front of the TV while the figs and sweet corn are lovingly inspected. Her mind swirls with the possibilities: A salad with the two of them? A salsa with the tomatoes and corn?

And while this feast is being prepared, she starts to feel right—the hands revel in the busyness of trying to time everything perfectly.

Her husband comes home after the children have fallen asleep. She plates everything carefully and sets it before him.

He looks down at the food, silent as he takes the first bite. Chews. Then he looks up, into her eyes.

Growling.
pencil

Dawn Zera is a published journalist and former city girl currently in need of rescue from the Pennsylvania mountains. If you need a curriculum vitae, please send a SASE with $1,000 to her at… Email: dzera87[at]comcast.net

Night Birds

Flash
Anna Moriarty Lev


window
Photo Credit: Rebecca/BookMama

There was a stirring in her heart, an uncomfortable feeling she could not explain. When her mother asked what was wrong, she could only think to answer that a ship had sailed, and that its return was unforeseeable.

Perhaps it’s time you married, her mother said, gesturing to the line of suitors outside the door.

No, it’s not that, she replied. But agreed to see them anyway.

The first was too tall, and his voice traveled down to her in an echo. The second spoke too little for her comfort. The third had never read poetry. And so it went on.

The next morning she woke clutching her chest, a pinching pain restricting her breath.

Perhaps you have a broken heart, her mother said, do you sleep with the window open?

She did, and her mother explained how the night birds fly in through open windows while we sleep to steal our dreams and leave us with false ones, half-truths that haunt us as we wake.

If they’re hungry enough, her mother continued, they’ll peck at your heart, carrying pieces of it away so that it can never be fully repaired. I speak from experience.

The girl wondered at her mother’s experience, who and what she had loved in the past. Which pieces of her heart were missing. As her mother walked away to the kitchen and breakfast, the girl thought her a stranger.

 

There is a secret cavern deep in the Andes Mountains, closed off by a large boulder and hidden by optical illusions of the sun. In the deepest corner, tiny scraps of pink muscle tissue are preserved in a strange substance. There is some evidence of nests and eggshells, but no birds can be seen, only shadows.

pencil

Anna Moriarty Lev likes to tell all kinds of stories. In addition to flash fiction, she also writes plays and makes comic books. Her self-published titles Shelf Life and Fish Dreams can be found at comic book stores around the country. Her work has also been published in Bateau and Good Days, Bad Days. Please visit Lev Hardware for more of Anna’s work. If you can’t find her, she’s probably in a dark movie theater somewhere, watching something and eating popcorn. Email: annamolev[at]gmail.com

Five Poems

Poetry
Bree Rehac


Bubble on my finger
Photo Credit: vicomtedechagny

Dear Girls,

We spent our summer days on swings trying
to make our own breeze and under thick trees
soaking in the shade, lazily sighing
out the heat, sipping on life and green tea.
We raced time-stealing nights on Rollerblades
and lost—didn’t know it then. I wished on
resemblances of stars as they faded
into the dawn of city lights. The sun
greeted us on your porch roof and I kissed
my pinky and vowed forever. We laced
fingers when the china shattered, our mis-
takes always fixable and irreplaceable.
Back then, life was a red balloon, the string
tied to our wrists. That’s the ironic thing.

 

Dear Maybe,

You are the bubble that burst at the touch
of my fingertips, the trapped heat under
blankets in the morning—fleeting like thoughts
before daydreams. You shook me like thunder
rumbling under my bare feet—no longer.
Like the tattoo on my wrist, your face has
blurred. Your voice is harder, but lingers
in my ears like an old friend staying past
dusk for that third cup of coffee. We danced,
or you danced with me, spinning me around,
catching me on my clumsy feet. What chance
did I have against your weight? Surrounded
by your facets, the answers are not clear.
I see my face in each of those mirrors.

 

Dear Buffalo,

You used to pop me on your knee and tell
me stories of Babushkas and the old
neighborhoods that grown-up grandchildren still
visit on Sundays, hot pierogis sold
on Broadway and snow in May. Lake-effect
is tame compared to the static we face
now. The sun surrenders to the neglect,
weeping for rusting Fords and wasted space.
But, the kids play hockey on frozen ponds
and crawl through driftwood jungles. Will they stay
to climb skyscrapers? To raise their sons on
Bills and wings? The cars over the Skyway
flock to new nests, but loyalty roots deep
in your clay and its limbs grow in your sleep.

 

Dear Lorelei,

Stretch your love along a clothesline, letting
it breathe. Catch memories in a glass jar,
but then set them free; never regretting.
Search the puff-clouds for answers. Smoke cigars
with the boys and wear skirts that twirl. Find light
in the corners where pain hides. Radiate
from your center, but center yourself. Fight
if you must, and win when you can. Create.
Wish on the bubbles that fly to the moon
like dancing moths; close your eyes tight. You are
a new branch, old limbs hold you to the sun.
You are the tree, the wish and the first star.
I could count my hopes for you to the end
of numbers, my love until the sky bends.

 

Dear Irene,

I miss you when I watch the cars drive by
my window and I count the red ones like
we used to do. I miss you when the sky
roars and rumbles because God bowled a strike.
I miss your rusty laugh and your stories
about being a Rockette for a day.
I look for you when I watch the starry
scene above; you belong there. Do you play
with the children on your block in Heaven?
“Forget me not,” you would say, tiny blue
flowers between your fingers. I haven’t
forgotten your hands, smile or how you
walked me down Circle Lane under street lights,
tucked me into bed and kissed me good-night.

pencil

Bree Rehac, of Buffalo, NY, is an over-worked, under-paid lover of people, life, words and cats (mostly cats). She is the former editor The Laurel literary magazine at her beloved St. Bonaventure University where she is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in counseling. Wherever (and whenever) her feet land, she is devoted to “keep reading and keep writing.” Email: REHACBR[at]bonaventure.edu

Comings and Goings

Poetry
Lex Thomas Muery


Twins
Photo Credit: Stefano Corso

He is perfect
That is why I watch

It is so becoming

I began with his walk
His posture erect, fluid
At ease on the verge
I perfected it within the first year

His voice,
Implacable for the unstudied,
Is a New Orleans accent coupled
With the rapidity of northern talk
They catch something in the vowels
It’s soothing, exotic
You will be proud to hear you
Speak through me

Now it is the smell
Parliament full flavors, Quorum
Always a light sweat
Saturated in Old Spice
The sweat is the hard part
I almost have it

I began the surgeries
After I installed the cameras

When he drinks I drink
We like dark beer
An acquired taste
When he laughs I laugh
We like dark comedy
An acquired taste

He is thirty-six
I have until next year
To lose two years
My birthday slowly realigns

I am nearing completion

I am his second
Coming
He will understand when he sees
Everyone loves themselves

pencil

Lex Thomas Muery graduated from Louisiana State University in May. Email: lmuery1[at]tigers.lsu.edu

Five Poems

Poetry
B.T. Joy


050910natcrowd
Photo Credit: quadrapop

Love Story Dreaming

tonight the moon is a pale woman
in love again with the night earth

tonight the earth is a war-sick man
in love again with the distant moon

tonight the heartbeat of seas quicken
and lips of rivers rush on estuary shores

and somewhere between
the skyline and the ground

a man falls into a dream
of a pale woman
and a war-sick man

tonight there is a current of sadness
palpable as ozone in the frozen fog air

tonight glad winds run the pathways
consoling even shut blooms from grief

candle-flame stars shudder with old light
stones shift, peaks reassemble their shapes,

and among it all
loneliness reconciling with solitude

and tonight I am a man
falling into a dream of a pale woman
and a war-sick man

 

The Rub

the sun whitens
the morning silences
that hiss and shiver among
the crannied shadows
and in June’s heat
the butterfly abandons itself
to the maze of the dandelion fields
the greatest obstacle
to universal love
is the prerequisite of admitting
the complexity of individual love
meaning,
how can I love everyone
before I see my love for you
not as a bird nested in a certain heart
but as a bird in flight through the dizzying
vastness of sky?

 

My Love For The World

my love for the world
is an old man’s love
a patting
of the hedge-row’s shoulders
a washing
of the feet of trees
I’m told I’m young
but even in that I feel the world
and I are growing old together
the wind is our tired argument
and the rain the tenderness after
with hyacinth whispers
she calls me deeper
with fingers of grass
she caresses me
and not obsessed
to make love
I only touch love
sunlit leaf
by sunlit leaf

 

Why I Write

for now
I am almost breath
a human being
doing nothing
you ask me why
I write
I answer that I’m not
a poet because I can’t be
a painter
that I write
because I hear words
and fall in love with them
then
so many years a writer
and you, who’ve only started,
teach me poetry
telling me
about the nasturtiums
in your sister’s garden
you called them
a bank of orange light

 

Last Meeting

I think of him breathing oxygen
on the couch-bed that forgot him

the ashes are ten years old now
and I have seen regions, worlds

here a fluttering of jackdaws rise
casting shade on whitened water

and the next moment they merge
with dark woods on the shoreline

pencil

B.T. Joy is a Glaswegian poet who received his Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Film Studies in 2009. He has written two volumes of haiku: In The Arms Of The Wind and The Reeds That Tilt The Sky, as well as having poetry published in Obsessed With Pipework, Toasted Cheese, Presence, Canon’s Mouth, Paper Wasp, Sketchbook, Bottle Rockets, Mu and Frogpond. He has been an administrator, a ranch hand, a writing mentor, a farmer and a salesman; living and working in Glasgow, London and the USA. Email: BTJ0005uk[at]aol.com

The Things that Come in the Mail

Poetry
Holly Day


mail box
Photo Credit: Ana Ivette Rodriguez

the flowers come in the mail, with the cards, with the lovely notes
expressing sympathy for our loss. I don’t want to answer the door anymore
want to let the tiny wreaths pile up, wither away.

I smile, thank the delivery man for my mail, I smile at my husband
I smile
at everyone. I call relatives to let them know I’m fine, I don’t need
anything. I thank them for their kindness and for the flowers.
my husband compliments me on my strength, I reply with
another smile. my face hurts from smiling so much. at night

I find myself talking to the missing baby, hold
my hands over my stomach, protecting nothing. I shuffle through
these days, find comfort in repetitive tasks. I vacuum constantly.
I crochet mittens for everyone. I turn inside myself

hold back everything but this smile, the one I show my family
my husband—it’s all I’ve got left.

pencil

Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Oxford American, The Midwest Quarterly, and Coal City Review. She recently co-authored the book, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, with guitarist Jim Peterik of the band Survivor. Email: lalena[at]bitstream.net